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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR : Some 'Hard Facts' About School Site

February 05, 1987

It seems that the public has been exposed to certain "mythology" concerning the recommendations for a new high school in the Alhambra City and High School Districts in a letter from Alhambra City Manager Kevin Murphy (Times, Jan. 15). Permit me to present some hard and reasoned facts.

First, southern Rosemead is the area which has experienced the least amount of growth in both total population and population of school-age children. Figures extrapolated from statistics obtained from the county Regional Planning Department, the cities involved and the 1980 Census show the following:

- Population growth 1980-1986: Alhambra, 9,359; Monterey Park, 6,440 and southern Rosemead, 4,132.

- Total housing unit growth 1980-1986: Alhambra, 1,545; Monterey Park, 1,177, and southern Rosemead, 392.

- Student growth 1980-1986: Alhambra, 1,510; Monterey Park, 1,236, and southern Rosemead, 661.

What civic leaders in Rosemead have been saying is true. The majority of growth has not been occurring in our city.

Parents and community leaders in south Rosemead have always desired more control over the educational future of their children. That is why, for the past 25 years, many have said they want a high school within their community. Yes, the Garvey school board, which serves students from southern Rosemead, did want to discuss the possibility of placing a small high school within its boundaries as a reaction against an apparent lack of attention toward the educational needs of their community's children.

The Alhambra school board, almost five miles away from the Garvey area, sometimes seemed 500 miles away. It is only natural that the Alhambra district, which serves high school students from Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel and Rosemead, is more concerned with the smooth transition of students from their elementary school district into their high schools rather than other elementary students.

Why is it that the Alhambra school board continues to demand that the new high school be placed in the only area within the district not represented by a school board member? Are the district administrators ignoring Monterey Park's need for a high school in the fear that in some distant future the residents of Monterey Park may want to form their own unified district, thus dismembering what is at best a large and unwieldy school district?

Would any of these aforementioned desires and demands have been necessary had the Alhambra district paid heed to the needs of its southern flank?

It seems to me that the Alhambra district has embarked on a very perilous journey. By ramming the high school site down the throats of Rosemead citizens and turning their backs on the demands of their Monterey Park constituents, they are facing many years of acrimonious debate and litigation. This will certainly delay the construction of a high school for at least five years.

I thought I heard district administrators declare that the overcrowding had reached the critical point; that it was interfering with the delivery of a quality educational program to our children. It seems to me foolhardy to proceed down the path of most resistance, thus delaying the re-establishment of uncrowded classrooms for all district students.

In this light, Alhambra district administrators and school board members are permitting political necessities to abrogate their educational responsibilities.


Rosemead City Councilman

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