PUSD considers major cuts: Laying off 82 teachers, reduction to athletic programs also being considered

Some of the proposals include eliminating summer school, laying off 82 teachers and closing libraries. Reduction to athletic programs also being considered. The final budget is scheduled to be approved in June. School officials said they are dreading the decision. “I knew we were going to be in a position to act on these recommendations even though we know it’s not in the best interest of the students,” Superintendent Edwin Diaz said. The district is considering asking voters to approve a parcel tax to cover some of the deficit. The school board will likely take up the matter at a meeting scheduled for January. How will this affect sports programs in the PUSD? What will be the long-term consequences, if any?

Here’s some reaction to the news about major cuts:

It’s amazing that libraries are high on the list of cuts to be made, yet there is only a mention that athletic programs could be affacted. I’m all for both programs, but libraries are a key component of academic success. So why does the school board seem to favor this over athletics? I’m in favor of a parcel tax. Let’s keet the momentum for PUSD improvements going.
— Concerned Parent

No Parcel Tax.. no way.

First, a third of all children in Pasadena already attend private. Why? Because the schools stink. So, spend more money to save something that stinks?

I think public education is very important, and if Pasadena had a good system (like S.Pas or San Marino), I would be willing to support a parcel tax to save it.. even if my kids were in private.

However, in Pasadena, a parcel tax is just throwing good money after bad. I mean, John Muir already has proficiency scores on the STAR tests down in single digits. Appalling!

I went to a public school that had 30+ kids per teacher. It worked just fine. You know why? The kids were well behaved, and we listened. Why? Because the school demanded it, and our parents demanded it.

True Freedom

By Caroline An, Staff Writer

PASADENA – Pasadena Unified students could face a future with no school libraries, no summer school and at least 82 less teachers, according to a preliminary budget plan approved by the school board late Tuesday.

The Pasadena Unified School District faces an $18.8 million shortfall in the 2010-11 school year, and $1.2 million in cuts the next year, according to district figures. The district’s budget is about $200 million.

Eliminating summer school would save PUSD about $460,000 and closing libraries would save about $1.4 million, officials said. Teacher layoffs would save $3.5 million. Office staff reductions would save $2.175 million. Other smaller cuts also were proposed.

The proposed reductions would cover the entire deficit for the next two years, but state budget problems could force deeper cuts.

The final budget is scheduled to be approved in June.

School officials said they are dreading the decision.


“I knew we were going to be in a position to act on these recommendations even though we know it’s not in the best interest of the students,” Superintendent Edwin Diaz said.

The district is considering asking voters to approve a parcel tax to cover some of the deficit. The school board will likely take up the matter at a meeting scheduled for January.

Board member Renatta Cooper said the district had “no choice” but to seek the outside funding.

“We have no good choices and all the progress we have made will be gone if we have to implement these cuts,” she said.

San Marino, South Pasadena and La Canada-Flintridge residents all approved parcel taxes within the last year.

Union officials said teachers are scared and education quality will suffer.

With less teachers, class sizes in kindergarten through third grade would be increased from about 20 students to 31 students, they said.

“The children of this community are going to be negatively impacted by these higher class sizes, without a doubt. This just means you have less contact with each student,” said Jeff Leming, acting president of United Teachers of Pasadena, which represents PUSD’s teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses.

Sara Scribner, the librarian at Blair IB Magnet School, said “everybody is concerned.”

“I think that half of the librarians are already planning to not be here next year,” she said.

Along with the major cuts, the board also approved larger class sizes in ninth grade, cutting 20 custodial positions and eliminating other support staff, such as guidance counselors, administrators, and central district staff.

Reductions to athletic programs and school security also are being considered.

District spokeswoman Binti Harvey said district and employee unions are considering furlough days as an alternative to widespread layoffs.

Long-plagued by low-performing schools, in the last few years PUSD has improved test scores by using data to target specific student groups.

The cuts would likely kill the district’s momentum, officials said.

Cooper was especially upset about the prospect of cutting summer school, which PUSD offered last year despite the program being cut at surrounding districts.

More students will drop out of school, she said.

“The kids won’t be able to make up the work, and then give up,” Cooper said.

While the board grapples with the grim task of finalizing budget reductions for next year, the larger question of school closures is still undecided.

On Tuesday, the board proposed closing three small elementary schools for the 2011-12 school year.

Board member Scott Phelps said a committee would have to be formed to determine which schools would close.


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  • Parent in EMUSD

    What happened to:
    No child left behind….. No libraries,82 teachers?????
    Stop obesity for children…..Reduction in sport programs

    You can bet there will be more crime if these kids are not given a chance to succeed, parents this is not a district you want to stay in!

  • Nancy Navi

    It is a shame that a city that claims to be one of the best in the area has the worst schools, and that the parents in the district don’t do anything about it. It is time for all the mothers and fathers who have kids in the district to care and step up to the plate. Even if you don’t speak english, if you have a child in the district you should do something about it. That is why I took my take my property taxes elsewhere. I don’t need my kids at Muir or Blair

  • PUSD Alumnus

    Nancy, it is precisely that attitude that leaves schools like Muir and Blair in turmoil. The lack of community support and property taxes creates schools without the funds necessary to provide an excellent education. Clearly, this point is lost on you. By leaving the district and giving your taxes to say, San Marino, you only help exacerbate an already dire situation. You cannot turn your nose up at the disadvantaged students for under achievement when they never have half the access of students in the area’s many private schools, not to mention La Canada and San Marino’s public schools.

  • PUSD Alumnus

    Nancy, it is precisely that attitude that leaves schools like Muir and Blair in turmoil. The lack of community support and property taxes creates schools without the funds necessary to provide an excellent education. Clearly, this point is lost on you. By leaving the district and giving your taxes to say, San Marino, you only help exacerbate an already dire situation. You cannot turn your nose up at the disadvantaged students for under achievement when they never have half the access of students in the area’s many private schools, not to mention La Canada and San Marino’s public schools.

  • Hmmm

    At least we have Obama in the Whitehouse to create new jobs for them all. Maybe some of “stimulus round 2” will pull out enough money from our tax dollars to hire them back.
    I’m guessing it will be spent quickly and then they’ll need a stimulus round 3!!
    O-B-A-M-A (One Big Ass Mistake for America!)

  • Lincoln Blvd

    I live on Lincoln, close to Muir. I paid over 550K to get near the rose bowl and well, that was a mistake.

    The schools are in shambles and throwing more and more money at greedy, lazy teacher unions simply does not work.

    I’ve inspected, met the teachers, talked with officials and wrote my thesis on charter schools.

    The reality is that private schools give a better education using less money per student. Private School’s fire poor performing teachers (14%), in PUSD the firing rate was .03% for tenured teachers.

    Nancy and I would love to back a school that works, but these don’t. As a Democrat I am for school vouchers!

  • Thrush

    This “kids are the future” stuff is getting old. If kids are the future then the future is going to be like the movie “2012”. I can barely afford my property taxes so I hope there are more colossal supersized jumbo education cuts. I really won’t believe that there is a budget crisis until they get rid of the football team and lay off administrators and default on some pensions. Everybody is having a hard time and schools need to accept their fair share of budget cuts.

  • Someone who knows


    Cutting the extracurricular and cocurricular activities in schools would exacerbate the problem. Many kids gain their access to drama, music, art, student government, community service and athletics through their HS experience.

    Many “at risk” kids would end up dropping out if many of those cuts were to happen.

    Let’s put the blame where it really belongs, the PUSD, which is a clusterflop of inefficiency and sub-standard performance at many levels. That district has been mismanaged for decades and it is really coming to a head now.

    Secondly, the blame should go to the state legislature, who collects revenues from the various taxes and fees, and by law, is supposed to appropriate those funds to what those taxes were supposed to fund. That body, however, for the last decade has been out of control with absolutely no fiscal responsibility and has caused two major budget crises in the last decade while fully funding programs with little result and while our infrastructure continues to crumble.

    Sadly, the parents of PSUD share some of the blame by not expecting excellence from their schools, their administrations and teachers as well as electing typical politicians to serve their Board. It is time to sweep out that group and get some people on board who will make the necessary changes.

    While we are on the subject, time for the people of California to wake up and realize that the Legislature needs a whole new group of members who have the people of this state’s best interests and not a bunch of political hacks who keep sending the middle class and numerous businesses out of state due to increasing taxes and absurd regulations.

    Cutting the sports program will make a bad situation worse, but the community must do something to make sure that these necessary programs will get funded, even if through the private sector or by fund raising.

    Of course those PHS and Muir alums that made it to the next level ought to be able to see if they can help out their Alma Maters using their resources and connections.

  • Gecko

    School sports is a way for kids to keep their grades up, bad grades, no team sports. It also instills respect, discipline and keeps them off the streets.

    If 82 teachers must go, so be it. It should be obvious to everyone that with low test scores, drop out rates etc., they weren’t doing their job to begin with.

    The private school system works because it’s built on a family committment system. Both students and parents put their time into the school and community.

    There are far too many parents who expect, some even demand, that public schools teach their kids about education and life. These parents couldn’t be bothered with their childs education or if they’re even going to school.

    As for the school board. It’s a miracle that there even is a operating school system. The board is still around because these same parents have no clue or care how bad the district is to vote them out.

    Closing libraries?! – What more of a clue do you need?

    One way to shake up the youth of tomorrow is to deny them public benefits if they do not obtain a high school diploma. The school is there, the education is free, there is no reason why a kid cannot graduate high school.

  • The Stang Fan

    There isn’t enough room for all of the things I have to say about this entire situation.

  • !sg!

    Sang Fan ,
    Merry Xmas ! This is something for you watch over te holidys


  • floraaketch

    The reality is that private schools give a better education using less money per student.
    Hi, I think your website is interesting very colorful. Good job! I feel helping job seekers finding their dream home jobs are a fulfilling quest. Good luck in your quest too.


  • Where is the next Jackie Robinson?

    The problems with PUSD are numerous. The amount of security to keep the school reasonably safe and the amount of money it takes to remedy discipline at school in every area of the District takes much needed monies away from students who really want to learn.

    Parents are the biggest problem at PUSD and their Sports problems reflect a lack of personal discipline and communal responsibility that should have been taught at home. Ask area coaches how much time is dedicated to keeping players eligible, keeping players in line and dealing with cantankerous parents and fans.

    The home of such outstanding citizens like Jackie Robinson and others is slowly decaying form years of parental neglect. Jackie Robinson learned those long lost values at home and used them as his life became a lightning rod for those who would test his will. Character, dignity and discipline are fading fast on Pasadena soil. Anyone who closes their eyes will never see how close to Compton some parts of Pasadena have become; infested with gangs, trouble and drugs.

    The sad reality is most people, when they think of Pasadena, think all Pasadena is Rose Bowl fine and dandy when nothing could be future from the truth. Pasadena has lost it’s moral compass and it’s best athletes are leaving, not for better coaching, but for a better life. Or at least for the chance to for a better life.

    Sad times for the home of a National Hero.

  • Love2Hate

    Do you see how terrible his reporting is? Football’s over, that doesn’t mean all sports have ceased to exist. Post another story already. Seriously. Like now. And not a little blurb about when Player of the Years are to be announced, something with some breadth. And why does this story have a picture of a PHS player on it? That is misleading. Come in my face.

  • I’m just say’in

    I said this would happen 2 years ago on this blog. At that time I was told I didnt know what I was talking about, well here it is. Dealing with the PUSD closely allows one to see how bad they really are. I said it before and I’ll say it again these clowns don’t care about the students they only care about themselves. Again parents and concerned people of the community you got to demand excellence from the PUSD and yourselves. Close libraries? What kind of foolishness is that? Yes we have fiscal problems but I don’t see top administrators taking a pay cut to help ease the burden but 82 front line soldiers are wiped out? Wise up people, find out when the next PUSD meeting is, get a few thousand people to Hudson street and start telling these cats this is my community and it will get better, I will help it get better. Tell Diaz, his staff and the board if you want to keep your job you better start doing your job. It’s not to late just a lot of hard work to get it back where most of know where it should be.

  • Sick Sick Sick

    Love2Hate “come in my face”? What a sicko !!!

    Why would you write that?

  • why???

    About 10 years ago the PUSD asked us property owners to fund a property tax measure to provide funds to update the school infrastructure, which we did.

    A couple of years ago, the PUSD then came back and said, You know the first bond measure you approved? Well, we misspent and mismanaged the money, gave some of it to shady contractors, and now we do not have enough money to do what we promised. We need you to approve a bond measure to give us more money. We voters foolishly approved Measure Y.

    The PUSD now has this money they have to spend, which is burning a hole in their pocket. They have upgraded athletic facilities at PHS and Muir (which were long overdue), and promised Blair new facilities. Now what happens? Oh, we are in a budget crisis, and now we need to cut school athletic programs.

    Lets talk about libraries some librarians I believe were laid off last year or had their hours cut (in bureaucratic terms, a partial layoff), and now the PUSD is saying they may eliminate all librarians and libraries. But guess what some of the Measure Y money is probably being used for? Upgrading and building new school libraries!!

    Now they are asking for a parcel tax? The right hand spends the money so the left hand can hold the budget ax.

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  • The celebrities of TLC’s innovative show “Sister Wives” are currently being looked over by Utah authorities for possible felony bigamy, Kody Brown, and also his 4 wives growing publicity from the TLC show started to garner the curiosity and suspicion in the respective authorities, believe it or not, cops apparently started off checking out the Brown group prior to when their tv program even opened last Sunday.

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