By Emily Sorensen
It was a full house last night at the Poway Unified School District school board meeting, with concerned community members coming out to support the Westview Navy JROTC and ask for more time on the sale of the Rancho Bernardo water tower site. The board also reviewed the 2011-2012 financial audit report.
Supporters of the Westview Navy JROTC program made a strong showing, with 16 members of the JROTC showing up in full uniform, with 11 people, a mixture of JROTC members and parents, speaking up on the importance of the JROTC program, and why it needs both support from the district, and the promised second instructor. The Westview JROTC has 122 members this year, with 66 new members joining this year alone. PUSD has an agreement with the Navy to provide two instructors for the program, with the Navy paying half the instructor’s salary.
The sale of the Rancho Bernardo water tower site, a property owned by the school district that the community of Rancho Bernardo hopes the city will purchase to turn into a park, continued to be controversial, with six community members speaking to the board and asking for a 90-day delay on opening the sale to outside bids. The community hoped to use the time to convince the city to purchase the property (valued at $6.6 million). The board agreed to table the sale for 60 days, and revisit it at the January board meeting.
Some confusion in the community was cleared up surrounding the release of the 2011-2012 financial audit. This audit report, which is not the anticipated forensic audit report of the controversial capital appreciation bonds, is instead a required, yearly audit done by an independent company, Wilkinson Hadley King & Co. LLP.
This comprehensive audit covers all of the district’s funds, including general funds, Mello-Roos bonds and the capital appreciation bonds. While the revelation of the district’s debt being $2.5 billion by 2050 seems shocking to those used to hearing a debt of nearly $1 billion, Associate Superintendent Malliga Tholandi explained that this number covered the district’s entire debt, not just the debt caused by the capital appreciation bonds.
The board also moved ahead on the creation of Community Facilities District 15 (Del Sur East), which will eventually be next to School #39, the new K-8 school which will be built in Del Sur. A public hearing has been set for 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 at the school district’s offices. Steps were also taken toward finalizing the site lease, sublease and construction services agreement for School #39.
A first reading was also held for the 2013-2014 school calendar. Though not finalized, the school year should begin no earlier than Wednesday, Aug. 21, and end no later than Thursday, June 12.