Pasadena Public School Closures Continue, Next Come Middle Schools, Possibly a High School

Published : Monday, October 7, 2019 | 5:22 AM

School Board President Larry Torres, at left, Board Member Patrick Cahalan at center, and Board Member Scott Phelps at right.

On Thursday, the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education will hear a committee’s options on closing middle schools and a high school at the end of this school year.

The final decisions will likely be made at a later meeting this month on either Oct. 17 or Oct. 24.

But no matter when the school board votes on the issue the news is not expected to be good for McKinley Middle School.

The Master Plan Boundary Subcommittee recommended five options for closing middle schools, and four of them include closing McKinley.

Other options include closing the middle school programs at Marshall and Blair and closing Sierra Madre and Wilson middle schools.

There are a total of five options for middle school closings the Board will mull.

The two options for high schools includes keeping all four of the City’s high schools, John Muir, Pasadena, Blair and Marshall open, or optionally, closing Marshall.

Since 2012 the district has lost 2,087 students and is projected to lose another 1,717 students through 2025. The loss of each student equals about 10,100 in revenue. The district is projected to lose $17.3 million over the next six years.

District officials have blamed the plunging enrollment on lower birth rates and skyrocketing housing costs that have made it almost impossible for young families to afford living in the school district’s footprint.

The decrease in funding led the district into a deep fiscal crisis last year that nearly resulted in the Los Angeles County Board of Education seizing control of the district.

Voters passed Measure I and J which will raise $21 million for the city annually. Up to $7 million of those funds will be given to the school district annually.

According to the report with resources more efficiently concentrated the district will be able to strengthen specialized programs across the district including Early Childhood Programs, Integrated Special Education Programs, Dual Language Immersion Programs, Gifted and Talented Programs, Visual & Performing Arts Programs, Technology Programs, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM), College & Career Academies, International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement.

Last year, Superintendent Brian McDonald opted to take discussion of school closures off the table indefinitely.

Six months later, the school district closed Cleveland Elementary School.

Last month, the District voted by a narrow 4-3 margin to close Franklin, Jefferson and Roosevelt elementary schools.

For the 2020-21 academic year, Franklin students will be moved to Altadena Elementary, Jefferson students will be transferred to Longfellow Elementary, and Roosevelt students will be asked to transfer to Madison Elementary.

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