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Pasadena Unified School District Issues Statement on Canceling Jefferson Elementary Lease Agreement With City

Published on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 | 6:34 am
 

One day after City officials met in closed session to discuss the school board’s decision to break a five-year lease with the district early that will remove City programs and Central Library book from a shuttered elementary school to relocate students there, the district released a statement.

Students from Longfellow Elementary School will be temporarily moved to Jefferson Elementary School so that the district can break ground on improvements at Longfellow in 2025. The original plan was to relocate students to Allendale Elementary School, but some parents objected, citing transportation issues and the distance.

The distance from Longfellow Elementary School to Allendale Elementary is 3.5 miles. Jefferson Elementary is closer, 1.5 miles from Longfellow.

According to the District’s statement, the decision to temporarily reuse Pasadena Unified School District’s Jefferson campus property was based on proximity to Longfellow, among other factors.

The City and the school district had come to an agreement that allowed the City to relocate some services and training facilities to Jefferson Elementary School in 2021 during the pandemic due to the closure of the Central Library and a need to relocate City staff and services.

The lease was scheduled to expire in 2027.

“The decision to temporarily move Longfellow Elementary School to the former Jefferson site was made by the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education at its meeting on February 1, 2024, after public discussion and a community meeting earlier the same week,” the District’s statement reads.

According to the statement, district leaders are committed to working with city officials to determine the next steps and how to move forward in the interest of the children while continuing to provide services that the Jefferson site has afforded to the Pasadena community.

“The Longfellow modernization project will include: interior renovations, electrical replacement, new wi-fi, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems along with new windows, elevators, exterior stairs, restroom upgrades, and accessibility improvements.”

The district is renovating campuses as part of Measure O and will need space for the temporary relocation of schools during construction.

“We are grateful that all students and staff will be able to stay together during construction and that we will not have to separate certain grades or divide staff resources. It will be a temporary adjustment in order to make permanent improvements for the benefit of the entire Longfellow school community,” said Elizabeth Blanco, Ed.D., Interim Superintendent in the prepared statement.

Currently, Jefferson Elementary School houses a Fire Training Center that provides space for personnel to train. The Police Activities League found a home at Jefferson Elementary School to enhance their programs, mentoring and coaching youth.

Pickleball courts were added at City expense to help address the great demand for this recreational activity.

It is not known where the services will be relocated to.

“The City has made a substantial investment of time and money in the property to address deferred maintenance and to allow it to be safely occupied for a variety of critical uses, including the following City programs: Critical Library Services, a Fire Training Center, the Police Activities League, and Pickleball, with plans for the Pasadena Health Department to establish a satellite office,” said Lisa Derderian, City of Pasadena Public Information Officer.

Longfellow Elementary School will move out in June of 2025 and students will start school at the temporary location in August 2025. Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2025 and to be completed in Summer 2026.

Construction is set to begin in June of 2025 with the project scheduled to be completed by August 2026.

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