Vallejo, Calif., school district administrators are taking a rare approach when it comes to getting a $194 million bond before the city's voters this November.
They're asking Vice President Marianne Kearney-Brown and Trustee Ruscal Cayangyang to reconsider their respective "no" votes.
The five trustees were split 3-2 during the May 16 board meeting when it came to agreeing on whether to put the nearly $200 million bond on the ballot. Despite receiving a simple majority — placing a bond on the ballot requires a super majority of four trustees to approve the action.
Now, the district is asking Cayangyang and Kearney-Brown to rescind the board action from May 16 and vote again — this time voting "yes" to put the bond before the voters.
The district argues that since both were on the minority side of the vote — they are the only ones who can re-open the discussion and possible vote on the matter.
In a staff report, the district warned that without the bond or other funding sources, the district's facilities would continue to suffer.
"In the absence of current sufficient district funds, state facility funds, or other local funds through parcel tax or local bonds, and with ongoing facility deterioration and likely ongoing district budget reductions, this district cannot adequately attend to the facility needs or make the improvements identified in the Facility Master Plan," staff wrote.
In the 2014 Facility Master Plan, the district identified $750 million in school facility needs and improvements with at least $251 million for infrastructure, security, and access needs.
"Without additional funds to make necessary improvements, not only will we continue to experience a negative impact on instruction and learning, we may incur further financial jeopardy by any number of potential catastrophic facility failures as a result of our inability to repair or replace," staff added.
Both Kearney-Brown and Cayangyang have previously expressed apprehension about the district's finances. They point to the recent release of a report from the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) which found several issues within the district's business services division.
When the team visited the district last December, it discovered internal strife, lack of communication, overpayments to employees, and the division, overall, being overstaffed. Since that time, district officials have said they are working to straighten out the division.
Kearney-Brown also said she had concerns about how oversight of the bond would be structured and she questioned the bidding process for district contracts.
In response, the pair during the same May meeting offered to support placement of a $30 million bond on the ballot as a test run to see if the district manages the bond proceeds well. That idea was rejected by the board 2-3, with Board President Burky Worel and trustees Tony Ubalde and Bob Lawson against.