San Rafael School


Latest News:

The PUSD Board of Education has unanimously declared San Rafael Elementary School “surplus” with intent to “lease” the site. This action gives shape and direction to future plans to preserve and maintain the property.

The 7-0 vote October 23, 2014 followed staff review and Board discussion and gives relief to neighbors threatened by seismic trenching and re-location of buildings.

SRNA was present for all publicly-noticed Board committee meetings on this matter and appreciates the Board’s attention and unanimous concern for the long-term future of the property.

The Board again confirmed the timeline for vacating the site remains the end of the 2017 school year. Neighbors have expressed a clear preference for “continuous occupancy” to avoid problems associated with vacancy.

The Board of Education, signaling intent to protect the interests of the property, appears to have a similar preference.

To view the signed resolution, click here: Resolution 2304

SRNA thanks neighbors for ongoing attention to this matter.

June 2014 News:

Having conducted eight public meetings over a period of five months, the San Rafael Elementary School 7-11 Committee submitted its final report to the PUSD Board of Education Thursday evening, June 26th.

Mandated by the Board of Education to determine community “limits of tolerance” for alternative uses for the school site to be vacated in 2017 due to earthquake faults, the committee, despite staff/attorney admonitions for exceeding its scope of duty, nonetheless chose to exceed its scope of duty.

With the submission of its report, the Committee now is de-commissioned leaving neighbors to work with the Board of Education on the “limits of tolerance” for future use of the site.

Below are courses of action considered viable by the 7-11 Committee. In all cases the Committee had neither official mandate, technical expertise nor fiduciary authority to attempt analysis.

  1. The SRES site will be trenched to follow four already-tested fault lines to provide 100% proof of seismic conditions at the site. (see photos below)
  2. SRES buildings (including the historic brick main structure) will be cut and moved to surface areas between the four fault lines on the 3.2-acre site.
  3. The southwest lower corner of the SRES site will be seismically tested for construction of a new, 3-story building.
  4. Site placement of buildings to skirt fault lines while housing the needed critical mass of students may require additional property on Nithsdale.

The Board of Education must grapple with the above while considering the District’s current factual and fiscal imperatives along with neighbor surveys.

Recent data developed with Davis Demographics as discussed by the Board of Education Boundary and Master Plan Committee shows a 23% loss in District enrollment (5,187 students) over the last ten years (2003-4 to 2013-14) with five elementary schools under-enrolled (Altadena, Cleveland, Franklin, Jackson, Roosevelt).

The District’s updated 2013-14 data on facilities shows a capacity for 29,226 students and enrollment of 16,900 (10/02/13), an excess capacity of 42.2%.

Under these circumstances, the Board of Education is hard-pressed to justify allocation of capital funds for construction of new elementary school classrooms, particularly since facility needs at other sites have not been funded.

Further, due to unfunded actuarial obligations to teacher benefits, the Governor’s recent budget calls for stepped increases in District/employer contributions to CalSTRS (8.25%, 2013-14 to 19.10%, 2020-21). The District presently is analyzing options to forestall deficit spending in future budgets in order to make these contributions.


After the PUSD released information in May of 2012 revealing the presence of seismic faults running through the San Rafael Elementary School campus, the school site became ineligible for state modernization funds forcing the district to plan for relocation or face cost-prohibitive modifications to the site. A 7-11 Committee was established by the PUSD Board of Education to develop recommendations for alternative uses of the San Rafael Elementary School 3.2 acre property.

The Committee is composed of community members, parents, school staff, and representatives of the business community, and is supported by District staff, legal counsel, and a representative of the City of Pasadena. (7-11 means the Committee has between 7 and 11 members).

The Committee has held two previous meetings in January and February. The establishment of the Committee was necessitated by the discovery of active earthquake fault lines on the property. This precludes the long term use of the property as a public school. The San Rafael staff, students, and program are scheduled to move to the former site of Allendale Elementary School, adjacent to the Blair Middle/High School complex, after July 1, 2017.

The public hearing at SRES on Monday, March 24 was the first of two hearings to get input into recommendations the Committee will be making to the Board of Education regarding the future uses of the school site. An estimated 120 people attended the meeting and Public Hearing. Dr. John Pappalardo, Chief Financial Officer for PUSD, presented the timeline of events that led up to the decision of the Board to close the school. Mr. Eric Duyshart explained the role of the City in any proposed re-use of the property for other purposes.

The site could be leased to a private school or for other public uses, or could be sold for residential home sites or other uses. The public and the members had questions for Dr. Pappalardo, Mr. Duyshart, and legal counsel regarding the necessity to vacate the property, on the alternative uses, and the procedures for making a final decision. During the public hearing, 13 people presented their points of view about the process and alternative uses of the property.

Everyone in attendance was provided with a survey to identify their preferences for the use of the property, and uses or conditions they could not tolerate. 49 surveys were submitted. The results of the public hearing and the survey will be presented and discussed at the next meeting of the Committee, March 31, 2014, 5:30 pm, at the District offices, 351 S. Hudson Avenue, Room 236.The date for the next public hearing will be set by the Committee.

All meetings are open, and guests are invited to ask questions or make statements.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Adaptive reuse of the site potentially will introduce new impacts to the neighborhood and affect property values, good or bad. SRNA supports a cautious approach to this transition and a full understanding of zoning allowances for all those affected by the closure. For more information on the applicable state laws please see:

Alquist-Priolo Act of 1971

CA Code of Regulations (CCR)




No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.