Impact of election bond results discussed at Del Mar school board meeting

By Karen Billing

There was still a sliver of hope last week that Del Mar Union School District’s Prop CC would inch closer to the 55 percent voter approval required to pass. Although final, official results have been held in a bit of limbo by the late counting of provisional and mail ballots, the initiative’s strongest advocates conceded defeat at the Nov. 14 school board meeting. (At presstime for this newspaper, with 90,000 mail/provisional ballots still to be counted, Prop CC had received 53.97 percent of voter approval. A 55 percent majority vote is needed to pass. Election results are expected to be officially certified by early December.)

“We wish we could’ve brought it home for you,” said parent Suzanne Hall of the Quality Schools for Del Mar committee.

The trustees praised the tireless grass roots efforts of parents such as Hall, Janet Handzel and Jen Charat, who organized town hall meetings, led phone bank nights, wrote letters to the editor and waved signs on sidewalks.

“My biggest disappointment was not the negative or misleading press, but the thin parent support we had, the thin PTA support we had, the thin teacher support we had,” said Handzel. “Until this room is packed with 100 teachers and 1,000 parents saying stop the cuts, you shouldn’t stop. Send a message…we can’t continue to deficit spend. We have to live within our means.”

Charat said parents struggled to get information and that the mountains of misinformation was impossible to overcome in the end. She said information about potential cuts, which was reported on in September, shouldn’t be buried in board packets but made more available so parents know what situation the district is dealing with.

With the bond’s failure, superintendent Holly McClurg said the district has a lot of challenges but they are moving forward, and looking toward their strategic plan that outlines and helps define their needs.

“We’re still working hard to find what are our priorities and goals, and to be very smart about the resources and needs we do have,” McClurg said, “We have some tough decisions ahead.”

Local school bonds throughout the county struggled to gain 55 percent approval in the November election. At presstime for this newspaper, MiraCosta’s Prop EE had received 54.24 percent of voter approval. While it did not have enough votes to pass after the ballot count on Nov. 6, with the tally of mail/provisional votes it appears that the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Prop AA bond may pass. As of presstime, the high school district’s bond had 55.16 percent voter approval with about 90,000 mail/provisional ballots left to be counted.

The state’s education proposition, Proposition 30, did pass with 54 percent voting yes. (This bond only required a 50 percent voter approval to pass.)

The Del Mar school district was looking at a potential $2 million cut from its reserves if Proposition 30 did not pass, according to Cathy Birks, assistant superintendent of business services. Birks clarified that Prop 30’s passage does not mean DMUSD will receive any funding, it just means no mid-year cuts.

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