A citizen committee overseeing the San Diego Unified School District’s facilities bond is scheduled to hear Thursday about a proposal to place a charter high school on two floors of the long-delayed downtown library.

No details of the plan have been released, but the backup materials for the committee meeting include a letter from district Assistant General Counsel Sandra T.M. Chong to bond overseer Stu Markey saying the project is a “permissible use” of money from the district’s $2.1 billion school facilities bond.

According to Chong’s letter, the bond authorization states that the money can be used for “the acquisition or lease of real property for school facilities,” and that joint uses with other government agencies are allowed.

The letter says the board would need three of its five members to vote to lease land from the city. The measure would not trigger a supermajority vote, Chong wrote, because the district “does not own the real property.”

The idea of placing a school in the planned main library surfaced late last year after boosters struggled to raise enough private donations to start construction ahead of a deadline to keep a state grant. The state agreed to push back the deadline to allow the city and school district to study the plan to use up to $20 million of school bond proceeds for the library.

That $20 million in bond money had been allocated for a downtown school, presumably an elementary school. However the talk switched to a high school because elementary schools aren’t allowed on the upper floors of a building. But faced with steep cost increases from the school’s inclusion, city and school officials began discussing a charter school, which doesn’t have the same building requirements as traditional public schools.

The bond oversight committee meets at 4 p.m. Thursday at the district headquarters, 4100 Normal St. A district spokesman told the Union-Tribune that the full school board was expected to consider the issue Tuesday.

The City Council discussed the matter in closed session on Monday, but no public vote has yet been scheduled. The city faces a July 1 deadline to keep the $20 million state grant for the library.

(Thanks to schools guru Emily Alpert for the information.)

Correction: The original version of this post said the letter was written by bond overseer Stu Markey. The letter was written from Chong to Markey. We regret the error


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