Monterey Hills Elementary School

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Letter from Superintendent Yantz

February 1, 2023
Dear SPUSD Community,
As we wrap up January and February begins, we are reminded that large issues facing the nation touch our homes and hearts in South Pasadena. Our thoughts continue to be with those affected by the Monterey Park, Half Moon Bay, and Tyre Nichols tragedies. We work daily to support our students’ emotional, mental, and physical well-being as they process the senseless violence around us. 
Together with our school counselors, psychologists, and teachers, and staff, we prepare safe spaces at school to discuss questions and engage in sensitive conversations. Our highly effective Train Your Brain team has arranged for three parent education sessions in February, March, and April that will offer strategies covering topics such as challenging behaviors, how to talk to and listen to your child, and suicide prevention. We hope these sessions provide an additional level of encouragement and support to families and students.
Beyond our students’ academic educational development and social-emotional support, we have a lot to look forward to throughout the District in the coming months. Following are updates on three key topics:
SPUSD Parcel Tax Renewal
On Monday, January 30, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) Board of Education voted unanimously to place a measure on the May 2, 2023 all-mail ballot to renew our local parcel tax education funding. This measure would renew funding at the current rate of $474 per parcel for 7 years, with annual adjustments for inflation.
Since 2009, South Pasadena community members have supported local education parcel tax funding, which helps keep our schools among the best in California and the nation. SPUSD uses parcel tax proceeds to help attract and retain highly qualified teachers, maintain manageable class sizes, and pay for advanced programs in math, science, reading, engineering, technology, music, arts, and career preparation. 
The current parcel tax is set to expire in 2025. If renewed in May 2023, the parcel tax will sustain the current revenue with approximately $3 million in annual school funding that cannot be taken away by the State. More information will be shared in the coming weeks about the parcel tax election. Keep an eye out for your ballot in the mail and please plan to vote by May 2, 2023.
Measure SP Update (Bond Funds)
While parcel tax funds are integral to improving programs and attracting and retaining highly-qualified teachers, Measure SP bond funds are strictly used to fund necessary facility improvements at the schools. Measure SP, passed in 2016, has provided $98 million in funding used at every school site to improve and modernize buildings and help ensure safer campuses.
The SPHS STEM Building, SPHS Athletic Facilities, SPMS Arts Building, replacement of all portable classrooms with permanent classrooms, and permanent arts rooms at all three elementary schools are just a few of the impactful projects that have been funded through Measure SP.
One major proposal on the horizon is the addition of solar panels at all SPUSD schools. The benefits of producing solar energy are commonly known; such as reducing carbon emissions and substantially reducing the District’s annual costs for energy needs. Plans for a $7-8 million solar panel project will be finalized in the next few months. SPUSD has secured a contractor, Pacific West, who will be submitting plans to the State architects for approval. We are anticipating phased construction to take place during 2024.
In addition to the solar panel project, which will affect all campuses, various other improvements are planned for this summer, such as replacing the roof of the SPMS Auditorium, painting the exterior of Arroyo Vista, and replacing the SPHS stadium field.
Student Slice-of-Life
The best news of 2023 is that our students continue to make significant gains in their educational journeys. With the school year at a halfway point, we begin to see evidence of student success during our open houses, through local, state, and national competitions, and as we learn of college and career plans for our soon-to-be graduates.
Please enjoy this 2023 SPHS Semester One Look Back video, created by SPHS senior Eric Cuellar. Eric serves as the official ASB videographer, a position he earned by demonstrating his exceptional skills in video production. Prior to this role, Eric participated in the SPHS Internship Program and worked directly with the company DanceCreate, where he honed the skills necessary for his current position. 
Also, this is the last week of league competition during the SPHS winter athletics season. Tomorrow (February 2) is a big day for sports with Girls/Boys Basketball and Soccer rivalry matches against San Marino and Girls Water polo against Blair. Consider coming out and supporting our student athletes. Go Tigers!
We are so proud of our students, their activities, and their passions that lead them on a path to reaching their full potential.
Geoff Yantz, Ed.D.