Lincoln Elementary did not have air conditioning. How were students supposed to learn on blistering hot days? ICON leaders challenged school district leaders to spend a day at the school. The VP of Finance and VP of Operations visited the school, and didn’t last until noon. But in a district with severe budget shortfalls, where would the money come from for building improvements like this? The ICON worked with the Pomona Unified School District to help pass Measure PS to address crumbling infrastructure in schools. ICON leaders organized with local parents and conducted precinct walks in neighborhoods around Pomona schools. The measure generated over 200 million dollars for school building projects.
Hundreds of teachers in the Pomona Unified School District were warned in the early spring of 2011 that they might be laid off, including shutting down the entire adult education program and drastically cutting pre-school. The ICON got involved in working with one of ICON’s members, the Associated Pomona Teachers, to get some of the adult education program restored.
Parental Access to Schools
When Pomona parents tried to become volunteers in their children’s classrooms or on field trips, they met with insurmountable obstacles. Parents missed their kids’ field trips, due to long waits for processing their finger prints and volunteer application paperwork. Parents without drivers’ licenses were prohibited from volunteering—so immigrant parents were excluded. The high cost of finger printing excluded low-income parents. The ICON worked with leaders of the Pomona Unified School District to remove these obstacles and streamline the process. Identification, other than a driver’s license, was accepted, which opened access to immigrant parents. Low- income schools were given a budget to cover finger printing costs for parent volunteers. These efforts benefitted and strengthened both families and schools.
ICON leaders met with leaders in the Pomona Unified School District to address the mismanagement of a school cafeteria at which students were served incomplete lunches for several days in a row. The district changed leadership at that site. ICON leaders also prompted food services to experiment with a salad bar at that cafeteria, which was a great success. One ICON leader, who is a professional chef, offered free on-site consultation to several PUSD kitchens.