The Long and Short of a Future Pool at LCHS

In a discussion of the La Cañada Unified School District Facilities Master Plan, the size of a prospective swimming pool became a point of contention Tuesday night.
Associate Superintendent Mark Evans spoke at the district Governing Board meeting about updates to the plan, saying they will allow for “additional classrooms, utilities improvements, safety and security upgrades, as well as the parking lot and drop-off reconfiguration” at Palm Crest Elementary School. That prompted the board to discuss the budget forecast through the 2020-21 school year.
A budget line item for a future 33-meter pool raised the ire of several community members Tuesday, including La Cañada High School alumnus Grant Haxton, who advocated for a larger pool to allow the boys’ and girls’ teams to practice at the same time.
“With a 50-meter pool, you could do away with ‘zero period,’ which would be very beneficial at alleviating or mitigating sleep deprivation,” Haxton said, apparently referring to the district’s commitment to later school starting times.
Board member Ellen Multari said although the current budget allowed for only a 33-meter pool, the hope was that the community would raise additional funds needed for a 50-meter pool.
District officials hope the pool will be finished before the 2020-21 school year.
Board members also unanimously approved the continuation of a peer support course for LCHS 9th-, 10th- and 11th-graders who are interested in careers in counseling.
“It’s really helping students learn skill sets such as active listening and talking in a confidential manner,” said President Kaitzer Puglia. “I appreciate the positive approach to psychology versus the detrimental perspective.”

SAFER SCHOOLS
The leadership subcommittee attended a training session with the Orange County Sheriff’s Training Academy, where, according to district chief technology officer Jamie Lewsadder, it “heard presentations from FBI, SWAT, a fire captain and an ER doctor on ways to make our schools safer from a threat detection perspective.”
“LCHS is evaluating a closed or open campus lunch [policy],” Lewsadder added. “No decision has been made, but that subcommittee will wait for students to be available to weigh in.”

SCHOOL YEAR preparation
The board also updated the community regarding staffing changes at the local schools.
“We think we have an incoming class of new hires that will prove to be very successful,” Superintendent Wendy Sinnette told board members.
Sinnette added that Palm Crest was forced to open an additional 5th-grade class and that 7th grade at LCHS 7/8 is over-enrolled.
“It looks like our total [district-wide] enrollment will be around the 4,205 mark, and that’s up from last year’s number of 4,126,” she said.
David Haxton, a parent, expressed concern that the LCHS lunch hours will fluctuate between 11:39 a.m. and 12:54 p.m., depending on the day of the week, starting this school year.
“If I was a 15-year-old, I don’t think I’d do well eating so early some days and so late on others,” he said.
The board’s student representative, rising senior Andrew Kwon, said he had received generally positive feedback from his peers regarding the lunch schedule change at the high school.

IN OTHER BUSINESS
Lewsadder thanked families for completing online registration for the upcoming school year over the course of the last three weeks.
“We are fortunate to have amazing teachers who come together each year to engage our students in learning,” said Puglia, “and our students and teachers are fortunate to have families who are supportive and understand the importance of high-quality education.”
Sinnette also announced that “Nachos with the Board” — a teacher appreciation event — would be held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, at Los Gringos Locos.

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