City Can't Afford $1.48 Million to Fix Schools, Officials Told

November 28, 1985|SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writer

Glendale school district officials, who were hoping to continue sharing in the city's multimillion-dollar redevelopment income, were told Tuesday that the city could not afford to pay $1.48 million over the next three years to repair aging school buildings and playgrounds.

However, the Glendale City Council, acting as the city's Redevelopment Agency, did agree to give the local school district $240,000 in unspent federal funds to remove asbestos from 14 Glendale schools.

Although the district last month had requested $1,480,365, Glendale Unified School District Supt. Robert Sanchis said the city donation was "generous and highly supportive."

School officials last month had asked that the city donate part of the income it receives from Glendale's downtown redevelopment project over the next three years. Glendale's Redevelopment Agency is expected to earn nearly $5 million during the 1985-86 fiscal year, and about $6 million in 1987-88.

The school district had hoped to use the $1.48 million for a variety of projects, including the upgrading of junior and senior high school science labs and new roofs and playgrounds for several elementary schools.

But City Manager James Rez recommended against giving the district money from the city redevelopment fund because, he said, the Redevelopment Agency will need the money to cover existing debts and pay for a planned parking garage and hotel project. City officials fear that Congress may approve a Reagan Administration proposal that would eliminate the use of tax increment bonds as a major financing tool, thus jeopardizing financing for Glendale redevelopment projects.

Unwise to Commit Funds

Last month, the council had asked the school district to trim its original request. The council also had requested from its own staff a five-year estimate of redevelopment agency expenses.

The school district responded with a request for $463,350 for asbestos removal, improvements of school and science labs and resurfacing of several playgrounds.

But, Rez said this week, "I do not think it prudent for this agency to commit additional funds for the school district." His report this week showed that the Redevelopment Agency will have available an average of $1.3 million for projects each year for the next five years, after paying administrative costs and debt service.

During the last three years the city has given the district $1.3 million in redevelopment money and $2.4 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds.

Rez said the city will receive $650,000 in federal revenue-sharing funds that was not expected, and therefore not in the current budget. He recommended that, if the city wants to give the district money, it use the federal funds.

Councilmen Larry Zarian and former school board member Carl Raggio argued Tuesday for granting all the district's new request.

Repairs Must Continue

Raggio said the city is obliged to continue paying for repairs and improvements that the school district cannot afford because "the growth and vitality of our community is a function of those students."

Milner responded: "We all recognize the needs that our schools have . . . but we have to be sensitive to the fact that we are responsible for the entire city." Of the total district request, only the health and welfare of students who might be exposed to asbestos warranted city funding, he said.

The council is expected to formally approve the funding at a later meeting.

Replacing Insulation

The district has spent $160,000 to remove asbestos from heavily used areas of local schools, said Ralph Hawblitzel, district business administrator. The city money will be used to replace asbestos insulation used around piping in walls and under floors at 11 elementary schools and at Rosemont and Roosevelt junior high schools and Crescenta Valley High School, he said.

The asbestos now at schools poses no immediate health hazard, Hawblitzel said.

Los Angeles Times Articles