Measure I: Balboa Park Lease to San Diego High

Oct 19, 2016 (San Diego) This measure will extend the ability of San Diego High to keep using the park land it has used since the 1880s. It would change the city charter allowing for this lease. It is very specific, and does not allow the use of this land for charter schools or private schools. This is very specific to a public school.

This is from the City Attorney, and offers useful background:

In the 1880s, a school began operating in Balboa Park. Over time, that school became San Diego High School. In 1974, the San Diego Unified School District and the City settled a lawsuit between them concerning San Diego High School. As a result of this settlement, the City leased the property where San Diego High School is located to the San Diego Unified School District for fifty years. The school use in Balboa Park was allowed to continue during the lease. The lease will expire in 2024.

The measure has widespread support from city elected leaders, as well as two state level leaders. The list is as follows:

  • David Alvarez, City Councilmember
  • Mayor Kevin Faulconer
  • William A. Kowba, Chairman, Veterans Village of San Diego Board of Directors
  • Gabriela Contreras-Misirlioglu, President, San Diego High School PTSA
  • Livia Boarak, President, League of Conservation Voters — San Diego
  • Rep. Toni Atkins
  • Sen. Joel Anderson
  • Councilmember Todd Gloria
  • Councilmember Scott Sherman
  • San Diego Unified School Board & Superintendent Cindy Marten
  • Scott Barnett, President
  • 7000 San Diego Teachers – SDEA
  • San Diego-Imperial Labor Council
  • San Diego High School ASB, Alumni Association & Foundation

They argue that this measure will save the school, which is the oldest public school in the city. They also argue that a no vote would displace over 2,000 students. Replacing the school might also mean the condemnation of nearby housing.

The opponents are as follows:

  • Bruce D. Coons, Executive Director, Save Our Heritage Organization
  • David E. Lundin, President, Balboa Park Heritage Association
  • Herald Valderhaug, retired Assistant Chief City Attorney

They argue that:
“In 1974, competing claims to 34 acres of dedicated Balboa Park Lands were resolved. A Lease and Court Order permitted the District to remain for 50 years, paying a $200 annual rent. Most importantly the District agreed to vacate Park Lands in 2024, restoring them to park use. The District promised to acquire a non-Park site and build a new campus. In 42 years, the District has breached that obligation, doing nothing to create a new campus.”

It also argues that it will permanently take away 34 acres from the parkland, and initiate a rush from non profits and for profits companies to gobble up the land.

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