• School board members taking a vote

      Six board members voted for staff affordable housing, Tina Fredericks was the only dissenting vote, March 28, 2024 (Photo – screengrab, KLRN)

      At the PUSD Board meeting on Thursday, March 28, the PUSD staff presented the Board with recommendation  to authorize the initiation of a staff housing project at the former Roosevelt Elementary School site.

      By News Desk

      The staff report stated that the district recognized the importance of affordable housing options to attract talented educators and staff to the district, and the report stated that such housing would encourage long-term stays, which would reduce staff turnover. Staff estimated that the first steps for the project would cost between $550,000 and $2,068,000, and indicated that there were funds available in the Measure O facilities bond proceeds.

      PUSD Employee Union Support for the Project

      At the meeting there were several people who provided public comments, including PUSD’s Teamsters Local 911 representative Michael Leon, who made comments in favor of the item. He talked about how an “overwhelming majority of my members” want to live closer to the district in which they work and that it is an “incredible opportunity for them.”

      Six Board Members Vote in Favor of the Item

      Six of the seven board members voted yes. Trustee Patrice Marshall Mackenzie spoke about the current topic of affordable housing, stating that “the lack of housing inventory is at crisis level in California. Every school district that has the ability to build housing…as affordable housing is doing so.” Trustee Patrick Cahalan said “…if we want to be serious about solving the housing problem in Pasadena we have to start building housing.” President Kimberly Kenne began by saying she was “supportive of staff housing,” but wanted to “make a choice that is financially sound.” She said she supports “paying for the housing 100 percent from the bond rather than borrowing.” Trustee Jennifer Hall Lee said she supported the item “wholeheartedly.” She ended her comments saying she was feeling “excited to be providing solutions to our very difficult pressing problems.” Trustee Michelle Richardson Bailey said “Any housing that we provide to families…babies and children have to go to school” and “it increases our ADA, our enrollment.” She added “It’s for families, it’s for PUSD.” Trustee Yarma Velazquez was in support and said of the staff housing “I think that we will be able to use that space for recruitment and retention.”

      One Board Member Voted Against the Item

      Trustee Tina Fredericks addressed the people in the audience who had publicly commented about housing. “It makes sense, I don’t think anybody’s disputing that.” She added “Housing activists, I get you, I totally get you but you don’t see the big picture because you see the housing slice of things.” Fredericks voted no.

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      1. Veronica Yepez says:

        Teacher from Pasadena here…born, raised, and a product of PUSD, I had to make the difficult decision to move out and now commute 3 hours daily for work. Housing is NOT affordable for educators in Pasadena. Doing “very well” is not enough to live in there. I’ve taught for 20 years (for salary reference) and still needed to look outside of the area for affordable housing. Those who do live in Pasadena rent or depend on a second comfortable income to make that possible. We need to do something to help educators stay close to work and be part of the community they serve.

      2. Jesus M. says:

        This will be great for employees such as the maintenance and operations employees such as custodians represented by the Teamsters guy who spoke at the meeting who make far less than what is needed to afford to buy a house. The median price of a home in Pasadena is now over $900,000. The monthly mortgage for that, about $4000 – $5,000, is more than the take home pay for these employees. And the PUSD teachers and even administrators that I know have to live in Monrovia or even further east in order to afford a home. Most PUSD teachers have a take home pay of about $7,000 – $8,000. That means a mortgage of $4000 – $5000 isn’t affordable for them as well.

      3. Mark DeFazio says:

        This will no doubt get many negative replies, but teachers do very well in Pasadena. Even administrative assistants mostly make over $80k a year. Why do they need staff housing assistance?

        • JG says:

          This is such a great proposal! As a teacher of PUSD for 18 years, and a native of Pasadena/Altadena, many of us have been forced to move and make the 30min-1hour commute to be able to afford housing. Every year, I lose talented colleagues to districts closer to their homes because the drive and housing prices are ridiculous. Many of us currently at PUSD would jump on this opportunity. Hands down! 👏🏼

        • JG says:

          Hey Mark, you must not be a PUSD employee as many of us have recommended our closed schools be used for teacher housing! This has been years of talk and we are ALL on board with this! Would u prefer our school continue to be leased out to Charters?

        • Supporter of Classified Employees says:

          Not a negative reply. Just some factual information. There are plenty of other employees at PUSD. They are the classified employees. They do not make $80k a year. Many of them have second jobs just to make ends meet. All do respect to the Teachers, but a School District could not function without classified employees. They are the ones who feed the children, clean the classrooms, provide information to the parents and maintain the facilities just to mention a few. This would be a great benefit for these loyal employees that come to work everyday to take care of your children.

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