By Brandon HENSLEY
Members of the Glendale Unified School District were on hand during the CV Town Council meeting on Jan. 20 to further inform parents and other residents of the new
bond measure the district hopes will pass on the April 5 ballot.
Inside the La Crescenta Library community room Superintendent Dr. Richard Sheehan and Deputy Superintendent John Garcia presented a slideshow explaining why Measure S is needed for the area’s schools.
Sheehan said since 2002, all of the local schools – from elementary to high school – have shown progress in test scores.
“Several of our schools rank in the top 10% nationally,” Sheehan said. “Twenty-three of the GUSD campuses are California Distinguished schools, we have National Blue Ribbon schools but beyond that they offer so much more.”
But the “so much more” part now needs improving. Measure K was passed in 1997, giving funding to Glendale schools to improve buildings and school technology.
Now Measure S is here. It would generate around $270 million, and no new taxes would be added to residents. The state would also not be allowed to take away any of the funds, which is important considering the current budget of GUSD.
Sheehan said the district is spending $19 million more a year than the state is giving them.
“The state budget is so uncertain from year to year, we don’t know what to plan for,” he said.
A big upgrade for CV High School would be the science labs. The school’s labs were updated several years before Measure K passed, said Garcia, so those labs have not been updated now for 20 years.
“Here we are 13 years after [Measure K],” said Garcia, “they’re now outdated. It’s a traditional science lab and that’s fine but that’s not where science is these days. You can do virtual dissections; you can do labs with partners all over the globe.”
The district hosted a tech-fair on Tuesday at CV High to demonstrate the need for new technology. On Feb. 8, teachers from CV, Clark and Hoover High School will go to Mt. San Antonio College to observe that school’s science labs, which are on the cutting edge according to Sheehan.
Measure S money would also go into school security, including lighting and fencing.
As far as energy goes, Garcia said the big push is toward solar energy, which would alleviate utility bills the district pays.
“That technology continues to move very, very quickly and is becoming more cost-efficient,” said Garcia.
In the end, Garcia also said property values are tied to the reputation of area schools, and the goal is to keep Glendale and La Crescenta a desired place to raise a family.
“Relatively speaking, in the last year the real estate values in Glendale and La Crescenta increased about 1.25%, and that is in marked contrast to the vast majority of L.A. County,” said Garcia.
Toward the beginning of the meeting, council corresponding secretary Robbyn Battles presented certificates of appreciation to the area’s elementary school’s crossing guards, who stood up in a line and received a big round of applause.
“Every single day, for about 33 minutes a day, these people take so much abuse and step in front of cars. They get yelled at. They do the most important thing and that is to protect the safety of our children.”
This was also the first official meeting for the newly sworn in members of the Town Council, as President Cheryl Davis officially introduced members Odalis Suarez, Dr. Young Suh, Harry Leon and Charly Shelton.
The next Town Council meeting will be held inside the La Crescenta Library community room on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.