The Rise And Fall Of The Land Scheme That Almost Cost The Oakland Unified School District
FROM THE PAGES OF THE BERKELEY DAILY PLANET NEWSPAPER
THE CURIOUS HISTORY OF THE OUSD LAND SALE AS TOLD IN THE LEGISLATIVE RECORD
August 11, 2006
SB39, the bill that authorized the state takeover of the Oakland Unified School District, was introduced in abbreviated form in January 2003 by State Senator Don Perata, with no details included.
On March 27, 2003, the Oakland Unified School District Board of Trustees passed a resolution requesting the bailout loan from the State of California. That resolution read, in part, that “on or before June 30, 2004, the district be allowed to declare as surplus property and sell or lease such property on or before June 30, 2004, and use the proceeds from any such sale or lease to reduce or retire the State loan …”
The key provision is that the board of trustees resolution called for either the sale or the lease of surplus district property to help retire the state debt.
On April 7, 2003, SB39’s details were filled in with amendments by Senator Perata, including a provision that read: “The bill would authorize the district … to declare as surplus property any property of the district and to sell, sell back, lease or leaseback that property on or before June 30, 2004, and use the proceeds from that transaction to reduce or retire the loan.”
That language was included when the bill was amended on April 21.
On April 24, however, all language authorizing the sale or lease of surplus property to help retire the state debt was taken out of the bill when it was passed by the California State Senate and sent to the Assembly.
On May 14, when SB39 was referred to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, the clause authorizing the sale or lease of the surplus OUSD property to help retire the state debt was re-inserted into the bill. However, a new clause was inserted into the bill, stating that “this subdivision [authorizing the sale or lease of the surplus property] applies only to surplus property that is currently used to house administrative services or used as warehouse space.”
On May 22, the bill was amended, again, on the floor of the Assembly, taking out the provision that limited the property sale to property “used to house administrative services or used as warehouse space.” At the same time, the provisions authorizing the leasing of the surplus property to help retire the debt were taken out of the bill. It also took out the term “surplus,” meaning that it applied to any property owned by the district. The final provision read: “The bill would authorize the district…to sell property of the district and use the proceeds from that transaction to reduce or retire the emergency loan.”
On May 29, the Senate concurred in the amendments to the bill passed by the Assembly, and SB39 was approved by the governor on the following day.
No official explanation is given in SB39’s legislative history as to why the provisions to lease property to help retire the debt were taken out of the bill.
J. Douglas Allen-Taylor