Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tony Brandenburg: The Ongoing Battle for a Middle School in Sierra Madre

The previous Middle School in its later stage
Pre-amp
There has been a great deal of conversation and activity regarding the commencement of the Sierra Madre Upper Campus over on the Organize Sierra Madre Schools Facebook page. Well, about as much activity as there can be on a page with 175 or so members, two of whom are the Brandenburgs. It’s one of the few places with the name Sierra Madre in it that actually claims to like us. The other being here.

You may recall this post from the Sierra Madre Tattler on June 4 (click here):

Ok Tattlers. You must, MUST attend the Tuesday, June 11 PUSD board meeting to advocate for the middle school to be approved and construction started. we have some new folks on the board, Hampton! Who do not understand the history of this school and the board policies around it. In the sub-committee meeting today Hampton did not want to approve the school. we must get this passed next Tuesday so construction can begin July 5. if it gets rescoped again, that means another 18 - 24 month delay.

It was a busy day June 4 because there was a Facilities Subcommittee meeting the same day, information from which showed up on Facebook by June 5th. Organize Sierra Madre Schools, a mysterious organism speaking on your behalf as well as promoting posts and sharing information from some of my favorite groups such as Peter Dreier’s IiPK, wrote:

Yesterday, the Facilities Sub-Committee met and heard the bids for the Middle School project. Despite Frazer Thompson's promise that he would get a bid in the $26M to $27M range, only one bid came in in that range. The lowest bid came in at $27.888M and was brought to the FSC for approval.

At the meeting yesterday, new Board Member Tyrone Hampton DID NOT approve the bid. Tom Selinske did approve. It is our understanding that currently the committee has only two members. So this will go to the Board without full support of the FSC. We absolutely need Board support of 4 Board Members or this project will be dead again.

The biggest and most important decision for the Sierra Madre construction project - GETTING BOARD APPROVAL for the $27.888M bid so that construction can begin - will be happening right after school gets out. Because this has happened multiple times to SMMS, this timing is no accident. The District is hoping to minimize parent involvement by strategically placing the vote at times when school is not in session. WE MUST STAY COMMITTED TO GETTING THIS PASSED!

Mary posted that I would be speaking to Tyron Hampton about his decision, and, of course, after a little bit of phone tag, I did talk to him on my way to Casa Bianca (click here). In between trips to my car to find someone’s cell phone, I got some information from Tyron on his position. Tyron’s assumption, and it probably is a legitimate one, is that the building reality will come in at $3 million to 7 million over budget due to unforeseen costs that are the nature of this type of bid.

His belief is that the budget will come up short mid construction because of value added (?) changes that I understand to be discrepancies between the original project and bids, the changes- materials I assume- that are not actually part of the original architect's design. I'm sorry, I didn't really understand it. I get the feeling he wants to make sure the community gets what it asked for, and not a rush job that ends up costing more and is done with less care.

I explained to him that I personally didn’t care if it got built either way, and that I thought the parcel would be better used as an apartment or a farm, but that many people in the community cared about it a great deal. I explained that the project is a sore spot due to snap decisions on demolition, and a history of Sierra Madre being bumped down to the bottom of the “to do” list.

I shared that we all had to listen to Renatta Cooper say I’m sorry” about fifty times for the snap decision to tear down the original structure without making sure the plans had even been approved.

I suggested that making progress in the construction of the school would make people feel that progress was occurring, and the biggest concern that I hear is that of the actual structure. I made it clear to Tyron that this is something that needs to be started, especially the actual school, and that the pretty flowers and field and peripherals could get done as the budget allows. most importantly, to all concerned, the project needs to start.

The part where I shared my personal opinions - such as to frame it, and never finish it - I kept to myself. I’m so diplomatic. A regular old Henry Kissinger, I am. I also told him it would be a drag to see him become the fall guy on this mess since he simply inherited it, so I asked him to send over a letter of explanation, but that didn’t happen. The litmus test for Tyron will be the vote on Tuesday.

A Letter from Some Pasadena Guy With a Kid in Sierra Madre
From: Erik Brandon  Date: June 5, 2013, 9:49:33 PM PDT
To: Elizabeth Pomeroy, Scott Phelps, Tom Selinske, Renatta Cooper, Mikala Rahn
Cc: Chris Koerber, John Capoccia, Andrea Mulholland, Alisa Fishbach, Stapenhorst,  Dany Richey, Julie Flad, Leigh Gluck, Genevieve Miller, Gwen Robertson, Plauto Leary

Subject: Sierra Madre Middle School

Dear Pasadena Unified School Board Members,

I was saddened to hear that a vote to reject the current Sierra Madre Middle School bids was cast at the recent PUSD Facilities Subcommittee meeting, particularly when they are so close (within 3%) of the original estimate.

Since this vote came from a new board member who lacks a depth of understanding/experience on this particular issue, the Sierra Madre community is counting on your strong support (based on your previous expressed support on this topic) to ensure these bids are accepted on June 11.

Simply put, further delays are not an option. I have met with several of you and spoke at numerous meetings. We have discussed this topic for years, the board has apologized for its mistakes, and now it is time to move forward and approve the bids. Ground Breaking is set for July 5, 2013, and nothing must derail this schedule.

I will continue to work with Senator Liu, the Sierra Madre City Council, and other related local and state agencies, to determine any and all actions we as a community can take to ensure the correct decision is made here. We appreciate your unwavering commitment going into this crucial vote.
Best regards,
Erik Brandon
Sierra Madre School Parent and Pasadena Resident

Feedback
I let the Organize Sierra Madre Schools folks know I thought this was a silly way to approach the Board since, as far as I can tell, there is a great deal of support for the project.

Tell Erik and anyone else that emails dropping Liu's name aren't going to make anyone move faster. In fact, probably counter-productive to come across as a heavy, especially with people who have already committed to the project. You know me, and I know you, and this isn't my battle. Best to keep it positive so the supporters that the community has aren't isolated.

Believe me, I know what I am talking about on this one.

Which Way Will the Wind Blow?
Approval on this project continuing requires a majority of 4, and there will be 6 members in attendance. I have talked to enough of the board members and attended enough meetings to believe this will go through as scheduled. Renatta Cooper - surprise, surprise - will not be in attendance. Nothing like promising Sierra Madre the school will be built, then making oneself Board of Ed president, and then ditching Sierra Madre when the vote comes in. Good thing vice president Tyron Hampton will be presiding. Hey, welcome to the big time.

Public comment begins at 6:30 on Tuesday, June 11 at the PUSD Board room. If you want to speak, fill out the yellow card, and turn it in. Probably want to get there about 6:15. The Item is L and will no doubt be up around 7-ish, I am guessing (click here). I am predicting this will go through without a hitch, but it is not a bad idea to go down there and show you care. I can’t as I have a prior commitment (click here).

On an aside, I would suggest that families with children who have asthma that might be affected start planning the next couple of years either way.

Organize Sierra Madre Schools Gets the Last Word
Tony, we don't doubt the Measure TT budget will come up short and some projects won't get finished. The District has been spending enormous amounts - approximately 60% last year - on consultants and personnel. Their spending strategy has been to keep their facilities employees funded through TT funds to free up other funds. They are also incentivized to slow projects down as those employees will be out of jobs once the projects are finished. At this point, we cannot be worried about the other projects. SM has no school and the District needs to honor their commitment and build it, no matter what the cost.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

117 comments:

  1. tb, thanks for that explanation from Tyrone Hampton. It increased his worth in my estimation - a well thought out reason for his actions, not a shoot from the hip pandering to the obstructionists on the BOE. You are a feisty duck! Thanks for all you do.

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  2. Tony, where do you get all your info? Do you have a hotline to the PUSD?

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    1. Yes, I'm curious too. He seems to have a lot of insider info.

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    2. For starters the Brandenburgs go to meeting. They listen. They read. They file PRAs. And, they have cotacts. Parents and other interested parties who are reluctant to have their names out there are willing to share info with tb and Mary knowing that it will be put to good use. The B's are willing to invest their time and energy into delving into the issue of education in the PUSD, but especially in Sierra Madre. We should all be so involved - in any issue!

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    3. thanks 9:24, that is it. we go out and we ask lots of questions. we talk to staff, and we talk to board members past and present and try to understand how things work. it's complicated. we read board policies and we ask more questions and we ask for clarificaton and we ask that they look at items of concern that should change, or at least be examined. it's not so much insider information as it is information that is already there, it just has dust on it or it is covered by brush.

      there are anon posts here and from organize sierra madre schools that have much more understanding than we do. we are just a couple of flashlights.

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  3. TB: How can you be so flippant about the building of the middle school? Why don't you care whether it's built or not? This should matter to all parents of school aged children!

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    1. the last time we cared about sierra madre middle school and put effort into it, people began organizing and having meetings and we were calling OSHA and building departments and Frazier (who flat out suggested we move our middle aged student out because of our concerns about his health) but then we were cut out of the discussion by the parents- and that was because the parents and staff at the lower campus were busy with a petition to throw my youngest child out of school.

      we weren't good enough to be part of the club, and our child wasn't good enough for people to help us- obviously our family was in crisis- instead of ganging up on us. there are still people that follow our child around on campus wanting for him to slip so they can pounce and yell, "we told you so!"

      so, what was your question again?

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    2. Why didn't you go to the City Council and ask them to help you?

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    3. I'm not Tony, but let me take a shot at the City Council's response: "Sierra Madre has no jurisdiction over PUSD. You'll need to go the BOE. Next item, please."

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    4. because we didn't know it was happening until we pulled him, actually we talked to the mayor. when he found that are foul problem was not a fowl problem, well, there wasn't much left to do or say. as for the rest, we tried to do it in house with the pusd and the office of civil rights and a couple of cities' council meetings and lots og politicos and government offices. that's where we learned that beauracracy is the glue that holds this great country together, not philosophy.....

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    5. Nice shot 8:16, not far off. Moran did call us, but said there wasn't anything he could do.

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    6. Very similar to the City Council's response on the Matheson mess. Go talk to the Police. Who, of course, would tell you that they can't do anything.

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    7. Actually, part of the reason we are this close to a school is because a couple of council members held the PUSD board members feet to the fire at the joint PUSD/City Council meeting earlier this year. One of the results of that meeting was the resolution from the board to build the school ASAP. So, there are a couple of advocates for the parents and students on the council. Guess which ones.

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    8. Umm, let me see. Not Johnny Process. He isn't in to anything that isn't about him. I'm not too sure I've heard Josh Moran say much about it either. Nancy Walsh? No, not her. Chris Koerber and John Capoccia, right?

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    9. Winner,winner,winner!

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    10. Johnny Process is only into helping organizations that can boost his political career. An example would be his love offering to the POA on Tuesday night's City Council agenda. Item #7. So oily you could power a Mercedes with it.

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  4. School districts should return to being under the control of the respective cities they are located in, so much corruption and greed and waste is held with in those respective school districts.

    Tax and bond holders money is wasted and thrown out the window NO student or teacher receives the full measure of the promised results for those extra taxes or bonds.

    Those promised results NEVER happen in time for those students affected during the BIG poster child campaigns, five years or longer is the normal lag time.

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  5. newly elected Hampton is striving to be the white Knight who save the PUSD by slashing spending on everything. The problem is, he is I'll informed so the history and details of several projects. Sierra Madre Middle school being one of them. The first bid for the school was 31 million which was rightly rejected by the PUSD. tehy tweaked some of the specs, like going to metal from wood for some of the design elements, and have a decent bid of 27,888. Hampton is concerned about the overrun charges that are estimated to be around 3.5 million (which in the facilities meeting, he kept stating as 305 million). these funds, if needed, will come from a contingency fund that has about 8 plus million in it.
    One has to wonder if Hampton has ever visited the SM middle school campus or seen photos of it. Is he also aware that SMMS
    has the highest API scores of the middle school in the district? Is Sierra Madre being punished for its success? Is he aware that the board passes a resolution last Februaty to build this school without any further delay?
    It appears we may have the votes (what a blessing that Sierra Madreans, Mikala Rahn will be sworn in at 4pm on the 11th and thus should be able to vote on this matter.). However, Tony is right. Sierra Madre residents need to show up in force to advocate for their school. the Board needs to know that the parents in Siera Madre can't be pushed around and shoved to the side to suit someone's political grandstanding. We must hold the PUSD board accountable to their promise.

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    1. tyron, jr. and his family are from construction backgrounds, i believe he is sincere in his belief and concerns- very republican of him. but he is new, and he is tryng to get his head around alot of issues all at once. he is bound to make a mistake or twenty along the way.i hope he re-revaluates his prior decision, but continues to keep a watchful eye that tthe community isn't taken advantage of.

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    2. 7:24, do you realize how elitist that comes off? That the Board of Education is "punishing" Sierra Madre because they have the highest API?

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    3. So why do you think the PUSD has crapped on Sierra Madre as much as it has, 8:12?

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    4. Maybe the SM parents should organize and start protecting the children who are being bullied by staff and other students at the middle school.

      Is that teacher still there setting the tone for the campus by blowing her whistle in class and shouting racist statements at students?

      The school will be built, but at what cost to the students?

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    5. 8:17, the Board is run by Cooper who can't stand Sierra Madre school. She'll do as little as possible to support the school.

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    6. most of the schools i have gone to are in construction limbo of some sort- marshall, SMU, willard, wilson...... so it's more likely a snafu than intentional

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    7. With Mikala Rahn on the Board, we in Sierra Madre have a direct link to the PUSD.

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    8. Is that horrible teacher still at the middle school? I thought she was fired! Should have been a long time ago.

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    10. I'd say the Brandenburgs got the attention of the board regarding Sierra Madre, and now with Mikala there's no stopping us!

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    11. Who would have ever thought that a result of the PUSD redistricting nazis stealing our vote would be we'd end up with the first Sierra Madre on the Board of Ed in years? Our karma is high right now. Let's go get ourselves a Middle School!

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    12. And with Mikala being the incumbant, she's a shoe in for 2015.

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    13. Not to rain on your collective parade, but has everyone forgotten that our new Board member does direct business with PUSD?

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    14. Not to rain on yours, but are you aware you are peddling old news? Her previous business relationship has been dissolved, and on anything having to do with it she will recuse herself.

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    15. I haven't forgotten 9:21, and I'll be keeping an eye on things as much as I can. The conflict of interest is very real and I'm waiting to see what she does to minimize it. She made a couple promises.

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    16. Talking to yourself, I see.

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    17. All nice promises 9:23, will this dissolution be made a public record? Until then, it's all just words.

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    18. Looks like we have an ACT visitation this morning. You can tell because the truth has absolutely nothing to do with it.

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  6. Spread the word Tattlers! Share today's Tattler with all your email contacts so we can gather up the forces to join us at Tuesday's meeting. It sounds like things could go either way, and our show of solidarity could make a difference. We need lots of people filling out yellow cards. Let's do it!

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  7. the school year is coming to a close, but most of you have not yet left for vacation. so, take a couple of hours next Tuesday and go advocate for your child's future. It' important.

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    1. absolutely, if you can. it will take a committment of just a couple of hours.

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    2. Let's all wear our Sierra Madre shirts so we really stand out.

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    3. Tie dye or green?

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    4. You do your thing, I'll do mine. Together we'll be beautiful.

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    5. I advocated for my kids education by sending them to the best private schools in the area. It paid off.
      Kids went to top universities and now have great jobs.

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    6. That's why the enrollment is low in Sierra Madre. Too many parents send their kids private. Not that I have an issue with that. There's also some parents that can't afford private schools, so they're stuck with public.

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    7. If all the private kids showed up the first day of school the schools couldn't accommodate them. Even with advanced notice.

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  8. The one thing everyone should have learned by now. If you don't fight for things around here, local government agencies will walk all over you. Don't be a doormat, fight for your rights!

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  9. I don't have the capabilities, but it would be nice if someone could bring large color photos of the middle school to show to the board members at Tuesday's meeting.

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    1. That's a great idea 8:07! And maybe have the middle school students holding the posters. The statement on the poster could say "Where's our school?"

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    2. Or "Why did you do this to us?"

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    3. Or...."Give me a gas mask please"

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    4. or where's waldo?

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    5. Seriously, the Board perks up out of their stupor when students speak.

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    6. Or...."How can we be a 'Bravo' school without the building?"

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    7. How about....we'll hold our breaths until it's built?

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    8. or, how about "PUSD, lend us some hardhats please"

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    9. your voice only counts if you have one of the 6 votes. take your kids for a bike ride or play a game with them instead. better use of your time

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  10. thank you john for running this, and to gretchen, the koerbers, mj and her constant barrage of emails and questions, and organize sierra madre schools for keeping it out there. like many things, it will only grow if we pay attention to it and help it over the bumps

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    1. now if you'll please excuse me, i have to go on a donut run

      http://www.thedonutmanca.com/photo-menu/fresh-strawberry-donut/

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    2. Alright TB, I just looked at your link. Why don't you bring a box of those for all of us? Yum!

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    3. Share, man.

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    4. Today is national donut day!

      http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/breakingnews/ci_23412942/its-national-donut-day-you-can-diet-tomorrow

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  11. Now please don't anyone dogpile on me, but I honestly wonder why so much money is being spent on a school with such a small student population. There's no other middle school in PUSD with so few students. Why not sell the land?

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    1. It is not just Sierra Madre students. Many come from other jurisdictions and are very happy to do so. Are you saying a regional school cannot be located in Sierra Madre? As it always has been in the past?

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    2. What I'm saying is that there's a student body of how many? Even with students coming from elsewhere. How easily it's forgotten that for years there was no middle school. Can anyone say Maranatha?

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    3. Yes, who would want to have a nice new school in Sierra Madre? One that everyone would be proud to send their children to? That would be just awful.

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    4. there was a middle school - it just was't in Sierra Madre Maranatha was a private school rented out for 20+ years there was a campus with a school building - now there is a campus with huts

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    5. Come on 9:32, what's with the entitlement? There's little money right now for all public schools. Everyone has to tighten the belts. Why the multimillion dollar school for 300 students? Because of the API?
      There's enough land at the lower campus to have made it a K-8. Really think about it rather than getting indignant.

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    6. Explain 9:34. Where was the middle school in Sierra Madre prior to Maranatha being evicted?

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    7. You're just a hater, 9:37. Looking for a stupid fight.

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    8. Why would 9:37 want to deny children from disadvantaged areas of Pasadena and Altadena the right to attend a nice new school in such a beautiful setting? Is it racism?

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    9. Those MacMansiions with their 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths and the 20 condos per acre are going to generate an increase in the elementary school enrollment, 9:37 am. The lower campus won't accomodate an additional 300 middle school students AND an increasing elementary population.

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    10. It's not racism. There was a shout out to gather up all the Sierra Madre local kids when the possibility that students from lower API schools could fill those 30 empty spaces in the Kindergarten. That looks racist if you ask me.

      There's no increasing elementary population. That's why there is the very real possibility that teachers will be let go. There's not enough students. We need to work with what's real and what's feasible. 9:37 made a point that some refuse to consider. It's only a single vote that can cause the construction to be delayed again.

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    11. 9:39 There wasn't ever a middle school in Sierra Madre. The kids went to Wilson and we did just fine.


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    12. The reason the PUSD is losing students is because it isn't competing well with private schools. By building a beautiful new school in such a great Sierra Madre setting the PUSD will have created a reason for people to consider attending a public school. It is smart business and good for the kids. Which obviously you could care less about, 9:53.

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    13. The money is going to get spent. It is bond money that has to be spent on schools. I would prefer that it be spent here.

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    14. Muir Ranch is smart business, and is teaching students a life skill. They're growing produce and using the land in a beneficial way to the environment.

      Muir Ranch East would be smart, good business and a great use of the land. What a great way to produce our own fresh fruit and veggies to sell at the Wednesday street market, and give right back to our school!

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    15. You want to teach our kids how to be itinerant farm labor?

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    16. Muir Ranch East

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    17. Now how is that itinerant farm labor? To have children who live in our community work the land? Has anyone seen what the Muir Ranch program looks like? The teachers already use the native garden as a wonderful hands on experience.

      I think I'm going to write up a proposal to the Board and see what they think about 10:52's idea. I love it!

      And a K-8 at the lower campus would open up so many possibilities for all the students. It's a win win situation!

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    18. I believe most parents would prefer to have their kids learning math, science and computer skills over growing cabbage for the farmers market as you first proposed, Mr. Green Jeans. But please, do take your ideas to the Board of Ed. They are in dire need of comedy in that place.

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    19. Or at least a cup of coffee for the sleepy heads

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  12. A new Middle School would be a great addition to our community. Something the real estate speculators on this thread would hate for you to consider. Community first.

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    1. Yes, real estate speculators is right. They want that Middle School land, and will say or do anything to get it.

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    2. Where's Our Market?!!!June 8, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      All I know is that I hate having to drive all the way to Duarte to go to Food-4-Less

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    3. The forces of greed are at work to undermine our Middle School. They have to be stopped.

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    4. You all may joke, but the middle school is on prime land. It's worth a bundle in land value alone. PUSD have been working with the city of Pasadena to form joint use facilities. They may have been stalling to see what other options pop up.

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    5. You know 12:01, I've heard the same scenario, but I though it was just rumors.

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  13. I know the admission processJune 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    9:58 You are right, but where do the kids go to high school? Most high schools have an unwritten policy of taking new 9th graders from their feeder private school. They know that the parent's are committed to their kids education and have supported private education. The Catholic schools prefer to take kids from Catholic schools since the parents have supported the feeder schools. That is not to say that some public school kids are able to get in the good private schools, but it is only the brightest.

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    1. Um, I guess i know more than you do, "I Know." The Catholic high schools will take the kids who can afford their tuitions. The cause is far more economic and less where you went to elementary school. Try stepping out into the real world.

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    2. My friends spent in excess of $100K educating their daughter through 8th grade at a very good private school. 9th Grade she went to a Catholic 9-12 school in Pasadena. 10, 11, and 12 the money dried up and she attended PHS. She's now at PCC. Nice enough young woman. Works part time in retail to help with expenses.

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    3. We all take our chances, I suppose.. To think, they could have sent her to Bully Elementary and the Dirt Lot Middle School, and that 100k could have been put toward a Cal State

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    4. Catholic High Schools do not discriminate based on race, creed or previous educational background. But if you don't have the dough? Buh bye!

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    5. 11:13, Catholic High Schools have entrance exams in order to weed out.

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    6. They also have financial paperwork. In order to weed out.

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    7. All have more applicants than spaces. All things equal they will accept a private kid over public.

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    8. Right. Because the private school kid has established a record of being able to pay their high prices.

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    9. Catholic schools offer spaces to Catholic students first. They offer scholarships for those who are unable to pay full tuition. They then offer spaces to non-catholic students. BTW, don't try to get into St. Rita school if you are not a parishoner. There's no room.

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    10. Catholic high schools are big business. It is all about money now.

      What is the problem here? When the nuns cracked you a good one with a ruler they laid it on your head?

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  14. If a decent middle school is built in Sierra Madre, the kids from PUSD would fill it up quickly, after the Sierra Madre kids are accommodated. That's a win-win for the PUSD, too, because it creates a better school for the district in an area that they're required to serve.

    School construction budgets are notoriously difficult because the construction sub-contractors are all from the same corrupt network that knows how to "play" the district administration and the CM's and inspectors that PUSD must hire via Sacramento and the State Architect's office. It's just a big game with all the usual suspects, no free market forces. TONS of consultants and project managers bleeding the system, including these "non-profit" education providers.

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    1. If they'd reinstate bussing, it would be a lot easier to gain more students. Sierra Madre is so far removed and with gas so high, it can be a hardship for many families to transport.

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    2. Nonsense. Where do you people come up with this crap? Parents in the other two cities in the PUSD move heaven and earth to get their kids in the two higher achieving Sierra Madre schools.

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    3. 2:35....maybe you don't get out of Sierra Madre much, but it's not about moving heaven and earth in order to get their kids into Sierra Madre schools. It's about the economy and whether it's affordable to go to the other side of the PUSD.

      Sierra Madre has 30 or so openings next year. The families from the schools who can transfer because of low API could have the incentive of the high API schools, plus bussing to alleviate the hardship of daily transport, they'd have the incentive to fill the open slots. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

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    4. And who's going to foot the bill for bussing 4:22? That's why there's neighborhood schools, so kids can walk to their school.

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    5. You should call the PUSD and ask them since the buses already exist and we are paying for them.

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  15. Isn't the Mandarin Immersion Program going to be offered at the Middle School?

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    1. It already is, and has been for a while now.

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    2. I'm sure the students enrolling in the Mandarin Immersion program are breaking down the door to get in.....if there was door.

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    3. Are you going to publish the last post or delete it as you have my other posts today?

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    4. Sorry, but the whole race bashing thing doesn't work here.

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  16. I am still totally confused as to why they took the Sierra Madre Middle School down in the first place. It was the newest school campus in the PUSD and an excellent example of Mid Century Modern school design, the most humanely designed schools ever. True as per usual the PUSD failed to do appropriate and minimal maintenance, but they did this on EVERY school and spent kizillions repairing and retrofitting schools designed as 19th Century Factories or Prisons.

    Then after that stupid move they cant seem to make progress on a poorly designed replacement being built. Yeah if I were Renatta Cooper I'd be begging forgiveness too. But Tyrone is correct, these things especially the way the PUSD does business almost always go 20% over budget.....So they should know that going in and plan for it and also have a hard as nails construction manager.....More systemic failure.

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    1. This won't be the most well-receiving audience for this comment, but I would argue the system functioned exactly as intended.
      SM gets what it wants. That's not a criticism, just a statement of fact on how power works in our society. It would not have been possible for a significant portion of the bond money not to have been doesn't here. In fact, it may not even have passed in the first place without such an understanding.
      When budgets started running short, there was probably a real danger that the argument you make about necessity would have had to be had. It probably would have been lost given that we still have a large number of kids across the district attending school in temporary structures, some of which have been there for over 30 years (temporary my rear). The best way to guarantee that the project moved forward was to make it necessary by tearing down the school.

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    2. thanks for dropping in steve. at the end, the building was attacking the kids. one fell through the floor, a window shattered, the ceiling was falling on them, etc. all maintenance stuff that should and could have been fixed and wasn't. no window should have shattered because, at the very least, it should have been sealed with a cover that would have prevevnted it.

      but i think you've hit on a larger problem, or three.

      when these buildings aren't used for public school students, they fall off the map. their safety is no longer guaranteed- and interestingly- they are rented to the private enterprises that some folks consider so superior. I am at a loss why a school hit by an earthquake can be too damaged to house a public school, but that the districts won't think twice about renting it out. it blows my mind.

      additionally, the aestheic of the school, and many older structures, are rarely considered for their historic significance and aesthetic value. they are just old. and broken. i will admit that i didn't see the existing structure as being anything other than that, and that is too bad on me. i see it now, though, and i will be the first to ask why tear down instead of remodel and rejuvinate. and, take care of it in the first place.

      if there is anyting to save or salvage in our cities, it is their character, it will be up to us all to support the efforts of historical societies when themy go to city council meetings and defend the aesthetic of some stupid old apartment building that we would unknowingly disregard without knowing or caring that, perhaps, it is the last of a local style that ushered in a new idealism, and like everything else, when the ideal was blurred, and the dust settled in, the dream was allowed to die. maybe we need to embrace those dreams, if only to scratch our heads and shake them, laughing- but try to capture them as living history to pass on to generations to follow.

      anyway, thanks again.

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    3. Yes, 4:14, tearing down the school. But NOT housing the students on the campus until the building was finished. Then, the state would have been assessing fees for the school not being built and the campus not being used for what it was intended.

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  17. Good luck getting another bond issue passed, PUSD.

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  18. Sierra Mesa school was leased to Marantha High School for 18 years and when they vacated they left it a wreck. I walked through it when they had just left door wide open, deferred maintenance all those years and lots of trash left behind they couldn't even bother to clean up. I worte a letter in support of keeping the school and repairing it as one of my main reasons was to keep all the debris out of the land fill. Someone ealier said it was a prime example of mid-century school design. I thought it was built in the 1970's but maybe that was when it was sold to PUSD for $1.00!

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  19. "Ventilation in portable classrooms has generally, as in this study, been sub- stantially less than in permanent buildings (California Air Resources Board, 2004; Godwin and Batterman,10 2007; Shendell et al., 2004). Portable classrooms in Idaho had median indoor CO2 concentrations of 1590 ppm vs. 670 ppm for permanent classrooms (Shendell et al., 2004)."

    http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2013/06/05/more-fresh-air-in-classrooms-means-fewer-absences/

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  20. Fortunately they are no longer in the PUSD

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