HACIENDA HEIGHTS (CBSLA) — Parents took to the streets Monday to protest what they say are deplorable conditions at Wedgeworth Elementary School in Hacienda Heights.
Parents and students carrying signs demanding “Safer Schools” and “No Portables” marched from Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office to the Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District.READ MORE: Pine Fire Near Palmdale Scorches 442 Acres, 79% Contained
The nationally-recognized dual-immersion school has been housed in portable trailers for years, and parents say they’re infested with rodents and have sewage problems. Parents say they have heard school board members make anti-Asian statements at meetings and one parent says she is concerned the school board may go back on a 219 promise to build a new school for Wedgeworth.
“Now, two new board members who came on board want to overturn this decision. This is not right. This is not fair,” a parent who identified herself as Vivan said.
But those who are against the plan, like Fernando Solis, say it just doesn’t make financial sense.
“Is it a want or if it a need,” he said. “That’s where we start and end our conversation, really.”
Those against the plan say there are three empty schools that have been closed down as well as neighboring schools that have space for Wedgeworth students, faculty and staff.READ MORE: $25 Million Challenge Grant Made For Wildlife Crossing In Agoura Hills
“They can move into another school and not have to build a new one,” Elaine Wong, another parent, said. “We had the bond measure, there’s money to fix up the other schools, we can take the $70 million dollars they’re planning to use to build a brand new Wedgeworth and make all the other schools state of the art.”
Vivian, who is Asian, said that she and the Wedgeworth families have experienced attacks, discrimination and racial bias demonstrated by the board members. But Wong said the issue was not one of race.
“The community is actually speaking out against the Wedgeworth project because of the cost, because of the waste in money, resources, teachers,” Wong said. “It’s not an Asian issue.”
School Board Member Stephanie Serrano addressed the issue in a statement that said, in part:
“I’m shocked that previous board members neglected to fix concerns expressed for over 25 years. Promising a new school was unethical. Taking out an over $50 million loan to build a brick and mortar is not fiscally responsible or equitable to all families in the district. I have asked at almost every board meeting for a report of repairs that need to be made and have yet to receive it.”MORE NEWS: Pedestrian Struck and Killed In Compton
Hahn plans to meet with parents over the conditions at Wedgeworth in the coming weeks, according to her representative Lauren Yokomizo.