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It looks like a majority of the school board is not excited about spending more to study the downtown schoobrary: School board member Richard Barrera just told me that he “cannot support” shelling out the $150,000, as the city has requested.

He said he is excited about the idea of putting another high school in the southern stretches of San Diego Unified so that fewer students are bused northward, and thinks a small high school could prevent students from dropping out. But Barrera was flatly opposed to paying more than the $20,000 the school board already approved to explore the schoobrary idea.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that the people who are trying to raise $200 million for this facility would have the whole project end because they cannot come up with $150,000 for an analysis,” Barrera said.

His comments echoed those of school board members John Lee Evans and John de Beck, who both told me they couldn’t stomach the expense. That adds up to three out of five school board members, which means unless someone changes their mind, the city isn’t getting San Diego Unified to pay most of the study expense.

As for the remaining two members of the school board, Katherine Nakamura declined to comment because the schoobrary was discussed in closed session and I still haven’t heard back from Shelia Jackson.

The city of San Diego has long planned to build a new downtown library but boosters have struggled to raise private money to bridge the project’s cost gap. The idea of adding a small school into the library — and use $20 million in school district money — surfaced in December as a way to get the library built.

Mayoral spokeswoman Rachel Laing said the city’s request that the school board pay all but $13,970 of the $167,730 feasibility study didn’t represent a “take it or leave it” offer and that the city was willing to consider a counteroffer.

EMILY ALPERT

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