FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 16, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Lorena Alamillo (626) 224-0778 // firstname.lastname@example.org
County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation (LA County Parks) Partners with 560 Schools
to Provide Park Access to over 450,000 Students Across Los Angeles County
LOS ANGELES – As students, teachers and schools throughout Los Angeles County start the new school year, the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation (LA County Parks) is proud to partner with over 560 schools to provide students access to a myriad of outdoor and nature education, and recreational programming at 183 LA County Parks and several nature centers and natural areas, gardens and arboretums, trails and much more.
We are grateful to the School Board Members and School Administrators for their commitment to support student learning and experiences by partnering with LA County Parks to enter into a new School Master Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
In 2014, there was a lawsuit resulting from a tragic incident involving a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) student on a field trip at a County facility, in which LAUSD asserted that its signed permit for the field trip was unenforceable by the County and utilized statutory immunity for field trips to absolve itself completely of any responsibility. This action left LA County Parks responsible for the entire amount of liability, even though this tragic incident resulted in part from LAUSD’s negligence. This tragedy was precedent setting and had a domino effect that impacted every school and school district partnering with LA County Parks.
In order to resume and continue our partnership with schools and school districts, LA County Parks worked proactively and extensively with Los Angeles County Counsel, private Counsel and Risk Management to develop a School MOA program. This MOA program, adopted by the Board of Supervisors, addresses the precedent setting position that LAUSD placed on LA County Parks and all park departments and agencies in Los Angeles County. The MOA includes standard risk management clauses required to access public land.
LA County Parks provides a dynamic park system which entails gardens and arboretums, nature centers and natural areas, swim beaches, pools and splash pads, community centers, performance arts venues, sports fields, trails and much more. It is thrilled that over 450,000 students have access to LA County Parks.
LA County Parks has proactively reached out to all school districts and has held in person and virtual informational meetings and continues to partner with Los Angeles County Office of Education to outreach to Superintendents and school districts to engage them in the School MOA program.
“As students go back to school and teachers make plans for the school year, our message is clear, we are ready to welcome our partnering schools to our parks to provide youth with enriching outdoor, nature-based and cultural programs and access to a myriad of park amenities and facilities at LA County Parks. We anticipate and welcome expanding our partnership with School Districts and Schools, including LAUSD.” said Norma E. García-González, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation and the Los Angeles County Regional Parks and Open Space District.
School districts throughout Los Angeles County have a long history of partnership with LA County Parks, with smaller school districts being at the forefront of building these partnerships with LA County Parks. Currently, LA County Parks has several school joint use projects. Most recently LA County Parks celebrated joint uses to build aquatic centers with Whittier Union Unified School District completed in 2022 and Hacienda La Puente Unified School District currently under construction.
“The Hacienda La Puente Unified School District is proud to have a long history of partnering with LA County Parks on bringing important recreational and educational programs at parks. Our long-standing partnership includes the Hacienda Heights Community Center, Orange Grove Park and most recently, we celebrated the groundbreaking for an Aquatic Center that will bring critical aquatic programs to students and families alike,” said Dr. Alfonso Jimenez, Superintendent, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District.
To learn more about our School MOA, visit our website https://parks.lacounty.gov/schoolsmoa/.
To partner and schedule an upcoming field trip, program, and park activity, please contact our school partnership program at MOAforschools@parks.lacounty.gov.