Parents hold protest against planned closure of Inglewood's Warren Lane Elementary School

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- The parents and grandparents of children who attend and attended Warren Lane Elementary school in Inglewood are fighting mad over the school's pending closure.

Located in a working-class neighborhood, the school, which used to be named Daniel Freeman, is one that generations of parents walked their kids to.

As new residents move in, they want to keep it open for their children.

"All of these people live right here," said Taj Powell, a parent who lives nearby. "This school is literally a block away from my house. So it's also important to give this school a chance."

"The community is not going to stand for it. We're just simply not going to stand for it," said parent Cheryl Matthews. "We need to make sure that at every level people are made aware, and not just in our city. It's happening in other cities in California."

Because of financial troubles, the Inglewood Unified School District has been in receivership and run by the state for 10 years. Bond measures have passed to help out. The district reportedly says lower enrollment is why the school is being closed.

Warren Lane was adopted by the Los Angeles Rams; former quarterback Jared Goff helped raise funds to improve the library.

Parent Tina McKinnor told Eyewitness News: "It is important that this community has great public schools for the kids to go to. If we start closing down schools, where do the kids need to go?"

Parents who attended Friday's protest said they knew that since the district is in receivership, they have one option left to reverse the districts decision: to go straight to Sacramento and convince the state superintendent to keep the elementary school open.

In response to ABC7's request for comment, L.A. County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo and County Administrator Erika F. Torres released a statement:

"We certainly understand and empathize with how difficult school closures can be for community members. As enrollments decline and we have fewer children in our schools, we have to allocate our resources so they can serve the greatest number of children in the most impactful ways possible. Our resources are based on the number of kids we serve, and when we have fewer children enrolled in school, we have fewer resources. We want to maximize the opportunities we provide for every child.

"Inglewood Unified is not alone in needing to face challenging school closures. Districts across California are facing difficult decisions to close schools as the state experiences lower birth rates and a shifting population. In 2020, the Public Policy Institute of California projected a 7% decrease in enrollment in the next 10 years. The pandemic has only exacerbated the loss in enrollment for schools.

"Inglewood Unified has already gone from 12,119 students in 2013, to 7,627 in 2022. It is projected to further decline to 6,781 students by the 2024 school year. School closures and consolidations are extremely difficult decisions, but it is important to remember that the goal is to support every child in Inglewood Unified."
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