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Monday, October 29, 2012

City Bails Out School District: $700,000

Bill For The Soon-To-Be-Abandoned Elementary School Remodel Comes Due

The Emeryville city council voted last meeting to a $700,000 fiscal bailout for the Emery Unified School District by forgiving a loan to the District made several years ago to remodel the Anna Yates Elementary School.  The School District has been paying interest on the original $2.94 million loan made from the defunct Emeryville Redevelopment Agency but now the principle is due and District officials told City Hall, they would have to pull the City's portion of the loan, the $700,000, from the School District's General Fund, money they need to cover operating expenses.
The 2008 loan paid for this wing of the school and
a new science center.
The loan to improve the elementary school was made in 2008, part of a $9 million remodel, just as the real estate market crashed and Emeryville's assessed valuation plunged, sinking the District's prospects at easily paying back the loan.

 Leftover money the state granted the former Redevelopment Agency is divvied up among the different taxing agencies such as AC Transit and Alameda County, so the City's portion of the $2.94 million loan is $700,000.

A small portion of the original loan also went to some minor work at the Secondary School, also known as the High School.  That school is now being demolished to make way for the new Center of Community Life on San Pablo Avenue.

Critics have cried foul since the money to remodel the elementary school is now to be wasted if the District is successful in its goal to abandon Anna Yates and move the children over to the high school site.

If the city council didn't forgive the loan, the School District said they would be faced with making payments out of its General Fund for a building they no longer use as a district school, the same net effect as a homeowner with an upside down mortgage.

"This is $700,000 out of 
the city's General fund"  
-Councilwoman Jac Asher

Council member Jac Asher, the sole NO vote to forgive the loan on the council told the Tattler, "This is $700,000 out of our [the city's] General fund.  Our job, among other things, is to provide for the Recreation Center's programs.  $700,000 would have gone a long way in terms of youth programming in our city."  Ms Asher, it should be noted is the only council member with children of her own actively enrolled in the District, the only such council member in at least the last 30 years.

The School District has noted its General Fund is not sufficient to cover all the operating expenses at the new proposed Kindergarten through 12th grade school at the Center of Community Life, a combined school and community rec center.  District officials have expressed the need for Emeryville voters to again pass Measure A, the school parcel tax approved twice in the last few years.  The proceeds from Measure A are now necessary to pay to run the school part of the Center of Community Life.  Measure A will again appear on the ballot for Emeryville voters in 2013.

The Anna Yates Elementary School remodel in 2008 cost some $9 million.  The District wants to use the school for some other so far unspecified use after the Center of Community Life is finished and the elementary school is abandoned in 2015.  A cadre of parents and residents have demanded the Anna Yates school not be abandoned, but they have been rebuffed by the District.


  1. That's a whole lotta cheeseburgers!

  2. Brian, it appears that you are the only person watching the purse. Thank you. You are doing a good service to this Community.

    It appears that constituents are getting screwed by the incompetence of our Council members who think they are helping the situation, but lack the EXPERIENCE TO TRULY UNDERSTAND. It's time to make some replacements, so that Emeryville can survive.

    Where can we find some new candidates that possess some moxey?

    1. New candidates? That's a tough one since everyone that runs for the council, including the incumbents all say they want the same thing: livability for the residents. Low information voters have the difficult task of figuring out which ones will actually work towards that goal. It's been a recipe for subversion of livability. We usually wind up with council members that put developers first, regardless of their BS campaign literature. It's like Mitt Romney's sudden shift to the political center from the hard right.

  3. I noticed this morning that EUSD posted a job listing for the Director Of Technology position.

    Guess the new person is doing the smart thing, turning tail and running from this district.

  4. Oh for Gawd's sake, let's just leave the elementary school there and scale down the ECCL project. Screw the developers who want to build on the Anna Yates site!

    1. Screwing the developers isn't how it works in Emeryville.

  5. This is a 700 Thousand Dollar gift via our Council straight from our pockets. As a taxpayer, finding it harder and harder to pay my own property tax, I have had enough of all this BS. Why is it only Asher who thinks $700,000 is not a trivial matter? If the school cannot afford to pay back 700K, why on earth are they looking to build a 100 Million Dollar Building? These people are a bunch of sick cookies. I wonder if I stop paying my property tax, will the City forgive me for their cut?

    1. FYI- The $100 million ($107 actually) is what it will cost to build the new elementary facility on the ECCL site. The rest of the school facilities will cost many millions more than that.