A table and photos of the school board on the wall

      PUSD reception area (Photo – Staff)

      Pasadena Unified School District confronts several hot topics in the New Year. This is the third in a series of articles exploring those and other PUSD topics.

      By Laura Hackett

      Three PUSD board seats are up for election in November 2020: Roy Boughourijian (District 2), Pat Cahalan (District 4), and Larry Torres (District 6).

      The seven-member Board is routinely divided 4-3. Many accuse the former Board President Larry Torres of preserving the status quo in a system that needs a shakeup. Critics of the Board’s minority say the conflict is driven by minority bloc member Kim Kenne’s differing views on the Board’s mandate. There is a difference of opinion as to whether the elected representatives should be governing the PUSD or, on the other hand, that the administration work out all the decisions and just get approval from the PUSD Board. Kim Kenne is probably the most hardworking Board member, and she has a commitment to compliance with state and federal law when it comes to spending public dollars. Pat Cahalan understands fiscal responsibility and Board responsibility for fiscal oversight. Phelps has the longest tenure, and his experience is a guiding light in many matters such as budget challenges and declining enrollment.

      I am not convinced that three new Board members are the solution to PUSD’s problems. Those who have had their schools closed blame the Board; at this point it appears that school closures were about right sizing and bringing as many programs to as many students as possible and less about a fiscal crisis now that we have positive budget certification with a 3% reserve.

      The Board and its decisions are only as good as the Executive Leadership team overseen by the Board. I have great hope for Roy Boughourijian’s opponent Mike Crowley, a retired record producer. I do not believe that a Board full of educators is the answer; there needs to be balance. Mike currently works for the Tournament of Roses in the beverage division. He has a lot of great ideas for community schools, including a Senior Center in Don Benito that would be income generating. Mike Crowley says, “If we partner with the city there is already a building fund that we could tap and the Measure J could go into the building fund for projects and the ELT and the board can’t touch it until the project is finished and there is 110 million dollars available for these purposes”. The money that the City of Pasadena would pay in rent would go into PUSD’s general fund. Dr. Pomeroy really pushed community schools with income generating potential to be a factor in keeping a school open. If you feel your school is in danger of being closed in the next round of closures, you may want to team up with Dr. Pomeroy and Mike Crowley. They may have the answers you need. This may just be the answer for all of PUSD.

      Larry Torre’s opponent Tina Fredericks has some great ideas, but she told me she has not yet had time to research all of PUSD’s issues. This is a concern to me. I feel Larry Torres has done a good job; he led an extended term through school closures and he did it with distinction.

      The more I hear from Michelle Bailey, the more I support her because there is just something real about her and she routinely advocates for meetings that include the community.

      I will tell you this…it is an exciting time for the PUSD; we either are on to something great or we are headed for a total train wreck. Only time will tell.

      Laura Hackett has a K-12 Multiple Subject California Clear Teaching Credential, a P.P.S. Credential, a M.Ed. and an M.S. in Educational Counseling. She has taught private, public, private sector as well as Home and Hospital Teaching. Laura has a second grader in Don Benito Fundamental School, in the Pasadena Unified School District. The opinions she holds are her own and not those of the Pasadena Unified School District or ColoradoBoulevard.net.

      > Read Part 1: Solar Plan.

      > Read Part 2: Property Sales.


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