Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Now I know we like our grass, but....

$900,000 for a centralized irrigation system.

You can review the Request for Proposal (RFP) here.  I saw this the other day, and it didn't really sink in until now.  900k for irrigation?  I know there must be more to this. But WOWSA.  Bids are due later this month.

As all bids are due to the Measure C Assistant Program Manager, I assume then, this is a Measure C project . . . but just curious.

Here is an explanation from Gary Eberhart regarding the value of this system:
This is another step in our effort to make strategic investments in our facilities that will pay dollars into the general fund.  This is a web based irrigation control system that will take into account weather forecasts when deciding whether or not to turn on the irrigation system.  There were already systems that wouldn't water if it was raining.  Now there are systems that can determine if rain is coming.  For instance, if there is a 70% chance of rain tomorrow, do we really need to water lawns today?  This is likely to save us a couple hundred thousand dollars per year that we are currently spending on water which comes directly out of the general fund.


  1. I just read this proposal and commented on Claycord about it. I read it quickly but it makes sense in that this new system could then be monitored centrally. This would save money, time and costs of water. It is just a proposal and there is also the Measure C oversight committee.

    In an ideal world we would have passed the $99 a year parcel tax. The district cuts will be about $55 million over 4 years, if we had the $7.5 million from the parcel tax, that would have meant only $25 million in cuts.

    I do agree that it is sad we can't use the Bond money for classroom needs. It can only be used for facility improvements.

    So between solar (which many districts are doing) and now saving on irrigation, the hope is more money for the General Fund, therefore more into the classroom.

    Even though my last child is graduating this year I will continue to want what is best for all our children in this community. After reading about the cuts to Universities, all I could think was "Here we go again....."

  2. This is part of the "2010 Facilities Improvement Plan" that is to be paid with Measure C funds (the district never posted the entire plan online -- just the school site summaries).
    According to the plan, $980,000 is to be spent on "centralized irrigation management" at 52 sites as part of the district's "resource conservation" plan. As stated above, the district expects to ultimately save money on water, similar to its plan to save money on energy by installing solar.
    It probably won't install the systems at schools to be closed.

  3. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on water in our district to irrigate. That money comes directly out of the general fund budget, which is the budget used to keep schools open. The money being spent to update our irrigation system comes from Measure C, which is money that we can't use to keep schools open. By making these improvements we will increase the dollars that we have available to stave of future budget cuts. If we do not make strategic investments in our facilities such as solar and updated irrigation systems, we will loose more than $200 million over 30 years and we will have to lay off more employees and close more schools. These improvements are absolutely critical to the financial future of our school district and the students that we serve. I am sorry that statements are made that will cause readers to doubt the direction of the school district. School closures are a serious issue and require serious solutions.

    I am writing more on my blog at if you'd like to comment and you can always e-mail me at I don't have the time to make back and forth comments on all of the blogs, but I will monitor my blog. I just wanted to set the record straight before the hyperbole begins. I know people come her for accurate news and I wanted to provide it.

  4. Thanks Gary. It does sound like a good system and what that's needed to conserve for the future of the district. I didn't mean this post as a bash... I had some emails about it over the last few days, so I figured if the rumor mill was starting I might as well mention it. I really don't want this to be the negative, bashing blog that some have become. I want it to be a place people come for info and I appreciate you taking the time. Also thanks to sherry and Linda for responding to my inquires too.

  5. I don't remember this project being disclosed during the election. I uderstand, but don't necessarily agree with, the philosiphy of Measure C to spend money on capital improvements [often at large expense]that are not necessarily cost effective in the short run, but purport to reduce operating costs out of the general fund budget in the immediate future. Are there other projects that weren't disclosed ? Or is the District just searching for ways to spend the Measure C money ? Lets stop the surprises.
    Doctor J

  6. How about the fact that many parents supported the Bond measure because of the promise of technology in the classroom.

    Hmmmm $11mil out of $348 going to technology. Will the district upgrade the outdated software, will they provide tech support at the school sites, will they provide professional development, will technology actually be integrated into the curriculum in order to provide our students 21st Century skills, is there a plan or just another shot in the dark?

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