The three R’s of education have taken on new meanings. With education
dollars shrinking, parents, educators and municipal employees are now
thinking recycle, reuse and repaint.
That’s what Mary Ann Wassem, Emerson Elementary School PTA
president, thought when she learned bookshelves, desks, tables,
stools and other equipment at the old Buena Vista Branch Library were
slated for auction by the city.
After Doris Crutcher, a retired Buena Vista library assistant,
called Wassem to let her know the city planned to move the equipment
into storage and eventually sell it, Wassem said her first thought
was: “Oh no, why can’t we have it?”
When Helen Wang, assistant to Library Services Director Sharon
Cohen, took Wassem and other members of the Emerson PTA over to the
library to let them see what was available, Wassem said they were
like kids in a candy store. She called school district librarian
Paula Paggi to tell her about the treasure trove gathering dust in
the shuttered building.
Paggi, realizing there was sufficient equipment to enhance several
school libraries, alerted PTA members within the district and asked
them to lobby city officials to get the equipment donated to the
Judie Sarquiz, the city’s deputy financial services director, got
involved because her department is in charge of the city’s surplus
Normally, the city would auction off the surplus equipment, but
when employees from the city manager’s office and library told
Sarquiz the schools were interested, she said if the schools could
use it, they were welcome to it.
“We get pennies on the dollar when selling used equipment,”
Sarquiz said. “We’d much rather it stay here and benefit people in
the community then sell it.”
Other schools that will get equipment are Washington, Bret Harte
and Disney elementary schools, Magnolia Park Special Education
School, Jordan Middle School and Burbank High School.