Middle School (non-construction) update is on Organize Sierra Madre Schools Facebook Profile. Apparently there may be no money left to pay for any construction at Sierra Madre Middle School's moonscape / demolished site.
As I am sure you know, the Organize Sierra Madre Schools Facebook page (click here) is a kind of informational clearing house for parents concerned about what is shaping up to be a PUSD Board led "bait and switch" on Measure TT funding. Funding that during the run up to the vote in November of 2008 on this $350 million bond measure was promised to Sierra Madre's public school parents to rebuild the Middle School. There are now indications that the promise will not be honored, and while property owners here will still be paying for this bond issue in the decades to come, we will see little return for our investment.
On January 7 a call went out to the membership of Organize Sierra Madre Schools to attend a PUSD Facilities Subcommittee Meeting. You can view the agenda for this meeting if you click here. Parents turned out as they always do, even at the difficult hour of 4:30 on a work day afternoon, but apparently the news they heard there was not very good. Here is how the first of three reports filed on their site reads:
Thank you to everyone who came to the Facilities Sub Committee meeting today. Here's the Update:
The bids were rejected for the Middle School because they came in over budget. Because they are a public entity, bids cannot be altered. The have to be accepted or rejected. The District is spending $50,000 to research why the bids are over budget. They expect it will take 2 more months to make changes and put the project back out for bid. Estimate is a 3-4 month delay.
This raises a question in my mind. If these bids came in over budget and there isn't enough money, why would the PUSD then spend $50,000 in Measure TT bond money to find out why the bids came in the way they did? Couldn't someone just make a phone call to the responsible parties and ask a couple of questions? How do you improve potential funding shortages by spending $50,000 to find out why there isn't enough money to meet bid requirements?
On Wednesday a second report was filed on the Organize Facebook page. The news hadn't improved.
There is more to update on the status of the Middle School project. After they spoke about the Middle School, the Facilities Sub Committee spoke in detail about the status of Measure TT. The long and short of their discussion is that Measure TT funds are running out very quickly. If the district is allowed to drag out bidding process on the middle school for another six months, there very likely won't be enough money to build a school for us.
Again, promising the people of Sierra Madre a new middle school in 2008 while asking them to vote for Measure TT, a $350 million dollar bond issue designed to accomplish just that sort of thing, only to renege later, is a classic bait and switch. Whether this was done deliberately, or the money just walked out the back door through embezzlement or theft (click here), is immaterial. The fact is we will be paying for Measure TT for decades, and all we are getting for it is the demolition of the Middle School. The promises that were made back then are being broken now.
Yesterday another this report was filed on the Organize Sierra Madre Schools site:
Calling All Middle School Families - One of the best ways to draw attention to the plight of our school (and to put pressure on the District to pay attention to our building project) is to point out the tangible problems with our current campus by filing Williams Complaints. We will help everyone file these complaints in an orderly manner. What we need is your help with the nature of what we target at the school.
Can you think of anything VERY TANGIBLE that is a problem on the facility? Yes, we know that the campus has some horrid components, but we need very clear elements that can be changed to meet the most basic needs of our students.
If you have any suggestions, post here. We will follow up with recommendations in the next few days and let you know how and where to file tangible complaints we find together!
I think it is pretty obvious where this is all going. I have one final question. Can this be why the City of Sierra Madre is being denied full voting rights on the Board of Education until 2015? A full two years after the majority of PUSD so-called subdistricts get to elect their own representatives?
If ever there was a time that the parents of PUSD attending school children needed an honest and reliable voice on the Pasadena Unified School District's Board of Education, it would be now. Which could very well be the reason why our right to equal representation has been stolen from us. I am not sure they really care to hear our voices right now.
After all, the PUSD already got what they really wanted from us, our money. After that they don't seem to care.