SDUHSD parent rallies for Prop. AA
By Karen Billing
San Dieguito Union School District’s Proposition AA is just one of several school bonds that local residents will cast their vote on in the Nov. 6 election. Robert Nascenzi, a SDUHSD parent, visited the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board last week to generate support for the bond that will provide the district with 21st century classrooms as well as repair and upgrade schools.
The $449 million general obligation bond will cost the average district homeowner about $150 a year.
“The reason we chose to move here was because of the schools in this area,” Nascenzi said. “[Prop. AA] is really important for the future of our kids and our community. When you think about it, it supports our property values to have good schools in our community.”
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association has also supported the SDUHSD bond measure.
All of the local district schools would benefit from projects supported by the bond, Nascenzi said.
One of the biggest beneficiaries would be Earl Warren Middle School. Nascenzi said when he moved here 15 years ago, there were concerns then about the condition of Earl Warren Middle School and very little has changed since that time.
The master plan for Earl Warren includes replacing the existing school with a new school and maintaining the existing joint-use library.
The district’s plan also includes a new middle school in Pacific Highlands Ranch, next to Canyon Crest Academy, which will serve 1,000 students and help overcrowding at Carmel Valley Middle School.
The district intends to reduce enrollment at Carmel Valley Middle School from its current level of around 1,500 students to 1,000 students and reconfigure the Carmel Valley Middle School campus to ensure that the campus is fire safe, free of infrastructure problems, construct new drama and music buildings and update computer, math and science labs.
As Torrey Pines is approaching 40 years in existence, Nascenzi said people can only imagine the needs if you looked at the school like you would a 40-year-old house—he said the needs were illustrated by a water main break a few weeks ago.
Plans to improve Torrey Pines include science and technology upgrades, a renovation of the science facilities, upgrading the heating and air conditioning system, developing new industrial arts and shops, and giving the campus a performing arts center. It is the only high school in the district without one.
Even though Canyon Crest Academy is the newest school, Nascenzi said they ran out of money when building it and were unable to build athletic fields and additional classes for science and technology. The master plan for CCA includes a new black box theater, repurposing the existing black box theater to industrial arts for a robotic program, a new dance classroom, constructing a new two-story classroom building for science labs, renovating the athletic fields, constructing a new all-weather track and synthetic soccer field with bleachers, as well as new varsity baseball and softball fields.
Manjeet Ranu, the Pacific Highlands Ranch representative on the planning board, said there are concerns in the community about why the proceeds from the bond would pay for a new PHR middle school when residents are paying Mello-Roos Community Facilities District (CFD) taxes to finance services like schools.
“There’s a feeling that there’s some double-dipping,” Ranu said.
John Addleman, SDUHSD’s director of planning and financial management, said Mello Roos is still part of the district’s bond program, but PHR’s CFD would not provide funding until 2019-20 in the amount of about $20 million.
Typically with planning for a new school, the state would supplement CFD funds with a matching grant, but Addleman said that the state is looking to discontinue that program.
He said the district can’t rely on state funding and they want to ensure that money is available when they need to build—they are hoping to start planning for the middle school in 2014 to be open in 2016.
To learn more about Prop AA, visit sandieguito2012schoolsbond.org