I’ve been dialing up school board members to ask if they are willing to pay more than $150,000 for a feasibility study on the costs of putting a middle or high school in the planned downtown library, as the city has requested.

San Diego Unified already pledged $20,000 toward such a study, but the city is asking them to pay more than 90 percent of the estimated cost of $167,730. (Check out the nice reporting that my coworker Rani Gupta has been doing on this.)

I first reached Katherine Nakamura, who said it was a closed session item that she needed to talk to the rest of the board about, and declined to comment further. I left messages for the rest of the board members and just heard back from John de Beck, who balked at the idea of ponying up more money for the study.

“Why should we pay the majority of the cost for the study?” de Beck said. He argued that because the school would take up only two of the nine floors in the library, San Diego Unified should only pay for a fraction of the study. He tossed out a number — 15 percent — which comes out to more than $25,000. “I’m not voting for increasing the amount.”

This might not be a good time to hit up San Diego Unified for cash: It now faces an estimated $33 million shortfall this year and a $63 million the next year. Of course, the city isn’t in great shape either.


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