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By Lucette Moramarco
Staff Writer 

BUSD plans for Gird Road site continue


Last updated 4/21/2018 at 5:07pm

A large crowd attended the Bonsall Unified School District board meeting April 12. Twenty community members spoke, most of them on the proposed new high school. After much discussion, the board approved a motion to affirm the advisory committee’s findings and move forward with plans to use the Gird Road site for a new high school and to work with neighbors in the Gird Valley with full transparency.

Many speakers were concerned about the safety of the students with local fire risks and traffic issues. Brian Olson pointed out that while the whole district is in a fire-prone area, a second point of access can be added to the plans for the Gird Road site. Some residents spoke out against those plans, describing Gird as a narrow, twisty road that “is not a safe place”.

Some spoke on the need to respect each other’s views and the need to work together as a community as Bonsall does need a separate high school.

A parent pointed out that more Sullivan Middle School students are entering Bonsall High School, contributing to the growth of the school population. At the same time, retired educator Joan Flanagan said that sixth through eighth grade students do not belong on the same campus with ninth through 12th graders. She also proposed that the school exit be made a right turn only onto Gird Road.

Board members were reminded that the students have to come first in their decision making.

On another topic, parent David Toney requested the board align the calendar for Bonsall schools with Fallbrook schools so that Bonsall families can take advantage of the services of the Boys & Girls Club and the community center during school breaks.

After the public comment portion of the meeting, Jason List from Isom Advisors reviewed the results of the survey his company did of 400 households in the Bonsall district. The survey tested voter attitudes regarding the district, projects and tax tolerances. The results have a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.

The results included 91 percent of those surveyed agreed that good schools improve property values; 76 percent agreed that local voters need to do more to protect the quality of facilities in their public schools.

When read the proposed ballot measure, 62.8 percent said they would vote yes while 2.8 percent leaned toward voting yes. When told how much the proposed measure would cost property owners – $50/$40/$30 per $100,000 of assessed valuation per year – the number of those saying they would vote yes increased as the amount decreased, 52 percent/55 percent/63 percent.

In the end, since support is above the 55 percent approval threshold (to pass a bond measure), Isom recommended that the district continue to reach out and educate the community on the possibility of a November 2018 bond election.

More speakers were heard after the presentation. Teresa Platt said that she has a letter from the fire department chief that says one entrance, one exit is not acceptable (for the Gird Road site). She also said, “The entire district needs a carpool plan” and offered to help fund it.

Jack Wood, a member of the Fallbrook Planning Group, said that a good portion of the Pardee project is in the Fallbrook Elementary School District so it will be years before any students from there would be going to Bonsall schools. He also said that the county recently lowered the radar-certified speed limit on Gird Road to 45 mph. He does not think Gird Road is the right place to build a high school.

Board president Tim Cohen said that after the last bond measure failed, the board hired a broker to research every site over 25 acres in the district; “the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee reviewed the eight sites using California Department of Education guidelines and Gird Road was first by a significant margin.” He added, “We’ve exhausted every possibility in the district.” He also pointed out that the school district and town lines do not align, which is why the Gird Road site is in Fallbrook but also in the Bonsall school district.

That is when the board voted to go with the advisory board’s findings and continue working on plans for the Gird Road site.

Richard Nowicki of Baker Nowicki design studio presented plans for an interim campus, with one option at Sullivan Middle School and the other option at the Gird Road site. At SMS, the cost of paving the lower baseball fields, bringing in utilities and rented portables (with a three-year lease) would be $5.2 million. An interim campus on Gird Road, grading half the property, paving most of that half, then bringing in utilities and rented portables would cost $15 million.

To build a permanent phase 1 of the proposed Bonsall High School would cost $31 million and serve 500 students, David Medcalf reported.

In the meantime, principal Lee Fleming reported that 39 percent of Bonsall’s high school seniors have been accepted to college. Also, the younger siblings of current students are coming to the high school which is retaining a higher percentage of its students. So, the student body is growing, making the need for a bigger, separate campus more pressing.


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