Lynwood Unified School District Leaders Secure Support from Elected Officials in Sacramento to Confirm Funding to Make the District Whole
With the goal to provide a renovated campus that will offer state-of-the-art facilities for thousands of local high school students, a group of Lynwood Unified School District Board of Education members joined District leaders and the Superintendent in late April to visit the State Capitol and advocate for financial support in the rebuilding of Lynwood High School's fallen Imperial Campus. This support will make Lynwood whole and bring back an essential high school campus that is desperately needed by Lynwood's youth to succeed both academically and personally.
The district group, led by Mr. Alfonso Morales, School Board President; Ms. Maria Lopez, Lynwood Unified School Board Member; Dr. Gudiel Crosthwaite, Superintendent; Gregory Fromm, Assistant Superintendent Business Services; and Jahmal Corner, Public Information Officer, met with the offices of three senators and seven assembly members in Sacramento to champion action following construction failures that led to a building collapse back in June 2020. Lynwood Unified is requesting financial support needed to rebuild and fully restore a high-quality campus for the Lynwood community, as well as address the consequential damages to the district.
As a result of this special visit, Senator Lena Gonzalez issued a line-item budget request letter to support funding for this project. "The community of Lynwood and the students of LUSD are in need of immediate financial assistance to fund the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Lynwood High School, in order to help them through this unprecedented emergency," said Senator Gonzalez in the letter, which was also endorsed by Assemblymember Mike Gipson.
"The district has come a long way to improve academic outcomes and we are committed to ensuring that we continue that upward trajectory," LUSD Superintendent, Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. "We are incredibly grateful for the urgent attention and leadership displayed by our elected officials who arepaving the way for us to secure the educational environment Lynwood students deserve."
The 2020 building collapse, which fortunately happened during pandemic school closure and did not physically harm anyone, occurred due to major construction and structural shortcuts as per DSA findings following the incident - discovered during an inspection of the state-built 24-year-old campus.
The fallout has left a deep impact for the community at large. With buildings at Lynwood High School campus deemed unsafe, the district quickly enabled an alternate temporary site for the high school this past August. The Lynwood Middle School campus on Bullis Road was repurposed and outfitted with forty-seven temporary classrooms to accommodate approximately 1,900 high school students. This change triggered the relocation of middle and elementary school students, which resulted in the loss of over four hundred students who did not reenroll this school year.
From a financial perspective, cleanup, inspections, and the emergency updates to multiple campuses took vital funds away from other needed improvements at schools throughout the district. "We are exploring all financial options, but ultimately it's the value of advocacy from those in power that can truly create the change we need," said Gregory Fromm, LUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services. "We need to right a wrong of structural malpractice and ensure our students are not penalized for the mismanagement of others."
In October of 2021, Lynwood Unified hosted Senator Gonzalez, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and the office of Congresswoman Nanette Barragan at the Lynwood Imperial Campus to view the construction failures firsthand.
In 2022, the School District has once again taken a direct approach to come face-to-face with lawmakers in Sacramento. "We are committed to traveling whatever distance it takes to deliver on our promise to provide students the best facilities and learning tools that we have to offer," LUSD Board President Alfonso Morales said. "We know that our elected leaders believe, as we do, that all students deserve an equitable education that should never be compromised by surroundings. We thank them for being allies in doing right by our students."
As part of these efforts, the Lynwood School District created a special video "The Collapse of Lynwood High School-Imperial," https://www.makelusdwhole.com/, sharing the journey to uncover how this collapse could have happened and to show the heartache and void felt by the entire Lynwood community, as Lynwood High School on Imperial still stands vacant and a shadow of what it used to be. Lynwood High School on Imperial has served as the foundation and pillar of hope for a brighter future for many generations and the leaders of Lynwood will continue to fight to bring it back. In addition, the district is hosting a press conference later this week to discuss their plans to secure funding.
After this successful visit to Sacramento, the School District will continue to work with legislators to ensure that Lynwood is assigned the much-needed funds when the State finalizes its budget in July.