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Here is a point that might have gotten lost amid all the talk of a schoobrary that would put a middle or high school on the top floors of the library:

While there has been a longstanding push for a downtown school, the push has been for an elementary or a K-8 school to serve young children in the area, not for a high school.

The worry has been that a booming crop of preschoolers could spell overcrowding at Washington Elementary, the sole district-run elementary school downtown, or discourage people from sending their children to a nearby public school at all. School board members Shelia Jackson and John de Beck said last week that they were initially interested in the library as a potential elementary school. Downtown already hosts the San Diego High School complex and the Garfield alternative high school that partners with City College, in addition to Cortez Hill Academy, a charter high school.

So why are we talking about a middle or high school in the library? Because you cannot put an elementary school there.

California law requires that elementary students be housed on the first two floors of a building, and the schoobrary would locate kids on two higher floors in the nine-story library. Superintendent Terry Grier said that Washington Elementary and nearby Sherman Elementary could expand to fit the elementary need. De Beck hinted that the library school could be another “middle college” where high schoolers take secondary and community college classes at the same time.

(Kudos to Rani Gupta, our new political reporter, for providing the details on this project and some of the info for this post.)

EMILY ALPERT

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