MUST READ: DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT COMMENTS ARCHIVE.
July 10, 2018 BUSD meeting coming up on Thursday July 12
July 12, 2018 After the departure of Facilities Director David Medcalf, BUSD seeks to approve a relationship for facilities management with the County Office of Education. See Item 10.7. Item 10.5 notes that the SD County Taxpayers Association recommends BUSD add the following language to the fall ballot measure: “In order to maximize community benefit and efficiently apply taxpayer dollars, the applicant shall demonstrate a good faith effort to pursue all practical opportunities to expand community joint use facilities in every new or expanded construction project. In pursuing joint use, the applicant’s goal should be to maximize the use of facilities to the broader community without adversely impacting operations or finances.”
Keeping in mind that within the school district are dozens of meeting venues, schools, churches, special event venues, arts centers, golf course club houses and hotels, all facilities used by the community, we hope this wording could be met with moveable walls transforming a classroom for 30 into room for 100 for PTA meetings. We hope this won’t because just another pro-development “go big or go home” initiative pushed by those committed to ever more square footage.
July 3, 2018 Fallbrook Village Rotary learns about battle in Gird Valley
The Village News published a slightly edited version of a report on a speech given by Teresa Platt of SaveGirdValley.com at the June 5 meeting of the Fallbrook Village Rotary. You can read the full report on the speech here.
Platt shared the history Gird Valley’s fight against large scale development, sprawl. She shared details on the failed 116-acre golf course located in the heart of Gird Valley, now being converted into Monserate Winery and vineyard and to be preserved from development via the use of conservation easements. Platt reported on how Bonsall, Fallbrook and other North County residents fought and won against five ballot measures to fund building a huge high school in Gird Valley which runs just 4 miles from Live Oak Park south to the 76.
The Village News article included details on the long-standing relationship between Lilac Hills Ranch interests and Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD), including financial support of its unification and its 2016 failed $58M bond measure, Attempt #5 to build a high school in Gird Valley. Completely out of sync with North County residents, in 2015 and 2016, BUSD’s Superintendent was actively lobbying the Board of Supervisors to approve Lilac Hills Ranch and talking about redrawing district boundaries to better serve sprawl development.
BUSD has announced it will place a $38M bond proposal on the ballot this fall to pay for one-third of a 1,500-student high school. This will be Attempt #6 to fund building a high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley, which is located at the northernmost edge of the school district, inconvenient for most district residents but convenient for sprawl developments proposed for east of I-15. Such developments are not in compliance with the County’s General Plan which attempts to save rural areas by keeping development in San Diego County area where infrastructure already exists.
Platt asked, “…will district residents vote this November to tax themselves for 30 years to pay $38 million (plus interest) for building phase one of three, to build one-third of a high school most of their children will never use?”
Beyond the upcoming bond issue, Platt noted that development should comply with the County General Plan, that Mello-Roos fees should be used for new developments requiring large investments in infrastructure and that new leadership is needed on the BUSD Board. Four out of the five Board seats are up for election this fall and district residents who care about education, fiscal responsibility and protecting North County from sprawl should consider running.
June 19, 2019 Fallbrook SourceBook features Fallbrook wineries
The Fallbrook Sourcebook, published by the Village News, includes information on Fallbrook area wineries. This issue also features lengthy profiles on Fallbrook Winery, located on the ridge line overlooking Gird Valley, and the new Monserate Winery in the heart of Gird Valley. Very interesting!
June 10, 2018 Ouch! BUSD approves $242,000 in design work and Attempt #6, a $38 million bond to build one-third of a huge high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley!
Read all about it at https://conta.cc/2Jw6sdK
June 8, 2018 “BUSD and developers”, commentary in Village News
The Village News published a commentary revealing a very strong relationship between BUSD and Lilac Hills Ranch development interests. We went back and looked at references to Lilac Hills Ranch that we’d compiled in our lengthy History section and organized them into one document. We hope you find it useful.
June 4, 2018 In a nutshell…
BUSD ignored the state and county which told it to sell the Gird Valley property and build a high school in the core of Bonsall where it would be conveniently located for the entire district (88 square miles running from Oceanside to Pala). It ignored the Fallbrook Community Planning Group which said the same thing and this report by staff and community volunteers which also recommended building in conjunction with the Ocean Breeze property’s development (1,400 acres adjacent to Sullivan Middle School campus in the center of the district). Why does it keep pushing to build in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley, the northern most edge of the district?
BUSD will finish up its annual audit report at the end of June. Until then, you can see where our school district it up to, in a nutshell, by reviewing last year’s audit report. We especially recommend page 90 in the pdf document.
The report notes that average daily attendance increased by just 169 students since the District was unified in 2014 while debt increased by $14.5 million. Reserves dropped from over 12% to 3%. 3% is the legal limit.
“Unfortunately the District has experienced declining enrollment over the last several years in the transitional-kindergarten to 6th grade span. This reduced enrollment will slowly articulate [SIC] up through the District over time. ” (page 12 ) BUSD told the San Diego County Taxpayers Association that its first 9th grade class in 2014 consisted of 80 students but the 2018 graduating class is just 56 students, down 30% in four years.
Since this report was issued in June 2017, reserves have dropped even more and BUSD projects them to drop of 0.4% by 2019/20:
None of the reports include notes or reserves for paying off capital appreciation bonds ($5M borrowed in 2007 which will cost district residents $18.4M in principal and compounded interest).
The Bonsall Unified School District covers 88 square miles from Oceanside to Pala and is surrounded by 32 public and 15 private high schools. Many believe large scale developers should use Mello-Roos fees (taxes on new development) to pay for required infrastructure (including fire stations and schools). So, will district residents vote this November for a 30-year property tax for $38 million (plus interest) for building a third of a high school most of their children will never use? Probably not.
May 30, 2018 BUSD Discusses Design Work Before Completion of EIR
Before we have all had the benefit of reviewing the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for building a large high school, BUSD has announced a special Board meeting to discuss: Item 3.1. Design Development of New Bonsall High School Campus and Next Steps. If these proposed designs focus on the Gird Road site, then BUSD is functionally approving and implementing the project before the EIR is finalized, an attempt to shortcut the process. The developer cannot implement the project before the full EIR review process is complete. In fact, the public has submitted varied and lengthy comments on the Draft EIR and the developer/lead agency (BUSD is both in this case) must respond to those comments, after which it must hold public meetings to present and explain the Final EIR to the public. Any attempt to shortcut that process is improper. Illegal? One legal expert we’ve consulted says, yes, illegal.
May 25, 2018 KPBS reports: Fallbrook High Loses Millions Of Dollars As Districts Jockey For Students
We built Fallbrook Union High School and it’s losing students to other high schools. Are we overbuilt in North County? You’ll want to read this KPBS report on the economics and dynamics of high schools.
May 10, 2018 Another Quarter of a Millions Dollars on the Great Gird Money Pit
Even though it has not yet completed the legally-required CEQA Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process, Bonsall Unified School District ‘s (BUSD) board approved (Item 9.2) to spend another quarter of a million dollars on the Great Gird Money Pit, Attempt #6 to build a huge high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley. This check, for $242,093, goes to Baker Nowicki for design development work. The design development stage, says BUSD (which follows the schematic design phase which cost $181,569), “is where the District and the community will work collaboratively to incorporate the high school educational program requirements with aesthetic and functional design parameters.”
Amazing. The community is working “collaboratively” to design a project the community has rejected five times at the ballot box and is still in the middle of its Draft EIR process. Price tag so far for design work for a site the BUSD Board’s wants but the community does not? $423,662.
At the same time, BUSD’s reserve are below the legally-required 3% minimum so it had to file a Special Interim Financial Report. Oddly, the report does not appear to include reserves for paying off capital appreciation bonds ($5M borrowed in 2007 which will cost district residents $18.4M in principal and compounded interest). Budget reductions resulted in the termination of the Technology & Learning Coordinator (Craig Leach) and the resignation of Facilities Director David Medcalf’ (last day May 31). Medcalf is the key contact for the Draft EIR. BUSD High School Principal Lee Fleming is leaving for another job to start July 1. Yes, BUSD has a high school with 18 classrooms, 10 in a brand new building opened in 2016. At 27/classroom, that’s capacity for 486 students. Current enrollment: 328. Graduating class of 2018: 56 students. Yes, this is the high school that wants to build for 1,500.
May 5, 2018 Village News reports on BUSD’s Attempt #6 to build in Gird Valley
Hoping that it is more palatable to the voters, The Village News reports that BUSD will place a bond for $38M on the ballot this fall for building 1/3 of a massive 1,500-student high school proposed for Fallbrook’s Gird Valley. This would be Attempt #6 to build in the location which is located about a mile south of the northern edge of the district boundary, inconveniently located for most parents and students.
Superintendent David Jones was quoted, “We’re asking for 20 million less than the 2016 bond. My hope would be that people would understand that and support that we’re being reasonable and conservative with what we’re asking. We are being as reasonable and conservative as we can be in constructing the high school. We’re not asking for all three phases.”
Not yet. But they will.
Consider paying 30 years via your property taxes for a $38M bond x three, that’s $114M (double that to include financing costs), for a high school most district residents will never use. In slow growth North County, developers are hoping taxpayers shoulder the burden of paying for school sprawl, which contributes to urban sprawl. But voters are no longer buying it. It is a wonder that BUSD continues to waste money on the Great Gird Money Pit.
CATE volunteer Jeff Egkan was also quoted in the Village News article. CATE, Citizens for Accountability in Taxation and Education, issued a report in 2016 on the high school issue, supporting the centrally-located Ocean Breeze location. The State and the County also supported a central location when BUSD unified in 2012 and recommended the sale of the Gird Valley property. Since then Fallbrook Community Planning Group has also voiced strong opposition to BUSD’s proposal to build in Gird Valley.
“I think the question is how many times do the voters in this community need to say no before they move on,” said Jeff Egkan.
May 3, 2018 You’ll enjoy this update from Monserate Winery
Christina Smith, manager of the vineyard, gives us a detailed update Thanks, Christina!
May 1, 2018 Resolution amended and passed April 27 to build 1/3 of a high school in Gird Valley but does not mention Gird Valley
BUSD’s Board passed this amended version of a Resolution to place a $38M (double that to include financing costs) bond on the ballot this November. Although Gird Valley is not mentioned anywhere in the document, just a few weeks ago, BUSD’s Board approved a site in Gird Valley as the preferred site so this bond measure would be Attempt #6 to build a high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley. The Resolution states that this $38M will cover costs for housing 500 students (BUSD currently has only 328 student enrolled in a new high school, completed in 2016, to house 350). BUSD is in the middle of the Environmental Impact Report process for the proposed school for 1,500 so the bond will cover 1/3 of a high school proposed for the northern edge of the district, “foot in the door money to allow BUSD to start grading and building in Gird Valley.
April 30, 2018 What passed?
BUSD passed, at an extended special board meeting on April 27, a heavily edited version of a Resolution to place a $38M bond measure on the ballot this November, representing Attempt #6 to build a high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley. We are still trying to get a copy of the final version, what actually was approved Friday night. Stay tuned.
April 27, 2018 Update: What happened?
Last night’s BUSD Special Board Meeting was extended to Friday April 27, 6 PM, The resolution is a 9-page legal document (due at the Registrar of Voters office by August) and there were lots of questions and contentious moments. Some board members wanted it spelled out what the public would get for its debt but others wanted buzz words that poll well to ease passage of Attempt #6 to build a huge brick and mortar high school in Gird Valley. Others wanted “flexibility” in the wording so they could spend on anything including maintenance work (generally done under the regular budget). Facilities Manager David Medcalf was a supporter for “flexibility” so BUSD could use bond dollars as cash in the bank for matching funds for maintenance grants, indicating BUSD’s cash and reserves (legally set at 3%) are running dangerously low. Is BUSD attempting to borrow for cash flow reasons, and secure that debt to homes in the district, while attempting to build a portion of a high school for large scale developers who have not yet cleared the planning department because their proposed mega projects are in conflict with the County’s General Plan? That’s a real stretch and the tension was obvious at last night’s meeting.
April 24, 2016 BUSD Board Meeting Agenda includes “foot in the door” money: $38M for Attempt #6 to build a huge high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley
The Agenda for Bonsall Unified School District’s (BUSD) April 26 Board Meeting includes one item on which the board members (Timothy Coen, Dick Olson, Eric Ortega, Lou Riddle and Sylvia Tucker) will be voting on a Resolution for a bond measure to be placed on the November 2018 ballot:
EXHIBIT A: “To improve the quality of education; improve safety and security on all campuses; construct a new high school to reduce student overcrowding; renovate/replace track and field structures and facilities; shall Bonsall Unified School District issue $38,000,000 of bonds at legal rates, levy approximately 3.75 cents/$100 assessed value, generating approximately $2,300,000 annually while bonds are outstanding, with annual audits, independent citizens’ oversight, NO money for administrative salaries and all money staying local?”
Developers are circling North County, hoping taxpayers will commit to picking up the tab for building new schools before the County forces them to pay for them directly as part of the required development mitigation. There is no mention in the the Resolution that BUSD desires a huge new high school for 1,500 to be built in Fallbrook but currently has only 328 high school kids housed in an 18,000 building in Bonsall’s core area that was just completed in 2016. No detail on budget for each purpose listed. No mention that it’s simply impossible to build a high school for 1,500 students for $38 million or less. No mention that this is just for Phase I of III for the high school so BUSD will be back for more bond money, more tax money. The actual cost, financing fees included, is about double so budget paying $76 million for Phase I. No mention of Gird Valley but BUSD “affirmed” Gird Valley was the best site for the proposed high school earlier this month and that’s where it has been pushing to build, at the northern edge of the district next door to a golf course/wedding venue, down the street from Monserate Winery, Myrtle Creek Botanical Garden and Live Oak Park. All in Fallbrook. Estimate a 73% increase in traffic from this one Walmart-sized development. Fallbrook Community Planning: Group said the project “would totally devastate Gird Valley” and “…a major egregious error … is the fact that the property is not centrally located where a high school should be so folks can feed in from all around. This is the very extreme edge of the school district, …on the very extreme edge, the northern edge, of the district and .. is not an appropriate place for a high school.”
Take a drive out to Fallbrook’s Gird Valley and see the proposed location soon! If you live to the south, east or west within the Bonsall School District, would you vote to tax yourself $76 million for 30 years to build a third of a high school you’ll never use? Probably not.
April 22, 2018 Mark your calendars: Mark Jackson, April 24 at the Fallbrook Library; and BUSD Special Board Meeting, April 26 at the Bonsall Community Center.
Tuesday, April 24th, 6:30 pm at the Fallbrook Library Mark Jackson of Save Our San Diego Countryside will speak on the Lilac Hills Ranch development proposal. Along with Attempt #5 to build a huge high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley, the voters rejected the massive 1,700-unit Lilac Hills Ranch in 2016. But the developers are back with the same proposal to build over 1,700 units on farmland, a density not supported by the County General Plan. Lilac Hills Ranch is arguing that this is good for the environment. Please be there on April 24th and here’s a flyer to help spread the word and we’ve sent out an email blast on Mark’s speech and a Special Board Meeting BUSD has scheduled for Thursday April 26, 6 PM.
April 12, 2017 What happened?
Thanks to everyone who showed up! Jason List of Urban Futures presented results of a telephone survey of 400 district voters. Yes, the answers went a little shaky when the Gird Valley site came up. With mixed results and controversy in the community over the site, Mr. List urged the board to not move forward with a bond but to do more outreach. The Board listened and heard from audience members who felt those opposed to a huge high school in Gird Valley were “selfish” and those who felt historical Gird Valley is worth saving from such a huge development (especially when a school on that site has been rejected five times at the ballot box). Others felt Bonsall should build its high school in the center of the district in Bonsall (as it was told to do so by the State and the County during its unification process), not at the northernmost edge of the district in Fallbrook. Several speakers worried that the Sullivan Campus in Bonsall (located in a moderate wildfire hazard zone) was dangerous but were pushing for building on Gird Road (located in a high wildfire hazard zone). Brian Olson noted that BUSD has presented a proposal for Gird Valley, a school for 1,500 students plus staff, that has only one exit/entrance, a point that is non negotiable for the community wherever the school will be built. Teresa Platt of SaveGirdValley.com noted that a Fire Chief’s letter supporting two exits/entrances had been submitted during the EIR comment period. Traffic concerns came up over and over and over again. A 1,500-student school on Gird Road will generate a 73% increase in traffic and traffic is a concern on West Lilac and at all the BUSD schools but BUSD has made absolutely no effort to be a good neighbor and reduce its traffic, district-side, through the adoption of a carpool app. Teresa Platt of SaveGirdValley.com researched available carpool apps, recommended one and committed $1,000 toward this project. That was June of 2017. As of April 2018, BUSD has done nothing to advance the effort to reduce the negatives of its out-of-control traffic. Community engagement came up but BUSD does not archive recordings of its meetings online so it’s impossible for district residents to really learn about the issues. BUSD’s Board called a break then returned and deviated from its stated objective on Agenda Item 9.2, “Board Discussion and Approval of Building New Bonsall High School Campus at Gird Road Site”. Instead it voted to “affirm” the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee’s Site Report (not included in the Agenda) stating Gird is the best site for a high school and to educate the public on why. Here’s our analysis of that report [direct link: https://bit.ly/2sObxYs] and additional comments (pages 15 and 16) on the inadequacy of such submitted during the Draft Environmental Impact (DEIR) process. Will there be a bond measure in November, Attempt #6 to build a high school on Gird Road? We still don’t know.
April 10, 2018 BUSD to Vote on Building High School on Gird Road Thursday April 12
The Bonsall Unified School District’s (BUSD) Board’s Agenda for its April 12 meeting reveals that the Board will hear (Item 9.1) the results of a survey to measure support/lack of support for a bond to pay for building a large 1,500-student school in Gird Valley and (Item 9.2) discuss and vote to move forward (or not) with building a large 1,500 student high school campus at the southern end of Gird Valley.
You need to be there! BUSD Board meeting, Thursday, 6 PM, at the Bonsall Community Center, 31505 Old River Rd. Read all about it at https://conta.cc/2GG8vyp
Thanks and spread the word! Bring a neighbor or two with you. See you there!
MAR 26, 2018 Endangered Habitats League (EHL) submits comments
Endangered Habitats League (EHL) submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Bonsall Unified School District’s proposal for a huge 1,500-student school north of the 76, at the southern end of Gird Valley. EHL stated that “…the consulting biologist did not conduct protocol level surveys as requested by USFWS/CDFW for the arroyo toad or focused/protocol level surveys for gnatcatchers.” EHL stated that the proposed development is in conflict with San Diego County’s Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) and its San Luis Rey River Park Plan. EHL stated, “The DEIR may have used an improper baseline in connection with biological impacts. It is our understanding that before biological surveys were conducted, the district cleared the property by using goats which likely removed sensitive plant species and impacted sensitive animal habitat. This issue should be candidly addressed in the DEIR and biological reports and the appropriate baseline should be employed. The project site’s pre-clearing status should have been used to assess biological impacts and mitigation and avoidance strategies. An applicant cannot avoid the environmental review process by preemptively clearing the property of all environmental sensitivity.” Read all the comments here!
MAR 22, 2018 Comments submitted re: Draft EIR for BUSD school proposal
Whew! We did it! Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) set a short 45-day public comment period on its proposal to build a 1,500 high school in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley.
Lots of praise for the staff at environmental attorney Kevin Johnson’s office. They did an amazing job. A Big Thank You to everyone who shared information and supported the work on these comments! You’ll want to read them!
The proposed high school will generate an additional 2,700 vehicle trips per day, a whopping 73% increase in traffic in Gird Valley. Gird Road currently experiences accident rates far higher than the statewide average of 1.32 per million vehicle miles: 2.36 from the 76 to south of Oak Cliff Drive and 1.90 to the north of Oak Cliff Drive to Reche Road. Accidents will increase along with the additional traffic. School-related traffic, accidents and parking problems are district wide problem yet BUSD has made no effort to establish a carpool program to address this huge negative.
Before beginning its required biological assessment of the flora and fauna on the proposed site, BUSD used 600 goats (with sheepdogs), plus mechanical methods, to clear its 50 acres on Gird Road. It also strung barbed wire fencing around the site, a barrier to wildlife movement. In spite of this effort to denude and isolate the property, endangered species were found on the site (burrowing owl burrows, nesting least Bell’s vireo, kangaroo rats, pocket mice) and a mountain lion was recently spotted nearby. The property has over 16 acres of federally-designated critical habitat for the arroyo toad but BUSD’s Draft EIR ignored the fact that a federal biologist had found an arroyo toad on adjacent land.
Per the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services’ Know Your Hazards mapping tool, Gird Road is in a VERY HIGH WILDFIRE HAZARD LEVEL zone (7350 W. Lilac Road, where the current BUSD high school is located, is rated MODERATE) and Gird Valley has been evacuated twice in the last decade. Fires in 2017 ran just south of the proposed school property on Gird Road yet BUSD includes only one entrance/exit in its proposed high school design. Please read the letter from the Fire Chief on why this is a terrible idea and why this huge project must have at least two entrances/exits! School children’s safety is non-negotiable!
Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) commented on the Draft EIR after discussing it at a public meeting on March 19 (see transcribed comments below in March 20 posting) where Vice Chair Jack Wood stated, “There are a number of reasons why this property is not suitable for a school. … I strongly oppose the development of a high school on this location.” Chairman Jim Russell noted BUSD greatly understated the parking needs, stating, “They will have parking for less than 10% of the student body… I think [this development] would totally devastate Gird Valley with all the students trying to park out on Gird Road and I seriously question the logic of the folks who put those numbers in the EIR and think that is an appropriate thing to do.” … “I think a major egregious error in this EIR is the fact that the property is not centrally located where a high school should be so folks can feed in from all around. This is the very extreme edge of the school district,” “on the very extreme edge, the northern edge, of the district and in my opinion is not an appropriate place for a high school.”
You’ll want to know more so read all about it!
MAR 20, 2018 Fallbrook Community Planning Group (FCPG) comments on proposed high school in Gird Valley
Gird Valley neighbors attended the Fallbrook Community Planning Group’s March meeting (Agenda, Item 5 ) to engage in discussion on the Draft EIR for Bonsall Unified School District’s proposal to build a 1,500-student high school in Gird Valley in Fallbrook. Thank you to those who spoke and shared concerns regarding the very large project creating a massive increase in traffic, parking problems and accidents while pointing out that the proposed site is not centrally located within the Bonsall Unified School District.
Planning Committee Vice-Chairman Jack Wood noted that endangered species were found on the property, detailed how the property had been declared surplus and was to be sold when Fallbrook High School owned it, that it had been declared not suitable for a high school. He noted that the FCPG requires that we “don’t disrupt the natural terrain of the land, this is absolutely contrary to that.” Commenting on the undulation of the property, he questioned the volume of cubic yards of land that would have to be removed. He had concerns about the “undulation of that property, the inadequacy of the parking,” noting that the school was being built to a 1,500 student population. “That location would clearly disrupt Gird Valley and would create traffic that is far in excess of what you have there today.” “There are a number of reasons why this property is not suitable for a school. This would create, with the current zoning, 2-acre lots, this would create about 17 to 18 houses on that particular property and that would be my recommendation. So based on the interest of saving the Gird Valley from the unwanted traffic and congestion, I strongly oppose the development of a high school on this location.”
Planning Committee Chairman Jim Russell stated, “I think a major egregious error in this EIR is the fact that the property is not centrally located where a high school should be so folks can feed in from all around. This is the very extreme edge of the school district,” “on the very extreme edge, the northern edge, of the district and in my opinion is not an appropriate place for a high school.” Russell stated BUSD understated parking needs for students, staff, “they will have parking for less than 10% of the student body.” “I think [this development] would totally devastate Gird Valley with all the students trying to park out on Gird Road and I seriously question the logic of the folks who put those numbers in the EIR and think that is an appropriate thing to do.”
MAR 19, 2018 Declining enrollment = Valley Center School District laying off teachers
Valley Center School District will lay off as many 30 teachers this year due to budget issues related to declining enrollment. “Student enrollment continues to decline, the union president said, ‘Yet there doesn’t seem to be a clear understanding of why that enrollment is going down’.”
MAR 10, 2018 Just to remind ourselves where we were and where we are going…
It’s good to look forward and satisfying to look back. In March of 2017, the failed golf course on Gird Road was under new ownership and just starting its transformation into Monserate Winery. These 116 acres are to be protected as agricultural land and open space via conservation easements.
By June of 2017, vines were planted on the ,astern side of Gird Road.
How quickly things change! As of Spring 2018, we’re watching the vines grow and following the work happening on the western side of Gird.
Congrats to Jade and Julie Work and their Dream Team for helping save Gird Valley! Here’s a slideshow which we hope you’ll enjoy; just a taste of what we love about Gird Valley.
FEB 14, 2018 SaveGirdValley.com needs your help on the Draft EIR related to Attempt #6 to build a huge high school in Gird Valley
Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) released for public comment its Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a huge 1,500-student high school proposed for a site in Fallbrook’s Gird Valley. The EIR is available for review via BUSD or on our SaveGirdValley.com website.
The public review/comment period began February 5 and continues through March 22, a scant 45 days. That doesn’t give us much time to read, digest, write and submit comments on this massive 1,800-page document. Read more…
FEB 11, 2018 BUSD calls special meeting to discuss survey questions
We know the questions we’d like to have asked but BUSD most likely will select others. It’s really short notice, but here’s your chance to listen in on that public discussion, scheduled for February 12 at 7 PM at the Bonsall Community Center.
FEB 1, 2018 Guest commentary in Village News on BUSD’s attempt to build a high school in Gird Valley
JAN 23, 2018 Village News on Superintendent’s Advisory Committee (SAC) Site Analysis Report and our analysis
Sadly, BUSD Superintendent David Jones is the only person quoted in the entire Village News article about the Site Analysis so there’s not a lot of meat in this piece, reads like a BUSD press release. But we’ve already done an analysis of the report and researched the Committee (which is supposed to represent the public). As is often the case, all is not as it seems to be. You’ll want to read this, our analysis of the report.
JAN. 13, 2018 It only took us six months but we finally found out what the last Superintendent was actually paid in 2016. It’s a shocker!
In 2015, The San Diego Union Tribune commented on Dr. Justin Cunningham’s Superintendent’s salary, benefits and pension ($191,000 for overseeing a 2,300-student school district) … Read more
JAN. 9, 2018 Mark your calendars!
Thursday, January 11, 6 PM, attend the BUSD Board meeting. We expect to hear about the Superintendent’s site advisory committee’s report and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) related to the sixth attempt to pass a bond to build a 1,500-student high school in Gird Valley (overdue for release). Here’s an email blast we just sent out on the key issues. As we move forward, please keep this in mind: October 2012: The Village News reported that “BUSD studied its existing facilities and determined that Sullivan Middle School can adequately house the small high school that is envisioned. The school would house approximately 500 to 600 students.” This was before BUSD built a high school for 350 on the Sullivan Campus in Bonsall. We have asked for capacity figures for the Sullivan Campus. Still waiting. We would really like to see a full inventory of what BUSD already has: acreage, capacity (permanent and temporary buildings) and enrollment by site. Hopefully we’ll have that info at some point.
JAN. 9, 2018 Q: How many high schools do we have in the area? You’ll never guess!
Do we even need another high school in the area? That’s a sensible question. So one of our volunteers worked up a list of high schools in the area. Guess what? We have 32 publicly-built and funded high schools and 15 privately-funded high schools in the area! That’s amazing! Beyond this, you can home school or attend school online. Here’s the list we have so far of how many high schools we have in the area. Have we missed any?? Also important to note that BUSD enrollment for grades K-3 is declining (peaked in 2013-14 at 1,134 and dropped over 7% to 1,054 in 2016-17). Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) has seen enrollment plummet by more than 20 percent from a high of 3,117 students in the 2008-’09 school year to about 2,000″ as of November 2017.
JAN. 8, 2018 Site Advisory Committee Report released along with proposed contract with bond experts for another attempt (#6) to pass a bond to build a huge high school in Gird Valley.
The Agenda for the January 11 BUSD Board Meeting (see you there!) is online and it includes item 9.4, the Site Advisory Committee (SAC) Presentation which met six times in closed session (we asked, we were not allowed in and there are no public recordings of their meetings). Not included in the report is any detail as to how those serving on the committee met the parameters set by the Board. We’ve asked for this info several times. No response. … Read more
JAN. 6, 2018 Mark your calendars!
Thursday, January 11, 6 PM, attend the BUSD Board meeting. We expect to hear about the Superintendent’s site advisory committee and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) related to attempts to build a 1,500-student high school on Gird Road (overdue for release). Here’s an email blast we just sent out on the key issues.
DEC. 5, 2017 Mark your calendars!
Thursday, December 14, 6 PM, attend the BUSD Board meeting.
Join us Wednesday, December 20, 4 PM to 8ish PM for a neighborhood Holiday Mingle. This is a “more the merrier” event. Hear an update about progress at Monserate Winery and meet BUSD school board candidate Roger Merchat. Hope to see you there! Ho! Ho! Ho!
NOV. 16, 2017 Site Advisory Committee Established and Experts Warn BUSD Not to Attempt Bond for Building on Gird Road Site in 2018
At the BUSD November 9 meeting, bond experts warned BUSD not to attempt a bond to pay for building a 1,500-student high school on a proposed site on Gird Road in Fallbrook and the Board released the names of volunteers chosen to serve on the Superintendent’s Site Advisory Committee. Broken down by region, they are: Area 1, Pala – Eric Ortega, No Alternate; Area 2, Rancho – Tom Flanagan, Alternate: David Toney; Area 3, Gird – Eric Nordeen, Alternate: Kara LaRussa (supported Measure DD and building on Gird Road in Village News, October 6, 2016); Area 4, Sullivan – Kassandra Costa, BUSD (elementary) teacher, Alternate: Larissa Anderson (Campaign Manager for failed 2016 Measure DD to fund building a big high school on Gird Road); Area 5, Bonsall – Jeff Johnson, Alternate: None; Area 6, Bonsall West – Brian Olson, Alternate: Eric Ford, reported the Village News. … Read more
NOV. 7, 2017 Reminder: Attend BUSD Board Meeting November 9!
Hope to see you there, 6 PM. Come earlier and sign up if you want to speak. Here’s the agenda. Per Agenda Item 9.6, 24 people volunteered by October 31 to serve on the Superintendent’s Site Advisory Committee. The breakdown by geographic areas is as follows: AREA 1 / PALA: 1; AREA 2 / RANCHO: 5; AREA 3 / GIRD: 6; AREA 4 / SULLIVAN MS: 3; AREA 5 / BONSALL ES: 1; AREA 6 / BONSALL WEST: 5; OUT OF DISTRICT: 3. We should hear more about this at the meeting. The Environmental Impact Report was expected to be released by now but we have not yet seen anything. There will be bond elections experts presenting at the November 9 meeting too so that should be interesting.
OCT. 19, 2017 BUSD seeking applications for site advisory committee
OCT. 15, 2017 Busy SaveGirdValley.com Volunteers are busy attending meetings, learning and volunteering. Join us!
SaveGirdValley.com volunteers attended a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Workshop and the Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) Board meeting on October 12. BUSD is also establishing a Superintendent’s Site Advisory Committee to help build the perfect school in the perfect location. We need your involvement! … Read more
OCT. 9, 2017 Please attend the BUSD Board Meeting, Oct 12, 6 PM!
Here’s the info you need abut this meeting to be held, 6 PM, at the Bonsall Community Center. The Agenda includes a resolution to raise fees on homes and developments based on a new Needs Report that you’ll want to read! BUSD will also be hammering out the details on a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee to survey the area for properties suitable for a high school location (Item 9.2 on the Agenda). If interested in serving, you’ll have until October 31 to submit an application. These Site Advisory Guidelines provide some direction.
SEPT. 30, 2017 Fallbrook and North County residents invited to CEQA/EIR Workshop September 30
PLEASE ATTEND! Fallbrook and North County residents are invited to attend a one-day workshop on September 30 on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process.
SEPT. 29, 2017 Special Board Meeting, EIR and process to pursue school funds
A status report on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and design information for a high school for 1,500 students proposed for a site on Gird Road in Fallbrook was presented at a special board meeting on September 28 at the new (opened Fall 2016) 18,000 square foot 350-student high school. This high school is located at the Sullivan Middle School Campus (current enrollment 328). Ten classrooms upstairs are designed to serve 27 students each, reported Facilities Manager David Medcalf. The upper floor also hosts a large lab space, the Principals office and a separate office for the administrative assistant. Downstairs is broken into additional large rooms/labs with a very large meeting space. … Read more
SEPT. 28, 2017 Lest we forget, here’s what they told us in 2012
July 2012: California Department of Education (CDE) analysis notes that “Upon unification, the district’s plan for the high school facility is to convert the existing Sullivan Middle School site into a high school over a 4 year period. The first year after unification would include 9th graders at the site, the 2nd year after unification would include both 9th and 10th graders, etc., until after 4 years of unification all 4 grades of high school (9 through 12) would be located at the site. The current enrollment at the middle school is 533 students. At this time, the site has 10 excess capacity classrooms for additional students if needed. This would provide ample space for the projected enrollment of 513 students for all four grades of high school. In addition, the site has a special education classroom and regional program currently housed on site. (Attachment 6.).” … Read more
SEPT. 27, 2017 BUSD calls special meeting to discuss building plans
As part of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Gird Road site, BUSD has announced holding a special board meeting on the evening of September 28 to discuss the schematics for building another brand new 1500-student high school and performing arts center. You will want to carefully READ the info on this meeting and, if you can, attend the meeting. BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CEQA WORKSHOP ON SATURDAY. The BUSD Special Board Meeting on September 28 will start at 5:30 PM and will be held at at BUSD’s brand new 350-student high school in Bonsall 7350 West Lilac Road. … Read more
SEPT. 24, 2017 Village News reports on September 30 CEQA Workshop
“Fallbrook and North County residents are invited to attend a one-day workshop on Sept. 30 on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process,” reports Village News. “Hosted by respected environmental attorney Kevin Johnson, this workshop will help us all gain an understanding of the law, its purpose, power and the CEQA process for protection of the environment.”
Read here our latest call to action for this important meeting.
September 15, 2017 Fallbrook and North County residents invited to CEQA/EIR Workshop September 30
Fallbrook and North County residents are invited to attend a one-day workshop on September 30 on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and its Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process.
Hosted by respected environmental attorney Kevin Johnson, this workshop will help us all gain an understanding of the law, its purpose, power and the CEQA process for protection of the environment.
September 15, 2017 Interview with Dr. Sylvia Tucker, veteran member of BUSD Board of Trustees. Women’s Lifestyle magazine.
Congratulations to the inspirational Dr. Tucker for being featured in this magazine! All your hard work over many years is much appreciated!
September 10, 2017 Mark your calendars: Two important meetings to save North County and beautiful Gird Valley!
Thank you to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to attend the Bonsall Unified School District’s (BUSD) August meeting. Please make an effort to attend the September 14 Board meeting at the Bonsall Community Center. You also need to attend a Workshop on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on September 30. Mark your calendars now! Read more….
August 11, 2017: Thanks for showing up at the meeting!
Thanks to all the volunteers who took time from their busy schedules to show up at the BUSD school board meeting on August 10. For many attendees it was their first time and they were able to meet the new Superintendent David Jones who committed to working hard for educational excellence and the community. Speakers included the daughter of the Campaign Manager for last year’s failed Yes on DD $58M initiative who read selected portions of a Facebook thread. Stated concerns at the meeting and the Facebook thread include: BUSD’s deficit spending over 6 years and failing financial position; the community’s rejection of funding for building on the proposed Gird Road site five times at the ballot box over several decades, most recently in 2016; that the proposed site on Gird Road is inconveniently located in Fallbrook, not Bonsall, far from where the majority of the students live; that Fallbrook already supports a very large high school; traffic, traffic and traffic; increased growth in Gird Valley and Fallbrook, areas that committed to slow growth decades ago; and more. For those who are cramming to learn about this issue, we highly recommend our HISTORY section as a great place to start your research. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the next BUSD meeting September 14, 6 PM.
August 7, 2017: We need your support to Save Gird Valley! Attend the BUSD Meeting on August 9 and an upcoming CEQA workshop!
We need you at the BUSD Board meeting August 9, 6 PM, and an upcoming California Environmenal Quality Act (CEQA) workshop organized by CEQA attorney Kevin Johnson. Read more…
August 4, 2017: BUSD has a new superintendent and changes Board meeting to August 9, 6 PM. Please attend!
Read all about it! BUSD has a new superintendent, reports the San Diego Union Tribune‘s Deborah Brennan-Sullivan.
Please make an effort to attend the BUSD Board Meeting Aug 9, 6 PM at the Bonsall Community Center. (NOTE: Meeting date changed from Aug 10 to Aug 9!)
The site on Gird Road (proposed for a very large high school and performing arts center) will be discussed at the August 9th meeting so please mark your calendars, attend the meeting, urge others to attend, spread the word! Thanks!
July 16, 2017: We continue to work together to stop a massive development proposed for Gird Road!
Thank you to everyone who took time from their busy schedules to attend the Bonsall Unified School District’s (BUSD) July 13 meeting where the Interim Property Report was formally presented to the Board. Volunteers spent m any hours over five months researching properties and the Interim Property Report details the findings. It includes info on the proposed Gird Road site and others including the Ocean Breeze Ranch property located adjacent to the existing Sullivan Middle School/Bonsall High School campus. …Read more
July 13, 2017: Community Leader Jack Wood tells BUSD it is “ill advised” to continue attempts to build on the Gird Road site.
Read Community Leader Jack Wood’s speech which included the history of the property and closed with, “… I am here to speak … on behalf of Fallbrook because of the constituents who are calling all up and down the Gird Valley. During the General Plan update and the Fallbrook Community Plan it was never considered that there would be a high school there, and it is not an appropriate location. I think it would be ill advised for this school district to continue to pursue that property for a high school. It is not an appropriate property for numerous reasons.”
The July 16 2017 Village News included a shot of Jack Wood along with the caption, “Jack Wood expresses his opposition on behalf of a number of other Fallbrook residents who oppose the proposal to build the Bonsall High School along the southern end of Gird Rd during a BUSD school board meeting, July 13.
July 10, 2017: We need you to help save Gird Valley!
Hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July and are enjoying the summer!
We want to provide a quick update on the 1,500-student school and performing arts center, a massive development, proposed for Gird Road and urge you to attend BUSD’s Board Meeting on July 13. …Read more
June 26, 2017: SaveGirdValley.com submits comments on NOP on EIR
SaveGirdValley.com volunteers submitted lengthy comments on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a 1500-student high school and performing arts center proposed for a site in Gird Valley, a site that has been rejected by the voters for a high school fully five times. Please share and we’d like to hear your comments too!
June 16, 2017: EIR process explained in PowerPoint, comments due 6/26
The “scoping meeting” related to the Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report on the Gird Road property is now viewable in an online PowerPoint presentation. Follow the link to submit your comments on the process by June 26.
The Initial CEQA on the site reported, “Development of the project will impact approximately 22.4 acres of the 48 acre site.” Now the NOP of the EIR states the project will disturb 39.5 acres.” This means BUSD plans to build over most of the land including the 16.14 acres of federally designated (under the Endangered Species Act) critical habitat for the wetlands dependent endangered arroyo toad. To mitigate this damage via mitigation credits from a mitigation land bank can be costly. The average cost per acre for mitigation credits in San Diego County is $380,000/acre. Credits located within the San Luis Rey River Valley are estimated at $500,000/acre.
June 15, 2017: BUSD new high school Interim Property Report released
In early January 2017, BUSD administration asked members of the community to research high school building sites that would be acceptable to both local residents and the District. Over the next 5 months, many hours were spent researching properties within the District boundaries. This interim report details the findings, all or in part, and will be officially released to the Board on June 8, 2017. Click Here to Read the Report..
June 12, 2017: Your input is needed to stop massive development proposed for Gird Road!
Even though North County voters have denied a high school on Gird Road fully five times, it keeps coming back. Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) is ignoring the voters and moving forward with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process for a massive development proposed for Gird Road in Fallbrook. Your input and commitment is needed to stop this.
Please attend at least one of the two meetings BUSD has scheduled this week:
- Wednesday, June 14: a “public scoping” meeting regarding the Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the BUSD’s proposed project on Gird Road. The Power Point Presentation from this meeting will be online soon. You need to get your comments in on the Notice of Preparation by June 26. There will be other opportunities to comment on the EIR in the future too.
- Thursday, June 15: a “public hearing” on the EIR process during BUSD’s regular Board meeting. If you want to speak, come a few minutes early and sign up.
If you can attend both meetings, even better! They will start at 6 PM at the Bonsall Community Center, 31505 Old River Road, Bonsall.
June 5, 2017: Massive brick and mortar monster development proposed for Gird Road! We need comments and attendance at upcoming meetings!
Even though North County voters have denied a high school on Gird Road fully five times, it keeps coming back. Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) is now undergoing the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process and you need to comment on the massive brick and mortar monster development proposed for Gird Valley and attend the meeting on the EIR process on June 14, from 6-8 PM, at the Bonsall Community Center, 31505 Old River Road, Bonsall.
Additionally, under pressure from community outrage over the proposed Gird Road project and underpaid teachers working without contracts, BUSD’s controversial pro-growth Superintendent Justin Cunningham has announced he’s retiring. BUSD is asking for community input on the next Superintendent at a stakeholder forum June 6, from 5 to 7 PM, at the Bonsall Community Center. An online survey is also available to the public on the BUSD website through June 12.
May 18, 2017: Monserate Winery is planting vines in its vineyard in Gird Valley! So exciting!
May 18, 2017: Special meeting of the BUSD Board
7 PM. Details and agenda here.
May 18, 2017: Looking back a few years….
Less than five years ago, the official line from Bonsall Unified School District (BUSD) was, “We do not want, nor do we need a massive brick and mortar high school ……Nor do we need fifty acres of dirt to accomplish our mission.”
Only five years ago, here were the plans and promises:
July 2012: California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that SBE adopt the Negative Declaration …. which finds that there is no substantial evidence that the project (proposal for the Bonsall School District to expand to include a high school) will have a significant effect on the environment. The State Board of Education issued a report on the subject and BUSD declared: “In a development planned to begin in the next 2–3 years, Palomar College will be across the street from the future site of a Bonsall School. We are exploring the possibility of this becoming a future site of a high school using a 2 plus 2 program where students in high school can graduate with up to two years of college credit. With an increased use of technology to serve the digital learner, our educational program will be flexible enough to adapt to a variety of settings.”
May 11, 2017, 6 PM Regular BUSD Board Meeting
You’ll want to attend! Agenda is available for your review.
April 25, 2017 BUSD’s Controversial Pro-Development Superintendent Announces Retirement
Controversial pro-developmnet Superintendent Justin J. Cunningham announces he has a knee injury and will retire from his position with a goal of having a new Superintendent in place as of July 1. His compensation (salary plus benefits) package at retirement totals over $210,000. The Village News reports Cunningham’s taxpayer-funded pension will be 80 to 85% of his salary.
March 26, 2017 A+, Five Fails and Who’s Driving The School Bus?
A+ to everyone who packed the house on March 14 for SaveGirdValley.com’s first official meeting. What a great showing! You’re terrific!
The website is up and running and our Project List is shaping up nicely, a good starting point for community work. We are looking for volunteers, those willing to lead projects and serve on the steering committee, to help with fundraising and provide creativity! Don’t be shy! Let us know what you’d like to do to help Save Gird Valley.
Beyond the basics of getting a group formed, we have been compelled to direct a lot of effort to the proposed high school on a site on Gird Road. Even though North County voters have voted this down fully five times, the issue keeps coming back.
March 11, 2017 A Tale of Two School Districts
This is the tale of two of those school districts located in two unincorporated towns living side by side in North San Diego County.
The 2010 Census tell us Fallbrook covers 17.6 sq. miles with 9,999 households and a population of population 30,534; 26.3% (8,045) under the age of 18.
March 7, 2017 Gird Valley Is Organizing and Needs You!
When development threatened the fallowed golf course in Gird Valley in early 2016, neighbors organized to save the property. The 116-acre property has been the heart and soul of Gird Valley since the 1960s and its loss would have been a tragedy for Fallbrook.
After months of false starts and broken deals, escrow closed on the property on November 15, 2016. The new owners, Jade and Julie Work, are long-time Fallbrook residents. They have begun the transformation of the neglected property into a working vineyard with an Italian-themed restaurant and wine-tasting room. Single sycamores are becoming groves, trellises are being constructed and soon the vines will be planted. The Works have also committed to preserving the property from future development through the use of conservation easements, a great gift to the community.