School board members also approved the “intent to sell” 2.23 acres of oceanfront property in South Mission Beach, as well as five other district-owned properties. The move to sell the assets, valued at more than
$26 million, received the supermajority 4-1 vote it needed to pass.
Trustee Scott Barnett, whose District C is home to the largest and most valuable real estate elements on the table — the 9.37-acre Barnard site and the South Mission Beach property — opposed the sale as he has since the board began voting on the issue in November.
In a separate vote, trustees unanimously approved moving the Mandarin-language program out of Barnard and the Point Loma Cluster to Bayview Terrace Elementary School in the Mission Bay Cluster. To accommodate the move, Bayview Terrace Elementary School will be closed and those students will be absorbed into other elementary schools in Mission Bay. The change will take effect beginning in the 2013-14 school year.
During a rare Friday night school board meeting held June 22, Barnett decried the decision by colleagues as short-sighted.
The Mission Beach Center is located in South Mission Beach at 818 and 825 Santa Barbara Place between the bay and ocean. The district is projecting a minimum bid of $11 million for the land. The Barnard site is expected to raise a minimum of $9 million.
“We’re about to sell one of the best pieces of real estate this district has and it’s like selling your grandma’s jewelry to pay the rent,” Barnett said.
Pointing to a map of the land in Mission Beach, Barnett said, “This piece of real estate — that’s the Pacific Ocean, that’s the bay. It’s one the best pieces of real estate in the world and we are going to sell it in the worst real estate market since the Great Depression for one-time revenues. Once we sell it, it’s gone.
“It’s absolutely absurd and probably this will go down as one of the most boneheaded things this school board has ever done.”
Other district real estate to be sold are Camp Elliot in Tierrasanta for $2.7 million; Bay Terrace 11, a parcel of land in south San Diego worth $3 million; and three residential lots in Linda Vista with a total price tag of $900,000. The total net sale price of all properties represents about 18 percent of the district’s projected $120 million deficit.
A line of questioning from Trustee Kevin Beiser revealed uncertainty among San Diego Unified staff about a district subcommittee’s report that did not advocate sales of all properties.
Staff also said they did not engage communities in discussion about the sales at the cluster level or with local planning groups. Phil Stover, deputy director of business development, said it was up to neighborhood planning groups to work with buyers once sales were finalized. Beiser suggested leasing properties to generate long-term revenue before anything is sold. Each property sale/lease will still need another vote by the board.
In public comment, Cynthia Conger, a Point Loma Realtor, told the board that the selling price of the Barnard and Mission Beach real estate is “peanuts for any developer.”
“You need to look at a very careful evaluation from more experienced people in this field that are not connected to developers,” she said.