As the sagging economy has takes its toll on Proposition S, the $2.1 billion facilities bond to rebuild and revamp San Diego Unified schools, the school district is rethinking its timetables for the projects.
Because property values are lower than when the bond was passed, the school district is getting significantly less money from the tax than it expected to. It now expects to fall $45 million shy of the revised estimates it issued earlier this year, which were already lower than its original estimates, through 2012. It will ultimately get the entire $2.1 billion — but it will take longer to garner that money at the tax rate that it promised voters.
The bottom line is that it’s going to take 16 years to build and revamp all the schools that were promised through Proposition S, instead of a decade as originally intended. And that means that the school district is scrambling to reschedule the projects, while trying to avoid the creeping costs of inflation over time.
“My whole organization is turned upside down,” said Stuart Markey, who oversees the bond, at a recent subcommittee meeting for bond overseers from the community.
The big question is: Which projects will come first? One plan being aired before the school board on Tuesday would keep technology at the forefront of the bond, but wait on some of the infrastructure to back it up, such as improved cabling systems, until after the new computers have been installed.
Markey said that the technology would still work, but might run slower at some schools. Another plan would prioritize upgrading stadiums, some of which aren’t accessible for the disabled, over more sweeping projects to completely modernize high school campuses.