Instructor David Bowerman huddles with students around a J-34 jet engine at the aviation mechanics school at North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center at Van Nuys Airport in December.

Instructor David Bowerman huddles with students around a J-34 jet engine at the aviation mechanics school at North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center at Van Nuys Airport in December. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / January 11, 2013)

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday ordered local officials to develop a detailed plan to save a popular aircraft mechanics school at Van Nuys Airport.

On a motion by Eric Garcetti, the council called on Los Angeles World Airports, the airport's operator, to find ways to preserve the North Valley Occupational Center-Aviation Center, which has trained thousands of mechanics during its 40-year history.

The school, which is run by the Los Angeles Unified School District, is located off Hayvenhurst Avenue in a hangar with adjoining classrooms and workshops. Budget problems at the district are threatening to close the school or force its relocation to smaller facilities elsewhere.

The action directs the city's airport department to consider reducing or eliminating the rent for the facility and identify additional resources the school district might need to keep the school open at Van Nuys, one of the busiest general aviation facilities in the nation. Los Angeles World Airports must report back to the council in 30 days.

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-- Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times