Eagle Rock Elementary Escapes the Budget Ax

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By  Laura Brady-Allen

Eagle Rock Elementary School (ERES) has avoided a budget cut that threatened to eliminate funding for teaching assistants and academic programs.

ERES Principal Stephanie Leach said the money, approximately $160,000 for the 2020/2021 school year, was restored “after fierce advocacy from our parents and the support from our School Board member, Jackie Goldberg.” Leach added that she is “greatly relieved” and “incredibly grateful” to have the funds restored.

The budget-cut saga began in 2019, when the share of students at ERES who qualify as “low-income” dipped below 50%, to 49.1%. Under rules set by the Los Angeles Unified School District, a level below 50% made the school ineligible for “Title 1” federal funding, which goes to schools with large populations of low-income students.

ERES parents, administrators and teachers protested. They pointed out that the 49.1% share of low income students at ERES worked out to nearly 400 boys and girls – which is more than the entire student body at some smaller schools in L.A. that retained their Title 1 funding.

They also pointed out that LAUSD’s 50% threshold to qualify for Title 1 money was tougher than federal guidelines, which allow Title 1 money to be distributed to schools where at least 40% of the students are low income.

The protests worked. In February, LAUSD lowered the qualifying threshold for Title 1 funding to 45%. The change will benefit ERES and a handful of other schools in L.A. where low-income students make up just under than 50% of the student body.


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