The Advancement Project

Los Angeles Unified School District Allocates $10 Million for New Early Education Center in the Bell/Cudahy Area

Contact: Kim Pattillo Brownson  
Telephone: 213-989-1300 ext. 128

Los Angeles - The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education, acting to expand early childhood education, unanimously approved a $10 million allocation to support the construction of a new early education center to serve children in the cities of Bell and Cudahy. 

The $10 million allocation will support the construction of a state-of-the-art early education center that will provide 175 new seats for Los Angeles’ youngest students ages birth to five.  The center will house seven classrooms, a family engagement and professional development space, as well as a new playground.   The project is anticipated to begin construction in 2013 and will open to serve students in 2015. 

Advancement Project provided crucial research to help determine the location for this substantial early education center investment.  After an almost year-long process of analysis, Advancement Project’s Education team pinpointed the Bell/Cudahy region as the most underserved area in Los Angeles, with over 3,000 young children without early learning opportunities in zip code 90201 alone.  Moreover, over 50% of children ages zero to five participate in the WIC supplemental nutrition program, and more than two in three adults do not have a high school diploma. 

This research adds to the emerging recognition that investment is needed to help uplift the Bell/Cudahy region. The Los Angeles County Office of Child Care identified zip code 90201 as the most underserved and highest need area for full-day early education services within LAUSD.  First 5 Los Angeles recently recognized the Southeast Los Angeles as a Best Start community.  LAUSD’s most recent investment will compliment First 5 LA’s commitment to the region, leading to improved returns on both investments through increased rates of children fully prepared to enter kindergarten and achieve academic success. 

Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member Yolie Flores stated, “Today the Board took an essential step in closing the atrocious gap that exists between early education needs and early education services in the Bell/Cudahy region of the District. I want to be clear that our work in this area is far from complete.  We are, however, moving in the right direction by investing in a state of the art facility that will not only provide over 150 new early education seats for children so that they will be kindergarten ready, but will also serve as a high-quality training center with a strong focus on parent engagement and community outreach.”

Advancement Project Director of Education Kim Pattillo Brownson stated, “It is so important that the gates of opportunity be open to all children, regardless of where they live. Today's Board decision makes clear that the District is committed to investing in those neighborhoods that need it the most and ensuring that the most at-risk young children have a real opportunity to learn and prepare to succeed in the K-12 system.”

Advancement Project worked in coalition with Los Angeles early childhood supporters to advocate for increased investment in the Bell/Cudahy area.  These critical partners include Preschool California, the California Community Foundation, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Universal Preschool and Alliance for a Better Community.  

“High-quality early childhood education programs help ensure our children have the opportunity to become lifelong learners by building the critical academic, cognitive, and social skills that provide the foundation for future success. This decision will enable even more of our children to access the high-quality early education experience they deserve," said Preschool California Deputy Field Director Araceli Sandoval-Gonzalez.

This coalition of early education supporters built off the fruits of their partnership, which resulted in LAUSD approving a $40 million allocation to support early care and education facilities.  This funding was made available under bond measures K, R and Y to expand early learning opportunities in underserved areas of the District.