Happy New Year, Everyone!
We had a busy 2017 and expect just as much activity in 2018. Why? Because we love Gird Valley and North County and want to create a better world through smart communal decision making.
For this reason, we created the
website so we'd all have the info we would need and attended Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) meetings when it became apparent that they were at odds with the community's vision for the future.
We went further and sharpened our skills via a
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Workshop and community volunteers are
serving on the
Superintendent's district-wide Site Advisory Committee, reviewing sites for future school
. We look forward to hearing about the process at the January 11 BUSD Board Meeting (6 PM, Bonsall Community Center: be there!) and reading the Committee's full report.
We also look forward to reading the 1,600-page Environmental Impact Report (EIR) expected to be released soon for its 45-day public comment period. Yes, we have a lawyer lined up to help us with this comment process. We will need donations to help with legal fees so please send a check to SaveGirdValley.com. Thanks!
While BUSD is a small school district with less than 330 high school students housed in a building that was completed in 2016, it has proposed building a Walmart-sized project on land it currently owns on Gird Road in Fallbrook (which already has a high school)
north of Highway 76 (a long commute for most BUSD residents, teachers and staff). Interestingly, the site has never been designated as an official school site. Its previous owner (Fallbrook Union High School District) declared it surplus and was about to sell it just before BUSD completed its unification process (expansion to include a high school) and the asset was transferred to BUSD ownership.
During that unification process, State and County education agencies recommended BUSD sell the Gird Road site and find a more suitable location.
BUSD ignored this advice, along with decades of community opposition to the Gird Road property as a school site. The paint was barely dry on its brand new state-of-the-art 18,000 sq. ft. high school on Lilac Road in Bonsall when BUSD attempted to pass a bond to finance construction of
yet another high school, a massive 1,500-student high school with a performing arts center (150,000 sq. ft. of buildings plus 200,000 sq. ft. of parking). With financing costs factored in, the project was estimated to cost over $100 million and would be the largest development Fallbrook had ever seen!
Predictably, this November 2016 bond measure (Measure DD) failed to pass, marking
the fifth time
the community has rejected a high school in Gird Valley. In a
by bond election expert Dale Scott (presented to the BUSD in November 2017 but not included, for some reason, in BUSD's Nov 2017 minutes), the analysis detailed the lack of community support for Measure DD and advised BUSD to not attempt passage of a bond in 2018. Here are a few key charts from Dale Scott's "must read"
But BUSD ignored this history, ignored their loss at the ballot box and entered into a
contract in December 2016 to borrow
the money from the contractor and move forward with plans to build the school on Gird Road. Payments were to be $300,000 a month with an interest rate of 14.6%!
It was at this point that t
he community organized and founded
. A lawsuit forced BUSD to cancel the contract and review the situation. Shortly after, BUSD's Superintendent (annual salary plus benefits equalling
$281k in 2016
) announced his retirement and BUSD began the slow process of repairing community relations and studying the issue in detail.
While BUSD has been deficit spending (in the red) for six years, there is no capacity crisis at BUSD schools so BUSD has time to get its finances under control and locate a suitable building site. With new Superintendent David Jones in place and a site advisory committee reviewing the community assets, district residents are hopeful we're back on the right track.
In the meantime, if you haven't made a visit to Gird Valley, you should. It is one of San Diego County's hidden gems.
Gird Road site,
Assessor's Parcel Number 124-340-34-00
is 50 elevated acres located
at the southern end of Gird Valley. You'll spot it as you drive by. It's the land on the western side of Gird Road with the new unsightly barbed wire fence and the No Trespassing signs.
Gird Road, a quiet two-lane country road (a County-designated scenic corridor) loved by generations, winds through Gird Valley, the founding location of Fallbrook.
Please take the time to review these important issues. Spread the word. Come to the meetings, volunteer, help with expenses. Your involvement is what will help build the perfect school in the perfect location, while saving beautiful Gird Valley for all of us, and for future generations, to enjoy!