Susan Handelsman reports on the
Facility review committee meeting
Motion to identify which of 49 voting committee members’ households were compensated by D200 failed to pass by a huge margin.
The motion and vote were not recorded by the committee record keeper.
The only recommendations passing committee:
- close admin building lease ($70,000)
- sell owned admin building ($400,000; saving annual $56,000 ops&maintenance and external upkeep), and
- closing Dean St. School (capacity 500, enrollment 325) and creating dual and mono classes.
Clay Academy building closure failed to pass at 63%: 31 yes votes of 49, a supermajority of 75% was required.
This was with committee informed that Clay building housed predominantly out-of district students and that D200 taxpayers have to subsidize them in order to keep Clay building open.
The figure I estimated was that we were paying $63,000 per each of 11 District 200 Clay students in order to provide a low cost option for wealthier districts tuition ($29,000) students.
Discussion about Clay Academy:
Last year Clay Academy enrollment included 29 in-district students and some number of out-of district tuition students.
This year D200 in-district enrollment dropped to 11, with 59 out-of-district tuition students.
Superintendent Moan said that because no such Option was on the list describing alternatives for Clay, he would not address the question of whether D200 taxpayers are obligated to keep Clay building open in order to offer a low- cost tuition option for all out-of-district students even if D200 special ed enrollment fell to zero.
Wold Architects $170,000 10 year life-safety survey indicated Clay building need $2.2 million capital improvements.
The facility review committee on buildings had recommended that Clay building (300 capacity, 70 current enrollment of which only 11 now were local D200 students) be investigated for closure.
Since Initial Facility review of physical buildings committee met in November Superintendent Moan, in person and in emails, had promised to supply specific breakdown of undisclosed costs to operate Clay Academy.
Dr. Moan repeatedly stated that “Clay operates at about a break even”.
I have repeatedly insisted that the costs of operating Clay Academy which were not disclosed to the voting committee were quite substantial, created a deficit per tuition-student which was required to be funded by D200 taxpayers, and would have bearing on the committee’s analysis and vote.
Yesterday, less than 24 hours before tonight’s vote, the facility review committee was sent an email which again failed to include those substantial and significant cost figures, and also overstated (relative to two handouts previously distributed by admin to our committee) tuition revenue by $120,000.
The handout again implied that Clay Academy was operating at a “profit ” generated by tuition.
When costs of the Clay building, life safety mandated improvement costs, exterior maintenance, building insurance, OPEB including D200 guaranteed insurance premium payments for retirees pre-Medicare, shared general admin, shared special ed admin, tech and IT, tort fund liability premiums, and the D200 portion of State personnel reimbursement allocations are taken into account, it is clear that D200 taxpayers are paying more per student than is covered by tuition revenues paid.