The upcoming Feb 1st Special Board Meeting agenda includes board ratification of the termination of the SafeworksCM contract. The district’s transition plan will be presented to the Board of Education. The district states that termination will result in substantial savings. Those savings are to be used toward planned projects. Opponents will claim the termination will result in delays and losses. In reality, our school construction projects could be moved UP if the board would accept staff’s recommendations, and the district would save money. Read on.
By Lisa Kroese
PUSD values state, “We maintain the public trust by providing high quality services and by using our resources prudently, efficiently and equitably. Preserving the longer term financial viability of the district is always a key factor in our decisions.”
Back in October 15, 2020, to persuade constituents to pass Measure O, then Board President, Pat Cahalan published this: “Each issuance of bonds requires board approval, and the conversations around those bond issuances include board members weighing factors such as the current interest rate, the impact on the taxpayer, the current projects in the construction pipeline, and numerous other factors. …there is the matter that regardless of the declining number of students, the students that we have deserve safe, clean, well-maintained facilities that are appropriate for their educational needs.”
Trustees should live up to their promises
Trustees should live up to their promises to serve all students equitably, honorably, and responsibly. The Community Oversight Committee Meeting Minutes of Nov 17, 2021 state “Ms. [Kim] Kenne does not want to spend money on sites that in 5-10 years will not be needed.”
How can she know which schools may be needed in a decade? What if parents leave private schools and come to PUSD for our magnet, language, and art programs, or for the integrated learning environment at schools like Don Benito Elementary? As housing prices rise, do we really project that half the parents in Pasadena will keep spending on private school tuition when their kids can learn Mandarin, French, Spanish, or Armenian at public schools?
Forcing neglect on certain schools is an unethical (and potentially illegal) method of targeting school closures. Such tactics directly violate CA Attorney General’s Guidelines on School Closures.
The district was advised by SafeworksCM to “prioritize” spending the bulk of the funding on a selected set of 3 schools: Longfellow, Madison, and Muir. Families who have seen projects delayed under Measure TT are told that our students are yet again not a priority.
Trustees should be trustworthy
Trustees should be trustworthy. To achieve the best student outcomes, we must minimize disruptions to a child’s educational environment. Trustees must recognize the impact of stability and pride on academic success. Measure O priorities should be repairing and updating utilities, compliance with ADA, Fire safety mandates, and eliminating facility disparity so that EVERY student can be both safe and proud when they are at school.
Going forward now with projects that were developed but dropped after Measure TT funds ran out would deliver results faster than waiting for new plans and approvals. It is fiscally responsible and the right thing for students.
Lisa Kroese is a PUSD parent, she serves on the Don Benito PTA, and PUSD PTA Council. Prior to relocation to the west coast, she worked in the Pennsylvania State Senate as Operations Director covering education for State Senator Andrew Dinniman, and as Congresswoman Gillibrand’s District Director. She is a Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors PUSD Certified Real Estate Agent.
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