ENDING QUESTIONABLE LAND TRADES AND DEVELOPMENT DEALS
In 2008, the Board voted 4-1 for the land swap that secured the parcel on which the new McCorkle school sits. TUSD’s site selection committee had recommended a different site, and Mark had many concerns about the transaction. The Board approved the swap at its last meeting before Mark became a member.
In his first years on the board, Mark opposed several questionable land transactions, including the Pomegranate Farms land swap which died before coming to the Board for a vote.
The only major land transactions that the Board has approved since Mark joined the board have been the sales of four closed school sites: Ft. Lowell, Reynolds, Townsend, Van Horne, and Wrightstown.
Mark has also opposed proposals to sell the (relatively valuable) site of the current administration building and build a new one. At some point in the future this may make sense, when and land prices and TUSD’s enrollment trends are both stronger.
Mark has advocated for the creation of a formal policy process for handling real estate transactions, including guidelines on obtaining appraisals and an approved list of appraisers. Most large public entities have such a formal process; TUSD is unusual in having none. Mark sponsored a meeting of real estate professionals to give the district guidance on best practices, but the initiative died from lack of support from the staff and the Board. This should be restarted.