Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 17, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 7


Mountain Views News Saturday, March 17, 2012


Tempering the good news of a $578,900 
budget surplus at mid-year, repercussions 
from the demise of redevelopment could spell 
additional budget and service cuts Duarte 
Mayor John Fasana cautioned during State 
of the City remarks, delivered at a Duarte 
Chamber of Commerce sponsored luncheon 
on March 6 at Westminster Gardens’ Packard 

Stressing the impact of the loss of 
redevelopment on the budget, Fasana 
reminded the more than 100 community 
and business leaders assembled, that 
redevelopment had served as the “economic 
engine” that created much of the City’s 
housing, the 210 business corridor, and 
developments including the Ralph’s shopping 
center that provided needed services to the 

“Those days are over. Redevelopment is 
coming to a close. It is creating a budget hole 
of a quarter of million to one million dollars 
annually. We can’t sustain this kind of deficit,” 
said Fasana.

“What the surplus told us is that we made the 
structural changes that needed to be made. 
We’ve had our house in order but now we have 
additional cuts or revenue enhancements that 
we will need to look at. So taxes, cuts, some 
kind of combination of that, we’re going to 
have to figure it out. We’ll go to the voters if 
there are any government enhancements that 
we need,” said the Mayor.

Adding to budget concerns is uncertainty over 
a $7.5 million transfer to the General Fund 
made last year as a repayment of the City’s 
loan advance made to the Redevelopment 
Agency in prior years. If deemed invalid 
by an oversight committee and ordered 
surrendered to the State, the City’s current 
$12.5 million General Fund balance would 
be reduced to $5 million. “In that case the 
imperative of doing something very quickly 
to bring our budget structurally in order 
becomes very time sensitive,” said Fasana.

 “Collectively we’re all going to have 
to draw a vision for this community that 
really focuses on the well-being of the entire 
community…in terms of the fabric of the 
community that will be important and should 
be sustained,” the mayor stated.

 Despite the budget uncertainties, 
Fasana said he is excited about the City’s 
future, “based on the inherent strengths of 
our community.” Among other highlights of 
his State of City message:

• Duarte is a safe place to live. Crime is 
down. Part 1 crimes constituting homicide, 
assault, robbery, burglary, auto theft, and 
arson are down 20% in the past four years, 
from 611 crimes in 2007 to 488 in 2011.
• The City continues its active 
partnership with the School District and 
the Regional Occupation Program with 
a Public Safety presence working on 
intervention and positive strategies. 
City Council and School Board 
members and staffs work closely 
together. Fasana noted, “Keeping the 
lines of communication open, using 
our resources across lines really makes 
for an effective community.”
• With the Metro Gold Line 
maintenance facility issue settled and 
to be built in Monrovia, and bridge 
work progressing on schedule in 
Arcadia, the Gold Line through Duarte 
and Azusa is on track for completion 
by December 2015.
• Sierra FIAT of Duarte, operated 
by Sierra Autocars, will open soon in 
the former Mitsubishi site on Duarte’s 
210 Freeway auto row. A brand new 
99 Cent-Only Store set to open in the 
shopping center in the northeast corner 
of Huntington Dr. and Buena Vista St. 
provides a “a very necessary shot-in-the-
arm to revitalize that center,” said Fasana.
• The City is working on plans to build 
a ramp that will improve safe access to and 
from Huntington Dr. to the Duarte Senior 
Center. The project will be constructed 
utilizing Community Development Block 
Grant funds.
• City Council is making appointments 
of individuals to work with the Economic 
Development Commission to reassess plans 
for a downtown Duarte area. “The greatest 
benefit we can have is to have a plan that we 
can develop consensus as a community that 
will guide our long term planning,” said 
Fasana. “But it may be many years before 
we can construct what many would view as 
a downtown center.”
• The City’s appeal in a lawsuit against 
Vulcan Materials and the City of Azusa to 
curtail a mining expansion plan that would 
destroy historic Van Tassel Ridge above 
Duarte is expected to be heard sometime 
later this year. Duarte’s City Attorney, 
Ruttan & Tucker, filed a brief in the matter 
with the Court of Appeals the week of 
March 5. “We’re hoping for some success. 
Probably entirely stopping the mining may 
be outside of our grasp but doing so in the 
way that doesn’t create as much in the way 
of health impacts and visual impacts to our 
community certainly remains our goal,” 
stated the Mayor.
• City of Hope will celebrate its 
100th anniversary in 2013 and there will 
be many opportunities for the schools 
and the community to participate in 
the community-wide and worldwide 

State of the Duarte Unified School District

Community members are also heard 
from Duarte Unified School District 
Superintendent Terry Nichols who made 
a presentation on the State of the School 
District. Budget uncertainties were also 
uppermost in Nichols’ remarks.

D.U.S.D. comprised of eight schools, 3,875 
students and 440 employees operates on a 
current budget of $32.9 million. Revenue 
has decreased by $6.8 million over the last 
five years. D.U.S.D is among the bottom five 
in the State in per ADA funding at $4,800 
per child. The current annual loss of income 
is $2,547,690. If the governor’s tax initiative 
fails, the district’s loss would increase to 
$3,964,215 annually. If it passes funding 
would remain flat. In view of the ongoing 
challenges, Nichols said the board has been 
proactive in its decision making and has not 
had to reduce services for students or staff.

A $62 million Duarte school bond passed 
in November 2010, has allowed the district 
to begin to put technology into the schools. 
Every classroom is now equipped with a Smart 
Board, “because engagement of students is 
important to success,” said Nichols. 

Bond money is also going in to upgrading 
facilities throughout the district. This 
summer construction will begin at Northview 
Intermediate on a new cafeteria, kitchen and 
boys and girls locker room. A new stadium 
at Duarte High School is under construction 
and expected to be completed by this fall. 
Maxwell Elementary, in line to become an 
International Baccalaureate school, is in the 
design phase for a major modernization that 
will include new drop-off area, entry and 
multipurpose building, as well as additional 
restrooms, administration building, portable 
classroom demolition and other campus 

The district has just been informed that it will 
be part of a $1.3 million grant with the City 
of Hope “to develop a passion in our kids for 
science and mathematics,” said Nichols.

State of the College District (Citrus College)

Superintendent/President Dr. Geraldine Perri 
delivered the State of Citrus College. Among 
the highlights: California Community College 
system with 1,200 community colleges is 
the largest educational system in the United 
States with 2.6 million students. Citrus serves 
five cities, including Duarte. In 2011, Citrus 
had 1,246 graduates with Associate Degrees 
and more than 800 students transferred. It 
is consistently ranked one of the top 100 
colleges in the United States, said Perri. 
The relatively new Citrus nursing program 
offering practical nursing and RN programs 
came in 45th in the nation in a new survey.

Dr. Perri noted that some of the newer 
innovations in terms of models for education 
are being piloted in Duarte with the Early 
College program, in collaboration with 
the Dean of Physical and Natural Sciences. 
Already 80 students have gone through 
the program which blends high school and 
college in a rigorous yet supportive cohort 
program, enabling a student to complete 
a high school diploma and 30 college 
credits simultaneously. School Relations 
and Outreach assists in providing a smooth 
enrollment process for the student and 
provides assistance in monitoring the 
program. Another pilot program Citrus 
launched last year in Duarte is Early Decision 
Day. If Duarte students enroll, fill out their 
application, take their assessment test, Citrus 
will put them at the front of the line and 
let them get their classes before returning 
students. The program is now being offered 
to all five school districts in the Citrus service 
area, offering the opportunity to 100 students 
from each district. 

Citrus was recently awarded $8 million in 
federal grants. One of the largest grants is 
for science, technology, engineering, and 

Passage of the Citrus College Measure G 
school bond has resulted in many new 
facilities and upgrades. Latest addition is a 
55,000 square foot Student Services Building 
that includes offices for Admissions, Records, 
Financial Aid, International Students, and 
Health Services.

A Summer Page Program opens the college 
to Duarte students to take workshops in pre-
Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry. Working to 
introduce young women to the fields of Stem, 
Citrus is bringing Duarte students to the 
college for Stem Days.

Dr. Perri noted that there will be a closer 
linkage between student goals and demands 
for degrees and curriculum that is in place. 
Citrus is also expanding its online services.