School district begins search for a new home

Prompted by the sale of its Ninth Street or Shores property to the city of Del Mar, Del Mar Union School District trustees have taken initial steps to find a new home for their district offices.

At their Sept. 3 meeting, board trustees received a report from Carmel Valley architect Frisco White, mapping out in detail, estimates of space requirements for various district components and departments.

The district is somewhat under the gun to find a replacement site for its current headquarters. Under its purchase agreement with Del Mar, the district will have up to three years to relocate.

“We have to get going on this,” said Trustee Janet Lamborghini.

White interviewed all members of district departments, gathering information on their functions and space requirements.

White acknowledged space was at a premium in the aging Ninth Street buildings. He found one employee working in a converted closet. White ascertained the district would need at least triple its current 12,000-square feet. He presented two options one that included the district’s employee daycare center, which is located next to district offices, and another without the daycare center. White also said the district should be looking at either taking over or sharing space with one of the district’s current school sites.

“Buying new land is very difficult in Carmel Valley,” said White, “and Pardee would probably charge an arm and a leg.”

Under a Carmel Valley master plan developed by Pardee, land has been set aside in the Pacific Highlands Ranch area for a possible ninth Del Mar district school.

Rodger Smith, the district’s director of facilities and planning questioned the viability of that site for district offices.

“We don’t own the land, but it has been set aside for us,” he said. “But I’m not optimistic Pardee would let us use it for another use.”

Smith said the master plan also calls for a community joint-use park. White also noted a lack of proper access to the site and issues with a yet-to-be-completed State Route 56 interchange project.

The trustees will reexamine what several agreed has become a complicated topic at their October board meeting with additional input from their new superintendent Sharon McClain.

No school board election

Trustees had little difficulty in filling two upcoming vacancies on the school board, that of Janet Lamborghini and interim Trustee Doug Perkins. As has been the case in several other area elections including the Del Mar and Solana Beach city council races, the same number of people filed, equaled the vacancies. With little fanfare, trustees accepted Comischell Rodriguez and Perkins as trustees for the next four years.

Rodriquez is a Carmel Valley resident with three children, one in the Del Mar district and two attending high school in the San Dieguito Union High School District. A realtor with Keller Williams Realty, Rodriguez is a former bilingual classroom teacher and has a degree in music. She is also a past PTA president in both local school districts.

Perkins was chosen as an interim board member in May after the departure of Linda Crawford, who resigned from the board in March following the contract buyout of former district superintendent Tom Bishop.

Lamborghini, a 16-year veteran of the board was also a critic of the Bishop buyout.

Not holding an election this November is expected to save the district up to $10,000.

McClain contract approved

The meeting also featured the introduction of Bishop’s replacement, Sharon McClain, whose official first day in office will be Wednesday, Sept. 17. Trustees approved a four-year contract with the former Hermosa Beach superintendent that will pay her $168,000 for the first year and $178,000 the following year. McClain’s salary will increase $5,000 in each of the contract’s final two years. Performance evaluations could increase the yearly salary up to 6 percent. McClain will also receive full health and insurance benefits and 30-days of paid vacation per year.