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San Diego Unified is poised to sign an agreement to put $20 million in funds from Proposition S, its $2.1 billion facilities bond, towards a 40-year lease for a charter school on two floors of the long-planned downtown library.

The agreement states that the money would be paid to the city in installments as the building is being built, and would consume the $20 million that bond proponents had originally said would be earmarked for a downtown school — a plan that parents in the area had originally believed would pan out as an elementary school.

The agreement, up for a vote by the school board on June 23, is not the lease itself but rather a non-binding “letter of intent” that could form the basis for a lease. The board agreed to pursue a $20 million lease on the property in a closed meeting on June 9, according to the documents posted with the agenda item. San Diego Unified would have the option of buying the building at the end of each decade of the lease. The plan relies on a legal opinion that my coworker Rani Gupta blogged about earlier today.

The proposal is being presented to the oversight committee for Proposition S tomorrow and would be a key step in getting the downtown library built after years of fundraising struggles, cost increases and, most recently, efforts to get the school district to help pick up the tab. Check back for more details soon.

EMILY ALPERT

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