It’s not the US. It’s France.
PASADENA >> The Pasadena school board Tuesday unanimously approved a major renovation that includes a new classroom and a move to a more flexible schedule.
The project’s backers say they’re trying to do something about the district’s problems of overcrowding. The latest plan calls for doubling the number of students in classes and consolidating the three elementary schools in the downtown district.
But critics say the plan could increase overcrowding, particularly in the school district’s most congested school.
The school board meeting began with a pitch from Pasadena-based architects, Gentry & Associates, and a presentation by teachers and others who want to keep class sizes low.
Gentry is the same firm that designed New York’s High Line park, while Kresge Architects has designed buildings in downtown LA. Gentry’s CEO, Mark Kresge, spoke to the board about how his firm’s projects have been successful in the past, from parks and stadiums, to theaters and restaurants.
“We have been very successful with our schools,” he said. “When you put them in places like New York and Los Angeles, it’s hard to see a problem until it starts to grow. We are just lucky that our schools are such excellent success stories that the rest of the nation is willing to build schools for them.”
He went on to discuss high school, college and career readiness, among other themes at the board meeting.
“This is the district that has the lowest failure rate in the state,” Kresge said. “If you look at how we can improve our schools, you’ll see a huge amount of success and we will do it with you, every day.”
The school board will consider the school renovation plan as it comes back to the board at its Nov. 28 meeting. The $7.6 billion renovation is expected to come online between 2017 and 2019.
The plan also calls for building a new classroom at Eastside Secondary, moving two elementary schools, in addition to the two higher schools, and expanding more than 400 students into new classes.
The school board also unanimously approved a “transformational” bond proposal intended to address overcrowding in the South L.A. district. In the past, a school board has failed to approve proposals such as this.
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