I am a parent who lives in Northwest Pasadena and whose child goes to Franklin Elementary. I am advocating for keeping all our campuses open and to seek out better solutions to "right-size" our district rather than the various proposals to close Franklin, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and/or Don Benito at this Thursday's school board meeting. This year even with the new sales tax measure that passed, the board is still needing to make more budget cuts to meet a $4 Million in reductions in the 2020-2021 school year. I implore the school board to think about the consequences of closing up to 4 elementary schools in our district. Specifically with possibly closing 3 in the Northwest district of the area which will disproportionately impact Black and Latinx students and families. It will alienate a good portion of parents from the campus/es and some may just take their students out. Also, it leaves our campus property available for the Charter School vultures to come in and take over thus furthering the big push for further privatization of the education in the state.
Public education is the last line of defense for our democracy and must be preserved. Gentrification in our district and the lack of renter protections is harming the families of our district and pushing many of us out. And as you all have mentioned, the state funding is lacking as California continues to rank near the bottom of per-pupil spending, right now at #44 in the country.
From my view, our district's main issue is not the lack of students/declining enrollment but the lack of revenue and incentives for parents to choose our district over the encroaching charter schools. Instead of pushing for school closures members of this committee and the entire board need to be advocating for the wealthy in our city to pay their fair share of taxes. If the board can come out in support of Measure J in the last election, you can come out with support for taxing the highest-income households and/or highest valued properties in Pasadena to support our district. A local measure to overturn the harm that California Prop.13 did to our school funding system is a long term solution that does not harm our parents and students.
I am calling on the PUSD board to be the leaders you were elected to be and not butchers who will focus on cutting the budget up. Please right-size the district by redistributing students and district infrastructure to our schools, focus on a plan for recruitment and retention and be vocal advocates for taxing the wealthy and bring in other needed revenue. And end the discriminatory targeting of school closures in the working-class Black and Latinx center of our district.