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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

School District Is Bullish On Emeryville

Happy Days Are
Here Again!

Blue Days, All Of Them Gone
 Nothing But Blue Skies From Now On

Most Americans have come to the awful realization that the longstanding congressional gridlock in Washington DC is the new normal.  Gridlock helped tank the economy and it has frozen law makers, keeping the nation in the fiscal doldrums.  But this intractable political and economic problem is a trifling blip if you believe the Emery Unified School District.  The real story they say is Emeryville is coming back baby, stronger than ever regardless of outside forces!

And they're betting our money on it.

Onward and upward:
after a big drop in 2011, for Emeryville
it's nothing but up!
Emeryville is on the cusp of an unprecedented period of robust sustained and consistent growth the School District says.  After losing almost 7% of our value last year, we're looking forward to growth, lots of growth, at least 4% growth every year as far as the eye can see.
This is what we've learned from the Series D school bond document prepared by the District for the School Board.  They're considering raising the final $20 million to top out at $68 million, for building a new school on San Pablo Avenue.  The money is being raised against the assessed valuation of Emeryville.  The problem is Emeryville has lost value and the last $20 million, piled on top of the already raised $48 million, takes us over the fiscal cliff.
Law dictates school bonds can only be sold in proportion to the assessed valuation of the town.  The assessed valuation means the total value of all real estate in the town, public and private it should be noted.
The rosy growth picture painted by the bond debt service requirement document, released by the District last week, makes some pretty outlandish predictions in order to keep the tax rate at the promised $60 per $100,000 of property.  If the town grows at a rate lower than 4% per year for the next 37 years, property taxes will have to be increased, you understand.

How could we have another down turn?
Altogether shout it now, who could
ever doubt it now?
After what we've been through the last few years, this prediction made by the School District boggles the mind.  The District's $48 million in hand is plenty to build a new high school.  They need to realize we can't afford the final $20 million to close the existing (newly remodeled) elementary school and rebuild it at the San Pablo site. This town doesn't have enough assessed value to support it without relying on voo-doo economics.
But there are powerful forces pushing this bond sale.   bond financier Caldwell Flores, and the Center of Community Life contractor Turner Construction are among these special interests trying to lard us up with debt.  The School Board itself has made it clear they will close the existing elementary school, Anna Yates; come hell or high water.

We're already going to have to pay until 2035 for the $48 million borrowed from Series A, B and C bond sales. But the people who led us down this Series D Bond path will be long gone in 2032 when its punishing debt will start to come due.  Seventeen years and $107 million later, it will finally be paid 2049, if there's anything left of the Emery Unified School District.

There's an adage about the survivors of the Great Depression; they emerged from that calamity fundamentally changed, a new respect for thrift having been permanently etched into their DNA.  We too have changed and we're starting to question our old days of profligate spending.  The Emery School District may be bullish on Emeryville's economic future but we'd rather be smarter about how we invest in the necessary business of tending to our children's education. The sunny prediction for Emeryville is deluded.  We see some clouds in that blue sky.



  1. "The assessed valuation means the total value of all real estate in the town, public and private it should be noted." Is this correct? I have always thought that property taxes are not paid by publicly owned real estate, therefore publicly owned real estate is not assessed and is not a part of total "assessed valuation."

  2. One thing I do know is that I am glad I left EUSD and their Wile E. Coyote logic towards budgets.

  3. I really enjoyed Brian's post. Wit like that provides at least temporary relief from the pain of having our hands tied as an unresponsive school board messes up our future.

  4. The School Board should act more carefully about closing Anna Yates. They should try it before they settle in on the new idea.I believe enrollment will drop, and they may be forced to restore Anna Yates

    Parents don't want the younger children mixing with the older kids. Why does the District think they are going to change parents minds about it...?

    What is the point of counting the days. The School Board isn't going to do anything about it. What has Linddo done since the vote. Are relations improving with the faculty?