City, District Agree to Re-Form Ad Hoc Committee

The City Council of Temple City and Temple City School Board agreed to re-establish an ad hoc committee between the two locally elected bodies on Thursday, April 16, 2009.

Mayor Pro Tempore Fernando Vizcarra and councilman Tom Chavez will represent the City of Temple City, while School Board Clerk Matt Smith and School Board Member Janet Rhee will represent the Temple City Unified School District (TCUSD).

TCUSD Superintendent Chelsea Kang-Smith gave a solemn introductory speech at the beginning of the joint meeting on Thursday.

“[The state budget crisis] is hitting us hard,” stated Kang-Smith. Kang-Smith also called the cuts approved by California state legislators in February 2009 “significant.”

According to Kang-Smith, the TCUSD is expected to lose $3.5 million over the next two years.

“The City is [also] losing revenues,” countered City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin. “We’re down approximately 5 percent [in revenues].”

Like Kang-Smith, Martin urged the two entities to “work together, rather than working separately, as enemies.”

Relations between the City and District worsened in 2008 after the School Board refused to extend the Facilities Use Agreement. School Board members had deemed the no-charge agreement between the City and District unfair.

The School Board did extend the contract to September 2008. After a joint meeting in September, the School Board once again extended the deadline to June 2009; however, there was an understanding that further discussion on the Facilities Use contract would occur throughout the year.

At the September 2008 meeting, Superintendent Kang-Smith stated the current contract was “unequal and unbalanced.”

District officials provided figures of the City’s use of District facilities and vice-versa. According to the TCUSD, the District’s use of City facilities amounted to 9 days, or 44 hours; on the other hand, the City’s use of District facilities totaled to 223 days, or 4,434.5 hours.

To compensate for the City’s additional use of District facilities, District officials had proposed that Temple City pay a lump sum of $5000 for the variable costs associated with use of District facilities.

“There is an inequity,” admitted Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Burroughs at the joint meeting on Thursday, April 16.

City officials disputed the District’s original claim that the District’s use of City facilities amounted to 44 hours. According to Burroughs, the actual number of hours amounted to approximately 1200.

After discussion regarding how the City might fix the inequity of facilities use with the District, School Board Clerk Smith recommended re-instating an ad hoc committee.

Councilman Chavez agreed, but raised questions about whether a contribution to the District would be considered a gift of public funds or whether other school districts could view the City’s donation showing favoritism to TCUSD.

Consensus was eventually reached and both bodies approved by a 4-0 margin to re-establish an ad hoc committee.

School Board President Robert Ridley and councilman Dave Capra were absent.

 

This article was written by Matthew Wong. It was published in the Temple City Voice on July 24, 2009.

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