In an Examiner.com article called Altadena petitioners seek to establish new unified school district, reporter Laura Berthold Monteros breaks it down this way:
Much of Pasadena was carved out of Altadena, its unincorporated neighbor to the north. Now some Altadenans are trying to carve a new school district out of the Pasadena Unified School District, which encompasses Altadena, Sierra Madre, and Pasadena.
Altadenans for Quality Education, a group of local citizens from across the community, are seeking to petition the Los Angeles County Office of Education to do a feasibility study on forming Altadena Unified School District. The feasibility study is the first step toward establishing a separate school district. Such a move would follow the pattern of other cities, such as La Canada, Temple City, and Monrovia, which broke away from the PUSD in the past.
If you go to the Altadenans for Quality Education website you can see that they are at 99% of their goal of getting 7,000 signatures. And should the entire process go through and Altadena achieve its goal of breaking away from the PUSD and going it alone, Sierra Madre would then be the last city in the Pasadena Unified School District that isn't Pasadena. The article continues:
Like many parents who had the means, Dr. Herb Meisleman, an AUSD supporter, sent his children to private schools after trying out the public schools. He would like to see a smaller, locally-run district that he believes would be more responsive to Altadenans, "so people don't do what I had to do - send my kids to private school."
It has always been my contention that be it schools, or police, or any other taxpayer funded situation, in the end we are paying for a service. And we owe it to the community to make sure that the services we are purchasing with our taxpayer dollars are the very best available. It never hurts to look around once in a while and see what else is out there. Otherwise you could end up in an unfortunate situation, like being the last stepchild in a school district that everyone else has left.
In another article on the Examiner.com site, Pasadena Unified School District pushes parcel tax, budget cuts, their reporter details some of the developments:
With fewer students - a loss of more than 3,000 since 2004 - the Pasadena Unified School District is facing declining income along with declining enrollment. A projected budget deficit of $20 million has resulted in proposed cuts to match. Cuts include faculty, staff, libraries, and athletics.
The PUSD, which includes Pasadena, Altadena, and Sierra Madre, is pushing to get funding from tried-and-true sources, such as a parcel tax on the 70,000 parcels in the district and property leases. It has also come up with less traditional sources, such as charging a fee for home-to-school transportation for regular education students, and a "gift" catalog provided by Pasadena Educational Foundation, which provides grants to the district.
In the eyes of many parents and community residents, however, the financial and enrollment problems of the PUSD are attributable to decades of mismanagement and inflated administration at the district level. One parent commented that though her children had many excellent instructors and were accepted into universities on graduation, she always felt a frustration with the district administration.
"They would leave incompetent principals in charge and play switcheroo with competent ones," she said, "and they always seemed to blame the parents or teachers for problems on campus. It doesn't matter who you elect to the school board, they all come around to the same way of thinking."
So let me get this straight, we get hit with a new parcel tax, and in exchange the PUSD cuts faculty, staff, libraries, and athletics? Like I said, we need to make sure our money is being used to obtain the best possible services available. And paying more for even less than we're getting now should not be something we would easily accept.