Friday, January 09, 2009

Idea for CCSD's"Taj Mahal": Buy High, Sell Low

The inmates are running amuck again. At least that's what anyone with a finger on the pulse of the present real estate market in Charleston must be thinking after reading Friday's paper.

The idea that the present CCSD inmates of 75 Calhoun, the "Taj Mahal" of school district buildings, would vacate the premises (let them enjoy the ambiance of their own portable classrooms) truly appeals to the sense of justice and the sensible [see Sell 'Taj Mahal'? It's Possible in the P & C]. Watchers of the Charleston County School District and Mayor Joe Riley know, however, that Superintendent McGinley just threw out a red herring, Riley caught it, and friends at the P & C reported the catch.

McGinley is as serious about this possibility to stem CCSD's economic problems as she would be about foregoing her entire salary for the next three years. In tandem, Riley is making the proper noises to calm the natives, who are indeed restless over proposed School Redesign Plans. Why not look conciliatory? It doesn't cost anything.

Lease the entire building to the city or downsize district staff and office space and lease one of the floors CCSD now occupies to a new tenant. There's some income.

How would the bargain-basement sale of the building benefit the taxpayers who paid for it? And how would the district evade the law that prevents using capital gained from land or buildings for ongoing operating expenses?


Anonymous said...

Could there be trouble in paradise between CCSD and the Mayor or was this all for show?

mlm said...

This is worth repeating. One person in the comments section said, "Give Nancy Mac a chance and [let her] sell the freaking bldg."

I'd agree except she's just playing with us. As someone else has said, this is just more smoke and mirrors from CCSD. They need to look like they are responding to the public outrage for years of repeated failures.

If she was serious, she would have at least mentioned the other CCSD headquarters it also owns and still uses on Leeds Avenue. This isn't like they would be selling the only roof over their head. This is CCSD's 2nd home. McGinley's pitch about the cost of "finding another place" only proves she's being less than honest about this offer. They already have another place. It was CCSD's headquarters after they left Chisholm Street and before Mayor Riley talked them into a sweetheart deal that built 75 Calhoun.

CCSD could even cut their moving costs a lot if they would terminate just 20% of the fat they employ at the administrative level. With fewer $100,000 plus administrators they would need fewer corner offices, too.

I'll start believing McGinley when she starts talking about cutting some of the people in her office, instead of eliminating teacher vacancies by consolidating classes so they hold the maximum allowed by law...35 (or more).

She says 80% of CCSD's budget is to pay people. How many of them actually work with students? Not many who share space in McGinley's office. Another fib from McGinley was to imply that selling a building would boost the operating budget. Not true. Capital funds can't be legally used to fund operations, but cutting out fat administrative positions and bureaucratic waste would benefit the operating budget.

What she's also not telling us is her plan calls for building over $100 million in new schools where she's closing schools for declining enrollment. Her credibility, like her math, doesn't add up.

Sell the building...better still, lease it...the city needs the office space. (Maybe they could get $29 a square foot.) Then if you really want to save millions for years to come, make them trim the fat at the top.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Amen, Amen. MLM is "right on".

Clisby said...

Not only does the plan call for spending about $100 million in new construction/renovations, but unless I've completely missed something, the school district doesn't have that money sitting around in a bank account. I think CCSD would have to get another bond issue passed to raise most, if not all, of it. Completely leaving aside the issue of why on earth we should believe the school district needs that money, who seriously thinks that in this economy taxpayers are going to approve another bond issue, especially one that proposes spending millions on something as silly as seismic upgrades to old school buildings?

Anonymous said...

Teachers are so stressed.
We have seen 20% more adminsitrative jobs downtown created in 3 years. How about cut half the staff on the building they never talk about on Montague!

I am sick of tons of people dropping in from district.
Hey why don't we cut 50% there and downtown!

What a waste. As to MLK day unpaid-has she heard of contracts! SUIT imminent!

Why not cancel a PD day or workday then.
Readlly give us the day off!

Hey paper shortage already, we can't order pencils or paper.

My district tech person doesn't even have a tech degree. what a waste.

How about we have only 1 district person for every school or less.

I have never seen so much waste.