Schwarzenegger seeks probe of alleged intimidation over 'parent trigger' in Compton
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked the state attorney general Thursday to investigate alleged intimidation of parents trying to use a new state law to shut down their children’s low-performing Compton elementary school and reopen it as a charter campus.
The so-called parent-trigger law could turn McKinley Elementary over to a new operator if signatures representing 50% of the school's parents. Supporters say they have 62%.
“Instead of being supported in their effort to ensure their children get the quality education that is a constitutional right, these parents have been subjected to threats and a misinformation campaign,” Schwarzenegger wrote in a letter to Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown.
McKinley is among the state’s lowest-performing schools but also among the fastest-improving over the last two years. Some parents said organizers circulating the petition claimed the effort was to beautify the school or prevent it from being shut down.
Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have publicly sided with parents in favor of the charter conversion.
“Intimidation tactics are being used in an effort to persuade them to take back their signatures,” Schwarzenegger said in the letter.
At Tuesday’s Compton school board meeting, the interpretation was starkly different, with a crowded hall of local residents and employees criticizing Parent Revolution, an L.A.-based nonprofit that organized the McKinley effort and chose the charter that would run the school.
On Wednesday, the state Board of Education also called for an investigation.
-- Howard Blume