PUSD Cancels and Reinstates Altadena Student/Teacher of the Month Program

UPDATE: After the PUSD’s abrupt cancellation of the Altadena Community Student and Teacher of the Month Programs, they made an abrupt decision to reinstate the programs that same day.

Please see below correspondence between PUSD Assistant Superintendent Kathy Onoye and myself regarding PUSD’s cancellation of Altadena’s Student and Teacher of the Month Program. Even though I resigned my position from the Altadena Town Council last month, I did not resign my commitment to the community in honoring our teachers and students. The PUSD has not made it clear why, as they reach out to the community for more support in an economy where people are struggling to pay their mortgages (via the proposed parcel tax to be voted on in a mail-in ballot May 4), they would shut down a program that cost them absolutely nothing and has been lauded by its participants and proven to be extremely successful. I would rather encourage and reward a child for doing their best in school rather than someone else encourage them in a different direction that leads to increased crime in our community. We the community must stand up for what is important for our children. It’s not going to happen unless we get up and do something about it through our votes, letters, phone calls, and e-mails to the PUSD. We must participate, or not complain. At this point, Altadena may seriously want to reconsider separating from the PUSD and forming our own school district. In addition, we should also vote against the parcel tax until we have fully investigated and understand its implications.

from: Herbert Simmons <herbert.h.simmons@gmail.com>
to: Kathy Onoye <konoye@pusd.us>

cc: ediaz@pusd.us, bharrison@pusd.us, ehonowitz@pusd.us, epomeroy@pusd.us, rcooper@pusd.us, rmiramontes@pusd.us, sphelps@alumni.caltech.edu, tselinske@pusd.us, janette.williams@sgvn.com, news.star-news@sgvn.com,
steve.scauzillo@sgvn.com, Andre Coleman <andrec@pasadenaweekly.com>,
Dan – Star-News <danworkmail@gmail.com>, Joe hopkins <pasjour@pacbell.net>,
Kevin Uhrich <kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com>, “larry.wilson” <larry.wilson@sgvn.com>,
Sehnita Joshua Mattison <sehnita@crowncitynews.com>, Tami DeVine <tami@crowncitynews.com>, Joe Brown <pasadenanaacp@aol.com>,
Steve Lamb <steve_lamb57@sbcglobal.net>, HSimmonsJr@msn.com,
Okorie Ezieme <oezieme@ngokconsultants.com>, Camille Dudley <molasac_llc@earthlink.net>, Rene Amy <sat9forum@earthlink.net>, “Dr. David Jacobs” <davidjacobs@sbcglobal.net>

date: Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 12:00 PM
subject: UPDATED: Altadena Student/Teacher of the Month Program

Dear Kathy,

I received this e-mail from Principal Lefler (below). I am disappointed to hear that you have made a decision to cancel a strictly volunteer program in which local businesses and the community have come together to honor Altadena’s students and teachers. During a time when the PUSD is reaching out for more support through a parcel tax that is deemed necessary in an economy where people are struggling just to pay their mortgages, why would the PUSD cancel a volunteer program that has cost the PUSD no money and has been lauded by its participants and proven to be extremely successful? Please cite the state or federal law, PUSD board policy, directive from a superior, or PUSD administrative regulation that served as the basis of this decision to cancel the program.

Thank you,


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sharon Lefler <slefler@pusd.us>
Date: Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 8:36 AM
Subject: Awards
To: Herbert Simmons <herbert.h.simmons@gmail.com>

I want to thank you profusely from the Webster Community for your generosity in providing such positive recognition for our staff and students at our monthly awards assemblies this year.  Today I was notified by the District that we need to discontinue your awards.  Again, many thanks and good wishes to you.

Mrs. Sharon J. Lefler
Daniel Webster School
2101 E. Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 396-5740 phone
(626) 798-8216 fax


from: Kathy Onoye <KOnoye@pusd.us>
to: Herbert Simmons <herbert.h.simmons@gmail.com>

date: Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 10:10 PM
subject: Dear Herbert,

Dear Herbert,
I am requesting that you suspend the award assemblies as of January.