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Education

Solana Beach School District to poll voters on bond issue

Solana Beach School District
Solana Beach School District
Kristina Houck

The Solana Beach School District will soon look to voters to help decide whether a general obligation bond should be placed on the ballot in 2016.

The school board on Oct. 8 unanimously approved a contract with Public Policy Strategies for election and polling consulting services. The not-to-exceed $68,000 contract covers election opinion, community outreach and polling for the consideration of a bond.

“I think, based on what I saw, the district did a great job in figuring out the best company to give us the best information,” said board member Richard Leib. “Tom Shepard with Public Policy Strategies has done a lot of campaigns and knows the area very well. I think he’ll provide excellent resources for us.”

Public Policy Strategies is the latest consultant on Solana Beach School District’s bond support team.

Bowie, Arneson, Wiles & Giannone serves as the district’s bond counsel by providing legal advice regarding a potential bond measure and preparing primary bond documents. Solana Beach is also working with Capitol PFG, which has served as the district’s financial adviser since 2011, and Stifel, which has previously underwritten transactions for the district.

In addition, four architectural firms responded to the district’s request for proposals for the reconstruction of Skyline and the modernization of Solana Highlands. The proposals are under review.

With Public Policy Strategies a part of the team, the district aims to develop poll questions this month with the firm’s locally based polling contractor, Tom Shepard & Associates Inc.

The poll is planned for late October through November. Superintendent Terry Decker said the consultant plans to use a “range of approaches” when conducting the poll and intends to gather responses from about 300 people. Polling results should be available for review in December.

The planned poll is the district’s latest step in exploring whether to place a general obligation bond on the ballot next year.

Founded in 1925, the Solana Beach School District has seven elementary schools and a child development center. Last fall, the district opened its seventh school, Solana Ranch Elementary School in Pacific Highlands Ranch. Other schools, however, opened decades ago and need to be updated. Skyline School, for example, was constructed in phases between 1955 and 1961 and was modernized in 2000.