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Fox 11 News
Partner Readiness

Future Petitioning

Fox 11 News

Fox 11 News featured Altadena Schools last week. Click here to see "Taking Control of Education in Altadena Schools" (5:32).

The “Taking Control of Education in Altadena Schools” video is also on Altadena Schools’ Facebook page. Did you know that every post Altadena Schools makes on its Facebook page ends up receiving over 1,000 views? With over 250 Fans, the video from Gigi Graciette at Fox News is off to a great start!

Partner Readiness

Volunteers for Altadena Schools have learned much these last few weeks about the readiness of our state and county partners to complete their responsibilities in the petition process.

From the moment that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) delivered their approved petition to the chief petitioners in 2006 until the completed petitions were returned to LACOE in September, virtually every task associated with the petition was the responsibility of Altadena Schools. Since then, Altadena Schools has been able to see how its partners LACOE, the California Department of Education (CDE), and the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RRCC) will perform their responsibilities in this process.

LACOE and the CDE have executed their responsibilities these last few weeks in manner that reminds Altadena Schools of Pasadena Unified’s inability to make any progress in raising student achievement or in closing the academic achievement gap. Altadena Schools wrote LACOE on Nov 8 asking for an audit of the rejected signatures and the escalation path for resolving issues, including LACOE’s cumulative negligence in giving the wrong signature goal from 2006 until present. In reply, LACOE gave an extremely bureaucratic 49-page response that attempted to free them of any accountability. Their reply also pointed Altadena Schools in the direction of a CDE staffer who has never returned any Altadena Schools emails or phone calls. In the end, the LACOE letter answered nothing. Now it would be one thing if LACOE were some obscure little government agency, but LACOE is an enormous county bureaucracy with an annual budget of $1B, 4,000 employees, and a headquarters one block long!

Altadena Schools also made a similar written request for process clarifications to State Superintendent of Instruction Jack O’Connell on Nov 8, addressing its letter per the CDE’s instructions. Despite numerous follow-up calls and voicemail messages to Mr. O’Connell’s office since then, there has been no reply in over a month.

What does this mean for Altadena Schools? If anyone had any hope that some “Superman” is going to save us, the behaviors of these huge agencies should put that hope to rest. The status quo will work very hard at every level to preserve its interests!


On a brighter note, there has been much progress in the last few days from the Registrar’s office. The Registrar has edited the process for conducting the audit in the last few days from a 600-hour activity to about 330 hours. Altadena Schools received the first few reports this week from the Registrar that will begin the process of reducing the effort hours considerably more. The Altadena Schools team will continue pressing its Nov 8 audit requests until all of the requested reports are made available in advance so that the Altadena Schools volunteers can conduct the audit in 20 hours. The goal of this audit will be to recover as many of the nearly 2,000 rejected signatures as possible.

Altadena Schools has also learned that LACOE has finally given up the 308 petitions and returned them to the Registrar. This is great news! By putting the petitions back in the Registrar’s hands, the Registrar’s office will have a better opportunity to prepare the reports that Altadena Schools has requested. If, as we suspect, the Registrar extrapolated its original count of rejected signatures from a sample, then they now have the opportunity to count the entire stack of 308 petitions to produce the requested reports without public harm to the department’s integrity.

Volunteers should be aware that Altadena Schools believes the requests it made on Nov 8 will be simple for the Registrar to fulfill, assuming every petition has been counted:

1. Please advise by when a soft copy exception report inclusive of the following items will be presented to the chief petitioners:
  1.  The number of insufficient signatures by petition section.
  2.  The total number of insufficient signatures by insufficiency reason.
  3.  The effective date of the voter record(s) used by the Registrar to verify the signatures for each petition section.
  4.  The total number of petition area voters in the voter record(s) used by the Registrar to verify the signatures for each petition section.
  5.  Each insufficient signature by name, petition section, petition row number, and insufficiency reason.
  6.  In the case of duplicate signatures, the petition section and petition row number for every other petition section where each duplicate signature can be found.
2. Please confirm by what sort order(s) the 308 petition sections can be presented to the Altadena team for auditing purposes. The sort order(s) need to be constrained to one of the many sort orders that can be achieved using a soft copy of the attached manifest. This manifest is a version of the manifest that accompanied the 308 petition sections delivered to you at LACOE on Sept 23.
3. A soft copy version of the manifest that was given with the 308 petition sections on Sept 23, 2010 is available. The soft copy version provides many different ways the Registrar can key the information requested in 1) b-f. Additionally, 1) a. can be provided simply by adding a new column to the end of the soft copy manifest.

Future Petitioning

Several volunteers have mentioned their desire to see petitioning resumed ASAP. This enthusiasm is much appreciated, particularly considering the time and money volunteers recently put into mailers, yard signs, press releases, lining up participants to visit KIPP:LA schools, developing the charitable foundation, and other efforts necessary to reach the Every Child To And Through College By 2020 goal. That said, it is important to remember that the Registrar rejected almost 2,000 of the over 7,100 signatures it received, even though 3,700 were collected a little over 100’ from polling booths on election days! Petitioning administration, including printing petitions and supplies, control-numbering the petitions, checking them into inventory, securing enough petitioners to cover our community’s relatively rare high-volume venues, checking out petitions and supplies, and returning them to inventory afterwards is a labor-intensive activity.

Instead, Altadena Schools will focus on getting the signature count audited and to learning from its mistakes before volunteers resume petitioning. The last thing we need to do is make a growing percent of Altadena’s remaining voter’s signatures invalid by blindly doing the same thing harder!

About Altadena Schools
Altadena Schools is a grass roots organization of over 160 volunteers who are collectively as diverse as Altadena. The Altadena Schools team includes many current and longstanding PUSD parents, tutors, active participants in Pasadena Unified district-wide advisory committees, and numerous others from around the community.

For more information on what makes Altadena Unified the superior solution for getting every child onto the road to and through college by 2020, please read Top Five Reasons For AUSD.

Altadena Schools
Bruce Wasson, Chief Proponent



Official website of Altadenans For Quality Education (AFQE, AUSD Now!)