SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Unified School District's board was presented Tuesday with a plan that school district officials hope will give them a bigger bang for their Proposition S construction bond bucks, and help them accelerate their schedule of projects.
Voters passed the bond measure in 2008 to pay for physical upgrades to aging and deteriorating campuses, with the idea that bonds would be sold with 25-year maturities.
The plan introduced at a special board meeting calls for extending the maturity date to 40 years. District officials say that would give them more money upfront to take advantage of what Stuart Markey, the SDUSD's facilities planning and construction director, called "an unprecedented low cost of construction."
However, overall debt service on the $2.1 billion in bonds would rise by $3.6 million -- to $12.2 billion.
Board member Katherine Nakamura likened the change to taking out a 30-year mortgage on a house, instead of a 15-year mortgage. There will also be an option to refinance the debt at a later date.
Trustee Shelia Jackson said the board is under community pressure to ratchet up the pace of construction.
The new financing arrangement will allow modernization projects at most district high schools to begin a year or two earlier than planned.
Upcoming projects will bring some crucial decisions for the board:
-- Scripps Ranch High School is in desperate need of air-conditioning, but Markey said there is no sense in making such an upgrade separate from and before an already planned full modernization of the campus.
Air-conditioning infrastructure was included at Scripps Ranch and several other campuses, but the system was never completed. Temperatures often rise above 90 degrees in classrooms, and on a day of record heat last month, about 100 students and one staff member were sent home because of heat-related illness. "It's just inhumane," Nakamura said.
-- Whether to change Millennial Tech Middle School in Chollas View from a district-wide magnet school to a mostly neighborhood campus, since no current middle school feeds directly into nearby Lincoln High School. The rebuilt Lincoln campus was filled to capacity when it reopened several years ago, but now has 400 fewer students than it can hold.
-- Whether to build two projects with Proposition S money that were not included in ballot information before voters, including a new building for the Academy of Business and Technology at Clairemont High School and production studios at Patrick Henry High School.
Markey said 37 campus modernization projects are under way and 37 will begin design work later this year.
The board is expected to vote on the new financing plan and the latest construction schedule at its Nov. 2 meeting.
Authorities asked the public Friday for help in identifying and tracking down a pair of thieves who have carried out a two-week series of bank robberies this month in the San Diego area.
Backers of an initiative that would allow San Diego State University to buy the SDCCU Stadium site in Mission Valley for campus expansion are scheduled to begin seeking petition signatures Saturday.
An unknown assailant jumped a woman Friday on a walking trail near Gillespie Field airport and choked her nearly into unconsciousness, fleeing when she managed to break free, authorities reported.
The San Diego Gulls allowed power-play and shorthanded goals in the first period and an empty-net goal in the third in a 4-2 loss to the Stockton Heat Friday night at Stockton.
San Diego County's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent last month despite seasonal cutbacks in leisure and hospitality jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.
The San Diego Fire Rescue Foundation on Friday held an awards ceremony to recognize the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep San Diegans safe.
It has been ten years since devastating wildfires swept through San Diego, destroying thousands of structures and affecting so many lives.
From a baby tiger cub to monitor lizards and a macaw, authorities have seized dozens of animals and filed charges against 16 people as part of what they say is the largest wildlife trafficking sweep in Southern California.
Three officer-involved shootings over the past year, including the killing of a man who opened fire at a pool party at a La Jolla apartment complex, were legally justified, District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Friday.