Take Action! Tonight Wednesday 3/17/10 City Council Meeting. Why don’t school austerity programs apply to the Board and Top Brass of the Ukiah Unified School District?

Redwood Valley

[We have laid off teachers, school closures, unfunded pensions, and budget pain. We have empty school buildings and other surplus buildings such as the former Montgomery Ward site. Yet the UUSD wants $3,000,000 for a brand new luxury Taj Mahal to house the school administration? “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Stop this foolish waste of critical and needed resources! -DS]

Open Letter to the City of Ukiah Redevelopment Agency & the Ukiah Unified School District

RE: 1 ) The Request by the Ukiah Unified School District for Redevelopment Funds

2 ) The Transfer of Property from the City of Ukiah to the Ukiah Unified School District-Oak Manor Park

Ukiah Redevelopment Agency Meeting Date:  March 17, 2010 8:00 P.M. Ukiah City Hall

In a letter dated January 20, 2010, the Ukiah Unified School District requested that the Ukiah Redevelopment Agency approve $3,000,000 for construction of a new two-story District Administration Office at 925 North State Street, Ukiah, CA 95482. This idea should be defeated by the Ukiah Redevelopment Agency for the following reasons:

1 ) The Brush Street and Low Gap Road intersection is a bottleneck due to the lack of left hand turn signals at this location.  It is heavily used by the Mendocino County offices located on Low Gap Road and by Ukiah High School teachers and students who must use Low Gap Road to reach the high school or leave that area.

2 ) The parking at the UHS administration building is highly limited and the entrances and exits are difficult to negotiate during peak traffic times and when public meetings are held at the District office.

3 ) Construction at this site will create an intense bottleneck at the site as well creating more traffic hazards in this location.  Many businesses in this area will be inconvenienced by this construction.

4 ) The idea that the Ukiah Unified School District needs to build a two-story building at this location using $3 Million dollars (our tax dollars), to enhance their own status is impossible to fathom at this time.

5 ) The Ukiah Unified School District has undeveloped land in Redwood Valley, not including the Redwood Valley Elementary School which is slated for closing in 2010. Since Redwood Valley School is closing this location could be used for the Ukiah High School District offices.  It has ample parking, room for meetings and storage facilities.

6 ) The Ukiah Unified School District has recently renovated the Hopland Elementary School and has buildings, offices, and a parking lot which could be easily used for the Ukiah Unified School District Offices.

7 ) Since the Ukiah Unified School District is closing at least two schools it appears that there is ample fixtures, furniture, computers, and other materials which they could use for their district offices instead of dumping them in dumpsters, giving them away, or selling them at a loss.

8 ) The Ukiah Unified School District purchased the old Montgomery Ward Store south of Ukiah for their new district headquarters.  This location has ample parking and the old store could be converted into district offices for a fraction of the cost of a new 2-story building.

9 ) The amount of money saved to use any of these existing locations would demonstrate to the community that their concern is for our children instead of installing themselves into new administration headquarters for $3,000,000.

10 ) The Ukiah Daily Journal brings us almost weekly articles from the Ukiah Unified School District and their elected board that money is tight or non-existent.  School closings, teacher layoffs, higher numbers of students per classroom, no band, sports or after school activities in the future. We understand that there may be maintenance cutbacks which will reduce the longevity of the new buildings at the High School and also allow other school facilities to go into disrepair.

11 ) The Ukiah Unified School District brings us the following instead:

The $3,000,000 costs, as detailed by the Ukiah Unified School District, are as follows:

A. Demolition $45,000.00

B. Construction $2,960,000.00

C. Temporary Relocation of Staff $35,000.00

D. Construction Contingency $196,000.00

E. City Electric $25,000.00

F. Water Service $15,000.00

G. Telecommunications $15,000.00

H. Education Technology $100,000.00

I. Sewer Services $12,000.00

J. Fixtures + Furniture $150,000.00

K. City Permit Fees $35,000.00

L. A/E Fees + Design $216,000.00

M. A/E Reimbursable Design $10,000.00

N. Materials Testing + Inspection $25,000.00

O. HAZ MAT Abatement $20,000.00

P. Survey + Geotechnical Report $23,000.00

Q. Geotechnical Construction Support $10,000.00

R. Planning + Environmental Review $5,000.00

S. Misc. Legal Notices $14,000.00

T. Project Reserve $75,000.00

12 ) The Ukiah Unified School District could save a fortune by using an existing location or fixing up the old Montgomery Ward’s store.

13 ) In an additional Redevelopment proposal between the City of Ukiah and the Ukiah Unified School District another agreement would turn over Oak Manor Park to the Ukiah Unified School District.  The District would be required to maintain the park and the tennis courts at its current level using what personnel and funding?  The District is barely maintaining its current school facilities today and will have even less money, in the future, for this type of maintenance.   (The Ukiah Unified School District has not maintained its high school tennis courts for years as tennis team members and coaches have provided that volunteer service, with extremely few exceptions. The baseball fields have been maintained by volunteers in many cases along with limited maintenance personnel.)

14 ) If the Ukiah Unified School District does not maintain the property in its current condition at Oak Manor Park, will the property revert back to the City of Ukiah?

15 ) If the Ukiah Unified School District, according the terms of the agreement, changes the existing park usage and facilities, what guarantee do we have that they will financially be able to provide another location with the same or equivalent facilities, including tennis courts, within the general area of the Oak Manor Park?  The District doesn’t own any suitable or equivalent property in that area and the cost of replacing this facility and the land would be prohibitive now and in the future.

16 ) The public that uses the Oak Manor Park should have a say in whether the City of Ukiah turns over this park to the Ukiah Unified School District who may not be financially able to maintain this park, now or in the future, due to financial constraints.

The two issues which are the subject of this letter should be vetoed by the Ukiah Redevelopment Agency at this time.  The Ukiah Unified School District should provide alternative and more cost efficient locations for their administration offices.  And they should not be given Oak Manor Park which is heavily used by the public when District is cutting back on maintenance of the school facilities our children use.

In a time of fiscal constraints the Ukiah High School Administration and elected school board should go back to the drawing board and find other less costly solutions.  And they should sell the building and property at their current location to pay for their move to another, more suitable, and less costly location. Our tax dollars can be used in a more efficient way.