Board approves expanded cell tower at Torrey Pines High School

A cell phone tower that has been in place at Torrey Pines High School since 1987 will be rebuilt and expanded under a plan unanimously approved Thursday, March 18, by the San Dieguito Union High School District Board of Trustees.

Crown Castle, the owner of the existing tower, recently received a permit from the city of San Diego to rebuild the tower to add capacity. The school district will increase the size of the easement granted to the company to allow for the expanded tower and related equipment.

In turn, the company will make a one-time payment to the district of $84,000. School district staff is recommending that the money be used to re-landscape the front of Torrey Pines High School and also for landscaping improvements at Carmel Valley Middle School in response to concerns about the schools’ appearance brought up by community members and the Carmel Valley Planning Board.

Once the landscaping work is done, the district may be able to reopen negations with the city of San Diego over an annual $34,000 maintenance assessment paid by the district to the city, said a staff report.

When the original cell phone tower was built, U.S. Cellular West — the tower’s owner at the time — paid the district $108,000, which was used to build four tennis courts at Torrey Pines High School.

District resolution opposes further education cuts

A resolution imploring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature to stop cutting education funding and to make education a priority was unanimously approved by San Dieguito Union High School District trustees at their March 18 meeting.

The resolution said that in spite of Schwarzenegger’s vow to protect education, his proposed budget reduces education funding by $900 million this year and $2.4 billion in 2010-2011.

“These unprecedented reductions are changing the face of education for an entire generation of school children,” said the resolution, noting that school funding has been cut so drastically that districts across the state have been forced to cut a variety of programs, from libraries to technology to athletics, all of which help students succeed in school and compete in the workplace.

At the same meeting, district staff outlines projected budget cuts of $3.6 million, which include the elimination of 15 teaching positions and the closure of the district’s summer school program.

— Reported by Joe Tash