San Diego Unified is planning for the downtown schoobrary to be built as early as the 2010-2011 school year, a shift from earlier plans that slated the school for 2014-2015. Stuart Markey, who oversees the facilities bond for San Diego Unified, said the plans were revised to ensure that if the library school were built as quickly as is possible, the school district would have planned to finance it.

Funding has become tighter than expected on the bond. Because the assessed value of properties in the school district has dropped, San Diego Unified is pulling in $110 million less over the next five years than originally expected. It will still get all the money it asked voters for — but it will take longer to get it.

That means that the school district has had to decide which projects to delay because the flow of money is slowing. San Diego Unified put technology projects, schools that are slated to get matching dollars from the state, and the downtown school at the front of its list. Plans to modernize more than two dozen campuses, however, have been delayed between one and four years. The longest wait is currently at Roosevelt Middle School, where construction is slated to begin just before 2016 instead of 2012.

Technology was given priority because the school district wanted to avoid a long timeline for installing computers that would leave some schools with newer technology than others, Markey said. The schoobrary was prioritized out of what bond oversight committee John Gordon dubbed “an abundance of caution.” Markey explained that while it is unclear when — or if — the library school will be built, the school district wanted to include it in their financial planning as early as possible to avoid having to scramble for the money later.

EMILY ALPERT

    This article relates to: Education

    Written by Andrew Donohue

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