By Karen Billing
The Del Mar Union School District board voted 3-2 April 25 to conduct a feasibility survey this month for a general obligation bond on the November ballot.
According to Benjamin Dolinka, president of the Dolinka Group, the survey will show what people are willing to pay and the district can study what its needs are and see what projects it would be able to do.
“It’s just the first step,” Dolinka said. “I think what you’ll see from the feasibility study is there’s going to be tremendous support.”
The bond will cost $8 per $100,000 of assessed property values for 30 years. Superintendent Jim Peabody said the district’s needs include technology, their future ninth school and large projects such as roofing and energy-wise systems.
District trustee Doug Perkins and president Scott Wooden voted against the bond survey.
“I think the timing is not right to do this. There’s a number of confusing measures on the upcoming ballot,” Perkins said, currently counting about 65.
Perkins was also concerned about changes to the state’s school funding methods, where DMUSD could lose its basic aid funding, which would be a 50 percent blow to the district’s general fund.
“It’s foolish to spend $20,000 on this out of general fund money,” Perkins said, echoing Wooden’s concern of wasting the money if they didn’t decide to go through with the bond.
Trustee Kristen Gibson said that she had the same concerns about basic aid but saw a possible bond as something that could help.
“I’m petrified that basic aid would go away and we would have nothing in place,” Gibson said. “To have nothing in place is even scarier.”
Rodriguez agreed. “The chances are we’re going to need something,” she said.
The district’s project list must be specified in the bond measure and it requires 55 percent approval from the voters.
Trustee Comischell Rodriguez was encouraged that 25 percent of the voters have a relationship with the school district. Wooden was less encouraged, noting that of that 25 percent, only 50 percent were willing to spend $900,000 toward the district’s Extended Studies Curriculum this year.
The feasibility survey would be out in May and the results presented by the May 23 board meeting. A project list for the bond would be completed by June and the board could call for the bond election on July 25. It will take a super-majority vote to put the bond on the ballot, at least a 4-1 vote.
The deadline to submit paperwork to the county registrar of voters would be Aug. 10.
The San Dieguito Union High School District is also considering a GO bond this year for over $400 million for school renovation, technology upgrades and new construction. The SDUHSD board is slated to hear its feasibility survey results at its May 3 meeting.