PUSD BOARD VOTES TO CLOSE BURBANK, LOMA ALTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS IN 2011-12
Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education voted to close Burbank Elementary and Loma Alta Elementary Schools. The action concluded a consolidation process that lasted nearly three months and included the appointment of a community-based study committee, community forums, and multiple board discussions. School closures and consolidation would take effect in the 2011-2012 school year; no changes will occur during the current school year.
“This has been a painful process for all involved. I understand the loss and uncertainty that parents, students, and employees are experiencing, and I regret that the state budget crisis has made closing PUSD schools necessary,” said Superintendent Edwin Diaz. “I am committed to ensure that students are assigned to high-performing schools, stabilized throughout the transition, and provided the support they need to succeed at their new school.”
The Board of Education acted on a recommendation from Superintendent Diaz regarding school consolidation, which included closing Burbank and Loma Alta Elementary Schools, relocating the Mandarin Dual Immersion program to Field Elementary, and implementing mitigation measures to provide information, resources, and guidance to assist students, families, and employees in transferring to new campuses.
“I feel badly about this decision. I know it’s going to create some turmoil and I’m moved by the stories of students, families and staff,” said Board President Bob Harrison. “However, I’m concerned that if we don’t act we’re going to create further problems because we’re stretching our resources too thin.”
In September, the Board directed the formation of a School Consolidation Study Committee to assist the Superintendent in developing a recommendation to the Board; the committee was charged with the task of identifying a minimum of three schools for closure and options to relocate the District’s central office. Last month, the committee submitted its final report to the Superintendent recommending that three elementary schools -- Loma Alta, Burbank, and Jackson – be consolidated, and that the Norma Coombs Alternative School program be relocated to the Burbank site.
Based on a potential $5 million restoration in district funding as a result of the state budget approved in late October, the Board of Education acted to give Superintendent Diaz flexibility to recommend closure of fewer than three schools in 2011-12, to postpone relocation of the District central office pending the results of a feasibility study, and to remove Norma Coombs Alternative School and Jackson Elementary School from consideration for closure or relocation in 2011-12.
“We are moving immediately to begin the dialogue with parents and staff to ensure a smooth transition and meet the academic needs of all affected students,” said Alice Petrossian, Chief Academic Officer.
The Board decision precedes the Open Enrollment period, which commences in December, ensuring that parents will be adequately informed and supported by an implementation plan prior to for the 2011 - 2012 school year. For more information, visit www.school-consolidation.pasadenausd.org.
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