Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 31, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 9


Mountain View News Saturday, August 31, 2019 



By Kevin McGuire

As kids return to start a new school year, parents 
are going through the annual ritual of tearing 
their hair out while fighting their way through 
crowded stores for pencils, notebooks and rulers. 
Reminiscent of last year, Pasadena parents and 
students have a bit more than school supplies to 
worry about, as the possibility of more school 
closings loom over their heads. 

With $10 million in budget cuts over the next 
three years ordered by Los Angeles County, the 
Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) once 
again finds itself in a sticky situation. Last year, 
along with the cuts to staff, programs and bus 
services, the District closed Cleveland Elementary. 
It was an unpopular, but necessary decision, due to 
low enrollment which affected the school’s ability 
to sustain an effective educational program. 

As this year’s batch of eager students meet their 
new teachers and dust off their calculators, a 
PUSD subcommittee with oversight by Interim 
Superintendent David Verdugo, is looking into 
school consolidation options, the impact on school 
closures on area neighborhoods and families, and 
even the costs of keeping all schools open and 
doing nothing at all. 

PUSD School Board President, Lawrence Torres 
addressed the dilemma with dwindling enrollment. 
“We’ve been dealing with declining enrollment 
since 2000,” Torres said. “Right now we have 300 
fewer kids than we expected. With low enrollment, 
you can’t run a vibrant school program. When this 
happens, extracurricular programs such as Art are 
consolidated—less students, equals overstaffing 
and the combining of grade levels, which is not 
ideal for students or teachers,” according to Torres.

Cleveland had 90 students in an environment 
where most classrooms were combos and despite 
the low numbers, the school needed to staff a 
principal, a nurse and, of course, supply the school 
with all the necessary utilities. The bottom line, 
keeping the school open wasn’t cost effective. 

Some factors contributing to low enrollment 
include low birth rates, higher rents, and a 
percentage of kids being switched to charter 
schools. The cost of living in Los Angeles 
continues to rise and many families are barely 
getting by. The homeless crisis has been a hot, 
important topic in the news lately and the school 
districts define homelessness a bit differently than 
the city. In addition to living on the streets or in 
a car, the schools define homelessness as living in 
conditions such as a two-bedroom apartment with 
an abundance of other people, or renting a room 
from someone, or living in a hotel—those who 
don’t want to endure this move to neighboring 
towns or out-of-state. 

Data specialists found that a surprisingly high 
number of families double up in Los Angeles, 
living in one house with two families. 

Back in Pasadena, this new subcommittee will 
come before the full school board in a public 
meeting on September 19 to discuss their findings 
and, hopefully, provide some recommendations. 
Last time around the board approved one school 
closure out of the four recommended. Wilson 
Middle School, Jefferson Elementary and Franklin 
Elementary were all spared. Will they be spared 
next time around? Only time will tell. 

“I know there is a lot of fear and consternation 
in the community and I completely get that. It’s 
important that the committee completes as much 
of the work as they can; they’re working very hard,” 
Torres stated. “Nobody runs for school board 
to close schools, but it’s our fiscal responsibility 
and has educational importance. It’s a frustrating 
predicament and we’re hopeful that when we get to 
the end of it, and the dust settles, people will find 
they are happier with the better quality of education 
that we’re able to offer,” Torres concluded. 

If school closures are approved, they would take 
place in the 2020-21 school year.


Alverno Heights Academy

200 N. Michillinda Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-3463 Head of School: Julia V. Fanara

E-mail address:

Arcadia High School

180 Campus Drive Arcadia, CA 91007

Phone: (626) 821-8370, Principal: Brent Forsee

Arroyo Pacific Academy

41 W. Santa Clara St. Arcadia, Ca, 

(626) 294-0661 Principal: Phil Clarke

E-mail address:

Barnhart School

240 W. Colorado Blvd Arcadia, Ca. 91007

(626) 446-5588 

Head of School: Ethan Williamson

Kindergarten - 8th grade


Bethany Christian School

93 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-3527 

Preschool-TK-8th Grade

Principal: Dr. William Walner

website: www.

Clairbourn School

8400 Huntington Drive

San Gabriel, CA 91775

Phone: 626-286-3108 ext. 172

FAX: 626-286-1528


Foothill Oaks Academy

822 E. Bradbourne Ave., Duarte, CA 91010

(626) 301-9809

Principal: Nancy Lopez

Frostig School

971 N. Altadena Drive Pasadena, CA 91107

(626) 791-1255

Head of School: Jenny Janetzke


The Gooden School

192 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-2410 

Head of School, Jo-Anne Woolner


High Point Academy

1720 Kinneloa Canyon Road 

Pasadena, Ca. 91107 

Head of School: Gary Stern 626-798-8989


La Salle College Preparatory

3880 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Pasadena, Ca. 

(626) 351-8951 website:

Principal Mrs. Courtney Kassakhian

Monrovia High School

325 East Huntington Drive, Monrovia, CA 91016 

(626) 471-2800 Principal Darvin Jackson


Odyssey Charter School

725 W. Altadena Dr. Altadena, Ca. 91001

(626) 229-0993 Head of School: Lauren O’Neill


Pasadena High School

2925 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Pasadena, Ca. 

(626) 396-5880 Principal: Roberto Hernandez


St. Rita Catholic School

322 N. Baldwin Ave. Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

Principal Joan Harabedian (626) 355-9028 


Sierra Madre Elementary School

141 W. Highland Ave, Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 355-1428 Principal: Lindsay Lewis

E-mail address:

Sierra Madre Middle School 

160 N. Canon Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024

(626) 836-2947 Principal: Garrett Newsom

E-mail address:

Walden School

74 S San Gabriel Blvd

Pasadena, CA 91107 (626) 792-6166

Weizmann Day School

1434 N. Altadena Dr. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 797-0204

Lisa Feldman: Head of School

Wilson Middle School

300 S. Madre St. Pasadena, Ca. 91107

(626) 449-7390 Principal: Ruth Esseln

E-mail address:

Pasadena Unified School District

351 S. Hudson Ave., Pasadena, Ca. 91109

(626) 396-3600 Website:

Arcadia Unified School District

234 Campus Dr., Arcadia, Ca. 91007

(626) 821-8300 Website:

Monrovia Unified School District

325 E. Huntington Dr., Monrovia, Ca. 91016

(626) 471-2000 


Duarte Unified School District

1620 Huntington Dr., Duarte, Ca. 91010



Arcadia Christian School

1900 S. Santa Anita Avenue Arcadia, CA 91006

Preschool - and TK - 8th Grade



Principal: Cindy Harmon



The new school year has only recently started and the Arcadia Unified School District is already making 
the grade. Of the more than 10,700 school districts situated across the United States, Arcadia Unified 
ranks in the top 1 percent of the best school districts in America, according to Niche.

Influential school and neighborhood review website,, recently released its 2019 Best School 
Districts lists. Segmented into national, state, and local rankings, Arcadia Unified holds a top spot at 
each level.

Arcadia Unified School District Niche Distinctions:

 Top 1% Best School Districts in America, California, and Los Angeles

 Top 1% School Districts with the Best Teachers in America, California, and Los Angeles

 Top 1% Best School Districts to Teach in America, California, and Los Angeles

“It’s such an honor to have Arcadia Unified named as one of the best school districts in Los Angeles, 
and it’s very humbling that our district is also a leader in California and in the nation,” said Arcadia 
Unified Superintendent Dr. David Vannasdall. “This recognition will serve as fantastic fuel for the 
school year ahead and is a testament to the incredible team we have here who work with continuous 
determination to support, challenge, and inspire students to make a positive and profound impact on 
their world.”

Each of Arcadia Unified’s schools has individually secured top Niche nods as the best schools in Los 
Angeles. Arcadia Unified’s elementary schools (Baldwin Stocker, Camino Grove, Highland Oaks, 
Holly Avenue, Hugo Reid, and Longley Way) landed in the top 2 percent of the nearly 1,300 public 
elementary schools analyzed. All three of Arcadia Unified’s middle schools (Dana, Foothills, and First 
Avenue) ranks in the top 1 percent of the nearly 500 middle schools in LA.

The district’s comprehensive high school, Arcadia High, remains a leader among its peers, making the 
top 10 list for Best Public High Schools in Los Angeles out of over 400 high schools analyzed by Niche.

In addition to making the Niche grade, Arcadia Unified has remained committed to educating the 
“whole child” in its 360-degree approach to student support. Last year, Arcadia Unified’s Board of Education 
committed to providing a full-time school counselor at each of its six elementary schools to help 
further support and provide proactive approaches to student mental health and wellness. Likewise, 
the district also offers character education programs, such as “The Leader in Me” for students in TK-8 
grade, and has adopted “restorative practices,” which are techniques geared towards building strong, 
trusting relationships and community inclassrooms and schools.

According to Niche, it arrives at its rankings after a rigorous analysis of key statistics and data from 
thousands of schools and includes information from the U.S. Department of Education and millions of 
reviews from students and parents. Ranking factors also include state test scores, student-teacher ratio, 
student diversity, teacher quality, grade school ratings, and the overall quality of the school district. 
For more information on the Niche rankings, visit, for more information about the Arcadia 
Unified School District, visit .

For more information, contact Ryan Foran, AUSD Chief Communications Officer: , 
work (626) 821-6664, cell (626) 802-7602



For lots of people, their pets are thought of as members of the 
family. Indeed, pets are some people’s closest companions. If you’re 
one of those people and you want to make sure your furry friend is 
provided for in your estate plan, here’s how to make that happen.
Be aware, unlike your human family members, pets are considered 
your personal property under the law, so you can’t just name them 
as a beneficiary in your will or trust. If you do name your pet as a 
beneficiary in your plan, whatever money you tried to leave to it 
would go to your residuary beneficiary (the individual who gets everything not specifically left to 
your other named beneficiaries), who would have no obligation to care for your pet.

Wills aren’t a good option
Since you can’t name your pet as a beneficiary, your first thought might be to leave your pet (and 
money for its care) in your will to someone you trust to be your pet’s new caregiver. While it’s 
possible to leave your pet in this manner, it definitely isn’t the best option.
That’s because the person you name as beneficiary (the new caregiver) in your will would have no 
legal obligation to use the funds properly, even if you leave them detailed instructions for your 
pet’s care. In fact, your pet’s new owner could legally keep all the money for themselves and drop 
off your beloved friend at the local shelter. 

Even if you completely trust someone to take care of your pet if you leave him or her money in 
your will, it’s simply impossible to predict what circumstances might arise in the future that could 
make that arrangement impossible. 
For example, when you die, the new caregiver might be living in an apartment or condo that 
doesn’t allow pets, or the individual could be suffering from an unforeseen illness that leaves them 
no longer able to care for the animal. Or, when faced with the reality of the situation, the person 
could simply change his or her mind about wanting to look after your pet for the rest of its life.

Additionally, a will is required to go through the court process known as probate, which can last for 
years, leaving your pet in limbo until probate is finalized. Not to mention, a will only goes into effect 
upon your death, so if you’re incapacitated by accident or illness, it would do nothing to protect 
your companion.

Pet trusts offer the ideal option

In order to be completely confident that your pet is properly taken care of and the money you leave 
for its care is used exactly as intended, consider a pet trust. 

By creating a pet trust, you can lay out detailed, legally binding rules for how your pet’s chosen 
caregiver can use the funds in the trust. And unlike a will, a pet trust does not go through 
probate, so it goes into effect immediately and works in cases of both your incapacity and death. 
What’s more, a pet trust allows you to name a trustee, who is legally bound to manage the trust’s 
funds and ensure your wishes for the animal’s care are carried out in the manner the trust spells out. 

With a properly drafted and funded pet trust, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your beloved 
pet will receive the kind of love and care it deserves when you’re no longer around to offer it. 

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission to help parents protect what they love

most. His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra Madre, 
CA 91024. Schedule an

appointment to sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love 
and financial security for your

family by calling 626.355.4000 or visit for 
more information. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: