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San Diego School Bond Projects Move Forward

Nearly 50 San Diego Unified School District construction projects were completed under a $2.1 billion bond approved in 2008, and the Board of Education on Tuesday night voted 3-0 to combine its remaining planned projects along with those slated under a $2.8 billion bond passed last month then tackle the most urgent first.

Since Proposition S was approved four years ago, 49 major construction projects had been completed including 15 career technical education facilities, four classroom buildings and four rebuilt high school stadiums, according to Lee Dulgeroff, the executive director of the district's Facilities Planning and Construction.

Construction had began on 14 other projects, and 39 more in the design phase that could start construction within the next year, Dulgeroff said.

Andy Berg, who chairs the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee for Proposition S, said the district should focus both on equipping schools with up- to-date technology and on major repairs and replacements, although "money hasn't flown in on Prop. S like we thought.''

"It's essential now we have Prop. Z and some more money that we return our focus to the actual conditions of the schools -- the conditions these students are learning in,'' Berg said.

Proposition Z, which was approved by voters Nov. 6, would allow for building repairs an technology upgrades. A resolution to issue the Proposition Z bonds is scheduled to be brought for a board vote in March, as was a list of the bonds' priorities and a schedule. The district pledged to issue the bonds at the least cost to the taxpayers.

Berg said the district should systematically and recurringly assess facilities needs and prioritize based on where repairs were needed.

"If a building's falling down, that's got to get fixed before the one that just needs a new coat of paint,'' Berg said.

Some of the planned projects could also be co-funded.

"Some of the projects overlap,'' Berg said. "You really don't want to go in with Prop. S money and work on a school then pull everybody out then a couple years later with Prop. Z money and finish the job.''

The present board members agreed and voted 3-0 to combine both project lists then prioritize, although the finances would be legally required to be kept separate.

The vote also included direction for staff to for district staff to look into short-term financing for technology and to report back with

recommendations for appointing Independent Citizens Oversight Committee members for Proposition Z.

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