EAGLE ROCK (CBSLA) – Low enrollment numbers forced a charter school in Eagle Rock to shut its doors without warning, as surprised and frustrated parents only discovered the closure as they were dropping off their children at class Thursday.
On Wednesday night, the board of trustees for the Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC Schools), voted to close PUC International Preparatory Academy (iPrep), located at 1800 Colorado Blvd. The closure took effect immediately Thursday. The new school year had just started up two days ago.
“Where am I going to leave her today?” parent Sandra Bairez told CBS2. “I have to call in sick.”
“This other school started like two weeks ago, what am I supposed to do now?” asked another angry mother. “Where do I take her, what do I do?”
iPrep needed 200 students to remain open, PUC Schools said in a news release. It only had 114 students as of this week.
Parents told CBS2 they had been urged to recruit more students, but had not been warned the situation was so dire. They said they bought uniforms and made childcare arrangements.
“We gave several communications to our families letting them know,” said Zenzontl Kuauhtzin, an administrator with PUC Schools, during a news conference during which he was interrupted by several angry parents.
Founded in 2016, iPrep was a K-8 Spanish-Mandarin dual immersion school.
“Enrollment is the largest source of funding for the school and with this level of enrollment, the program is not viable,” PUC wrote. “With so few students, it’s impossible to continue to operate and provide the types of programs that the students deserve.”
LAUSD representatives will now have to work to help parents get their students into other schools. However, because LAUSD schools started up their fall semester nearly two weeks ago, transferring students will find themselves playing catchup.
PUC, a nonprofit group, runs 15 other charter schools in the Northeast San Fernando Valley and Northeast Los Angeles. It was co-founded by Ref Rodriguez, who was a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board until his resignation last month following his guilty plea in a campaign laundering scheme.