May 22--The Brea Olinda Unified School District is $1 million closer to making necessary repairs to two schools in time for the fall.
The City Council this week approved a line of credit to the school district for earthquake repairs, upgrades and seismic inspections at Brea Olinda High School and Fanning Elementary School. Costs are estimated at about $3 million.
City leaders asked the district if it needed assistance in raising funds. The district plans to fully fund the repairs, but asked for short-term "backstop" funding as a precaution.
"This is just a way of providing some initial insurance ... to get the schools open and ready for business in the fall," said Bill Gallardo, acting city manager.
The district plans to fund the repairs with help from the $1 million deposit from the potential sale of Brea Corporate Place, which would negate the need to borrow from the city, said Skip Roland, Brea Olinda Unified School District's superintendent. The district is negotiating an early release of those funds.
But a court hearing is scheduled Tuesday in a lawsuit by a developer that claims the school district broke the law by skipping a public auction to sell district property, instead agreeing to sell the property for $25 million to a rival company.
Roland said the district would use the city money as a last resort.
"You never want to borrow money if you don't have to," he said.
"It's a symbol of the way that the district and the city work together," Roland said, "but ideally speaking, I should be doing what I can do to make sure that we can pay our bills from our money and not have to borrow it."
The district is not obligated to take any part of the money offered by the city. "I'm not asking for the money until I need it," Roland said.
Under the agreement, if the school district decides to take the city up on its offer, it would repay the loan at an interest rate of 0.23 percent by the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year.
"That is the current money market rate that we're getting when we invest our money short-term," Gallardo said.
Fanning's main building has been closed because of asbestos found in dust and debris caused by falling ceiling tiles and light fixtures in a magnitude 5.1 earthquake March 29. The district plans to rid the building of all asbestos, conduct seismic inspections, install a new roof and carpet, make exterior column repairs and paint walls.
Students from second through sixth grades were relocated to Laurel Elementary School.
Roland said Brea Olinda High School's performing-arts center needs repair, in addition to an inspection and tile repairs of the kitchen and student cafeteria floors.
Contact the writer: 714-704-3794 or [email protected]
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