Del Mar City Council voted unanimously March 8 to begin negotiations with the Del Mar Union School District about extending the district's lease for office space at the Shores property. Superintendent Sharon McClain asked the city to extend the district's lease, which ends on May15, 2011, to August of 2012.
City Council members said they could negotiate extending a lease for office space but not for maintenance and operations or the district childcare facilities due to their agreements with The Winston School. McClain said the plan is to move both the childcare and maintenance departments by summer of 2011.
"Naturally, the school is an important part of the fabric of our community," said Council member Carl Hilliard. "We are sympathetic to the economic circumstances and turmoil they find themselves in and we want to be part of the solution and not the problem."
Three Del Mar parents spoke in favor of the city extending the lease. One parent noted that without the extension, the district could be forced to temporarily co-locate its district office at one of the school sites. Del Mar Hills Academy is among the school campuses suggested for co-location.
"Co-location of the district office at Del Mar Hills, even if temporary, threatens the viability of the school," said Diane Jacobs-Baizer, a Del Mar Heights parent. "Let this little school, which has been the vanguard for our district, grow and thrive again."
Mayor Richard Earnest said that the council understands it takes time to find an appropriate new home for the district office and the city is willing to be flexible in its negotiations.