School superintendent speaks to Association

RANCHO SANTA FE — Rancho Santa Fe School District Superintendent Lindy Delaney was invited to speak at the Association meeting April 1.
Delaney brought the board up to speed on the progress of the renovation and construction of the new R. Roger Rowe Elementary School. She also explained about the need for funds the Association talked about contributing to the project last summer. It appears the funds will be needed because of a turndown in the economy which delayed $2.5 million from the state.
After the design of the new school was completed, the art jury requested some changes, which added up to an estimated cost of $264,000. The Association volunteered to split the cost with the school board if money was needed.
Later it was discovered the requested changes would result in structural changes, which caused the total to rise to $344,000.
Delaney told the Association that in the meantime, because of the recession, the $2.5 million expected from the state to be used for construction has been delayed. She said she does not know when or if it will arrive, so some of the plans have changed.
The school board has decided to reduce the cost of the school by delaying funding for items that it can live without and using the money for needed items, for instance playground equipment.
“We are funding playground equipment instead of electrical fixtures,” she said adding that the wiring could be finished now and the fixtures added at a later date.
“The fixtures cost $37,000,” Delaney said. “We simply can’t afford it. It’s playground equipment vs. fixtures.”
It will take the same tact with items that can be worked around and added at a later date.
“Things we can’t go back and do later without consequences,” she said.
She said if the $2.5 million had come in from the state, they would be “having a much different conversation.”
Funds are expected in the future from both the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation and the Concert Committee, she said.
Association President Bill Beckman said when they offered to pay for half of the changes, the board was under the impression that there would be some kind of vehicle to raise funds from the community to offset the cost.
Association Director Tom Lang said he thought it would also be a good idea to do some fundraising to offset the cost.
“Whether it would have a big impact or a small impact, it would be some impact,” he said.
The Association confirmed it would pay for half of the original $264,000 and asked that if the state money does come through, could the school board pay them back the money.
Delaney said she would take the question to the board of education.
Despite the money issues, construction is on schedule even with all the recent rain.
“There are 16 rain days built in and we are on rain day 11,” Delaney said. “The rain could stop a little bit for me.”
She said she wanted to thank the Association for all the support it gives the schools on a regular basis and especially the outgoing members of the board, Bill Beckman, Kim Higgins and Tim Sullivan, whose terms will expire in June.