The Coast News Group
Community Commentary

EUSD’s terms should enable Encinitas to purchase Pacific View without more bond debt

In attempts to dispose of Pacific View, EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird has applied pressure of a previously scheduled and still portending auction, because relevant Education Code is allegedly set to expire as of Jan. 1, 2016.

We don’t know if that law would be renewed.

We don’t know if any monies from the sale could go into EUSD’s general fund. That possibility seems unlikely because EUSD would have to certify to the State Allocation Board:

•The district has no major deferred maintenance requirements not covered by existing capital outlay resources.

•The district has no anticipated need for additional sites or building construction for the 10-year period following the sale.

Considering 1) current EUSD operating expenses exceed revenues (as reported by The Coast News),

2) needs for facilities improvement funds, including updating and replacing I-Pad technology, are increasing,

3) the number of temporary portable classrooms, and

4) the Encinitas Ranch school site has never been declared surplus, then it’s highly unlikely EUSD could certify Education Code requirements could be met to the State Allocation Board.

If EUSD finds existing capital resources, which wouldn’t include monies from the sale of Pacific View, don’t cover revenues needed for “major deferred maintenance,” then funds for a narrowly defined “one-time-purpose” couldn’t be injected into EUSD’s General Fund.

EUSD cannot guarantee the district has no anticipated building construction for the ten-year period following the sale.

The city and general public were misled that money from the sale could likely go into EUSD’s General Fund as a “one time injection.”

Because that law is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2016 Baird claimed he had no choice but to ignore EUSD and Encinitas’ before ongoing closed session ad-hoc subcommittees’ mutual agreements to give the city exclusive rights of negotiation for six months.

Instead EUSD immediately proceeded to notice an auction, to be held on March 25, postponed, now, until May.

Baird’s decision to break off closed-session negotiations was done in the context of a Brown Act violation in that he wrongly shared with the media the city’s confidential opening bid of $4.3 million.

Encinitas’ initial bid was $1 million in excess of the only appraisal for Pacific View in the current time frame and zoning, using local comps.

EUSD’s recently released, $13.5 million Pacific View appraisal from June 7, 2007, isn’t current, was conditioned upon upzoning to mixed-use-commercial-residential which would now require a public vote, and was based on EUSD’s often repeated intention to exchange Pacific View for a commercial property with a revenue stream, so the Naylor Act allegedly wasn’t applicable.

But the Naylor Act applies from when EUSD determined to lease the former school site to Encinitas, approved by the Trustees through Superintendent Doug DeVore on Feb. 2, 2004.

Thereafter, fields and playgrounds were paved over for the City’s temporary public works yard, without noticing public agencies of our statutorily guaranteed right to purchase 30 percent of Pacific View, .85 acre, for public open space at 25 percent of fair market value for donated land.

To act as a good steward of public resources, including taxpayers money, of land already in the public domain, to mitigate for previous misrepresentations and Brown Act violations, Baird should now negotiate with the City to offer Pacific View for sale, with terms that EUSD shall carry the loan, for an ongoing revenue stream, for a minimum of 30 years, charging zero percent interest; the site shall remain in public/semi-public zoning in perpetuity, the Old Schoolhouse shall remain on site, and 30 percent of our land, excluding parking, would be maintained as public open space, including fields, trees, and community gardens

These terms would honor the intent of the State Legislature to preserve open space on surplus school sites, and would be in alignment with traditions established by the county and other cities as described by Bill Arballo, policy also recited in previous lease agreements between EUSD and Encinitas promising “to assist each other in the process of using District and City resources efficiently, without the exchange of funds.”

Although $10 million would be exchanged, allowing the city to pay the loan over 30 years at zero percent interest would provide EUSD’s desired revenue stream, enormously benefitting local school children, artists, taxpayers and future generations.

Lynn Marr is a Leucadia resident.