Solana Beach School District explores bond issue for 2016

With a need for school improvements, the Solana Beach School District board recently decided to explore whether to place a general obligation bond to pay for them on the ballot in 2016.

“We have a window of opportunity right now,” board member Richard Leib said at the Jan. 15 meeting. “The economy, I think, is picking up. If we don’t do it now, we could be sitting here 10 years later, trying to figure out how to keep buildings from falling down. Now is the time to move forward.”

The district initiated its Facilities Master Plan process in July 2011, hiring HMC Architects to assist in the plan’s development. Along with the advisers, a committee was formed of board members, administrators, teachers, staff and parents to help with the process. The completed plan was presented to the board during a board workshop on May 2, 2013.

The plan calls for improvements to all schools in the district with the exception of Solana Ranch and limited improvements to Solana Pacific, the district’s newest schools.

Planned improvements would enhance all school facilities, with the exception of Solana Ranch, which opened in the fall, Superintendent Nancy Lynch explained after the meeting. Kitchens would also be expanded to promote the district’s focus on wellness and healthful living, she added. The most significant projects would be the modernization of Skyline and Solana Vista — the district’s oldest schools.

“Our FMP is a living document that will be reviewed to ensure that current educational and safety priorities are included,” Lynch said. “Setting priorities will be a next step for the board, since priority of projects is not outlined in the plan.”

During the meeting, Jay Bell, senior vice president of Telacu Industries, presented an informational report to the board regarding the history of general obligation bonds and how the district would pursue such a measure.

If the board ultimately decides to move forward with a general obligation bond, Bell suggested the district update its plan, generate community interest, organize a bond steering committee, and develop a construction project list and schedule in preparation for the June or November 2016 elections.

“The district has allocated resources of time and funds to develop a comprehensive Long-Range Facilities Master Plan,” Lynch said. “We must now enter discussions on how to fund this plan that will benefit our students and community.”