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April 11th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune
On April 2, a diverse group of educators, administrators and others came out in support of what both Superintendent Dr. Joel Shawn and President of the Arcadia Board of Education Joann Steinmeier referred to as a “symbolic start.” From the Citizens’ Oversight Committee to City Council members, it seemed that everyone had turned out to share words of thanks and goodwill that evening. Arcadia High School’s own band opened the ceremony and its Senior Men and Women handed out programs.
Mrs. Steinmeier called the passing of Measure I, the dollars which allow the recent renovations for AUSD schools, “a tangible representation of the community’s support.” She added, “It feels really good to finally see a new building being built here; this hasn’t happened in fifty years.”
In her speech, Ms. Steinmeier proclaimed, “We are very fortunate to live in a community where members put their money where their mouths are.”
Arcadia High School Principal David Vannasdall said, “It’s a long time overdue. I have been looking forward to this event for four years.” Many in attendance fought for these renovations and now that the construction—projected to take roughly four to five years to complete—has started, they consider it a “feat” of sorts. “To see it all coming together makes it real for me. Now we’ll have world-class buildings to match our world-class programs and that’s a lot to be proud of,” he stated. AUSD will be spending a quarter of a billion dollars on renovations at Arcadia High School, First Avenue Middle School, Highland Oaks Elementary and Holly Avenue Elementary.
Dr. Shawn mentioned what renovations that have been completed thus far came in under budget. The fiscal conservation on the district’s part was well-known among attendees.
Dr. Shawn joked about shovels they were taking photographs with. He said, “These are not gold shovels, by the way. It was spray paint. In fact, I believe we found it in a back closet somewhere; we did not buy a new can. And we will be using these to build with later. Nothing is wasted around here! Not that I’m defensive or anything.” The audience laughed and cheered. Later, he elaborated, “If you haven’t worked with the Arcadia Unified School District, you don’t know what a tough client is.”
The various nods of heads and affirmative “Mhmms” amongst audience hinted that they knew this to be true.
The evening culminated in conversation among attendees over food and drinks. Gary Kovacic, chairman of the Measure I Bond Campaign, summarized the evening’s sentiment: “Long live civic virtue!”
By Emily Litvack