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San Juan School District says it knows best and you should shut up

Today is Election Day. Every media outlet is reporting on the election. Given the widespread use of mailed ballots and early voting, ballot counting will go on for several days. In other words, other news stories will have a tough time getting attention edgewise, let alone straight on. And that's probably why the San Juan Unified School District chose today to release the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the dumpster fire that they want to impose at Creekside.

What does the final EIR say? Our elves summarized it like this:

  1. people and public agencies commented on the draft EIR
  2. the school district belittled the comments
  3. the final EIR is written to justify what the school district wants to do no matter what

That's right, just nine days after the comment deadline on the draft EIR, the school district has dispensed with all objections. The final EIR represents the school district sticking its thumbs in their ears and wiggling its fingers while also sticking its tongue out at the public. Why does the final EIR tell the public to pound sand? So the outgoing 5-member, at-large school board can hold a "workshop" on November 15th at 4:00pm to bless the staff's work and approve the project before the new 7-member, by-district board (with two brand-new members elected from open seats) can be sworn in.

May contain: plan, plot, chart, and diagram
Just one example of the deception in the final EIR: The document includes this drawing of "Existing Pedestrian Facilities" showing a crosswalk where they want to build a drive-in/drive-out chokepoint at Kent and Miramar. Also included is this statement: "Five-foot sidewalks are provided along both sides of El Camino Avenue, Miramar Road, Elvyra Way, and Morse Avenue." Well, golly, what a wonderfully pedestrian-friendly environment (not!).

Why is this massive expenditure on permanent brick-and-mortar for a temporary "bulge" of 300 middle school students being rushed like that? Some theories:

  • the school district is worried the state will come down on it for the horrible/no-good academic performance record at Encina (among the worst in the state)
  • the school district, having made siting decisions months ago that should have been done in the sunshine of the California Environmental Quality Act, wants to "finish" the process such that a judge will shrug his/her shoulders and decline to undo construction in progress
  • the school district, having already selected its architectural firm and already contracted with a construction company to get the job done, wants to stymie the lawsuit filed against the district for flaky financing, again betting on a shoulder-shrugging judge
  • the school district is embarrased about having failed to address its middle school wishes by updating its Master Facilities Plan, the document that is supposed to guide the expenditure of millions and millions of tax dollars to fix their facilities, hoping you won't notice when they float their next Bond Measure for millions of more dollars.

Mind you, those are just theories. Still, the price tag ($55,000,000 plus interest on debt) for this particular boondoggle is sky high: $300,000 a month for 30 years or so. Should you be concerned about that? It's your money they're using. You can read the proposed final EIR at and you can take time off from work to state your opinion about the project on Nov. 15th at 4:00pm to a school board that doesn't care what you might have to say. Good luck with that.

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