The Tattler introduces guest columnist, Arthur Hoff.
A longtime Emeryville resident, business and community leader, Art Hoff is a former president of the School District Advisory Board of Trustees and he now sits on the Planning Commission.
Mr Hoff has long concerned himself with the success of the schools in Emeryville and he has been a major philanthropist to the school district, generously giving both his time and money for the betterment of our schools.
Mr Hoff is concerned that the decision makers adjust their planning properly and be open to new iterations as the Emeryville Center of Community Life school/community center is buffeted by large Measure J bond funding perturbations in the wake of Emeryville's skidding assessed valuation.
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ARE OUR SCHOOLS FISCALLY STABLE?
The latest financial report from the Emeryville School Board indicates that the School District will have negative cash flows for the next two years, and unless we can make $1.6 million in unspecified budget cuts, we will have a negative fund balance by 2014. This raises the question of the fiscal stability of a 750 student school district.
Many years ago, when I served on the board, conventional wisdom was that we needed a school population of 1,200 students in order to keep overhead costs is proper proportions to the total budget. A school of 750 students was not considered financially viable.
The plan was to build an all-new 1200 student school as part of the Center for Community Life. Unfortunately, 5 years later, because of the unavailability of bond funds, the proposed new school complex will only accommodate 800 students. We will need to wait another 5 years to bring the school to the sustainable level of 1200 students. In view of the current economy and the financial condition of the District, can we wait that long?
Perhaps we should go in another direction: activate the [existing but abandoned] Middle School. While a 3rd campus increases overhead costs, they should be more than offset by the additional income from the 300 students the middle school can accommodate.
Past President, Emery Schools