S’more WC budget bits: The city wants to help schools keep their fields green

The city might not be willing to pay the $110,000 to support the crossing guard program at schools around Walnut Creek, but it is willing to help the Walnut Creek School District maintain the sports fields at its campuses.

Walnut Creek City Manager Gary Pokorny confirmed that the city’s proposed 2010-12 budget includes a provision to allow it to provide maintenance for these fields, as it has in the past, though the city will ratchet down the annual amount it has been paying for this service.  In the past, the city has spent about $100,000 a year.

The city also proposing to continue providing a $30,000 matching grant to help the school district continue to offer counseling services at its five elementary and one middle school.  

These offers of help to the Walnut Creek School District will be part of City Council discussions about the budget to take place starting tonight. 

These two school programs were at risk, with both the city and the Walnut Creek School District facing tough budget times.  The school district, which is facing an $8 million deficit, was especially keen on maintaining its sports fields. The district has been using some of the $20 million from the 2002 bond measure to renovate or replace the six sports fields at its schools. Four schools now have new and improved fields that are safe and state-of-the art and which are used by the schools’ students and by sports leagues throughout the city. Two more fields will be fixed up this summer. 

The city, for several years, has helped maintain those fields. At a joint meeting between the Walnut Creek City Council and the Walnut Creek School District two weeks ago, Superintendent Patricia Wool said she was afraid that the fields would go brown if it couldn’t get maintenance help from the city.

At that same meeting, Mayor Sue Rainey said the city values its partnership with the schools, and always wants to do what it can to help them. On the other hand, she and other city officials at that time couldn’t make any commitments to what, if anything, they could help the school district pay for. 

Pokorny said the city is also looking for a way to help the school district pay offering counseling services at its six elementary and middle school campuses. 

13 thoughts on “S’more WC budget bits: The city wants to help schools keep their fields green

  1. That's good news about the fields, but I hope the city gets formal and actually puts a written agreement in place that gives the city some say into how the properties are managed.

    In previous posts I have commented about how the district takes a position of NOT being bound by the municipal code, and the city considers school property, private property. Which of course creates a pseudo-park where public finds maintain private property with out the burden of responsibility.


  2. The city uses these parks during non-school hours. Walnut Creek Soccer, littlel league, etc. all use these grounds as their fields, so they are an inexpensive way for the city to have more parks for all it's tax paying citizens.


  3. Thats true, but bear in mind though that parks actually have rules and regulations and abide by the municipal code, where the school does not. And by permitting the youth organizations to use the field the community that is not part of the organizations is locked out from using the field. And somehow, the youth orgs are also not held to standards of the code, because the municipal code does not apply to school property.

    All I am saying is there should be a degree of fairness for the surrounding community, if the district wants use city resources, at the communities expense, then they should at a minimum willfully embrace the the standards of the community. As an example, it takes weeks to get the district to clean up the garbage in the fields parking lot(s).


  4. See, this why there needs to be a WRITTEN agreement for these sort of things. Aside from liability and workman's comp issues. Following the School's private property being maintained by the city's resources being “rented” or at least use fee'd by private organizations, who pay the fee to the city, has the effect of when there is an issue NOBODY is responsible. I have been down this road every year for the last 14, and every time its the same…School district is a sovereign entity, city has no jurisdiction, District says if there is an issue call the city or the police…city officials and police will say “oooh that's private property” the school would need to file a complaint…lather rinse repeat.
    When I spoke to the city last year I asked for the written agreement that outlines the arrangement, was told by city management that there was no formal agreement per se. Which to me, is pretty sloppy when the city is contending that they spend 100k per year on the schools fields. 100k of tax payer money with no paper trail. Add to that the collection of use fee's for private property flowing through a city office, it sure gets murky.


  5. Why would the city do any of this? We have fields to maintain in our parks. If a school wants a field, maintain it yourself.


  6. I have kids playing little league at many of the “school and WC fields” in no case am I aware that the community is barred from also using the fields when games or practices aren't in play. I take my kids to Castle Rock all the time during the off-season to throw the ball sround.


  7. 2:30
    Let me try to clarify my earlier point. The field in my neighborhood, when being used by the soccer club for example basically shuts the community out of using it by virtue of the sheer girth of their scheduled use. The field is off limits during school hours, then the soccer club comes in @ 3:30 and uses it basically till sunset m-f. On Saturday the soccer club play games on the field all day from 8am until 5pm.
    Castle Rock is 2 fields if I am not mistaken, and they play 2-4 games total per day, starting @ 930am where BV is only one field and they schedule 6-8 games and they start as early as 7:30/8 am.

    Currently WC Multi-league takes up both baseball diamonds while warriors Lacrosse practices Monday through Saturday and sometimes on Sunday. Which really doesnt leave a lot of time for the ad hoc use for the general community.

    So my point was that the city is maintaining private property for use of 3rd party youth organizations more so than for the general community.

    I don't really even have a problem with the usage, youth sports are good for the kids. Where I do have an issue is that when problems arise like garbage or chemical toilets or noise (parents with horns and whistles @ 7 am sort of things) the school is hands off and defers to the city where applicable, otherwise they fall back on the we don't have to obey the municipal code, then the city defers back to the school since it is private property, and nothing gets addressed.

    Oh and the School will and has ejected non-youth league gatherings of guys playing soccer and/or softball without a permit, when the field would otherwise not be on use.

    Your mileage may vary.


  8. LeftCoast, castlerock/northgate are not part of the the Walnut Creek School District. They are in the Mt. Diablo School District, so its a different experience I am sure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s