ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Unified School District (EUSD) won’t see increased class sizes or the laying-off of teachers this year following the collapse of their deal with the nonprofit Art Pulse.
EUSD Superintendent Dr. Tim Baird told the Council at the Oct. 18 meeting that the loss of revenue from the Art Pulse deal would force the district to increase class sizes and lay off teachers.
EUSD would have received a non-refundable $300,000 deposit within the next several months and $7.2 million around a year later from Art Pulse if the deal to sell the old Pacific View Elementary site had gone through, according to John Britt, assistant superintendent of business services for the school district. The $7.5 million, however, wasn’t allocated into this year or next year’s budget.
“We do our budget in May and June and can’t account for income that’s not real,” Britt said.
The district’s fiscal year begins in July.
Additionally, Britt said district officials hadn’t met to tentatively discuss where specifically the $7.5 million would go.
“We hadn’t gotten that far yet,” he said.
Art Pulse wanted to turn the 2.8-acre site, which was closed in 2003 because of declining enrollment, into a community art center. The group also planned to build as many as seven homes on the property as part of the deal.
In order for the Art Pulse deal to move forward, EUSD asked the city to hear Art Pulse’s proposal to change the zoning of the Pacific View site to a mixed-use arts center. A deadline of Oct. 30 was set between Art Pulse and the district to deliver the $300,000 non-refundable fee. The city had said they weren’t aware of any deadline and that they had planned to hear the proposal at the next available Council meeting set for Nov. 14.
While the deal falling through doesn’t impact this year’s budget, Baird said future budgets stand to be negatively affected.
“The money could have been used to stave off cuts,” Baird said.
Because the Art Pulse deal is no more, Baird said the district would try and rezone the property to allow for housing.
Baird said the district and Art Pulse will go their separate ways without any legal action.
A lawsuit is possible against the city if it denies the zoning change request for housing, he said.