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Parents signal traffic concerns

Increase in Balboa Elementary enrollment has officials looking into the assignation of area crossing guards.

April 18, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan
  • A group of parents and children cross at Allen Avenue and Bel Aire Drive in front of Balboa Elementary School in Glendale on Thursday, April 10, 2014. There are no crossing guards at this location.
A group of parents and children cross at Allen Avenue and… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Glendale school and city officials are reevaluating where crossing guards are assigned throughout the city due, in part, to concerns raised by parents.

Since the beginning of the school year, several parents of children who attend Balboa Elementary have been attending school board and PTA meetings, requesting at least one crossing guard be assigned to Balboa.

The school's student population has risen by about 200 students in the past few years, climbing to 730 students this year, from 540 students in 2010, according to state data.

Parents have told school officials that they want a crossing guard because of increased vehicular traffic around campus.

During a March PTA meeting at Balboa, parents expressed concerns that the risk of a student being struck by a car is not a matter of "if" but "when."

"The reality is, something is going to happen" said parent Noelle Millien during the meeting, which was attended by top financial officials from Glendale Unified. "And I hope to God it's not my child or anyone's child until you guys wake up and do something about it."

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The recent increase in students at Balboa is tied, in part, to programs offered at Keppel and Franklin elementary schools, according to Kelly King, assistant superintendent of Glendale Unified.

Keppel is a visual and performing arts magnet school and Franklin is a dual-language immersion magnet. Both magnet programs were implemented during the 2011-12 school year, King said.

In order to have a diversified population of students at Keppel from throughout Glendale, its boundaries shrank, while Balboa's boundaries expanded, King said.

The Glendale school board could consider changing Keppel's boundaries for the 2015-16 school year, when the district is released from adhering to terms of the initial magnet grant funding it received to establish the programs, she said, adding that a change in Keppel's boundaries would lessen the impact on Balboa.

In the meantime, Balboa's population falls within the 600-to-800 range Glendale Unified aims to maintain at its elementary schools, King said.

Also, when the immersion program started at Franklin, out-of-district students were admitted, King said. Now, however, only the siblings of those initial out-of-district students are being accepted, she added.

King also said some additional students were sent to Jefferson or Columbus elementary schools when the magnet schools started.

However, Jefferson has three crossing guards and Columbus has one, according to King.

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