The Press

Huntington Park awaits ruling on charter moratorium

HUNTINGTON PARK — City officials and those of the California Charter Schools Association are awaiting a legal ruling on the city’s temporary moratorium on new charter schools.

City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman said “state law requires a decision within 90 days but we hope [the judge] doesn’t take that long.”

Meanwhile, a 10-month moratorium on charter school sites, approved Oct 18, will continue pending the decision, he said April 4.

The City Council was informed of the situation in a closed session but took no action, he added.

The Charter School Association filed suit Nov. 3, arguing that the city was disregarding the intent of state legislation on charter schools with the moratorium that was first established Sept. 6.

Supporters of the nonprofit charter school group said there is a long waiting list of area students seeking to enroll.

Alvarez-Glasman has argued that while school districts such as the Los Angeles Unified School District determine the operation of charter schools within their jurisdiction, it is also a land use issue, which gives the city jurisdiction. Such moratoriums may go for up to two years.

City Manager Edgar Cisneros said city staff needed more time to review zoning laws to find appropriate sites for charter schools that would safeguard students but not cause inconveniences, such as traffic congestion and parking problems, for residents. Councilwoman Karina Macias said certain sites in areas zoned for commercial businesses must be preserved for businesses that generate sales tax revenue.

Assistant City Attorney Noel Tapia, who argued the city case April 3, said the hearing took three hours before Judge Yvette M. Palazuelos in Los Angeles Superior Court.

In other action April 4, the council:

• Approved a three-year lease of a vacant 460-square-foot office and a 96-square foot storage room, both on the second floor of City Hall, 6550 Miles Ave., to State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Long Beach, for $376 a month. The previous lease the past year was on a month-to-month basis, Cisneros said. He said Lara’s staff would be available to the public at the Huntington Park office during regular city business hours Monday through Thursday.

•Approved an agreement with Estrella Communications, Inc. for the annual Telemundo Sports Experience from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 11 at Salt Lake Park, 540l Florence Ave. Admission is free for sports exhibitions, game booths, inflatables and face painting. There will be food vendors, said Parks and Recreation Director Josette Espinoza. Several thousand people are expected. Espinoza said the producers will allow free information booths by city departments and nonprofit organizations and will pay the city about $20,000 for use of the site.

• Approved an agreement with the American Cancer Society to conduct a Relay for Life fundraiser at Salt Lake Park from 9 a.m. June 23 to 9 a.m.June 24 and to waive city fees of $3,000 for police and public works services. The 24-hour event requires teams to have at least one member on the track at all times. About 500 spectators are expected. There will be food vendors and entertainment.