It looks like at least one San Diego City Council member is inclined to take the next step in the downtown schoobrary project and one will have more questions when a City Council committee hears about the proposal next week.

I’m putting in calls to the council members because the San Diego Unified School District board is slated to vote Tuesday on whether to sign a nonbinding letter of intent with the city to pay $20 million of school bond money to lease two floors of the building for 40 years and make space for a charter high school.

The next day, the City Council’s Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations Committee is slated to take up the matter, which will likely go to the full council in July.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a member of the Rules Committee whose district includes downtown, supports the letter of intent with the school district and also wants an updated cost estimate of the building, said Faulconer’s spokesman, Tony Manolatos.

“He wants to take those two steps and find out where we’re at,” Manolatos said. He added that Faulconer wants to ensure the library won’t be a hit on the general fund, the city’s main account, which pays for public safety and operating libraries and parks.

Councilman Tony Young, another member of the Rules Committee, isn’t sure how he’ll vote. He wants more information on the project’s finances and to hear whether the school board thinks it’s a wise use of money to spend $20 million for a 300-student charter high school.

School trustees have said San Diego High School doesn’t have enough room for the students that live nearby, forcing many to travel long distances. But a charter school must admit all students who want to attend, even those living outside the district.

“It’s not even going to address the issue of high school kids downtown because it’s going to be a charter where people can come from all over,” Young said.

Councilman Carl DeMaio isn’t a member of the Rules Committee, but he’s been a vocal opponent of the project. I’ll post more from the other council members when I hear back.

RANI GUPTA

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