San Diego Unified school board member Scott Barnett will make a motion at Tuesday’s board meeting to sell the Mission Beach Center to the city of San Diego for $11 million and a $7.5 million “equity ownership” in the land, he announced in an email.

Barnett will ask the school board to accept $5.5 million from the city in each of the next two school years. He will ask the trustees to set the sales price of the land at $18,500,001, $1 more than the highest bid for the property at an auction last month. Barnett’s proposal, outlined in an email to district staff, doesn’t elaborate on what an “equity ownership” means, but it states:

“City and SDUSD work together with the community to determine short term and long term use of the property, which should include dedicated public uses and public revenue producing opportunities.”

Mayor Bob Filner recently expressed interest in buying the land, a former school site a block from the beach in Mission Beach. No details have so far surfaced about how the city might pay for the site, or what Filner wants to do with it.

The board is due to vote on the sale tonight. It must be approved by four of the five trustees.

The Mission Beach Center deal has already fallen apart once. Last year, the district held an auction for the site, where the winning bid was $16.5 million. But two trustees then voted against approving the sale and it fell through.

The surprise vote that time was Shelia Jackson, who has since left the board. Her replacement, Marne Foster, voted to approve auctioning the property off again.

There are three likely outcomes at this point:

The school board votes 4-1 Tuesday night to approve the sale to the developers for $18.5 million (with Barnett dissenting, obviously); Filner shows up at the meeting and makes a plea to the board to hold off on the sale until he can scrape the money together to buy the land for the city or Filner shows up with a set plan to pay for the land.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at or 619.550.5670.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.