In The News: NUSD’s Shady Land Deal

Today’s Sac Bee reports the Natomas Unified School District claims neither its staff nor Superintendent Steve Farrar were at fault in the purchase of an “overpriced school site.”

According to the article, the school district’s board of trustees responded to a recent Grand Jury report which criticized the payment of $325,000 per acre — six times the actual value. The district indicates it was misled by its advisers and not made aware of links between those representing the district and those selling the land itself.

An excerpt of the article:

“The district’s support of Superintendent Steve Farrar wavered only when trustees conceded that he probably shouldn’t have solicited a contribution from the seller of the property for a board on which he sat. The solicitation took place during the course of property negotiations, the grand jury said.”



  1. Ugh. Dr. Farrar is a nice guy and I believe he means well, but the goings-on at the time of the Westlakeside land deal either means he’s a crook or a rube. I’m leaning toward rube. But how could he not see he was getting played? The few hundred thousand quid he got for the Natomas Schools Foundation from Tsakapoulos was chump change compared to the $9 million we were screwed out of ($11 mill purchase price of Westlakeside parcel minus its $2 million actual value); that’s selling yourself cheap.

    Here’s where an active school board and other community members come in. Sometimes well-meaning folks get in over their head when having to deal with the non-well-meaning. The NUSD board is equally culpable because they approved the purchase. When big sums are involved, you need to have MANY expert eyes on the ball. If you are not an expert (and most school board members are not), you need to get several, separate professional sets of eyes on the problem, ESPECIALLY when multi-millions are involved. As a superintendent/board member/leader you need to know when you don’t know, and NEVER trust just one advisor.

  2. Anonymous says

    I think its time Farrar falls on his sword and admits he was in over his head. It might go a long way to healing our school district and community.

  3. Anonymous says

    Are you kidding me…… The taxpayer’s take it in the gut again and we’re trying to say this guy didn’t know any better?
    I’m sorry, but I’m just not that guilible…. I don’t believe for one minute that Mr. Farrat didn’t know what was going on… If he, and the board, are that out of touch with watching the public’s money, they should all resign and let someone in there who can use a calculator.
    I’m disgusted and sick of being taken advantage of by everyone who is in elected office doing for themselves instead the public good.
    Step down and save what little face you have left Mr. Farrar.

  4. Anonymous says

    Only the school board members, the superintendent, and their mothers think the $13 million land deal was not a boondoggle.


  5. Anonymous says

    I absolutely agree its time for Farrar to step down. He can “donate” his salary to the cause. Wouldn’t that cover 2 teachers’ salaries?

  6. Anonymous says

    this point is proven time and time again in local and national politics: the higher up you go, the less responsible for your own actions you become. This “I didn’t know, someone else is to blame” is exactly the type of logic we see with children, and this type of dodging we see too in adults apparently. Until someone man’s up to this horrible mistake, I won’t trust this district’s ability to teach my kids.

  7. Did anyone on the school board even visit this property before the buy? Seriously anyone with an ounce of common sense would have known it was overvalued just by looking at it. There’s no way Farrar (or any of them!) didn’t know. People were screaming it all over Natomas. Shame on them for not listening and asking questions.

  8. Anonymous says

    Yes, there was a community and meetings asking the board to double check and triple check and yet they went ahead despite these warnings. How do they get let off the hook for this kind of ignorance?

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