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Parents object to naming process for downtown L.A. arts high school

June 9, 2011 |  9:47 am

Cortines Some parents are objecting to plans to name the downtown Los Angeles arts high school after recently retired Supt. Ramon C. Cortines.

A Board of Education vote on the school's name is scheduled for later this month.

Parent leader Judi Bell said she has spoken with about 100 members of the school community, most of whom expressed "shock, disbelief and anger."

The issue is not about the widely respected Cortines but about the process, said Bell, who heads the school's Parent Teacher Student Assn.

"I had many people contact me as soon as they heard that the school might be named this way, furious that the topic was never seriously discussed or formally addressed," Bell said.

"Many even stated that they had agreed to serve on a committee to determine a new name, which had been formed early in the school year, but that no such committee ever held a meeting or made a determination," she said.

Other parents and staff members expressed similar views.

Cortines said Wednesday that he did not want to accept the honor if the decision was not properly vetted by staff, parents and students.

District officials suggested Wednesday that the school had been included in the naming process, but later clarified that there had been an "informal" vetting among some administrators, teachers, students and parents.

The issue is a sore point because the school is supposed to be managed under an agreement calling for substantial collaboration with teachers and parents. The naming issue arose the same week the public learned about the forced departure of Principal Luis Lopez.

Lopez is being transferred -- and possibly promoted -- under orders from current Supt. John Deasy to make way for an administrator recruited with the involvement of the foundation run by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad.

That new principal is expected to be Kim Bruno, according to sources close to the decision. Bruno currently heads the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City.

Deasy said Wednesday that it was premature to discuss a possible successor to Lopez.


More changes expected at Los Angeles arts high school

-- Howard Blume

Photo: Retired L.A. schools Supt. Ramon Cortines. Credit: Los Angeles Times