Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sunana Batra on the Encinitas Unified School District's money grab

The Encinitas Unified School District is about to take on 30 years of debt to buy a bunch of flashy tech toys that will be obsolete in 5 years. If this passes, property owners will be paying more than $1000 each per year long after the gadgets have been junked.

Here's Sunana Batra's latest, Robin Hood in reverse:
The Encinitas Union School District will be asking voters to approve a $44 million bond issue that is a grab bag of goodies hashed out in private by a handful of people acting on their own, while parents, homeowners and small businesses were shut out.

It's safe to say the total cost will be a whopping $90 million in principal and 5 percent interest over the 30-year life of the loan. Anyway you look at it, it's fiscally irresponsible. Still, there's not one mention in 119 pages of the agenda of the total cost to taxpayers over the course of the 30 years.

In their zeal to keep the gravy train flowing, backers of the measure would saddle taxpayers with irresponsible debt we'll still be paying off when some of the youngest students are starting to have their own grandchildren.

Without the space limitations of the newspaper column format, Batra goes into much more detail at The Leucadia Blog.


  1. EUSD; Robbing Peter To Pay Paul

    On Tuesday, June 28th, 2010 EUSD Superintendent Tim Baird, new to the area and managing the $46 million dollar Elementary school district said when questioned about the district placing a Proposition of the November 2010 ballot asking voters to approve a 30 year extension of school bonds that would raise $46 million dollars, ”We (EUSD) have real needs,” and “Its important for our students.”

    Baird then began to list the fundamental needs of the students; “Building a learning center and outdoor science laboratory on land the district owns near the Encinitas Ranch development for $6.7 million. -- Installing solar panels at seven campuses for $5.7 million.”

    That’s $12.4 million dollars right there, nearly one-third of the total bond extension that is Baird’s main selling point for saddling shell-shocked taxpayers with 30 more years of yearly assessments; rather than some well-needed tax relief.

    Another $11 million is to be used for ‘technology upgrades’ that at least one financially conservative Trustee pointed out was to buy ‘new attendance recording equipment’ that had just been replaced 2 years earlier and still wasn’t nearly paid for.

    Along with the fundamental ‘needs’ the Superintendent added the necessity of “installing solar panels at seven campuses for $5.7 million...”

    So, add the $11 mil to the $12.4 mil, now we are over $20 million dollars, nearly half of the $46 million and we haven’t even touched upon the Supt. Baird’s claim that the Solar Paneling would save $500,000 a year in energy savings.

    Surely Superintendent Baird will be able to produce projections to forecast these estimable savings?

    The truth is; the EUSD school district is attempting a political sleight-of-hand; a little recent history; EUSD presented a ‘student census projection’ in 1994 to the Encinitas City Council and told them that Encinitas Ranch development proposed as Proposition K would generate so many elementary students that the EUSD district would be bankrupted and that the PTA’s would organize and walk the precincts against Prop K, the Incorporation of Ecke property into Encinitas proper; if the someone didn’t pay up.

    EUSD extracted the 10-acre property on Quail Gardens Drive to build an elementary school on that property. The same 10 acres they now want millions from taxpayers to fork over to turn into a preschool and farm.
    What happened to the elementary school EUSD forecast would be needed by passing Prop K?

    Never needed it. Instead of increasing the overall student census, the amount of students over-all declined during the 90s and until this day.

    EUSD is faced with now owing a very desirable piece of property that they received using projections that were flat wrong, and instead of returning a property that is written into the Encinitas Ranch Specific Plan as an ‘elementary school only’; the district wants to extend Encinitas taxpayer assessments for 30 more years because it is being assessed $50K per year by the State of California on property that cannot afford.

    So, in truth, the Superintendent Baird and trustees are asking taxpayers to continue paying bonds they’d normally be relieved of, for at least $6 million dollars to build an outdoor preschool and community gardens facility that A) Is not allowed and B) Is being built to stop the district from being assessed the $50K per annum by the State.

    QUESTION: Why should Encinitas taxpayers continue to pay hefty annual assessments for 30 years so the EUSD can get out of paying annual $50K assessments to the State of California for property that can only be used for one thing; an elementary school?

    Any questions about how much, who, when etc...should be forwarded to the EUSD Trustees and Superintendent below:,,,,,

  2. I am very grateful for your willingness to spread the word about this School district and how they are so slimy with this expiring bond. It's verry helpful for you for shed light on the scams unfolding in Encinitas.

    There is yes another board meeting tomorrow. Two meeting ago was the day after Memorial day. Kind of a slow day for most, but not for this board. They purposely hold meetings when they know the least amount of people will show up and ask questions.

    Now, there is yet another meeting tomorrow, the day after the 4th of July holiday. Great timing if you are attempting to spend a boatload of money on some new software that will cost a (See Page 13) $11.00 per student (so Encinitas has whata? Roughly 5000 students, so only $55,000.00 FOR THE FIST YEAR. It goes down to $6.00 per student for years thereafter. What's illuminate you may wonder? Well, it's software from a Corona-based company that...."provides administrators and educators with a single web-based point of access to student demographics, attendance, schedules, discipline, grades, assessment history, state reporting mandates, and more." according to the company website.

    Oh, but thata's not the end of the cost for this new software the school system will be approving to count how manay kids attend school every day. No, they must ALSO sign onto a multi-year contract for Intel-Assess, a tool teachers will use 'in tandem' with illuminate. The cost for this? Oh it's just $15, 102.00 for the coming school year, that's all.

    (Page 21 of the July 6th agenda found here:,%202010.pdf)

    So I know I'm not nearly as smart as Superintendent Baird or that useless lapdog Skiljan, but it sounds like while the school CUTS gifted and talented programs, Physical education, library programs a bunch of more student oriented activities, they are looking to buy some fancy new software to count how manay kids come to school everyday. Sounds like a waste of money to me, but what do I know? 70K for new software, that's a priority, even though the software currently in use IS STILL NOT FULLY PAID FOR, and is working fine.

  3. Thanks for posting this. It's very helpful to let the community know the slimy tactics this board is using to prevent the bond from expiring.

    True to form, the EUSD is once again havaing a meeting tomorrow, the day after the fourth of July holiday to spend 70K JUST for the First year on some fancy new software that allows teachers to take attendance.

    The agenda for tomorrow's meeting can be found here:,%202010.pdf

  4. In this agenda page 16 and page 21 will be ILLUMINATING. This is a pun of course, since what I am trying to point out is an agenda item to approve new software called Illuminate which is...."is a next generation Student Information System (SIS) that provides administrators and educators with a single web-based point of access to student demographics, attendance, schedules, discipline, grades, assessment history, state reporting mandates, and more."

    When I was a kid, my teachers had a black steno book, it is what they used to keep attendance and log grades, absences etc. I know times have changed and all, and it's important to keep up with technology. Which is why its great that EUSD got an attendance program TWO YEARS AGO, that works fine and is still being paid off.

    Now this new sostware will cost $11.00 PER STUDENT for the first year alone. SO EUSD has roughly 5,000 students, so about $55,000.00 for JUST the 2010-2011 school year.

    Oh but it doesnt end there. You see they must also purchase a new tool called Intel-Assess, which will be used in tandem with the new attendance software and this new tool will cost just $15, 102.00 for the 2010-2011 school year.

    So 70K give or take a few thousand on attendance software which will be replacing software which is working perfectly fine.

    (See page 21 for Intel-Aassess),%202010.pdf