East County’s pair of community colleges have a wish list of $600 million to $700 million in repairs and new construction—and an August deadline for seeking a November bond vote, officials say.
A tentative Aug. 7 board meeting in the Grossmont–Cuyamaca Community College District may set the value of a possible school bond, according to Anne Krueger, a district spokeswoman.
The value of the bond would be less than $600 million, Krueger said Friday.
But the district of 230,000 voters would be asked for a second property tax infusion in 10 years—following 2002 approval of Proposition R, a $207 million bond issue.
Krueger said the district’s deadline for calling a Nov. 6 bond vote is Aug. 10.
On Thursday, 75 community leaders met privately with district Chancellor Cindy Miles of La Mesa in the Grossmont College Griffin Center in El Cajon to review the new facilities master plan for the sister campuses.
Krueger said Miles addressed an audience that included Santee Councilman Jack Dale, Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil, school board member Bill Baber of the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, Helix water board member Charles Muse and two members of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca board—Mary Kay Rosinski and Greg Barr.
Miles told them the district is at a critical juncture as state funding continues to dwindle and facilities and infrastructure needs become more urgent.
“California’s community colleges are facing the worst fiscal crisis in our history,” she said, noting that her 30,000-student district has been hit with three years of state cuts totaling more than $35 million.
The draft facilities plan was presented by Deborah Shepley of HMC Architects, which prepared the plan with input from the colleges and district.
A final plan is set to go before the governing board for formal approval in September. Krueger said it would adjusted in light of the possible bond amount.
At Grossmont College, the plan recommends replacing the many aging modular buildings placed at the campus more than 30 years ago as temporary classroom sites, as well as providing instructional, lab and performance spaces, the district says.
“Deteriorating and inadequate classroom buildings at Cuyamaca College that are now 34 years old would be replaced, along with infrastructure improvements to conserve energy and to reduce operational costs,” the district said.
“An updated technology system to keep pace with digital advances is a key need for the college district. Better computer systems are vital as more students turn to online classes as part of their education, and replacing an antiquated technology system will allow the district to operate more efficiently.”
Bonnie Moss, a consultant with Clifford Moss LLC working with the college district on the feasibility of a bond measure, said polls show that East County voters hold the El Cajon and Rancho San Diego colleges in high regard.
Voters indicated strong support for workforce training, veterans’ services, and installing energy-saving measures so that more monies could be directed to classrooms, she said.
“Our research shows that this community understands the district is the engine for workforce training and affordable transfer to universities,” Moss said.
If the Grossmont-Cuyamaca district sets a bond election, it won’t be the first in the county. This week the San Dieguito Union High School District board in Encinitas voted 4-1 to place a $449 million bond on the November ballot. On Tuesday, the San Diego Unified School District board voted to put a $1.2 billion bond on that ballot.
The North County Times also reported: “Trustees with the Del Mar Union School District voted Wednesday to put a $77 million bond measure on the ballot. MiraCosta College board members expect to vote next month on whether to go forward with a $538 million bond measure.”