The sticking point for me on this whole proposed Garden Club sale and lease-back deal has been the Oversight Committee created to control the property sale proceeds. The terms of the deal require an endowment to be set up at the RSF Foundation. Let me explain.
I was curious how our Rancho Santa Fe Association employees compensation compares to employees of big cities around the country. Under California law governing HOAs (homeowners associations), the information regarding the top 15 highest paid employees is public information, as long as titles, rather than names are used. I requested the salary and benefit information from the RSF Association office and received the table below.
I further went online (Google) and researched the salaries of mayors for the biggest cities in the U.S. to see how our compensation compared with those cities. Needless to say, I was shocked by what I found:
I recently attended the RSF Association board meeting that focused on the purchase of the RSF Garden Club. Prior to speaking,we were advised that comments were to be limited to three minutes. This I complied with, but more time was needed to present more information, so these are the salient points that should have been made.
When my wife Helen accepted the volunteer position as President of the Garden Club in June 2010 she quickly discovered that she was, in fact, a glorified building manager, with insufficient funds in the bank to maintain the building for more than a month or two. So, her first step was to lay off the staff and to solicit volunteers to help her keep the doors open. I was her first “volunteer” and took on the responsibilities of manager, bookkeeper, building repair man, clerical secretary, furniture mover and anything else necessary to get the job done.
I read with great interest the letter written by Jim Boon in your Jan. 9 issue as he makes statements that I do not understand and am very certain they are not accurate.
He states that Covenant residents that have lived here for 20-plus years are paying $200 to $800 per year in RSF Association fees. I don’t know what anyone else who is a Covenant resident pays annually, but I have lived in the Covenant since 1987, nearly 27 years!
First off, I have to ask why this is happening? The Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club property was donated and it is free and clear, they have a half-million dollars in the bank, and suddenly there seems to be a rush to sell the property, lease back the space for the Shoppe and get 15 days a year to operate events for some undetermined amount of term, set up an endowment with the sale proceeds and then distribute the earnings each year to other local charities. Sounds like the end of the Garden Club to me.
If you have moved here within the past 10 years, you pay around 75 percent of the Rancho Santa Fe Association fee revenues. That’s correct. Your neighbors who have lived here longer, especially those who have resided here for 20-plus years, pay $200 to $800 annually while you pay $2,500 to $8,000 annually.
Schools across the country are challenged with a major transition to the new Common Core State Standards this year. In a letter to parents Superintendent Lindy Delaney wrote, “These standards reflect a high level of rigor, focus and coherence. They are a substantial step up from the 1997 California State Content Standards.” Many schools must take already strapped resources to transition to the new standards. At R. Roger Rowe School (Ranch School) we are fortunate that we are not an ordinary school. We were able to add teachers and programs this year that will enhance our children’s education and help ease the transition. This is largely due to a generous grant from the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation (RSFEF).
The Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation (RSFEF) is proud to recognize its corporate sponsors for the 2013-2014 school year. Since 1997, the RSFEF has been a source of vital funding that enables the extraordinary education experienced by students at R. Roger Rowe School. The cornerstone of the RSFEF is its Five Star Education Program, which focuses on small class size, specialized teachers, literacy excellence, integrated science and differentiated mathematics.
Throughout the state and the country class sizes are on the rise. Classes of 30 or more are normal. Educators are stretching already taxed resources to transition to new standards. At the R. Roger Rowe School (Ranch School) average class sizes remain at 18 students per class. The difference here is the school’s unique partnership with the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation (RSFEF), which has increased its grant to the school to $1.1 million for the current school year.