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School bond money coming up short so projects facing delays

Revenues from the sale of bonds from voter-approved Proposition S are running well below projections, prompting the Board of Education to shuffle project schedules, a San Diego Unified School District official said Tuesday.

Income from the bonds, combined with state grants, will be about $134 million less than expected over the next five fiscal years, said Stuart Markey, who is overseeing the bond measure passed in November 2008.

The bond issue is expected to bring in between $17 million and $19 million per year less than projected. In fiscal 2012-13, the bond issue could pull in about $44.6 million less than projected when it was sold to voters, according to Markey.

“Because of market conditions we couldn’t sell enough bonds,” interim Superintendent William Kowba said.

The district is using the money for refurbishing campuses; new construction, including a districtwide digital storage center at Serra High School; and a school at the planned central library downtown.

Several maintenance projects are already under way, Markey said.

Markey offered the board two options to make up for the shortfall.

The first would be to fund the library school as planned with $20 million of Proposition S funds, delay 90 projects a year and four others for two years.

The other option would be to apply $7 million from the Centre City Development Corp. to the library school, delay 80 projects a year and three more for two years.

The CCDC grants money to the district to help fund schools downtown.

Board member John Lee Evans proposed a study of pulling funding for the library school altogether, but he ended up withdrawing the idea when other trustees were taken aback.

“We’ve already made a commitment” board member Katherine Nakamura said.

The school board is scheduled to vote on what to do in two weeks.