Superintendent Rubio prepares to slash Emery USD budget. Board member Patz calls to preserve Anna Yates

Published On May 4, 2015 | By Rob Arias | Education, News & Commentary

Bay Area News reporter Doug Oakley is reporting that The Emery USD is again having financial difficulty and will have to more than likely cut staff to balance its books. State funding is of course tied directly to the schools enrollment which has been on a steady decline. School district board member Christian Patz pointed to “poor budget decisions” as another cause of this while The Emeryville Tattler has revealed that former principal Russom Mesfun was paid at least $66K without having worked a single day. Mesfun was placed on administrative leave prior to the start of the school year when parents and teachers got wind of an apparent history of harassment.

This is all in the shadow of the new $90 million Center of Community Life that broke ground last December and the recent cry to preserve Anna Yates Elementary that is slated to close and be consolidated with The ECCL upon its completion in 2017. Board member Patz unveiled his plan to preserve Anna Yates at the April 22nd school board meeting.

Patz outlined his thoughts of Emery USD’s biggest need as to retain and grow middle school enrollment and preserving Anna Yates was a necessary part of this. “Since the closure of the Ralph Hawley school site, the middle school has been an adjunct first to Emery High and then Anna Yates. If we let them move in a building of their own, the proposed K-8 building, they will no longer be the plus one of the district.”

“Emery USD has an opportunity to create a true community school district. To do this, we will need places for kids to learn, play, and be accepted. The space created by not moving the elementary students to the ECCL will allow for more classes to increase enrollment for the district. Both campuses will be able to dedicate places for school enrichment programs in collaboration with the city and the recreation department.”

The drama-filled 4 hour meeting can be watched on Ken Bukowski’s EPOA YouTube Channel:


Emeryville schools chief sharpens budget cutting knife

By Doug Oakley

This tiny school district is teetering on the edge of serious financial problems and will have to cut staff and increase enrollment to balance its books.

Superintendent John Rubio will present a package of cuts at the May 13 school board meeting to bring the $10 million budget back in line.

“I’m reviewing our budget and all of our expenses, like our staffing and copy machines and utilities,” Rubio said. “My goal is to keep any funding changes away from the students and classrooms as much as possible.”

He said there are only about 40 teachers in the school district.

School District Business Office Director Dora Siu told school board members at an April meeting that if spending continues unabated, the district will be in the hole by almost $1 million in the 2016-17 school year.

“And if we keep spending the way we are, we are not going to make our goal of having a 4 percent budget reserve,” Siu said.

The financial problems are due to declining enrollment, which is tied to state funding, and “poor budget decisions,” said school district board member Christian Patz.

In 2000, enrollment was 962 students and this year it’s at about 700.

Read More on MercuryNews.com →

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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