Del Mar school district continues to move forward on bond

By Karen Billing

The Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) has directed staff to move forward on looking at a general obligation bond for November despite hearing that neighboring San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) has concerns about both local districts going for bonds.

Del Mar is considering a GO bond for $12 per $100,000 of assessed property value while SDUHSD is considering one between $20 and $25 per $100,000.

In order to go forward with the bond, the board will need a super majority vote of 4 to 1 at its July 25 board meeting. San Dieguito will make its decision at the district’s July 26 meeting.

DMUSD Trustee Comischell Rodriguez said she became concerned after having a conversation with an unnamed member of the San Dieguito Union School District board.

“It was a surprise to them that we were considering a bond,” said Rodriguez. “They did not feel it was to their benefit if we had this.”

San Dieguito has been considering its bond for the last three years for the election this November. The November ballot will also include a bond for Mira Costa College, as well as Governor Jerry Brown’s statewide school finance tax initiative.

“With four different bonds for education, there’s a concern [people] may go for the lowest, which is ours, or they might not go for any of them,” Rodriguez said.

The concerns of the SDUHSD board member echo that of trustee Doug Perkins.

“I have long expressed concerns of the cumulative effect of multiple ballot issues,” Perkins said. “Too many things on the ballot decreases everyone’s chance of winning at this point. We might end up competing more than we think we will be.”

On June 14, the board heard a report from consultants — the Dolinka Group, True North Research and TBWB Strategies — that revealed a 67 percent feasibility that the bond would pass. The consultants assured the board that the crowded ballot would not have much of an impact.

“I feel comfortable with how the Dolinka Group addressed the concerns about two districts running on the ballot at the same time,” trustee Kristin Gibson said.

Trustee Doug Rafner agreed.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that education is suffering at the state level so people are looking for other means of financing,” Rafner said.

The board wondered if the SDUHSD had heard the same information from the consultants about the ability to work together on the bond measures and proposed that they hold a joint meeting before the decision has to made in July.

Rafner said by working together the districts could potentially cut down on costs and the workshop could ease some of the SDUHSD board’s concerns.