Thank you!
A+, Five Fails and 
Who's Driving The School Bus? 
A+ to everyone who packed the house on March 14 for's  first official meeting. What a great showing! You're terrific!

The website is up and running and our  Project List is shaping up nicely, a good starting point for community work. We are looking for volunteers, those willing to lead projects and serve on the steering committee, to help with fundraising and provide creativity! Don't be shy! Let us know what you'd like to do to help Save Gird Valley. 

Beyond the basics of getting a group formed, we have been compelled to direct a lot of effort to the proposed high school on a site on Gird Road. Even though North County voters  have voted this down fully five times, the issue keeps coming back. 

Here's a quick synopsis of the Five Fails:
FAIL #1, 1978: A $14-million bond measure to build a high school on 50 acres on Gird Road fails passage .
FAILS #2 AND 3, 1990: Two Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) bond measures to build a high school at the Gird Road site  fail : a $35-million bond measure put before the voters in June 1990 and a $35-million measure proposed only five months later in November. Between June and November, support for passage drops by 11% .
FAIL #4, 1992:  FUHSD places a $20-million bond on the ballot asking voters for $10.7 million to renovate the existing high school on the western side of town plus $9.3 million to develop a new high school with a few permanent buildings and portable classrooms on the eastern side on the Gird Road site. This time even  The Los Angeles Times  notices and comments on the strong community opposition to the proposed Gird Road location. In 1994, FUHSD gave up on any attempt to fund a school on Gird Road and succeeded in passing a bond focusing on improving its existing high school on the western side of Fallbrook.
2010: FUHSD "determined that this site is not suitable for construction as a school site for three reasons: the current costs to modify the topography of the land, environmental impact mitigation, and proximity to the Sycamore Ranch development." And that was that. There would be no high school in much-loved Gird Valley. Or so we all thought, until....

2014: FUHSD transfers the Gird Road parcel to the newly formed Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD), along with $2 million in cash, and BUSD says it might sell/trade the property or build a very small high school on Gird Road, then attempts....
FAIL #5, 2016: BUSD's  Measure DD  for $58M in bonds to fund building a "state-of-the-art" 1,500-student high school plus a Performing Arts Center (150k sq. ft. of buildings + 200k sq. ft. of parking) on the Gird Valley hills in Fallbrook, fails at the ballot box. This marks the fifth time a high school proposed for Gird Road has failed. Seriously, this has to be a national record!
Beautiful Gird Valley looking to Monserate Hill and the San Luis Rey River Valley to the south.
Each time a bond measure failed passage, five separate fails, the community assumed the Gird Road location as school site concept was finished. The property offers stunning views of Monserate Hill and rare environmental virtues. Located within the Multiple Species Conservation Program boundaries, the parcel includes several tributaries to the San Luis Rey River Valley plus critical habitat for the endangered arroyo toad. The hilly, oak-studded site has been left undisturbed in its natural state, never been ranched, tilled, farmed or developed. It holds value if sold, traded or preserved to mitigate damage to land lost elsewhere to development. 
But shortly after the failure of Measure DD, BUSD's Board approved a commitment for $20M in builder financing (a contract called a Lease-Leaseback, LLB), with payments of $300,000/month, to move forward on the site in Gird Valley, just before a new law went into effect Jan 1, 2017 to further regulate the controversial LLBs. Advocacy group sued (feel free to send them a donation!) and BUSD's Board rescinded the December 8, 2016 LLB contract on February 9, 2017.
At a March 2 BUSD Board Workshop on the lawsuit and AB2316,  the new Lease-Leaseback law,  Assistant Superintendent William Pickering II explained that  the December 8, 2016 $20M LLB would not deliver a state-of-the-art high school. "$50 million was hard traditional construction, two by fours and stucco. The $20 million, all we can get is portables, that's it," he said.

Four out of five board members (Coen, English, Olson, Tucker) expressed strong opposition to placing temporary portable buildings in Gird Valley. Concerns were raised about committing to such a debt obligation in light of community opposition to a bond measure for funding.
Meanwhile, Ocean Breeze Ranch (formerly Vessels Ranch) has offered 92 acres adjacent to BUSD's Sullivan Middle School and its current 350-student capacity High School (serving 228 students in grades 9, 10, 11). This would be a zero down deal with payments via credits on future developer fees. 
With all this in mind, on March 2, the BUSD Board sagely directed its staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), $20M in value, non-site specific. At its March 9 meeting, the Board approved a package of four RFP-related documents, Agenda Item 9.4 which explained,  " The RFP does not make any assumption regarding the ultimate site of the high school and such pre construction services will be needed regardless of the ultimate site of the new high school."  

Shortly after, BUSD Superintendent Justin Cunningham told the Village News  "the plan is to have architects design along the lines of the area to create a school design that will 'fit beautifully' in the area" and that the March 9 Board-approved RFP is site specific, "designated only for the Gird Road site."

Multiple emails to BUSD asking if the March 9-approved RFP is site specific to Gird Road failed to provide a clear yes or no answer. researched the RFP and concluded that individual documents are in conflict, possibly due to clerical error, and recommended the package be clarified.

Three out of the four documents specifically mention Gird Road (only the Sublease Agreement is silent).  

Says the Construction Services Agreement:  "WHEREAS, the District intends to finance the construction of school facilities and improvements, including the construction and installation of certain improvements to be known as the PROPOSED NEW BONSALL HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT, on property owned by the District (Gird Road Property) (the "Project"); ..."

The Site Lease Agreement states: "WHEREAS, the District's governing board has determined that it is in the best interests of the District and for the common benefit of the citizens it serves to construct the Project by leasing to the Lessee land located in Fallbrook, California on Gird Road and referenced by the County of San Diego as Assessor's Parcel Number (APN) 124-340-34-00 at which the public improvements are to be constructed, as more specifically described in Exhibit 'A,' (the 'Site')." Exhibit A is a google map photo of the Gird Road site.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) BUSD-410-07 Lease-Leaseback Services for the Bonsall High School Capital Improvement Program even includes a "Mandatory Pre-Submittal Conference: April 4 at 1:00 P.M. - 3800 Gird Road, Bonsall, CA 92003".  

Yes, you read that correctly: according to BUSD, Fallbrook's Gird Road is now in the Bonsall zip code. The US Post Office disagrees, placing the Gird Road site north of the 76 and clearly within Fallbrook's 92028 zip code.

Fallbrook residents give a thumbs down to a 1500-student Bonsall High School on FALLBROOK's Gird Valley hills. 
Proposed building site with stunning view of Monserate Hill in the background. March 10, 2017. 

While all this is going on, BUSD teachers are trying to negotiate a contract.  Julie Urquhart Anguiano, Bonsall Teacher's Association's VP, stated, "We keep getting postponed, and not getting this settled, while every time we look at the district board meeting agenda's packet, we see money being spent. Hundreds of thousands are being spent, and we can't get a simple yes or no."

Teachers, we feel your pain. 

We have an RFP LLB process that appears to be site-specific to Gird Road, in direct conflict with the BUSD's Board's direction and public statements regarding  Item 9.4 in the March 9 agenda, but we can't get a yes or no answer from BUSD. Meanwhile, lots of money is being spent trying to build something on a site the community has rejected fully five times. Without community funding, budget restrictions limit the proposed "state-of-the-art" high school to a project BUSD can't afford in the first place and to portables which  four out of five BUSD Board members firmly oppose on Gird Road.   

"At least two school board members are sympathetic to the community's concerns," said  The San Diego Union Tribune . "Dick Olson and Sylvia Tucker said they favor seeking land elsewhere for the new campus. 'I am 1,000 percent against it being at the Gird Road site,' Olson said, [adding,] 'If we take on the community we will never get a bond passed. And without the bond, we can't build anything.'" Touché!

To which Superintendent Cunningham, who  describes  himself as  "just the grateful lead  servant  making recommendations to the  Board,"  responded, "We do have a situation where we had a board member state in recent news reports that they didn't want to build on the property on Gird Road, and we will have to address that." 

The Fallbrook/Bonsall community deserves an A+ for patience, perseverance and hanging tough. But after five fails at the ballot box, tons of pressure from contractors itching to build anything anywhere, lots of mixed messages and money wasted, we're wondering: Who's driving the school bus? 


Teresa Platt
Steering Committee Member


Protect Fallbrook's rural character!
A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who worked in 2016 to save Gird Valley! We look forward to working with you in 2017 and beyond!  

Thank you!