Upcoming April 18 SPUSD Board of Education Meeting

This is a courtesy reminder about the upcoming Tuesday, April 18 (6:30PM) Regular Board Meeting in the SPUSD Board Room at 1020 El Centro Street. 

ON THE AGENDA: 

  • Report & Discussion on Construction Options for the South Pasadena Middle School "Old" Gymnasium

Below, you can read some recent NEWS: 

  • On April 11, two of our SPHS students participated in a Town Hall with Congresswoman Judy Chu sponsored by the South Pasadena Democratic Club. Sophomore Sophie Dreskin and Senior Anthony Chen read questions from the audience to Rep. Chu in the Library Community Room. 
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  • Congratulations to the SPHS Virtual Business classes, which recently competed in the San Francisco Competition and Trade Fair. Pictured below from left to right, Kate Ba, Ben Elbaum, Daniel Chun and Jae Jin Lee won first place in the Sustainable Business Plan Competition. Tiger teams overall knocked out the competition with six, first place awards, one second place award and two gold level awards. Go Tigers! (photo credit: SPHS)
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  • On March 21, together with 150 CA School Board Members I went to Sacramento for a California School Boards Association (CSBA) Legislative Action Day to advocate on behalf of our public schools. We met with our state Senators and Assemblymembers and asked them to support legislation that would address school funding issues and the California teacher shortage. Last month I was elected by the school boards of surrounding cities to the CSBA Delegate Assembly. I will be representing 13 school districts in Region XXIII.

With Senator Portantino
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With Assembymember Holden
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In the California State Senate Chamber
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With Assemblymember Chau
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With Senator Mendoza & CSBA Regional Director Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez
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Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Suzie

Dr. Suzie Abajian
Board Member, South Pasadena Unified School District
http://www.suzieabajian.com/

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Upcoming March 14 SPUSD Board of Education Meeting

This is a courtesy reminder of the upcoming Tuesday, March 14 (6:30PM) Regular Board Meeting in the SPUSD Board Room at 1020 El Centro Street. 

ON THE AGENDA: 

PUBLIC HEARING- SOUTH PASADENA MIDDLE SCHOOL "OLD" GYMNASIUM PROJECT 

This is the public's opportunity for comment about construction related to the South Pasadena Middle School (SPMS) old gymnasium building. Specifically, the Board wants to hear the community's perspective on repurposing the existing space versus replacing the structure. The future building will be a vibrant addition to the campus and will house a black box theater, instructional space for art classes, and a lab for robotics and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs.

Following the public hearing there will be a presentation on the overview of construction options for the South Pasadena Middle School "Old" Gymnasium by Bob Simons, SVA Architects.


Below, you can read some recent SPUSD NEWS: 

  • Last month the SPUSD School Board unanimously voted to approve a resolution affirming South Pasadena Unified's commitment to a safe, inclusive, and non discriminatory school environment. Click here to see Student Board Member Anthony Chen read the resolution.

 

  • In January Governor Jerry Brown released a new state budget proposal for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The proposal allows for modest education increases to Proposition 98 (Prop 98) and the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). However, based on this 2017-2018 budget proposal, South Pasadena Unified will receive less money than previously planned by the Governor. “Much to our surprise, considering the passage of Proposition 55, low unemployment, and economic growth, Governor Brown abruptly decreased the revenue for California’s public education system and, subsequently, for South Pasadena Unified by an estimated $900,000 from the state’s adopted budget in June of 2016. The Governor’s budget revisions have created an unexpected financial challenge for the district going forward,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “In light of the state funding proposal, we need to start thinking less about establishing new programs and more about maintaining, operating and creating success within existing initiatives, and unfortunately, reducing or modifying programs and services to balance the budget,” said Yantz. Administrators, staff and the school board will work over the next few months to prepare a balanced budget for 2017-2018 that addresses the unexpected decline in state revenue.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Suzie

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Upcoming February 14 SPUSD Board of Education Meeting

This is a courtesy reminder that on Tuesday, February 14 (yes, that's Valentine's Day!) at 6:30PM there will be a Regular Board Meeting in the SPUSD Board Room at 1020 El Centro Street. 
  • The Board will be voting on a resolution approving the form of a preliminary official statement in connection with the issuance of the District’s election of 2016 general obligation bonds Series A and approving various related actions
  • The Board will also be voting on a resolution approving a debt issuance and management policy in accordance with Senate Bill 1029
Resolution 2016-2017-20 In light of the rise across the country of xenophobia, racism and homophobia during and following the presidential election, I have been working on a resolution that will be presented to the board for a vote for us to show our commitment to all of our students, no matter what their race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or immigration status may be. The resolution, if passed, will re-affirm our district's commitment in providing a safe, inclusive and supportive learning environment for all of our students. You can read the full text of proposed resolution here: http://southpasadena.agendaonline.net/public/Meeting/Attachments/DisplayAttachment.aspx?AttachmentID=533961&IsArchive=0

During the board meeting there will be presentations on the following:
  • South Pasadena High School Academic Decathlon Team - Janet Anderson, Principal 
  • Introduction of Bond Construction Coordinator - YANTZ 
  • South Pasadena High School Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Report - Janet Anderson, Principal 
  • Elementary Professional Development Update - GERVAIS 
  • Dual Immersion Update - GERVAIS 
  • Governor's January Budget Proposal - LUBS
Below, you can read some recent SPUSD NEWS: 
  • We're very proud of the SPHS Academic Decathlon Team which won the LA County contest for the 3rd consecutive year! Next stop: Sacramento for the California Academic Decathlon, which will be at the end of March in the state capital. Click here for the full LA Times article.
  • Congratulations to SPHS senior, Jason Kang, who has been selected as a Posse Foundation Scholar. Nominated by his counselor Nan Ng, Kang will be attending Bucknell University next fall and will participate in foundation-sponsored workshops, meetings and peer collaboration groups from his senior year though college graduation. Each Posse Scholar receives a four-year, full-tuition, leadership, merit scholarship and is placed in a “posse”, or group of 10 students from the Los Angeles area, who are attending the same partner college or university. Chosen from thousands of local students, Kang exemplifies extraordinary academic and leadership potential.
  • Mandarin Immersion Underway at Marengo and Spanish ImmersionContinues into Second Year at Monterey Hills. At  the start of the 2016-2017 school year, students in several South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) classrooms began their public-school experiences with teachers instructing them in English and in a targeted language – either Spanish or Mandarin. This school year, Spanish is taught in one kindergarten and one first grade class at Monterey Hills Elementary School, and Mandarin instruction takes place within two kindergarten classes at Marengo Elementary School. Designed for children and parents who desire a proficiency in a language other than English, the classes seek to expand world language experiences for young learners. Click here to read more.

  • January 24, 2017 – Recently, Governor Jerry Brown released a new state budget proposal for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The proposal allows for modest education increases to Proposition 98 (Prop 98) and the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). However, based on this 2017-2018 budget proposal, South Pasadena Unified will receive less money than previously planned by the Governor. “Much to our surprise, considering the passage of Proposition 55, low unemployment, and economic growth, Governor Brown abruptly decreased the revenue for California’s public education system and, subsequently, for South Pasadena Unified by an estimated $900,000 from the state’s adopted budget in June of 2016. The Governor’s budget revisions have created an unexpected financial challenge for the district going forward,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “In light of the state funding proposal, we need to start thinking less about establishing new programs and more about maintaining, operating and creating success within existing initiatives, and unfortunately, reducing or modifying programs and services to balance the budget,” said Yantz. Administrators, staff and the school board will work over the next few months to prepare a balanced budget for 2017-2018 that addresses the unexpected decline in state revenue.
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Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Suzie

Dr. Suzie Abajian
Board Member, South Pasadena Unified School District

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Upcoming January 10 SPUSD Board of Education Meeting

This is a courtesy reminder that on Tuesday, January 10 at 6:30PM there will be a Regular Board Meeting in the SPUSD Board Room at 1020 El Centro Street. 

In light of the rise across the country of xenophobia, racism and homophobia during and following the presidential election, I have requested that a resolution be presented to the board for a vote so that we can publicly demonstrate our commitment to all of our students, no matter what their race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or immigration status may be. The resolution, if passed, will reaffirm our district's commitment in providing a safe, inclusive and supportive learning environment for all of our students. 

Also, during the board meeting, there will be presentations on the:

  • Preliminary Master Schedule for School Construction
  • Design for Construction of New Math Building Project at South Pasadena High School - Bob Simons, SVA Architects
here's a drawing of the new math building:

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Below, you can read some recent SPUSD NEWS: 

  • December 20 - The South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) School Board voted to approve a construction delivery methodology and the international infrastructure company, Balfour Beatty, as construction manager for its bond program – Measure SP. The Board selected the company after the District completed interviews, reference checks, site visits, and a financial review and discussed the results at length during the public board meeting on December 13, 2016. The Board also heard a follow-up presentation and participated in a question and answer session with District legal counsel and representatives from the construction firm before voting to approve the selection of Balfour Beatty at its bond workshop held on December 17, 2016.  READ MORE HERE
  • December 13 - Collaboration between the Monterey Hills Elementary School (MHS) PTA and SPHS art students resulted in several beautifully painted outdoor umbrellas, which are now installed at the tables on the MHS playground. Led by high school art teacher Aimee Levie, students decorated the umbrellas in a Keith Haring style intended to unify the artwork with the subject of children, playgrounds, and the school’s mascot, the roadrunner. The school’s colors of yellow and green are artfully represented on the umbrellas with supplies paid for by the PTA.

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Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
Suzie

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December 13 Board Meeting

This is a courtesy reminder that on Tuesday, December 13 at 6:30PM there will be a Regular Board Meeting in the SPUSD Board Room at 1020 El Centro Street. 

Upcoming December 16 (Friday) deadline: As you know South Pasadena residents voted by almost 75% to approve Measure SP. Now a Citizens' Oversight Committee will be established. If you are interested in being on the committee, here is the application: http://www.spusd.net/news/view?d=x&id=1476958272404&group_id=1332658559183&return_url=1481598361266 

Below, you can read some recent SPUSD NEWS: 

  • December 7, 2016. SPHS Math Club Wins First Place at Bay Math League Competition:

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Congratulations to the SPHS Math Club for winning first place in the Bay Math League team competition on December 7, 2016 at Arcadia High School. The Bay Math League is a local competition between 12 high schools in the surrounding area, including San Marino, Arcadia, Palos Verdes, and North Hollywood. Thirty-five SPHS students competed in both team and individual competitions. Go Tigers! 

  • SPHS Academic Decathlon Off to a Strong Start

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2016-2017 SPHS Academic Decathlon team led by teacher Oliver Valcorza prepares for competition. (Photo courtesy of South Pasadena High School). The SPHS Academic Decathlon team is off to a strong start after round one of the Los Angeles County regional competition on November 12, 2016 at Monrovia High School. Posting their highest scores ever and breaking last year’s record, the SPHS team brought home 102 out of 140 awards given at the tournament. After this outstanding performance, the team is positioned in a three-way tie for third place in the nation. Go Tigers! 

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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Dr. Suzie Abajian's Ballot Recommendations

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Vote YES on Measure SP

Join me in voting YES on Measure SP!

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I had an opportunity recently to do some phonebanking and called South Pas neighbors to encourage them to vote YES on Measure SP. Can you volunteer for 1 hour? Here are some volunteer opportunity dates:

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Have you seen the 2nd Yes On SP video? It's awesome!

#YESonSP

Our South Pasadena kids make the best case for why we need to vote YES on Measure SP:

Kudos to Julian Petrillo, Dean Serwin, Sheila Rossi and everyone who made this wonderful Public Service Announcement!

 

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▶ Learn more about Measure SP ▶ How to get involved...

Last Sunday I attended the Yes on SP campaign kickoff which had great community turnout! (photos below). It was a very informative meeting, and I think that the video created by members of the Yes On SP Campaign Committee really provides a very concise explanation. Check it out here on the new YesOnSP.com website: 

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Bond Measure SP will: 

  • Repair or replace leaky roofs, old rusty plumbing, faulty electrical and air conditioning systems
  • Upgrade facilities to support student achievement in math, science, technology and in visual and performing arts
  • Remove hazardous materials like asbestos and lead paint from older school buildings, and retrofit older school buildings so they are earthquake safe
  • Replace aging science labs, classrooms and learning technology
  • Replace aging portable classrooms that are expensive to maintain with permanent classrooms
  • Improve access to school facilities for students with disabilities and community members of all ages

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Looking for more details? The Yes On SP campaign folks put together an impressive Frequently Asked Questions and answers page on the new website: YesOnSP.com/faq 

So, you're wondering, how can I get more involved? Well here's three things that you can do right now:

  1. Want to volunteer? Sign up: YesOnSP.com/volunteer 
  2. Ready to pledge your vote? YesOnSP.com/pledge 
  3. Can you make a donation? YesOnSP.com/donate

You can also like and share the links on social media. Click here for the Facebook page

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(above) well attended August 21 Yes On SP campaign kickoff in the South Pasadena Library Community Room, led by co-chairs Yuki Cutcheon and Jean Zenas

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Picture (above) with Sheila Tully who is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Yes On SP campaign

I hope you'll join me in voting YES on the Bond Measure to upgrade and repair schools and prepare our students for the 21st century.

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August 9 Board Meeting

This is a courtesy reminder that on Tuesday, August 9 at 6:30PM there will be a Regular Board Meeting in the SPUSD Board Room at 1020 El Centro Street. 

The first day of the 2016-2017 school year is Thursday, August 18, 2016. 
Below, you can read some recent SPUSD NEWS: 

  • South Pasadena Unified School District School Board Approves $98 Million Facilities Bond Measure for November Election 

    SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (July 12, 2016) – The South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) School Board approved adding a $98 million facilities bond measure to the November 2016 ballot.  If voters approve this measure, the funds will be used for upgrades and repairs to education facilities as well as new construction....A comprehensive facilities assessment recently completed by SPUSD revealed the need for health and safety improvements to buildings, repairs to heating and cooling systems, and replacement of aging roofs. The assessment explored opportunities to replace portable classrooms with permanent buildings, create new instructional spaces for visual and performing arts education, and modernize and preserve historical theaters and auditoriums.  CLICK HERE to read more.  
  • Board Members Approve Resolution Opposing SR-710 Freeway Tunnel

    (July 2016) – The South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) approved a resolution opposing all the SR-710 Freeway Tunnel Alternatives, requesting the SR-710 North DEIR/S address the adverse health impacts and risks to students, staff and parents who are in close proximity to the potential route.  SPUSD school board members also presented a similar resolution to the Five-Star Education Coalition – encouraging its members to vote to oppose all 710 Freeway Tunnel Alternatives.  All parties are asking state officials, Caltrans, Metro and others to work to implement the strategies outlined in the Beyond the 710 Initiative. CLICK HERE to read more.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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