A group of protesters blocked streets in front of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s offices on Tuesday to call attention to the number of students that drop out and how the second-largest school district in the nation funds its schools.
Protest organizers say they blocked the street with 375 desks to represent the 375 students who drop out of the district every week during the school year.
The demonstration was organized by Communities for Los Angeles Student Success (CLASS), a coalition made up of local community organizations urging the district to distribute funds according to a school’s need. The group wants the district to consider a school’s population of foster youth, English-language learners and low-income students when allocating funds. CLASS also recommends that the district measures other neighborhood conditions, such as exposure to violence, access to youth programming and early care and education and health outcomes.
"We're glad the drivers are upset, because we're upset about students dropping out," Elmer Roldan, education program officer with United Way of Greater Los Angeles told the L.A. Times. "The most vulnerable students should benefit from the budget."
An LAUSD spokesperson told Fusion “the District is not issuing a statement [on this matter] at this time.”
Only about 66 percent of LAUSD high school students graduated in four years during the 2011-2012 school year. About 73 percent of the district’s student population was Latino that same school year.
CLASS named John C. Fremont Senior High School in the historically Mexican-American neighborhood of Florence as the school with the highest needs. About 90 percent of the student body is Latino and 30 percent of the school is made up of English-language learners.
“It’s about concentrating resources to schools that need it the most instead of sprinkling it around,” said Nancy Meza of the community group Innercity Struggle and a member of CLASS.