In regard to the turmoil caused by the Alhambra School District’s action on a proposed new high school, I feel that I must clarify some issues.
First, it is true that two of the elementary schools that are near the proposed sites are on double sessions or holding classes on a year-round basis. Both, however are overcrowded, not because of the growth rates in their immediate neighborhoods in Rosemead, but because of the influx of students from neighboring Monterey Park. Unfortunately, the Garvey School District straddles the Rosemead/Monterey Park boundary and cannot close its doors to the growth being experienced in a neighboring city. Second, it is true that the schools of southern Rosemead have shown some growth in the student population over the past few years. This 4% to 5% growth cannot be fairly compared to the 12% to 15% growth being experienced in areas of Alhambra and Monterey Park. I remind you that these percentages represent yearly growths!
Years ago, the city of Rosemead adopted a policy of controlled growth with an emphasis on single-family housing. Again and again the council has reiterated the commitment to keeping growth to manageable levels. Now we see that the Alhambra School Board has rewarded our efforts in keeping school population growth in Rosemead at a very low level by placing all of its proposed high school sites in our city. Rosemead was not the city that allowed the blossoming condominium complexes on every street corner, yet it is our citizens who must lose their homes to justify this folly of poor public planning. Is this just, fair or equitable? Perhaps it is merely a political decision based on the fact that there is no current member of the Alhambra School Board who lives in the Rosemead part of the district. Is the decision to put a high school only in Rosemead a way to keep the political heat from the home front off their backs?
What is truly sad is that an offer to meet and confer has not even been (made). Yes, it is true that a school district legally does not have to meet with the cities in which it operates in matters of eminent domain. But, as a matter of good faith, such a meeting (or series of meetings) should be held. Let’s face it, we all are interested in the quality of education of our kids. I lived through four years while my son attended the overcrowded Mark Keppel High School. I know that a new high school is critically needed. Can’t we see if a districtwide search for a site might not uncover a more centralized location which most closely services those areas of the district most overcrowded?
Robert W. Bruesch, councilman