One of the quirks in the schoobrary idea is San Diego Unified would be spending bond money to build a charter school. That is pretty rare — and some might find it counterintuitive. Charter schools compete with school districts for enrollment and they are sometimes at loggerheads over getting adequate space — they have a right to available facilities left vacant by school district. School districts do sometimes spend bond money to refurbish charter schools that have taken over district buildings, but building a charter from scratch is still an unusual step for a school district to take.
Unusual — but not unheard of. Vista Unified School District spent some of its bond money in 2002 to build a site for a charter school called Guajome Park Academy. The building and the land it sits on belongs to Vista Unified and Guajome Park pays the school district to lease the space. And it sounds like it’s worked out well for the school. Before the new school was built, board member Kathleen Hamamoto said it was housed in portable classrooms on the same land owned by the school district.
“We’re very fortunate to have that kind of relationship with our district,” said Carla Skaggs, chief business officer for Guajome Park.
There is one key difference from the schoobrary: Skaggs said the Guajome Park building meets the same standards as school districts have to follow, not the looser rules applied to charter school facilities. That means that if Guajome Park closed or moved to another building, Vista Unified could put in a school of its own. The same can’t be said for the schoobrary, which would not comply with earthquake safety rules, and would always need to be occupied by a charter unless those rules change.