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S.D. School Trustees To Consider School Library

San Diego Unified’s Support Seen as Pivotal

Audio

Aired 6/23/09

The San Diego Unified school board will consider today whether to use school bond money to help the City of San Diego build a downtown main library.

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Above: Reporter Ana Tintacolis tells host Joanne Faryon about the San Diego Unified School Board's decision to commit millions to a charter high school in a proposed downtown library.

— The San Diego Unified school board will consider today whether to use school bond money to help the City of San Diego build a downtown main library.

Voters approved San Diego Unified's Proposition S last year. It's a $2 billion school bond measure designed to pay for repairs and renovations. However $20 million of it was set aside for exploring so-called "educational opportunities in downtown San Diego.”

The question is whether those opportunities come in the form the city's proposed downtown library. The district's $20 million share could pay for a charter high school within the facility.

San Diego County Taxpayers Association President Lani Lutar is against that idea. She says the district's financial support of the library will put other school bond projects at risk.

“Because tax rolls now are down, there is a question as to whether the rest of the projects that were outlined under Prop. S are going to be completed because they are pursuing this hasty concept which hasn’t had the evaluation and community input it deserves,” Lutar said.

The city has to submit a final proposal by July 1st or it could lose additional state funding. San Diego Unified's financial support is seen as pivotal to giving the long-stalled project some traction.

Trustee Katherine Nakamura is one of the strongest supporters on the school board. She says other school bond projects are not at risk because the $20 million is meant for initatives like this -- a downtown school.

“It is by no means all of the (school bond) money,” Nakamura said. “There is still lots of money in Proposition S going all over this city for modernization. In fact when kids walk into school next year, there will be a lot of changes in technology. So $20 million is a small part actually of $2.1 billion.”

And Nakamura says it will be money well spent. District officials say there roughly 5,000 students living in and around the downtown area. Currently there is only one downtown high school.

The San Diego Unified school board will consider the issue at its Tuesday meeting which begins at 5 p.m.

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