By Terry Miller
In the past few months, embattled Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Board of Education (Board) has been grappling with ways to cut costs without hurting the already struggling district. But on Tuesday night, the chopping block fell on one popular elementary school, with possibly more closures coming in the next school year.
On Oct. 30, the Board of Education authorized “the consolidation of Cleveland Elementary School at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.”
Cleveland Elementary students will have priority in selecting schools for 2019-2020 through a special lottery in advance of PUSD’s general Open Enrollment, which begins in mid-January.
The Board is in the process of making decisions on a list of options to reduce PUSD’s operating budget for 2020-21 by at least $10 million. Decisions must be finalized by Nov. 15, 2018.
At the same meeting, the Board voted not to consolidate Franklin Elementary and Wilson Middle School at this time. However, the items remain on the list of options until $10 million in reductions are made.
With declining enrollment, flat state and federal funding, and rapidly increasing mandatory costs, PUSD is at a point where tough decisions must be made to “right size” and permanently cut costs for the long-term fiscal health of the district.
The size of small schools makes it difficult to operate efficiently, cut overhead, and maximize instructional support.
Accordingly, PUSD is working to keep its budget balanced and achieve savings in the long-term.