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New Rancho Santa Fe school moves forward

RANCHO SANTA FE — Board members for the R. Roger Rowe School are learning a few tough lessons themselves. Despite their best efforts to build the proposed new school on time and on budget, they’re learning it’s not an easy task to accomplish given the current economic uncertainty.
Katy Wright and Tim Ireland, both of Gafcon, Inc., the construction management team hired for the school renovation project, gave board members updates on scheduling and budget milestones, a design path and state funding at the March 5 meeting. “We have a critical timing issue,” Ireland said. “We need to get started on the interim housing.” The problem, according to Wright and Ireland, is that moving forward with many of these projects is dependent upon approval by the Division of the State Architect, or DSA. With state cutbacks and offices being closed one or more days per month, it is causing delays in projects getting approved. Delays up to four months could be expected. “We’re hoping that’s not the case,” Wright said. “But that’s what we’re dealing with.”
The board was also hoping to do upgrades and implement designs to the new school with money it is entitled to receive from the state. That, too, is on hold until the state sells bonds and distributes those monies to the school. But, the irony is, only schools that have been approved by the DSA will receive money.
Equally frustrating for Superintendent Lindy Delaney is her attempt to prepare a budget for the coming year. “Changes from the state come hourly,” she reported to the school board. The governor signed a California State Education recently, but Delaney said there will be a May revision. “Still, we’re very fortunate. We’ll be OK.” Delaney said she anticipates a slight decline in enrollment next year, due to the construction of the new school, based on data collected via interviews with local families.
Early in the meeting, school board members were treated to a video by Global Literacy Students. Under the supervision of teacher Stacey Halboth, participating students collaborated on the video made using Voicethread, a computer program. Teachers Gina Mirizzi and Kristin Woodard also presented two digital stories, similar to PowerPoint presentations, compiled by students. Chad Clerke and Griffin McComb presented their collaboration, a digital story about explorer Coronado. Dylan Cunningham and Adam Harris worked together to compile a digital story about explorer Henry Hudson. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity for the students to collaborate and work together,” Halboth said. “It was very interactive.”
After the presentations, students came forward and shook hands with school board members. Students being honored included Summer Isaac, Jasmine Luck, Carly Newman, Christopher Ramphal, Anissa Riviere, Elli Sawada, Michelle Wakeman, Chad Clerke and Griffin McComb. Students also being honored, but unable to attend, included Bailey Cunningham, Braeden Kammersgard, Maddy Kerr, Garrett Moon and Harrison Schneider.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for April 2.