Solana Beach School District surveys voters on bond feasibility

Solana Beach School District
Solana Beach School District
(Kristina Houck)

A few hundred people were recently surveyed to help the Solana Beach School District decide whether to place a general obligation bond on the ballot this year.

Encinitas-based True North Research conducted the poll throughout December. Although the results are still being analyzed, the school board received a status report on the poll during the Jan. 14 meeting.

Of the 19,433 likely voters in the district’s boundaries, 300 people were randomly selected to participate in the poll. Interviews were conducted over the phone, with 40-50 percent of respondents on mobile devices.

“We’re in a time right now where not everybody has a landline anymore, so it was a split between landlines and mobile phones,” Superintendent Terry Decker said.

True North Research used a computer-assisted system called CATI, or Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing, to conduct the interviews. The system alerts interviewers to data entry errors, navigates skip patterns and randomizes appropriate questions.

Interviews were conducted from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. On average, interviews lasted 17 minutes.

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

Founded in 1925, the Solana Beach School District has seven elementary schools and a child development center. In 2014, 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.

In preparation for a potential bond measure, the district is currently working with architects and engineers on improvement projects for the schools, including identifying areas of need and determining project timeframes.

If the district moves forward with a bond on the November ballot and the measure passes, the district would need to submit its plans to the Division of the State Architect by December 2016. The Division of State Architect provides design and construction oversight for K-12 schools, community colleges, and various other state-owned and leased facilities. Construction could then start as early as summer 2017, according to district staff.