Correction: The original version of this story cited Stuart Markey as saying that other bond projects could be delayed if the school district moved forward on the charter school. Markey said that projects could be delayed because of dropping property values, which are unrelated to the question of whether or not to pursue the library project. The error was due to a misunderstanding. We regret the error.
Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Members of the oversight committee for a $2.1 billion school bond lambasted school officials on Thursday for not giving them a chance to weigh in on a plan to funnel $20 million of the bond proceeds to the city of San Diego’s long-stalled downtown library project.
They learned of the plans just days before the Tuesday meeting where the San Diego Unified board is slated to vote on whether to signal its intent to spend $20 million in bond money for a charter school in the nine-story library planned for the East Village. Their criticisms were just one of a torrent of questions that have been raised by critics as the joint city-school district endeavor gained significant momentum this week after months on the backburner.
“The train is coming and we’re tied to the track,” said oversight committee member Gil Johnson shortly before the committee decided to hold a special meeting Monday to craft a recommendation for the school board.
The proposal to combine a charter school and library is raising questions among more than just oversight committee members. If approved, it could put the school district in the unusual position of creating a district-run charter school and using bond proceeds to build it.
Many questions remain unanswered, including what charter school would occupy the library’s sixth and seventh floors, how connected it would be to the school district, and if it would have to comply with a contractual labor agreement hammered out between the district and unions.