Start of school brings hurdles

RANCHO SANTA FE — With the new school year just around the corner, the school board met Aug. 20 to discuss some of the challenges that lie ahead.
With the school grounds in total disarray due to the renovation, it was not an easy task.
Superintendent Lindy Delaney and school board members donned hard hats to tour the grounds where construction for the new R. Roger Rowe School has started.
Project Manager Tim Ireland led the team around the grounds, dodging cranes, trucks and other heavy equipment being operated.
Afterward, the board assembled in a temporary office cluttered with moving boxes; a table was set up, but chairs were hard to find. Considering these difficult conditions, both the board and Delaney seemed to be cool, calm and collected as Ireland continued his update.
“Our focus is Sept. 3,” Ireland said. “Getting ready for the new school year.” According to Ireland, there are challenges ahead to make sure the grounds are ready for the temporary housing for the students and to have a driveway for drop-off ready. “But, basically, we’re on schedule.”
Delaney assured the board members that all programs for the next school year are in place and gave an update on new teachers hired. Challenges lie ahead in the budget of the school year, as the state budget was reduced by $184,000. Despite the cutbacks, Delaney has been able to work with money from the Rancho Santa Fe Education Foundation and federal stimulus money to make ends meet. “We’re on target,” she assured the board. “We’re in good shape.”
There are 715 students enrolled this year compared to 757 last year, which reduces budget requirements slightly, Delaney said. Concerns for the future include increasing the budget for maintenance. “We’ll have to build that up in years to come,” Delaney said. “We will need a groundskeeper for the new school.” Monies have also been set aside to tent the gymnasium for termites at Thanksgiving time.
Tim and Catherine Fox and Susan Marr also attended the meeting. All are neighbors owning property next to the school’s newly acquired Dacus property and have concerns over its development and the impact it has concerning their residences.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 3, which is also the first day of the new school year.

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