Jade Work provided exciting details on the progress at Monserate Winery.
- James Gordon and Mark Jackson shared info on the battle to preserve what we love about North County.
- Environmental attorney Kevin Johnson and homeowner Julian Torres discussed the ongoing Environmental Impact Report process.
- Carl DeMaio gave his thoughts on the political landscape.
- Teresa Platt and Brad Jordan gave a PowerPoint presentation on the challenges facing Gird Valley with a special focus on Bonsall Unified School District's (BUSD) attempt to build a huge high school/performing arts center just 1.1 miles from the northern edge of the District in Fallbrook.
The site chosen, a controversial and inconvenient parcel in Fallbrook's Gird Valley, has lost at the ballot box
five times since 1978
Measure EE, BUSD's $38 million bond is Attempt #6, and it is only the beginning. The final cost will be over $100M for a 1,500-student high school.
Meanwhile, BUSD's 2018 graduating class, housed in this state-of-the-art high school which opened its doors in 2016, was just 57 students.
Bonsall High School's enrollment is less than 350
with a 2018 graduating class of 57.
There are 7,798 housing units in the District (ringed by 32 public and 15 private high schools, plus home schooling and online learning options). These 7,798 housing units generate about 2,500 students in the District, with less than 350 in high school.
Assuming a 10%
increase in housing units (780), the District will generate about 250 additional students enrolled District-wide (with about 35 in high school). This modest growth is easily accommodated without committing to another campus. Additionally, Bonsall High School is located adjacent to 1,400 acres on the centrally-located Ocean Breeze property, allowing for expansion as needed, along with walking/biking/riding trails and new access roads.
In 2012, when BUSD unified (expanded from K-8 to K-12),
it told the community
it was creating a small Academy-style high tech high school of 500 to 600 students to be accommodated easily on the Sullivan Campus in Bonsall. S
tating its expansion would have no impact, BUSD skipped the Environmental Impact Report process and
borrowed and built a new high school.
BUSD now argues it needs another high school, a bigger one this time. A month
after BUSD's $58M Measure DD failed at the ballot box in 2016, BUSD dodged the voters and approved a construction contract (a Lease-Leaseback) for building a high school for 1,500. The interest rate on this contract was 14.6% with payments of $300,000/month. A lawsuit stopped this boondoggle.
BUSD's programs have attracted a few hundred high school students (
22% have special needs
, almost twice the national average) in a District serving 2,500 (K-12). About 2,300 are on campus daily. These students are housed in 124 classrooms (30 are modular/portables) on several BUSD campuses scattered from Oceanside to the Pala Reservation. Using simple math and an average of 25, 124 classrooms yields accommodations for 3,100 students.
There is no capacity crisis at the Bonsall School District. In fact, its 2018-2019 enrollment projections were substantially overstated and the budget is being recalculated now.
Additionally, California faces a
long-term declining enrollment trend
starting in 2021. Committing to more brick and mortar is a gamble, especially for a small school district with seven years of deficit spending and declining reserves.
But BUSD ignores all this.
BUSD appears to be attempting a transition to a huge full-service high school, similar to Fallbrook High School located just a few miles west of the proposed school site in Fallbrook's Gird Valley.
BUSD is attempting this shift to a mega high school via the ballot box, not with a community-supported Master Plan.
BUSD dodged the Environmental Impact Report process when it went through its unification process and again when it built its new high school on West Lilac Road. Therefore there was no review of traffic patterns, no discussion about adding roads, more exits or the need to develop wildfire evacuation plans.
BUSD now argues that traffic is an issue so it needs to move to another site, bringing its traffic problems with it. But BUSD has not even implemented a simple carpool app to address existing traffic problems District-wide!
USD claims wildfire is an
at its current high school which is located in a Moderate Wildfire Hazard zone in Bonsall. But Fallbrook's Gird Valley is in a
Very High Wildfire Hazard zone
To add insult to injury, BUSD has presented a huge high school/performing art center design with only one entrance/exit.
ny school built in fire-prone North County should have at least two entrances/exits. BUSD should also adopt a carpool app incorporating a second tier of drivers on call for emergency evacuations and must develop clear evacuation plans and practice them. Safety issues are non-negotiable.
We hope you'll join us in pushing BUSD to adopt these common sense solutions.
Remarkably, BUSD actually built an elementary school without sprinklers.
San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) supported Measure DD in 2016 but noted:
SDCTA believes the District has NOT included projects in its bond program to address some major maintenance needs, particularly those regarding fire and life safety. For example, we noted that Bonsall West Elementary does not have a sprinkler system and there are numerous electrical and plumbing deficiencies at each of the existing campuses.
In August of 2018, SDCTA issued a scathing Oppose position on Measure EE while pushing BUSD to address its burgeoning Deferred Maintenance backlog and adopt SDCTA's Best Practices. At a hastily called Board meeting, BUSD finally approved SDCTA's Best Practices. BUSD also committed to addressing its maintenance needs in a more responsible manner. SDCTA, however, remains cautious about BUSD. It is now Neutral on EE.
Because this election is important, we asked the BUSD Board candidates some hard questions. Read their answers and please vote wisely! The quality of our future depends on it.
SaveGirdValley.com's Teresa Platt says, "I now know all the candidates and I am voting for two
and only two:
Roger Merchat and Dr. Sylvia Tucker. They are well informed and ask the hard questions that need to be asked. They will work to restore the District's fiscal health and represent us well on the BUSD Board."
The growing coalition Opposing Measure EE includes an All Star list of Democrats, Republicans, taxpayer advocates, teachers and community leaders committed to education and quality of life in San Diego County.