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