Dear EUSD Families and Friends,
Recently, you have probably seen responses to the letter that I sent out regarding our District’s position on the Pacific View site. After reading some of these responses, I felt it important to clarify some of the points surrounding this issue.
With regard to a proposal from the Downtown Encinitas Mainstreet Association, an informal plan from DEMA to lease the property was received by the District in December, 2010. The claim that the District turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars in guaranteed annual rents from this proposal is simply not true.
The District met with representatives from DEMA and responded to their ideas in writing. At no point did DEMA guarantee anything in their letter. Here is what DEMA proposed:
• DEMA would use the existing buildings, which they would fix up with volunteer labor.
• DEMA would operate a Farmers’ Market on the property to generate income.
• DEMA would lease out the space to artists where they could work and sell art.
• DEMA speculated that income from an art center could generate $200,000 per year with $160,000 toward the lease but they had no capital in hand and many things would have to go right for the District to receive any payment for use of the property.
Here was the District’s response:
Our insurance carrier has forbidden us from using the existing buildings. We cannot escape our liability on this issue even through a lease or release of liability form. These buildings have asbestos, mold, and significant damage that would need to be repaired. Volunteers may not work on the buildings.
We currently operate a Farmers’ Market at PEC. Placing one this close to our current market would hurt the revenues that PEC counts on to pay for critical intervention programs at their school.
The idea of creating artists’ space on the site might be acceptable, however, selling art from this site (retail) is not allowed under current zoning. Leasing to artists alone, would not bring in enough income for the District.
The District needs a guaranteed income stream. We are by design fiscally conservative and can not speculate on business ventures. The City was asked if they would underwrite this venture and they declined.
DEMA was given this same information so I am somewhat confused why so much misinformation regarding the DEMA idea is still out there. The good news is that we have now released a formal Request For Proposals (RFP). DEMA can submit a formal proposal and have it evaluated on the same criteria that we are using for all interested parties.
EUSD has demonstrated without question it’s respect for the history of the Encinitas community and our commitment to the preservation of the Old School House. The District has maintained that the historic old school house location on the property is guaranteed. It has been written into all of our plans and the District continues to stand behind this promise.
We also would be happy to sell or lease this land to the City of Encinitas if they would like to place a park or community building on the site. They have rejected our offers to buy or lease this property.
Our children deserve the best education that we can provide them with the resources that we have. Despite the loss of millions of dollars in state funding, our District continues to provide high quality educational programs. This does not come without a cost. we have been forced to layoff teachers and raise class sizes. Income from Pacific View will help mitigate some of this loss. We must choose children over boarded up buildings.
Finally, many have asked why the District doesn’t use Proposition P bond dollars to cover our budgetary shortfall. Instead of spending money on technology, green initiatives, and facility repairs, why don’t we use this money to pay teacher salaries? We can’t, State law prohibits us from using bond dollars for salaries or general fund expenditures.
I hope this answers some of your questions. Thank you for your interest in this issue and please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Filed Under: Community Commentary