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.

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Robledo’s girls soccer top ten, tell me if I’m close

I’m surprising Miguel by jumping in here, but its a slow day and I remember how good the girls soccer teams were in this area. Just for fun, this is what my top ten in the Star-News area would look like. Tell me how close I am.

Robledo’s Top Ten
1. La Salle (4-0-1) — Are you kidding me, they beat Arcadia and tied Marymount, ’nuff said.
2. Flintridge Sacred Heart (2-0) — Wins over Flintridge Prep and Campbell Hall, and we all know they have talent.
3. Arcadia (1-2) – Don’t look at the overall record, their 4-2 win over South Hills was good, and they lost to La Salle and a darn good Hart team.
4. Flintridge Prep (3-1) — Considering their only loss was a 2-1 decision to FSHA, not bad.
5. Maranatha (2-0) — Don’t know enough, but they beat Mayfield and Monrovia … Geez, everyone is beating Rio Hondo League teams these days.
6. Mayfield (4-1) — You have to love the wins over San Marino and Temple City
7. Ramona Convent (2-0-2) – Wins over Alverno, Monrovia and ties against Westridge and South Pas.
8. Pasadena Poly (NA) – I heard they’re pretty good, but they only reported one score. C’mon Poly, post those results.
9. Alverno (2-2) – The defending champions took a big step back, but they’re still top ten material.
10. Westridge (2-1-1) – I still think Jason Windass is one of the area’s best coaches, but the Tigers aren’t what they use to be.

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Boys Basketball: Muir beats powerhouse Dominguez

Muir first-year coach Gamal Smalley put together a nice season preview of the Mustangs basketball program this season.

Muir is young this year. The Mustangs start one senior, one junior, two sophomores and a freshman. But they were more than enough to help Muir (4-4) snap its four-game losing streak with a 61-58 win over Compton Dominguez in the Upland Tournament on Tuesday night. Dominguez is a 10-time CIF champion and 5-time CIF State champion. Junior forward Deshawn Hayes led the way with 28 points. “Our goal is to get better game by game and to get ready for league play,” Smalley said.

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Boys Hoops: La Caada, Alhambra host tourneys

Aside from calling in scores at 626.962.8811 Ext. 2233 or 2242 between 5-10 p.m., tournament directors are strongly encouraged to e-mail each day’s results so I can post them on the blog and keep everyone abreast about your tournament. You can also e-mail tournament schedules just like La Caada coach Tom Hoffman did, that way we post them here, too

La Caada Holiday Classic at La Caada High.

Pool A: La Caada, Lincoln, Saugus, Village Christian
Pool B: Glendale, Maranatha, Schurr, St. Francis

Today’s Games: Schurr vs. Glendale, 4 p.m.; Saugus vs. Village Christian, 5:30 p.m.; La Caada vs. Lincoln, 7 p.m.

Alhambra Invitational at Alhambra High

Pool A: Alhambra, Franklin, Northview, Santa Fe
Pool B: Warren, Gabrielino, Bonita, San Gabriel

Today’s games: Northview vs. Santa Fe, 3:30 p.m.; Alhambra vs. Franklin, 5 p.m.; Warren vs. Gabrielino, 6:30 p.m.

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How long until La Salle’s Nolan is on SportsCenter?

With football done and over what better way to start our basketball coverage with the video above. That’s La Salle 6-foot-6 senior Matt Nolan, who laid a monstrous two-hand dunk Saturday night in the Pasadena Poly Tournament, which the Lancers won after the game was called with 2:25 left and La Salle leading, 57-44. “I’ve never seen that before,” said La Salle’s longtime boys basketball coach Steve Goldstein.

Speaking of holiday tournaments, most start this week beginning Tuesday with the La Caada Holiday Classic at La Caada High.

Pool A: La Caada, Lincoln, Saugus, Village Christian
Pool B: Glendale, Maranatha, Schurr, St. Francis

Tuesday’s Games: Schurr vs. Glendale, 4 p.m.; Saugus vs. Village Christian, 5:30 p.m.; La Caada vs. Lincoln, 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s game: St. Francis vs. Maranatha, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday’s games: St. Francis vs. Schurr, 3:30 p.m.; Glendale vs. Maranatha, 5 p.m.; Lincoln vs. Saugus, 6:30 p.m.; La Caada vs. Village Christian, 8 p.m.

Friday’s games: Village Christian vs. Lincoln, 3:30 p.m.; Glendale vs. St. Francis, 5 p.m.; Maranatha vs. Schurr, 6:30 p.m.; La Caada vs. Saugus, 8 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule begins with the fourth-place game at 3:30 p.m. and concludes with the championship at 8 p.m. Aside from calling in scores at 626.962.8811 Ext. 2233 or 2242 between 5-10 p.m., tournament directors are strongly encouraged to e-mail each day’s results so I can post them on the blog and keep everyone abreast about your tournament. You can also e-mail tournament schedules just like La Caada coach Tom Hoffman did, that way we post them here, too.

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Saturday Night Aftermath: Monrovia, Rio Hondo Prep come empty in the CIF-SS Division championships.


San Dimas 12, Monrovia 7


Linfield Christian 9, Rio Hondo Prep 6

San Dimas coach Bill Zernickow
“We worked our butt of for it. Our kids played hard, we knew what was at stake and we learned a lot from the first game. Nobody said it could be done, but we showed a lot of effort. They (Monrovia) had a big monkey on their backs, I don’t know how that played into it, but I’m proud of our kids, they executed the game plan. We came out with the no huddle and made plays.”

Monrovia’s Nick Bueno
“They got way better. We couldn’t get it done tonight. It hurts, I don;t know what else to say.”

San Dimas’ Ryan Kohler with 108 yards, as four Saints had 60 or more yards rushing for 217 yards from scrimmage.

Kohler: “We had to keep running hard, we couldn’t let up.They’re an awesome team, we had to keep playing hard, none of this was easy, it was a battle.”

Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox
They brought a great game plan, hats off to them, they beat us up front. They completely took us out of our offense. We struggled all night.”

Mid-Valley Division scoring updates
San Dimas 3 7 0 0 — 10
Monrovia 0 0 0 7 – 7
Scoring Summary
First Quarter
SD: Dillon Corona 35-yard field goal, 7:02
Second Quarter
SD: Jordan Taylor 27-yard touchdown (Corona kick)
Third quarter
No scoring
Fourth quarter
MO: Nick Bueno 11 run (kick good)
SD: Safety

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Football: Coaches help Johnson’s legacy live on

Above: From left, Randy Johnson, Ken Drain, Mark Carson and Joe Parker all attended Rio Hondo Prep and now make up a coaching staff that has guided the Kares to Saturday night’s CIF-SS Northeast Division championship game.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer

When the legendary Randall Johnson was forced to retire after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2000, Rio Hondo Prep football coach Ken Drain lost his former coach and ally on the sidelines.

When Johnson passed away last year, Drain lost a mentor and a great friend.

“Oh yeah,” said Drain, in his ninth year as head coach. “I miss him a lot.”

Johnson was at the helm for 25 seasons and won eight CIF-Southern Section championships in 8-man football. At one point, Drain was part of a staff that averaged nearly 27 years of coaching experience.

That number’s gone down a bit, but Drain has an energized staff determined to keep Johnson’s legacy alive.

Among them is Randall Johnson’s son, Randy Johnson.

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Football: Rio Hondo Prep must play without Parker

WHAT: CIF-SS Northeast Division Championship
WHO: No. 2 Linfield Christian (13-0) vs. No. 1 Rio Hondo Prep (13-0)
WHEN: Saturday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Covina District Field
PREDICTION: From The Sidelines (Rio Hondo Prep); CalPreps (Linfield Christian)

Rio Hondo Prep’s football team suffered a blow Thursday when it was learned senior J.T. Parker would not be allowed to play Saturday night against Linfield Christian (13-0) in the CIF-Southern Section Northeast Division championship game at Covina District Field.

Parker suffered a concussion in the first five minutes of last week’s 20-14 win over Salesian.

The top-seeded and defending champion Kares (13-0) not only lose a leader on the field but they also literally lose five players rolled into one. Parker, part of last year’s championship team, is a starting wide receiver/linebacker, backup quarterback, punter and holder on extra points.

“It’ll definitely be hard,” Rio Hondo Prep coach Ken Drain said. “But it’s just a matter of somebody else stepping up and taking his place.”

Parker’s absence started a ripple effect in Drain’s lineup. Jimmy Davis will move from cornerback to linebacker; Andrew Quintero will take Davis’ spot; Jason Wiley will hold on PATs and field goals and starting running back Nick Preciado will punt. Freshman Jake Holguin will start at wide receiver.

Drain is confident they’ll all make a seamless transition.

“They’re very capable of filling those spots,” Drain said. “But I feel really bad for J.T. because he’s a senior and it’s his last game. We just have to rally around that and overcome it.”

Familiar foe

Rio Hondo Prep last year dispatched Linfield Christian, 28-21, in the semifinals. The Kares had to rally from behind to move on and win their 12th CIF-SS championship.

Linfield Christian doesn’t exactly have revenge on its mind, but it would like to make it right this time.

“We’ve definitely been thinking about it,” Linfield Christian coach Jimmy Kemmis said. “I don’t know if it’s as much about last year as it is about this senior class wanting to take that next step.”

In 2006, this year’s seniors went 1-9, then improved to 8-4 as sophomores and reached the quarterfinals. Last year, the Lions went 10-3 and reached the semifinals. In fact, Linfield Christian is an impressive 22-1 in its last 23 games.

Its only blemish? Rio Hondo Prep

Lions cheer on Kares

Four coaches from Linfield Christian’s staff and eight of its players attended last week’s Salesian-Rio Hondo Prep. The Kares fell victim to injuries, which depleted their roster even more since they suited up only 27 players. And cheering for Rio Hondo Prep wasn’t just its home fans, but also the visiting Lions staff.

“To see what they’ve done with their small school size and to win, that just took pure guts and determination,” Kemmis said. “By the end of that game we were hoping and rooting the Rio (Hondo Prep) guys would win.”

Salesian was very physical and would have made for a great finals game, Kemmis said, but there’s the matter of unfinished business.

“After losing to Rio Hondo Prep, if we could have written our story this would have been it,” he said.

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Forgetting the past: Monrovia focused on opportunity

Did you like the three-part series? What was your take on it?


Editor’s Note: Star-News reporter Miguel Melendez looks back at Monrovia High School’s misfortunes in its last eight CIF football final appearances. This is the third in a three-part series.

By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer


What jinx?

Sure, Monrovia High School is an unimpressive 0 for 8 in CIF football final appearances, but that glaring statistic will be irrelevant when the top-seeded Wildcats (13-0) play No. 2 seed San Dimas (12-1) on Saturday night at 7:30 in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game at Citrus College.

Monrovia head coach Ryan Maddox, in his second season at the helm, led the Wildcats to the semifinals last year, and with the spotlight shining bright on Monrovia – making its ninth finals appearance – it’s easy to see where Maddox stands regarding the infamous record.

“We’re focused on the present,” he said emphatically. “The players didn’t go to school when Monrovia lost. They’re focused on what they can control, and that’s this Saturday.”

Nevertheless, the Wildcats’ 0-for-8 finals record is part of their rich history. They lost in 1935 (Major Division), 1951 (Major Division), 1959 (AAA Division), 1973 (AAA Division), 1982 (Northwestern Division), 1997 (Division X), 1998 (Division X) and 1999 (Division X).

Randy Bell was Monrovia’s quarterback his senior year in 1980, and two years later Monrovia made its fifth appearance. Bell, in his 15th year at the school currently serving as athletic director and offensive coordinator, said each game is different.

“All those games are individual games in themselves,” he said. “You can remember things that went on and the mistakes that were made, but there’s no failure or stigma. It doesn’t make sense to me that we’ll buy into that.

“If we lose Saturday, it’s not because there’s a mysterious force, and if we win, it’s not because it was time that we won. It’ll be because the game played out the way the teams made it play out.”

Still …

“It’s hard to argue against it,” Bell added. “Oh for 8 is an unimpressive record, but you have to believe it’s a game-by-game deal.

“They’re all relatively spread out, with the exception of the three (finals) in the late ’90s.”

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Football: Poly’s Jackson Allan coming home Dec. 17

Above: Jackson Allan, No. 41, is coming home since undergoing brain surgery nearly two months ago. Photo courtesy of Eric Danielson via Facebook

Pasadena Poly’s Jackson Allan will be home Dec. 17th and have Christmas at home, Allan’s parents Les and Rhonda posted on Facebook. “It’s the perfect gift for all his family and friends and we are so excited to have him back with us,” they wrote. “He is attacking the challenge of his rehab with all the passion he has done life and sport and so is progressing incredibly well. A very Merry Christmas for the Allan family and to each and every one of you for supporting Jackson and his family these past few weeks. Thank you.”

Allan sustained the head injury during the fourth quarter of Pasadena Poly’s Prep League game against host Chadwick on Saturday afternoon. The game was called with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter and Chadwick leading, 31-19. Allan came off the field after the injury, sat on the bench, and after exchanging words with a teammate it was apparent the extent of his injuries were worse. “(Allan) complained of a headache, went to the side, collapsed, fell into a coma, stopped breathing and we were all there to attend to him,” said Dr. Drew Pinsky, whose son Doug plays for the Panthers and assisted in the treatment of Allan.

Allan was tended to by several physicians in attendance, including an emergency room doctor, then taken by ambulance to Harbor UCLA Medical Center for further treatment. Dr. Pinsky performed CPR on Allan after he had extreme difficulty breathing. His quick response helped save Allan’s life.

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