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Inglewood Unified school board brainstorms ideas to avoid bankruptcy

Inglewood Unified School District

Grant Slater/KPCC

A student boards a bus maintained by the Inglewood Unified School District on February 28, 2012.

Inglewood Unified School District

Grant Slater/KPCC

Students exit Inglewood High School as the bell rings on February 28, 2012.

Inglewood's school board met Wednesday afternoon to discuss ways to keep from running out of money, after taking steps last month to declare bankruptcy. 

An exodus of students, deferred payments from the state and funding cuts have pushed Inglewood Unified’s budget $9 million into the red. Board member Trina Williams says a small increase in student enrollment this year will generate more money from the state, and the district has been appraising unused land.

"We got about six properties, land and building included. If we sold that I think we would be alright," Williams said.

One property, she said, is Center Park next to Worthington Elementary School. Another property under consideration is a strip of land behind Morningside High School. The City of Inglewood, Williams said, is interested in buying the properties.

Inglewood Teacher's Association president Peter Somberg isn’t opposed to the idea.

"They can only sell those properties once," Somberg said. "They still don’t deal with their structural deficit."

Somberg criticized recently approved administrator contracts and pay raises. He and members of the union that represent classified workers have criticized the school board's handling of the budget deficit in recent years.

Inglewood Unified's precarious financial situation has prompted the L.A. County Office of Education to appoint an overseer to monitor district spending.

Inglewood is the only district in the Southland to make moves toward bankruptcy.

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