Encanto Elementary needed a lot of work. And last month, the San Diego Unified School District wrapped up the school’s comprehensive upgrade, replacing windows, retrofitting for air conditioning, updating the building for disability and accessibility compliance and planting trees to add shade on the playground.
In the end, the project cost the district more than $2.5 million over its original $8.6 million contract and finished more than a year past its scheduled completion date.
That unforeseen 30 percent cost increase in the project is an extreme outlier among the district’s construction projects. But the contractor responsible for the project has another big job with the district at Crawford High, and that one is on the cusp of reaching its budget, too.
The Encanto project was funded through Propositions S and Z, multibillion-dollar measures to fund school repairs and new construction projects.
Many of the cost increases and delays came from unforeseen construction issues, like termites and asbestos. But the timeline coincided with a culmination of financial problems faced by the project’s general contractor, T.B. Penick & Sons. The district is adamant that there’s no link between the company’s financial issues and the cost overruns with the Encanto Elementary project.
The district and T.B. Penick initially agreed to a contract to modernize Encanto Elementary in July 2014 for $8.6 million. But over three years, the contractor requested – and the district approved – changes to the project totaling another $2.5 million.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
SDUSD spends bond money however it likes because the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee has no power to do anything but rubber stamp the district's plans, and it spends general fund money however it likes because the LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) is nothing but a meaningless document that allows district staff and the school board trustees to make all the decisions and create insignificant and hollow metrics to assess accountability.
Why jump to the conclusion that this is something that wouldn't happen "North of Interstate 8"? After what occurred last week in the SDUSD Board meeting and at the City Council Rules Committee meeting, it's clear that this isn't about a district that doesn't care about the "South of Interstate 8" stakeholders. It's a district cares very little for ANY stakeholder, no matter where you live, what language you speak, or whether you're a student (ask the students in Scripps Ranch about their AP exams), a parent (ask the Lincoln High parents about the principal search), a community member (ask CAIR about their partnership with SDUSD), or an employee (ask all those who were laid off on July 1).
So rather than paint a North-South divide, let's be clear that the district treats ALL stakeholders badly.
I don't understand this, San Diego Unified School District gave a construction monopoly to Union Labor on their school construction work,, why is the district experiencing the same construction problems common in the industry?
We were told that banning non-union contractors, local non-union workers and local state approved non-union apprentices was going to eliminate problems associated with non-union labor, problems like cost overruns and contractors that had questionable financial status. We were told that paying 20% more for school construction work through union only Project Labor Agreements would eventually "save taxpayers" money.
We were told the SDUSD school board had its students as a top priority...