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Tom Selinske, PUSD Board of Education member listens as Melissa Castillo speaks during public comment.
Melissa Castillo, parent and school site council co-chair spoke of her frustrations at the PUSD Facilities and Caspital Projects Subcommittee meeting Tuesday. -Photos by Terry Miller
By Terry Miller
A state $64 million shortfall has put several projects seemingly on the backburner at PUSD.
Of particular note is the Sierra Madre Middle School campus, formerly Maranatha, that was razed and students still in portable classrooms two years later.
The issue is particularly important to residents within Pasadena Unified School District and parents of students at the Sierra Madre Middle School campus who claim PUSD has not been transparent and has not been willing to work with those concerned.
Measure TT funds were supposed to fund the construction of the new middle school which was razed last year. With state cuts and increasing construction costs, the project at Sierra Madre Middle school is at a standstill.
However,’ progress is being made according to the facilities and Capital Projects Subcommittee which held its meeting Tuesday June 12 at PUSD headquarters.
A strong alliance of parents have joined forces and attend meetings regularly to keep themselves up to date and with state budget issues, they have now apparently proposed 20% across the board construction budget cuts without presenting their construction budget numbers.
On Tuesday afternoon, Melissa Castillo, parent and school site council co-chair spoke passionately to the committee about the group’s concerns of what essentially seems to be a stand-still project. Castillo urged the Subcommittee to “consider other elements” in the project.
Supporting Castillo in her quest for anwers from PUSD were Paula White and Gwen Hourihan, PTA/MSA Member. The two briefly spoke expressing their concerns.
Citing that the children have been essentially “living in dirt” at the school site with only portables for the past two years, the parents’ frustration was recognized by the committee and noted that, while no date has been set, ther is “progress” with the site.
Initially the committee presented construction budget numbers that were related to a rebuild not new construction. Those numbers were $11 million dollars higher.
Meanwhile Sierra Madre Middle School hangs in the balance. The buildings on this campus were razed two years ago before architectural plans were approved and before funding was in place. The state architectural plans have not been approved but should be approved soon according to the PUSD subcommitee.
The school, located at 160 North Canon, Sierra Madre is “outrageous and heartbreaking” according to parent Maria Martin Decker.