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Reopening Loma Alta Elementary Discussed at PUSD Meeting Thursday

Pasadena Unified held an open meeting Thursday on how to deal with the news that it will need to close San Rafael Elementary because of seismic concerns. Reopening Loma Alta was discussed.

Pasadena Unified School District officials got questions at a Thursday night meeting about reopening Loma Alta Elementary to compensate for the , according to Adam Wolfson, the district's communications director.

San Rafael is slated to be closed as soon as the 2013-14 school year because of the discovery of new fault lines that run under the school, according to a district press release.  Under state law, the school cannot modernize any buildings within 50 feet of an active fault line, so the district is looking at a range of options for a new school or eventually moving kids in the San Rafael attendance boundary to new neighborhood schools.

At a meeting Thursday, community members were invited to discuss possible solutions to what to do with the extra kids once the school is shut down.

Patch was not at the meeting, but according to Wolfson, there were between 150 and 200 people there, and most of them appeared to be San Rafael parents.

Loma Alta Elementary, which was located on North Cannon Boulevard, just north of Loma Alta Boulevard, was closed down at the end of the 2010-11 school year following a process to determine which schools to close because of declining enrollment and financial issues.  San Rafael received significant votes from the committee tasked with suggesting schools, but Burbank and Loma Alta were ultimately selected as the ones to be shut down.

Wolfson said the district is open to all ideas, including reopening Loma Alta. Issues with that plan would include that the district has already allowed several programs, , to use the campus.  Additionally, Loma Alta is far away from much of the district's students, which was the main reason it was closed in the first place.

Nobody at Thursday's meeting suggested the possibility of reopening Burbank, according to Wolfson.

PUSD's official recommendations for how to deal with San Rafael's closure are:

  • Closing the campus and relocate students/programs to other campuses. The move would cost $150,000 but the district would then also have $5.3 million in Measure TT funds earmarked for San Rafael to spend on other schools.
  • Relocate to Allendale Elementary campus, which would leave the district with a $1.1 million Measure TT surplus after spending $4.2 million on modernizing the Allendale campus.  
  • Reopen the Linda Vista Elementary school campus, which would cost more than $12 million, leaving the district with a net $4.77 million loss.
  • The service center option in Altadena, which would cost $18.9 million and leave the district with a $9.2 million funding shortfall.
  • Build a new school at the San Rafael site on a portion of campus not affected by geological hazards.  This would leave the district with a funding shortfall of more than $10 million.
pusddad May 20, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I agree Allendale looks like the most logical choice, but when was it modernized? I took a tour last spring, and left with the impression it needed a lot of work that was not going to be done because the kids were going to the new middle school anyway. Also $4.2mil in upgrades would suggest it was not modernized. Maybe I was at a different location, but it was the school across from Blair that was being used as the middle school.
navigio May 21, 2012 at 06:05 AM
I don't think allendale has been modernized recently, unless they are talking about little things like PA or fire systems. Yes pdaddy, it's the one across the street from Blair. It's not only in pretty bad shape, but still has a bunch of old temporary classrooms on campus. I'm also a bit confused about a few things. Is it really true that a building is safer 75 feet from a fault line than 50 feet from a fault line? And if not, that law should be changed. I also don't understand the hurry. At one point the super was quoted as saying the building could technically be used in perpetuity as long no upgrades were made. Perhaps that was not true after all? In any case, I think it's a mistake to try to make a decision before the end of this school year. The parents at San Rafael really need more time to digest this and decide what they want to do.
Laura Monteros May 21, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Sorry, I misread the bullet point. I do know it was on the schedule to be modernized as part of the entire Blair campus vision.
Nadine Isenberg May 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
This is just IDK what to call it. My son had to go to San Rafael because they closed Loma Alta. After being at Loma Alta his entire elementary school time he gets removed and can't finish out with his peers. Right now I am so mad at the District. The bad thing is I used to be a champion for the District. Right now I wish I lived in a different District.
Sandi Holden June 14, 2012 at 07:09 AM
Hey Nadine, We closed down Loma Alta and how much did that cost the district?...Only to re-open? Wow.

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