LOCAL ISSUES MEETING
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Welcome by John Acosta - called to order @ 7:12pm
Introduction of Dana Daniels
ON THE ISSUE
Dana Daniels spoke to the reason why we are here - to look at solutions,
and to do so in a positive manner. Ms. Daniels read an excerpt from
Echoes of a Half Century by Edna F. Goodhew and from EDCAL, "Team
Effort Credited for Drastic School Turnaround", August 9, 2004.
In addition, Ms. Daniels directed everyone's attention to items listed
on the reverse of the evening's agenda on the subject of professional
OF KEY STAKEHOLDERS IN ATTENDANCE
AJ Mora - introductions & prayer
AJ introduced principal and school board members as well as parent leadership
representative. Also included on the panel; Hermon FM Church's chairman
of Board of Trustees, Hermon Neighborhood Association Representative,
Monterey Hills Federation Vice President, Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council
members, Highland Park Ministerial Association Representative and Highland
Park Trust Representative.
1. BRIEF HISTORY AND CURRENT STATUS REPORT
AJ Mora: Alumni of PCHS and longtime resident of Hermon community -
senior pastor of Hermon FM Church
· June 25, 2004: letter sent to alumni, parents and members of
PCHS community (2,300) informing them of the school's immediate need
- a shortfall of $750K for the coming school year.
$400K - operations
$50K - deficit from previous year
$150K - marketing plan
$150K - contingency for student enrollment for fall 2004
· Contributing factors: significant decline in contributions
($278K from one year to approx. $75K)
· Purpose of the initial letter was to inform and raise funds
($67K raised - $18K pledged)
· Brainstorming efforts took place on the part of parents, alumni
and Hermon FM Church community
· Bottom line: needed to balance budget - addressing operating
costs and carried over deficit from previous year was school board's
number one priority
· Decision - could not open in the fall of 2004
· Parent meeting was held to inform them of the board's decision
shared that there was a much longer time frame as to the meeting/strategizing
that took place and subsequently led the school board's decision.
Vasquez - chairman board of trustees at Hermon Church
Richard reiterated the church/community's desire to show support to
the school board of PCHS and the community interest. He affirmed Ms.
Daniel's positive approach to the evening meeting
Faith based organizations: live on budget/contributions
· Relationship between PCHS/Hermon Church has been one of support
over the years - deep historical ties exist between the two organizations
· In the 1990's the Hermon FM Church and PCHS came together in
a formal agreement - financial/loan - requiring that assets be combined
between the two for a time
· Loan was repaid - at that time there was a formal agreement
to separate - 1999
· Such agreement did not mean that school/church would not continue
to cooperate w/ each other but there was no formal, legal agreement
after that time.
· Provision: we would extend physical assets to the school for
its use - because of both institutions being a faith based ministry
and not knowing what the future might hold for either, a Right of First
Refusal agreement was in place between the two
· If/When that question comes up, it will be taken by the Hermon
FM Church society
Possert - Historical Preservation Society
Advocacy in education resources
· Recognizing the historic value, protecting the buildings and
landscape around it
· Incentives provided in property tax reductions if indeed the
school falls under any of the criteria for historical preservation
· Available to provide assistance in connecting school board
w/ the appropriate city officials/offices
· Different levels of historical preservations available
Manske - alumni/chairman of the board of PCHS
Ms. Manske shared the School Board's desire to keep PCHS open - bottom
line is that there are salaries to pay
· Several schools are interested in renting/merging with PCHS
- many that they have met with have not been acceptable in terms of
being more interested in the property rather than the school itself.
· Board will continue to look at options regarding schools interested
in merging w/ the PCHS
Acosta - spoke to the concern of development of the property
Does the school have any outstanding debt?
Yes - Outstanding loan of $750 (in addition to the operating expense)
a danger of foreclosure?
No definite answer to that - still going through finances.
Several different schools all over the city of Los Angeles
more land then really needed? Could part of the land be sold? Zoning?
Board has begun to look at that.
Dana Daniels - Blair Magnet School
· Public/Private partnership
· Active ASB - parent involvement - many of which attend Lake
Avenue Congregational Church.
· Interest in developing a sister school relationship
· Has the decision been made?
· If the school is entertaining ideas of keeping the facility,
which was established 100 years ago, it is assumed they would most likely
want to keep it as a private school/Christian school. Idea of Charter
Schools brought up - knowing that Charter Schools are indeed public
· Is there money in place to maintain the facilities for a year
while the board/community/school regroups?
· A decision needs to be made. If the decision to be made is
one of keeping PCHS as a school, full support will be given.
by Tippi Manske - It is not the administration/board's intention to
"sneak off into the night". The school board's desire is to
maintain a Christian school on the property.
Is Azusa Pacific at all interested?
No determination as of yet.
Brooke Fenwick - longtime Hermon resident
· Revisited the issue of Charter Schools with the main interest
of seeing a quality school that is accessible to children in the area.
· Difficulty in maintaining this type of school (PCHS) - especially
in this community
· High schools on the east side of Los Angeles are overcrowded
and this area would be desirable for a quality/accessible high school
as an alternative
brought up regarding federal bankruptcy protection
- Highland Park Ministerial Association
· Would like to see PCHS remain as PCHS!
· Borrowing to be able to get ahead and then continue fundraising/grants/etc
· Need to look at the criteria PCHS uses to accept students
by Dr. Riesen:
· Addressed the issue of the types of students PCHS accepts
· Most students are very, very average students
· Not necessarily the top students but they are focused, hard
working, strong Christian value.
· Financial aid students: 40%
· 50-60% Hispanic; 75% ethnic; less than 25% Caucasian students
· Give out over 100K a year in financial aid
· Would like to emphasize that PCHS is not an elitist school
by Craig Takata - In informational meetings, questions of student qualifications/admission
have come up. PCHS only turned away 2 students last year. It is difficult
to recruit students because of the enormous amount of private schools
in, for instance the Pasadena area. In addition these schools offer
many more options than PCHS.
by Tippi Manske - addressed issue of a loan/re-financing. School does
not meet the qualifications of a loan from a reputable financial institution.
by AJ Mora - read qualifications of student enrollment/admissions for
PCHS. More important is that the school has not made the types of connections
with the community, as it should.
by a PCHS Parent (name unknown) - shared appreciation for the school
staff/teachers/administration for the way her daughter has been impacted
because of the school.
support, encouragement and assistance were given to Dr. Riesen and the
school board, in terms of being able to help continue the school as
it seeks to minister to students in and around the Hermon community
and greater Los Angeles area.
by Maria Rojas - PCHS parent: Shared the plans to move forward with
Pacific's 100-year celebration. The event will be a celebration/fundraiser
in order to open the doors of PCHS once again. Scheduled date: November
by Dana Daniels: Has there been dialogue w/ the Free Methodist Conference
(FMCSC) regarding the First Right of Refusal agreement?
by AJ Mora - Dialogue has begun. Hermon FM church is aware of the agreement
and the responsibility - Hermon church is 100% committed to seeing that
the property is maintained as a school.
by Richard Vasquez - There is an interest in exploring the idea of the
PCHS/Hermon Church relationship and see how both can minister to students
and families in the area - realizing the potential for donations to
increase as people see how PCHS is impacting the community.
by Dr. Riesen - PCHS seeks to provide a rigorous education, develop
quality Christian character and to provide the opportunity for students
who might not otherwise be able to attend a private school.
recognized Monica Garcia, field deputy to Congressman Antonio Villaraigosa's
by Monica Garcia - She was approached by parents, students, about the
issues relating to the PCHS. Councilman Villaraigosa is concerned about
the issues facing the school and the Hermon community. Assistance/resources
have been offered.
OF COMMUNITY ACTION
1) Recommend a community liaison from the Hermon Neighborhood Association
to the Pacific Christian Board of Directors - No Action
2) Community confirms that they do no want to see anything but a school
on the present site of Pacific Christian on the Hill - Motion passed
3) Community confirms that application for historical preservation of
Pacific Christian on the Hill should begin immediately and action taken
by the ASNC - Motion passed
interested in serving on either the Coalition of Liaisons or Historical
Designation Committee were directed to sign in before leaving.
of Hermon Neighborhood Association - September 1, 2004 - 8:00pm
Meeting Adjourned: 9:15pm
Debbie Mac Nair
August 20, 2004