With the site of the former Van de Kamps bakery in Glassell Park scheduled to be discussed during Wednesday's meeting of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Directors, some local activists are hoping the board can be persuaded to pursue their vision of turning the historic facility into a community college campus.
The future use of the site at Fletcher Drive and San Fernando Road is now in flux, with Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones recently invalidating a lease agreement between the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) and Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, which runs a charter high school at the facility.
The lease was terminated by Jones as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Northeast Los Angeles based Van de Kamps Coalition, who argued that by failing to study the environmental impact of running a high school at the site, LACCD had triggered violation of the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA).
Dan Wright, attorney for the Van De Kamps Coalition, told Patch that, after purchasing the historic facility, LACCD had won bond funds to renovate it under the promise that they would run a community college satellite campus there.
Wright said the Van de Kamps Coalition was formed with the intent of pressuring LACCD to fulfill that promise.
The coalition has been criticized by some community members for imperiling the academic futures of the charter school students who were attending classes at Van de Kamps.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Alliance Chief Executive Judy Burton said it was "truly sad" that the coalition's agenda had "trumped the needs of disadvantaged students."
Wright said a community college satellite campus at the facility would have a great educational benefit for the community.
"I would argue that because the VDK campus was built specifically to address poor enrollment by Franklin High Students in the LACCD system, that it is very connected to the fate of kids graduating from [local schools]," Wright said.
It remains on uncertain whether the LACCD will opt to install a satellite campus as the facility or seek to form a new lease with Alliance. According to Wright, either option would require the completion of a potentially costly environmental impact report.
Wednesday's meeting of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Directors is scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Educational Services Center Board Room, first floor, located at 770 Wilshire Boulevard.