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PUSD Districting Task Force Talks Maps, Plan with Residents

Members of the Pasadena Unified School District's Districting Task Force digested some feedback Saturday regarding draft maps that would divide PUSD into seven sub-regional districts.

Visions of Altadena and Sierra Madre's potential voting future in the eyes of the Pasadena Unified School District were on display Saturday at the , as the presented maps and talking points about its work to date to an audience of about 20 people. 

The nine-member task force was assembled in January 2011 to look into the division of PUSD into seven sub-regional districts, each with its own elected representative.  Voters would then vote on one board member representing their district instead of voting on all seven members of the board as they currently do. Saturday's presentation was the task force's latest effort to gain feedback from the public regarding four draft maps outlining the districts.

"Our goal is one person, one vote," said districting task force chairman Ken Chawkins, whose presentation in hard-copy form along with the draft maps of the districts can be seen to the right of this article. "This could offer a much more poignant voice" for residents.

All four maps would feature two districts in Altadena, but in two of the maps, the community appears to be especially dominant in its two potential districts. Sierra Madre's draft map visions feature either a district that would stretch west toward Altadena or south as part of a "southeastern" district.

Some members of the audience triggered discussion regarding the specifics of how the representation in each district would work, such as what would happen if two people ended up being in the same district, or what to do with the aspect of kids going to school in different districts where they live.

"In a sense, you'd have two people you could go to," said task force member Roberta Martinez. "You can go to the person who represents the area in which you live, and then go to the person who represents the area where your child goes to school. So hopefully, you'd have two advocates focused on your interests."

Bart Doyle, the Sierra Madre representative on the task force, said he plans to present the task force's work to the Sierra Madre City Council on Feb. 14, and that the nature of how the representation would work is a question that the task force should be ready to address at every presentation.

Altadena as Wild Card

, a point that task force member Bernardean Broadus mentioned after the meeting.

"The general theme is, 'This is great', because of how everything is currently structured for more centralized representation," said Broadus, one of Altadena's selected task force members. "The concern that I have is there's not as much participation from the Altadena community. I'm looking for more of that."

Broadus added that the Saturday afternoon timing of the meeting could have played a factor, especially in light of a well-attended evening presentation she made several nights ago. She thinks that could be more of the norm as the process moves forward.

"I believe that because we're moving on to the finalization of the maps, people are going to start coming out in droves, because we're going to have much more information out there," she said. "We're all moving at a rapid pace now."

Chawkins said the task force hopes to have finalized language and the closest possible ideal to a single draft map by March. PUSD voters would then vote on the redistricting plan in June. Historically, approval is far from automatic, as Chawkins noted in his presentation that a similar plan fell at the hands of voters roughly 10 years ago. 

pusddad February 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
TF thanks. that makes 2, even if the second comes from 4-8 years ago, however currently relevant that may be.
Tony Brandenburg February 03, 2012 at 11:56 PM
hi navigio. thank you for the kind words. mary and i worked for a while on the presentation and tried to keep it focused. as far as i recall the sarcs were written by members of the school based on the information from cde. they do have some freedom in the narrative...... unless something has changed. like many things- including districting, it is a lot of information to wrap one's head around- which may explain what seems to be community apathy. maybe it's simply too much to actually digest.....? no, my son wasn't expelled. we actually kept him home after the school changed his program and refused to promise us he would be free from harassment and bullying. the point i was trying to make was that the decrease in suspensions was due to an increase in "on-site suspensions (i.e. the time out room) which were not being documented (probably still aren't) and which pose a fundamental question for all parents- are you aware of when your child is being removed from class for behavioral reasons? this is more than simply a philosophical issue of right or wrong. when a child is removed from class, he or she is essentially being denied access to an education. that means that children- sent by parents to school to get an education- are being removed from access to it without parent notification. i am not speaking in speculation- it has happened to my children at sierra madre. for my youngest, who had an iep, every time he was removed from class was a violation of equal access.
Tony Brandenburg February 04, 2012 at 12:00 AM
when we realized that he had been removed from class on a daily basis? that it wasn't documented anywhere? well...... then where the hell was he, if not in class? i don't think we were unreasonable in demanding an answer to that. back to the reporting- if a school chooses to run things like that- removing kids and not documenting it, nor notifying parents- and no one says anything..... it will be a practice that continues. program improvement can't occur when children are removed from access to instruction. the issues we have been bringing up, mary and i, may not be popular in sierra madre, but they certainly are valid concerns.
Tony Brandenburg February 04, 2012 at 12:12 AM
it is a culture of exclusion that runs deep, of that i am certain. it was no secret to HONOWITZ, nor BLUEMEL, nor BLANCO...... blanco even admitted it to me a number of times, so did bluemel. and as for honowitz refused to offer us equal access. the vigilantes, by sheer numbers, were given that. does might make right? a teacher shared (their) own experience with me, before i was a leper, of having (their) child being removed for behavior that was asd, and that the child eventually was home schooled. my point? a teacher who won't fight for (their) own child isn't going to bat for my child. like i said, it runs deep.
Mary Brandenburg February 04, 2012 at 01:07 AM
pusddad: re: “The absence of others in the know about your situation that support your version of the events seems to give it less validity”. Understood. Diaz, Blanco, Bluemel are gone- 2 retired, 1 promoted to SFU. All never being properly deposed. Honowitz remains. He is in the know, including having direct knowledge of the group forum he arranged (and denied us access to) and which was held at PUSD District offices. He acted as an administrator, perhaps implementing a policy that the group decided at this meeting? Our gripe is significantly more than the district respecting anonymity (surely not our son's). There was a federal investigation going on last year re: what happened to our son. PUSD staff made false statements, denied their actions, and hid significant docs and information so the district was found “in compliance” by OCR due to “lack of evidence”. Docs were with held even after a PRA request to both Diaz and Honowitz. A 7 year old child was used as the scapegoat, and ended up marginalized and criminalized- in order to keep a lid on this.

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