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Parents line up behind criticized school

Petition started in favor of controversial location

Posted: September 30, 2008 9:40 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

Parents who support a small private school in Hasley Canyon have resurrected the issue, circulating a petition to support the school despite Los Angeles County’s move against it.

“These very few people have defined extremely narrow limits of what’s allowed in their canyon,” said Lynnea Clark, author of the petition to support a Monticello Preparatory School in a Hasley Canyon residence. “We want to tell the L.A. County Board of Supervisors that we don’t want a small group of loud citizens running roughshod over our community.”

In August, county officials approved moving the 40-student school from a Valencia strip mall to a 3,000-square-foot home in Castaic, then reneged on the agreement in September, saying the project was incorrectly approved, according to John Kunak of the Castaic Area Town Council, an advisory body to county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

The decision came after several Hasley Canyon residents voiced disapproval of the project during a Town Council meeting.

“I’m surprised by (the petition),” Kunak said, “because I have not received any communication from a Hasley Canyon resident saying they are in favor of the school.”

He said he believes a  private residence in a rural area with a narrow, two-lane roadway as the only way in and out is not appropriate for a school. “The fact is there are many Hasley Canyon residents who want Monticello there, but they’re too afraid to voice their opinion or go on record,” Clark said. “One resident was even afraid to sign the petition anonymously.”

The petitions calls those who oppose the school “anti-education” and mentions a similar situation that occurred when a group of Hasley Canyon residents successfully blocked construction of a high school in the Hasley/Sloan area.

“There is this outcry from people in Hasley Canyon who are opposed to any schools going into the canyon,” said Clark, parent of a Monticello Prep student.

“I can see that putting in a large high school would be different, but right now Monticello Prep has fewer than 40 students.”

Kunak, a member of the Castaic Union School District governing board, said he is anything but anti-education.

“I don’t think it’s an issue of whether or not children should be educated, but where a good location would be,” he said.

Clark, a resident of Stevenson Ranch, said the failure to locate a high school at Hasley/Sloan has saddled other Santa Clarita Valley residents with many of the problems that Castaic residents sought to avoid.

The petition cites severe overcrowding at Santa Clarita schools, pollution from buses and traffic problems as the result of Castaic having no high school.

“They are causing in my neighborhood the same problems they are complaining about in theirs,” said Clark. “If they hadn’t blocked that high school in 2002, they would have a high school now.”

Clark is just starting her efforts to win support for the school and hopes to eventually take the petition door to door. The petition in favor of the relocation of Monticello Prep to Hasley Canyon is available at www.ipetitions.com/petition/hasleyschool/index.html.

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