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Sale Of Mission Beach School Goes To Developer, Not City Of San Diego

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education voted 4-1 Tuesday night to accept a developer's $18.5 million offer to buy the former Mission Beach Elementary School, despite one trustee's alternative proposal of helping the city of San Diego purchase the property.

The board previously agreed to put that site and a handful of others on the market in an attempt to balance its budget for the upcoming year and build reserves until funding from voter-approved state tax increases kicked in.

"This is a very unfortunate situation that we're in, but we have to be good stewards of our children's education,'' Trustee Marne Foster said.

McKeller Ashbrook, LLC. offered the highest bid for the 2.23-acre site, according to district documents.

Trustee Scott Barnett proposed that instead of selling the property to a developer, the district and Mayor Bob Filner's office work on the details of a plan in which the city would $11 million over the next two fiscal years and the district would retain "equity ownership'' of $7,500,001.

The board and the city could work together to determine what would be done with the property, including public uses and revenue producing opportunities.

"There's no guarantee that any piece of property that you try to sell will close and generate the revenues we need,'' Barnett said.

Filner said the city and other public agencies should work more closely with the district regarding future property sales.

"Public lands should stay in public hands,'' Filner said.

Barnett's proposal failed for lack of a second.

Trustee Richard Barrera said not acting on the developer's offer was too great a risk to the district's financial health, but agreed the district should partner with the city in the future.

According to the district, the property was first offered to public agencies, including the city and the county, none of whom notified district officials of interest in the property in a timely manner, so the property was then publicly advertised for sale.

In January, the board rejected all prior bids for the property.

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