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Los Angeles Aviation Mechanics School Facing Closure

Forty-One-Year-Old Program May Fall Victim To Shrinking Budgets

The aviation mechanics school operating from a hangar at Van Nuys Airport in suburban Los Angeles is facing the threat of closure unless the Los Angeles Unified School District can find the money to keep it going.

The North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center hosts a 41-year-old program that trains aviation mechanics, along with offering GED and high school diploma classes, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. And its graduates are in demand, according to local aviation industry leaders who say aircraft mechanics are in short supply.

The president of the Van Nuys Airport Association, Curt Castagna, said a "couple hundred" of the schools graduates have found work at the airport in "good paying jobs" that "provided economic value locally and to the industry."

The paper reports that there are about 100 students enrolled in the program per semester at a cost of $2,400, a figure cited as being much lower than private technical colleges. But according to Center principal Carlynn Huddleston, rent at the hangar is $12,000 per month, and the center has already had to eliminate evening classes due to budget cuts.

Los Angeles World Airports, which operates Van Nuys, reportedly is willing to negotiate the rent with the Center, which relies on the hangar to offer classes it considers worthwhile. Without the hanger, Huddleston said, "the program would become second rate."

FMI: www.nvoc.org

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