Senator Portantino Visits Three 25th Senate District Schools as Students Return Back to the Classroom

Wednesday, April 28 2021

For Immediate Release: April 27, 2021

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 807-6091


Senator Portantino Visits Three 25th Senate District Schools as Students Return Back to the Classroom


Sacramento, California – Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – La Canada Flintridge) visited Luther Burbank Middle School, Balboa Elementary School, and Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy last Friday to learn more about how in-person instruction is operating and the COVID-19 safety measures that schools are implementing.


“It was exciting to see our schools welcoming students onto campus once again,” stated Senator Portantino. “Bringing students back to the classroom in the safest way possible has been a priority for all of us. We have to continue to support our school districts and educators and provide them the resources necessary to implement appropriate safety precautions as we navigate our way out of this pandemic. I’m grateful to the dedicated administrators and staff in school districts across the 25th Senate District for their hard work on creating safe learning environments for our students.”


Senator Portantino met with Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian and Principal Dr. Sona Arakeylan at Balboa Elementary School to discuss the school’s transition from distance learning to in-person instruction. Custodian Jasen Laca, who has been instrumental in implementing COVID-19 safety measures and protocols at the school, provided the tour.


The Senator also visited Jackson STEM Dual Language Magnet Academy in Altadena, where he was joined by Principal Rita Esposito, Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald, and Former Pasadena School Board Member Roy Boulghourjian. The Senator was impressed with the state of the art hospital grade air filtration system that has been installed in each classroom.


Senator Portantino’s last stop was Luther Burbank Middle School, where he met with Principal Oscar Macias.  Though Luther Burbank has not yet returned to in person learning, it is providing some daycare and optional onsite academic support for its students. While on campus, the Senator had the opportunity to congratulate Principal Macias on the school’s selection as a 2021 California Distinguished School.


Earlier this year, the Legislature allocated $6.6 billion to public schools across the state to help create safe learning environments for students and safe workplaces for educators. $2 billion in funding has been dedicated to safety measures to support in-person instruction, such as personal protective equipment, ventilation upgrades and COVID-19 testing. $4.6 billion was allocated to expanded learning opportunities, such as summer school, tutoring and mental health services. The package also contained a key provision that prioritized and accelerated vaccinations by setting aside 10 percent of vaccines for K-12 school staff.