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School Board Members Give Green Light to Possible Property Sale

School board members authorized staff members to solicit offers from public entities for Ruschin Elementary Tuesday.

members took the first step in putting Ruschin Elementary School on the market Tuesday night in an effort to fortify district funds in the face of an uncertain financial future.

All board members voted to authorize staff members to follow education and government codes by first soliciting offers from public entities for the school.

School Board President Charlie Mensinger said the district needs options as it waits for Gov. Jerry Brown to try and move his property tax extension proposal onto a special election ballot in June.

“With this, we have something ready to go in case that doesn’t work out,” Mensinger said.

Last month, Brown funding kindergarten through 12th grade education with funds from a statewide voter-approved tax extension.

According to the California Department of Education, Ruschin Elementary closed its doors in June 1989 after serving students for nearly nine years.

Chief Financial Officer Steven Shields said any funds from the campus sale may be used for capital improvements or first-time general fund expenditures.

School Board Member Janice Schaefer said the district should consider other long-term options for the property that could generate revenue, like a solar power operation.

School Board Member Ray Rodriguez said the district should look into the possibility of leasing the property.

At this time, the , and preschool operate at the Ruschin campus.

You may read more about the resolution on Ruschin Elementary here.

Board members also approved a resolution to allocate $227,000 to fund facility maintenance .

Also at Tuesday night’s board meeting:

  • Community group Avanzando made its case for a high school curriculum that would prepare Newark students for college and careers. The group invited Education Trust – West executive Linda Murray to present the A-G College-Career Ready Curriculum and share how she implemented the program with the San Jose Unified School District. Newark Patch will have more on this proposal in a future article.
  • Students in the leadership group updated board members about raising funds with events like family movie night and candy-grams. Students said the candy-gram profits were used to buy jump ropes for "Jump Rope Day." Students said they collected 3,000 cans of food for needy families during the Thanksgiving season.
  • :  Students congratulated Alice Chung for being named the 2011 Alameda County English Language Development Teacher of the Year. Students also reported on their poster contest with the theme of eliminating bullying in schools. They announced they’re holding a car wash fundraiser on March 5.
  • : Students announced they are working on projects for Black History Month. Students also said they were holding a special rally on Friday that addresses bullying on campus.
  • School Board Member Sean Tillman announced students were holding a Career Day on Tuesday, Feb. 8. He also confirmed the school will host its Annual Cougar Athletics Crab Feed at Newark Pavilion on March 26. 
Rick Bensco February 03, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Why sell when you can rent and have a constant revenue stream? From what I understand the monies collected would be one of the few ways to keep the money here and not give it to the state. Are the current tenants paying fair market value? I doubt it. There is talk about a new private school coming to town could they rent it? This is one of the few ways for NUSD to collect money outside of taxes and bake sales. Think long term rather then short term! Spend the $10,000 finding a good tenant not how much you think you could get for it as a sale. Better yet don't spend the $10,000 at all and offer a good commission to the broker with the best rental agreement.
Rick Bensco February 03, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Has the board spoken with Terrence Grindall or Clay Colvin? They are in charge of economic development and surly would like to help out the NUSD. They should have an idea of the value of a sale as well as rent value for free not $10,000! $10,000 would pay for a lot of kids going to science camp I'd think.
James February 03, 2011 at 07:22 PM
Rick's onto something here! Long term is much better than short term, because chances are if the property is sold then at some point the district will still be faced with the current crises. Here's some ideas for NUSD: 1. Search for up and coming Companies with a strong product and strong ties and reach out to them! If NUSD wants to sell the property fine, but do so wisely and choose an owner that can bring both Jobs to the Community and incite value in Residential Property. 2. Rent out each Room on Campus to an Individual or entity based on their needs, kind of like how the Community Center does for Parties. The location which Ruschin School sits on has so much great potential, being in a residential area with a fire station around the corner and shops up and down the main street. Heck if all else fails maybe Patch might want to do something with it? Even if they don't, whoever got the land would be pretty lucky!
Tony Doot February 04, 2011 at 05:08 AM
The problem with selling would be in order to get top dollar would be to sell to a housing developer. The problem there is no developer out there is building much right now and very few have money enough to buy never mind get a construction loan. It is hard enough to get a single purchase from the banks never mind money to fund something as slow as the housing market. It is getting better but it will still take a couple years to make it financially reasonable for a developer to start from scratch and expect to make any money.
Rick Bensco February 04, 2011 at 07:09 AM
Sorry to say but the way things are going at our schools I'll bet a private school would love to lease out this building. Bam instant school with lots of customers looking for an alternative to the school they have now. Turnkey just supply the teachers and fill up the seats! I don't know if NUSD would like to be the landlord to their competition but the competition is coming no matter what. They should consider at least making some money from them.
Nadja Adolf February 04, 2011 at 08:47 AM
No, a private school likely wouldn't want to rent the property; JEMS chose to locate on Cherry as far from Newark residential areas as possible; on a main drag where the parents able to pay 15K up for tuition don't have to worry about their children being in "dangerous" Newark. I think it should be leased instead of sold; the only likely buyer is the redevelopment agency, which would mean a low ball offer and loss of future property tax revenues.
Tony Doot February 04, 2011 at 03:45 PM
I am sorry Nadja but I disagree. Being in the center of a large residential area would be the perfect place to have it. It is good to be close to the people they service. And as far as "dangerous" ??? Newark is no more dangerous than any other city in the area and far safer that most.
Rick Bensco February 04, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Do we know if JEMS have committed to that spot and were they offered the Ruschin School spot? I can't imagine the advantage of a school in an industrial area compared to a real school site. 15k times 300 students is 45million. That should give them the money to pay a nice rent to have a great school site. What is NUSD getting for rental income now? Local Income The wild card in California school district funding is unrestricted local income. Unrestricted local income is listed under Object Code 8600 in the State of California accounting code system (SACS) and lies outside of the state revenue limit. Within this object code are the proceeds of parcel taxes (object code 8621), income from ground and building leases (object code 8650), interest earned (object code 8660), and may include income from other unrestricted local sources such as local district based foundations and donations. This is from Pacifica School District showing where schools can get financing. Again SELL IT AND BLOW THE CASH OR RENT IT OUT FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS.

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