El Centro de Accion Social’s Summer School in the Park


Summer School in the Park survives funding challenges
Brenda Gazzar, Staff Writer
Posted: 06/28/2010 08:52:49 PM PDT

PASADENA – Thirteen-year old Maria Rincon of Altadena can’t imagine spending her summer anywhere else.
The Washington Middle School eighth-grader is one of about 150 students participating this year in Summer School in the Park organized by the Pasadena-based nonprofit El Centro de Accion Social.

“I enjoy having summer school in nature,” said Rincon, who attends the program each summer. “It’s something unique.”

El Centro de Accion Social began its annual summer school program Monday at El Centro Park. But this year, the organization had a particularly challenging time with fundraising, securing enough money just weeks before the program’s first day.

“It was really close,” said Randy Jurado Ertll, executive director of El Centro de Accion Social, who said the voluntary program cost about $104,000 in total donations. “It’s like cutting it to the wire.”

The program’s continuation is particularly significant since Pasadena Unified School District – citing a $23million funding gap – canceled much of its summer programming this year.

Summer School in the Park, which offers five weeks of instruction in English, math and social studies “is providing a service to the community here in Pasadena,” said Leo Magallon, who teaches in the El Centro program.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to really interact with each other,” he said.

But PUSD board member Renatta Cooper says she is concerned that existing summer school programs may not be able to accommodate all the students that the district would have served.

“I don’t think there’s anything that fully takes up the slack for us not being able to offer a full plate of summer programs,” she said.

The city of Pasadena has not cut any summer day camp programs for children or increased fees, said Kenny James, the city of Pasadena’s recreations supervisor.

In addition to Summer School in the Park, other summer school opportunities being offered include PasadenaLEARNs and the Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Summer Enrichment Program.

Scholarships are available for some of these programs.

David Montes, a Baldwin Park resident who works for the city of Pasadena, is sending all three of his children to Summer School in the Park.

“Two months of vacation and having them at home, I don’t think that would be OK,” he said.
, ext. 4496

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