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School Board to City: Add Education Principle to General Plan

"The city council is going to have to be brave on this issue," said one parents group leader

Published on Thursday, September 29, 2011 | 6:11 am

The voting lasted less than five seconds amidst cheers from the audience. Voting 7-0, the PUSD Board of Education on Tuesday overwhelmingly adopted Resolution 2,166 urging the Pasadena City Council to add an eighth guiding principle to the city’s General Plan: Education.

With that, supporters of the movement will now shift their focus to the Pasadena City Council.

We must convince them to codify in the city’s priority list that “young children are as important as old buildings,” Peter Dreier, a PUSD parent, told the Board before the vote.

The Resolution recognizes that other nearby communities like, Arcadia, Anaheim, Fullerton and Santa Ana, have included support for public schools in their general plan principles. In Pasadena, the latest survey showed that 91 percent of residents also support the addition of that guiding principle.

Pasadena Unified School District Supt. Jon Gundry opened the discussion by saying “a strong public school system is essential for a strong city.”

Steve Cole, president of a parents group called Invest in PUSD Kids (IIPK), said that “The city council is going to have to be brave on this issue. But they need the community to be brave with them. We need everybody to move forward as a community.”

IIPK has been very active in championing the movement to add public education as a separate General Plan principle.

Former Pasadena Educational Foundation President Maureen Carlson described how she was struck by the amount of support she saw during the meeting as she challenged all present, and the City Government to collaborate in making education one of the city’s main priorities.

“If this [eighth guiding principle] is passed, then Pasadena will become truly a city of learning,” Carlson said.

PUSD Board of Education Vice President Ed Honowitz seemed to set an action plan after the resolution was approved.

“I think this [Resolution)is significant and symbolic,” he said. “But the challenge for us now is for us to really start looking at and adding specific into what we are going to do to build the kind of programs and interactions. One of the things I want to ask Superintendent Gundry and the city manager over the next 30 days, is to start to lay out how this partnership will move forward,” Honowitz said.

He added that the community wants to see PUSD and the city manager to “Move the pieces forward and see actual implementation.” Honowitz said he expect the school board and the city government to meet sooner to establish parameters on collaborating with the new guiding principle.

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