San Marcos school district voters will decide in May whether to authorize $76,980,000 in bonds to pay for new, renovated and expanded facilities. Trustees voted unanimously to put two measures on the ballot:
Renovations and additions
Prop 1 total: $58,580,000
Prop 2 total: $18.4 million
Grand total: $76,980,000
A swimming center at the high school was scrubbed from the proposals completely. It was originally recommended to the board as an $11.4 million natatorium then scaled down last week to a $4.4 million indoor, six-lane swimming pool. Superintendent Mark Eads told trustees he wants to work on finding different funding — “beg, borrow or steal” if necessary, he said — to pay for the full competition-sized facility instead of settling for a shrunken measure.
Trustees Lupe Costilla and John Crowley voiced reservations about the proposals and their relative fast-track to the ballot but ultimately voted in favor. Both had their favored projects, however. Costilla said she strongly supports the proposed pre-K facility. Crowley not only spoke in favor of a new stadium but advocated its expansion beyond the 8,000 seats called for in current plans.
Trustee Judy Allen, meanwhile, wanted to move the student activity center — an indoor facility for athletics, band, drill team, ROTC and other extracurricular activities — to the second proposition. Her amendment failed 5-2 with trustee Paul Mayhew’s support after Eads and athletics director Mark Soto said they opposed packaging the activity center with the stadium.
Earlier in the meeting, Eads and board president Margie Villalpando caused a stir when they limited the public comment portion of the meeting to 30 minutes, preventing about a half-dozen residents from speaking. Eads urged them to speak instead at the next meeting.
Activist Lisa Marie Coppoletta loudly protested before storming out of the meeting, saying district administrators had made a mockery of the public input process. She said later in a comment on the San Marcos Mercury that administrators stacked the speaker list to give school bond proponents more time to address the board.
1:20 p.m. FEB. 26: When Coppoletta called the school district to sign up to speak at Monday’s board meeting, she told the superintendent’s secretary that she supported construction of a new administration building, Superintendent Mark Eads said. She consequently was marked down as a pro-bond speaker, he said. All opponents of the bond package were allowed to speak at the meeting; the six people who did not speak before time expired were listed as favoring the bond proposals.
CORRECTION: The total for Prop 2 is $18.4 million, not $19.3 million.