Less than two weeks after the defeat of Measure E, the San Marino school board unanimously approved a resolution calling for the elimination of 41 teaching and advisory positions in order to balance the budget for the 2021-22 school year, it was announced at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Though the results of the election have not yet been certified, Measure E had been approved by 2,192 voters (63.04%) to 1,285 (36.96%) who voted in opposition. Measure E required a two-thirds majority for passage.
Measure E raised $4 million annually at $968 per parcel, adjusted by the lesser of the Los Angeles Statistical Area Consumer Price Index or 3%, including commercial properties within the boundaries of the school district. First approved by voters in 2009 for a six-year term, the parcel tax was renewed in 2015 and will now expire in June 2021, erasing approximately 10% of the district’s budget.
The San Marino Unified School District discussed a strategy to bring students back to its campuses as early as Monday, Feb. 22, at its most recent school board meeting on Feb. 9. If implemented, the plan would reinstate at least partial in-
person education for students in transitional kindergarten through 2nd grade at Valentine and Carver Elementary schools.
The plan was fortified when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced on Monday that they expect the state’s COVID-19 case threshold to reach the predetermined limit that had been deemed safe by health officials.
“The state permits elementary schools to reopen as soon as we reach an adjusted case rate of 25 per 100,000,” the public health department said in its news release. “We are informing Los Angeles County schools via an emailed letter that we expect to announce we have reached this threshold effective Tuesday, Feb. 16.”
For the first time since 2004, residents of San Marino are without the services of two cell towers that were the source of controversy because of their placement on school district property.
One of the monopine towers, so named because they were designed to resemble pine trees, is located in a maintenance yard adjoining Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools, and the other was at San Marino High School.
The towers were deactivated in November, according to Aldo Cervantes, San Marino’s director of community development. The 70-foot tower at SMHS has been removed altogether; it was owned by American Tower. The 60-foot Verizon tower at Valentine and Huntington is still standing, but all of its hardware has been removed and power has been disconnected, rendering it useless. Coverage from the tower formerly at SMHS will be handled by a new mast located in Los Angeles County, and the other tower was replaced with a new rooftop antenna at 2290 Huntington Drive.
The San Marino Unified School District was paid $1,000 per month for each tower,
The towers elicited opposition from dozens of residents. The station at the high school was located directly atop the Raymond Fault and never received proper permits. It was also within the fall radius of the gymnasium at SMHS. In 2018, a large sinkhole developed just a few yards away from the cell tower, causing the temporary closure of an access road that runs directly behind the gym.
The San Marino School Board on Tuesday evening named Loren Kleinrock interim superintendent following its second closed session meeting on the subject.
“I greatly appreciate you putting your trust in me again,” Kleinrock said after the announcement was made by School Board President Shelley Ryan.
Ryan said the board agreed it was prudent to appoint an interim superintendent and allow the newly configured board choose a permanent replacement after the Nov. 6 election, when three seats will be contested.
Kleinrock’s appointment was met with a brisk round of applause from the 25 or so in attendance at Tuesday evening’s meeting.
Kleinrock has worked in the SMUSD since 1975, including 17 years as principal of San Marino High School and a previous stint as superintendent from 2011-14. Most recently, Kleinrock has served as a consultant in curriculum and instruction and also as interim assistant principal of activities, athletics and discipline at San Marino High School earlier this year.
If anyone can say they have “done it all” in the SMUSD it is Kleinrock, who has taught at both Huntington Middle School and San Marino High School, coached football, baseball and soccer, served as assistant principal and principal at SMHS, superintendent of schools and the consultant roles.
After graduating from UCLA, Kleinrock came to the SMUSD in 1975 as a Government and History teacher. He was named principal of SMHS in 1986 and served until 1992, when he went to Huntington Middle School for a three-year stint as principal. He returned to SMHS in 1995 and served another term as principal until the summer of 2011, when he was named superintendent upon Dr. Gary Woods accepting a similar position at the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Kleinrock stayed on until Cherniss was hired in 2014, but soon returned as a consultant, implementing the state’s Next Generation Science Standards and the framework for a new state History and Social Studies curriculum.