School Board Special Meeting Thursday Will Address Measure J Spending Priorities

Published : Thursday, January 10, 2019 | 6:15 AM

Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education is scheduled to hold a special meeting Thursday to discuss funding priorities under recently passed Measure J, which sets aside a sizeable chunk of new revenue from city taxes for the district and its education programs.

Last month, the members of a joint ad hoc committee composed of Pasadena City Councilmembers and members of the Pasadena School Board met for the first time to work out how to implement Measure J.

At that meeting, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek told School Boatd Members the City needs a list of the District’s funding priorities.

“We need a game plan,” Tornek said.

City Manager Steve Mermell suggested that the School Board might look at its budget cuts, and “maybe start there” to consider funding restorals.

School Board Member Kim Kenne told Pasadena Now that tonight’s meeting will be a “chance for the Board to weigh in amongst ourselves how we picture wanting to use this money to then go back to that [ad hoc] committee. I think they wanted to hear not just from the three board members who were on that committee, but kind of a consensus from everyone.”

Measure J is an advisory measure to Measure I, which imposes a 0.75 percent transactions and use tax in Pasadena, the proceeds from which will be used to maintain essential services.

Under Measure J, PUSD schools get one-third of the Measure I revenue, approximately $7 million per year; a welcome relief since the district is laboring under a budget deficit and reducing spending.

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said the passages of Measures I and J last November 6 were among the most significant issues the city resolved last year.

“That’s a very dramatic change for us that will have a huge impact for years and years to come,” Tornek said in December after City Council-PUSD board ad hoc committee’s first meeting.

Also on Thursday’s agenda is a presentation from PUSD staff on arts programs for the current year, staffing and funding requirements, specifically.

Also listed as action items are a recommendation the Board of Education approve the acceptance of a $508,908 federal Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant to support arts and health programs, and a further recommendation it approve a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Perceiver Education, Inc., related to a Chinese student exchange program.

The Board of Education meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Elbie J. Hickambottom Board Room 236, at the PUSD office at 351 S. Hudson Avenue.

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