Our Readers Write: Appalled at Palm Crest's class sizes

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We moved to La Cañada in the summer of '09 not only because we wanted our children to attend the schools, but to also be part of this great La Cañada community.

Now in our second year in LCUSD, we are appalled to see 24 kids in the classroom of our first-grader. We are extremely concerned about the impact on the learning environment. If classrooms are crowded, supplies are unavailable and teachers are overworked, how can the district continue to provide the best for our students?

The district officials cite "declining enrollment" and "rising costs" as factors that required the increase in class sizes. The district officials further explain that the allowing permit nonresidents to attend our schools help reduce class sizes. What? The number of permit students has jumped to 10% in the district. I understand Palm Crest's permit student population is up 18% and Palm Crest's first-grade is up 26%.

I recognize that there are exceptions where permit students make sense to our district. For example, the children of the teachers, administrators and other district staff who give so much to the school district are an integral part of this community.

Fundraising efforts should be increased to decrease class sizes and provide more resources to the district. I don't know many parents who wouldn't donate more than $1 per day per student to ensure the schools continue to excel for our children. According to the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation handout, the suggested donation for LCUSD families is significantly less as compared to [donation amounts recommended at] other top school districts in California. For example, according to the handout, San Marino's tax and suggested donation is $5,100 for a family with two students as compared to La Cañada's total of $880.

As a La Cañada property owner and parent of children enrolled in LCUSD, I would like to see full disclosure of the district's enrollment, by school, grade and class, as well as complete detailed financial results for all programs. The information available on the district's website is severely lacking in detail. Why can't the detailed financials be posted on the website for both the LCUSD and the Educational Foundation? Family donations by school and grade level should also be publically reported. Full disclosure would allow for the property owners and parents of children attending LCUSD to provide input and partner with district officials to find creative solutions.

We need a short-term fix as well as a long-term solution. Can we, at minimum, hire full-time aides in each K-3 classroom to offset for the increase in class size? Like me, I know many parents who will get involved and work with district officials to create a plan for the future of all the grade levels.

Stacy Kinsel

La Cañada

Sending thanks to good Samaritans 

I want to thank two La Cañadans caught doing the right thing.

Wednesday as I biked home up Oakwood, my bike's chain became entangled. The rear tire would not budge. I picked up my bike, upending it in the gutter on the side of the road, trying to correct the problem. Shortly thereafter a youth driving a blue SUV stopped and asked if I needed help or a cell phone. I thanked him, but said I was fine.

As he left, I continued diagnosing, eventually removing the derailleur hanger from a spoke. I could not ride the bike further. A second SUV stopped and asked if I needed help, a cell phone, or a ride home. This time, I accepted. A local mom went out of her way, giving me and my crippled bicycle a ride.

Thank you, both of you. Your friendly, helpful attitude lifted my spirit and my day.

Margaret Bourke

La Cañada

 

Reverend sounds attention-starved

All right Rev. Bryan Griem, I'll take the bait. After reading the "In Theory" section of the paper for some time now, it's obvious that underneath his cloak of holiness, Griem is little more than an attention-starved blowhard. I appreciate a good argument as much as the next guy — so long as it's logical. Alas, Griem's answer to last week's question of whether "don't ask, don't tell" should be repealed is full of more holes than a Los Angeles surface street.

Regardless of your stand on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Griem seems oblivious to the fact that thousands of gays are serving in the military at this very moment (if he has any doubts, just look at the number of military men and women who have been discharged for their sexuality.) So, what's to keep closeted gay recruits from "sizing up" their fellow straight recruits now? Griem also worries that gays will have a feminizing effect on the military.

But again, aren't gays already serving in the military? For that matter, aren't women, as well? And what to make of Grime's worries over catching AIDS on the battlefield? Are soldiers currently having unprotected sex on the battlefield? Otherwise, I don't see what AIDS has to do with an argument in support of "don't ask, don't tell."

Despite the fallacies of his arguments, Grime does accomplish something amazing — he managed to work in the Village People, AIDS and pedophilia into a three-paragraph diatribe. Well done, Grime, well done.

Steve Nelson

Glendale

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