As the economy has worsened and the state’s resources have shrunk, more students have turned to community colleges for additional job training or to help them advance their educations, Owens said.
Some high school students who may have been qualified for four-year universities are now opting for community colleges since the University of California and California State University systems reduced the numbers of incoming freshmen that they would accept out of high schools because of budget constraints, he said.
David Piazza’s home on Verdugo Road, less than a block from Wilson Middle School, was the gathering point Monday night for a mix of about 20 neighbors, parents and police and school officials to discuss what community members described as a history of traffic safety problems that has not been adequately addressed.
Residents have been concerned about traffic around Wilson for years, with a series of recent accidents deepening fears about what they say is a tragedy waiting to happen.
A 12-year-old girl was hit by a driver while walking in a crosswalk in front of the school in January, although she was not seriously hurt. Weeks later, another out-of-control driver came to a halt in the Piazzas’ front lawn.
City officials have echoed community concerns about traffic in areas around specific schools, like Glenwood Road, where Keppel Elementary School, Toll Middle School and Hoover High School are within a two-block stretch.
More than 4,000 students attend classes there every day, which frequently causes congestion and frustration from parents trying to rush to work, officials say.