Opinion | PTA Council President Steve Cole: Let’s Pass Measures I and J Together

Published : Monday, October 8, 2018 | 11:22 AM

By now the residents of the City of Pasadena have received their voter guides and the arguments for and against Measure J, the ballot measure which would advise the City Council to share the proceeds of the sales tax Measure I with the Pasadena Unified School District. As current President of the Pasadena Council of Parents and Teachers (aka PTA Council), a former member of the Measure TT Citizen’s Oversight Committee, an active parent and member of the school community since 2007, parent of two children in PUSD, and proud citizen of the City of Pasadena, I urge you to vote Yes on Measures I & J.

There were no arguments submitted against Measure I in your voter guide, which must pass for Measure J to have any effect. There is effectively one argument submitted against passing Measure J put forward by two individuals. When the voters read the arguments against they will notice the very personal tone taken by the two authors. During my time on the Measure TT Oversight Committee I had a front row seat to see how the two authors of the No argument developed deep personal animosities against school district administrators. These feelings festered over their time on the board and created a very toxic environment between the Oversight Committee and the school district, as well as internally between the members of the Oversight Committee itself. The result of this was the resignation of many committee members and finally my resignation in protest as well. It saddens me to see that these two individuals, who have spent very little and very superficial time interacting with our school community, are still allowing their personal feelings to drive their actions in the public square and vent these tired and purposefully misleading arguments.

All four of the high schools in PUSD were recently listed on the Washington Post’s list of most challenging High Schools in the United States. Test scores are consistently increasing. Our graduates regularly are accepted to their first choice colleges, volunteer hours are through the roof, recent surveys show our parents overwhelmingly love their children’s schools, and our school communities are thriving like never before in my experience. The accolades for our school district continue to pile up. Yes we are experiencing financial difficulties. The state and federal governments have consistently cut back on their school funding and our school age population in Pasadena continues to decrease due to the expense of housing and our aging population. What the passage of Measure J will really do is start Pasadena on the path we should have gone on long ago. It will start us developing local funding streams which will be entirely under our own control and will be immune from the fickleness of the state and federal governments. It will not solve the funding crisis but will allow us to face our collective responsibility of continuing to provide a strong education system from a position of increasing strength. It will allow us to start playing offense instead of defense. Starving our schools as a form of punishment for not agreeing with the current leadership is petty and short sighted, and can only lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy of deterioration. Measure J will help us build our community’s immune system.

The passage of Measure J is supported by every group with day to day contact with the schools. Its passage is endorsed by the PTA Council, United Teachers of Pasadena (UTP), Pasadena Education Foundation (PEF), Pasadena Education Network (PEN), the Mayor of Pasadena Terry Tornek, business owners and community leaders such as Bob Harrison, and the list goes on. These are groups and individuals that know our schools first hand. Please lend your name to those of this distinguished list and reject the negativity. Support the positive growth of your schools, the positive growth of your community. All things of value require continued care and investment. Let’s start to take control of our community by beginning to positively invest in it today. Let’s pass Measure J together.








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