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Guest Opinion | Scott Harden: Measure H Key to Improving Educational and Health Outcomes for PUSD Children

Published on Monday, October 31, 2022 | 2:50 pm

Housing instability harms children.

According to a study done by Harvard researchers, the greatest predictor of eviction is the presence of children in the household—and that risk goes up with every additional child in the home.

Limiting rent increases to a fair amount and stopping no-fault evictions for Pasadena families is critical to the flourishing of our school-aged children, which is why the PTA Council of PUSD voted earlier this month to endorse Measure H and encourage all families to vote YES on Measure H.

The problem of rental inequity hits home, with members of our own executive board having faced involuntary evictions due to landlords wishing to raise rents as high as possible in the shortest allowable time frame.

It’s not just educational outcomes that suffer when children are involuntarily displaced, their physical health suffers, too. In a recent study in the journal, Pediatrics, researchers found that children of evicted families faced negative outcomes at a higher rate than the general population. These include worse health, developmental delays, homelessness, food insecurity, and inadequate healthcare and childcare.

The PTA Council of PUSD is made up of 20 PTA units across the school district, which represents thousands of young people and their families. We know that 65.5% of PUSD students qualify for free and reduced lunch based on their family’s income and there is a good chance those same families are renters facing severe hardship when the rent goes up. A 10% rent increase—the max currently allowable under state law—is a de facto eviction for a great many families who will disproportionately benefit from Measure H.

A key factor in the PTA Council’s decision to endorse Measure H was Resolution 2669, passed by the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education in June of this year. It reads, in part,

“PUSD recognizes the importance of permanent and sustainable housing for PUSD families and the greater Pasadena community; PUSD recognizes renting families as a priority; supporting PUSD means supporting renting families and supporting affordable rental housing in Pasadena; and…, eviction and other displacement imposes an especially high burden on school-aged children and their families, including an increased absence from school and other educational disruptions that can have long-lasting effects.”

The PTA Council is proud to join the PUSD Board of Education in encouraging Pasadena voters to vote YES on Measure H.What could be more in keeping with Pasadena’s community ethic than securing the future of the most vulnerable children and their families? Declining enrollment is a crisis facing all PUSD schools. Three elementary schools and one middle school closed in 2019 due to declining enrollment. If enrollment continues to decline, more closures will be in our future. Measure H is an urgently needed solution to help prevent this from happening.

Stable, affordable housing is a public good and Measure H is a win-win proposition for our city.

Scott Harden is a PUSD parent, a homeowner, and the Executive Board President of the PTA Council of PUSD.

Got something to say, email Managing Editor André Coleman, at

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