County takes over La Honda-Pescadero school district

By on Tue, April 14, 2009

The San Mateo County Office of Education is taking control of the fiscal management of the La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District. The district faces a $200,000 deficit, a construction debacle, and the resignation of Superintendent Tim Beard, reports Julia Scott in the County Times.

Jean Holbrook, county superintendent of schools, announced at a school board meeting last week that she planned to assign a fiscal expert to help the district balance its budget by June 30 in light of a projected $200,000 deficit. An ongoing bond management crisis also has buried the district under a mountain of construction debt, although no one is sure how big the pile has become.

Fiscal expert Steve Waterman started work Monday. County law gives him final authority over spending decisions made by the board of trustees. ...

He also will scrutinize the botched school construction projects paid for with local bond money last year. Of the $15 million school bond passed by residents in 2006, only $9 million is still available to build a new high school and undertake other crucial renovations. School board officials argue that the district was defrauded by its original contractor, causing them to pay twice as much as expected for incomplete work.