There has been a small but vocal group opposing the Cardiff District efforts at repairing and modernizing Cardiff Elementary School. Don’t be fooled. It is a small group that has used political influence, scare tactics, and misinformation to purportedly speak for a “majority.”
Let’s review the facts:
1) In 2016, a 66% majority of voters passed Measure GG, providing bond funding for the repair and modernization of the school.
2) A plan was decided upon with the input of the community, school district stakeholders, and leaders with children’s best interest in mind.
3) The plan is not in compliance with current OGALS boundary and grant requirements. Part of the field (approx. 16%) is repurposed for a new multipurpose room large enough to accommodate all of the students for performances and presentations.
This last point is what the vocal minority is focusing on, but the District has worked with OGALS and NPS to bring the project in compliance. With the support of the city it will be amended, and at a recent council meeting a subcommittee was formed to finally work with the District and OGALS/NPS.
The influence of these few people in opposition is strong. The Mayor of Encinitas refuses to publically take a position. It may be because her mother is leading the effort to stall the rebuild. City council member Jody Hubbard hasn’t taken a stand for the rebuild either, even though Cardiff School is within the area she represents.
Why would anyone oppose this modernization of Cardiff schools? It’s simple. If you look at those strongly blocking the rebuild, they are the few neighbors who may have their views partially blocked. It may also be because the opponents are averse to change of any type.
They have succeeded in forcing the project to be completed in two phases and will continue their efforts to block completion of the project. They are trying to confuse people by saying they are seeking to preserve park space. This is FALSE. It’s a school. It was and is not and never has been a park. There is a sign that names the field George Berkich Park. That is unfortunate because it leads the community to believe it is city owned property. It is not. It is owned by the school district. It is NOT a park. It has been used as public use space, but it is not legally a park. Even after the rebuild, most of the space that was available for public use will still be available.
As a voter, I am deeply disturbed that a small group is misleading the community and using personal ties to the city council to thwart progress. I hope the city council hears the voices of those in support, who are often busy with families, jobs to support their children, and the every day trials and tribulations of raising children. But don’t be fooled, they ARE in support of the rebuild. They trusted that their vote was enough. I hope that the city council stops the efforts of people blocking change and derailing a very reasonable rebuild plan. I hope they do this by working earnestly with the District to negotiate a resolution with NPS and doing everything they can to help the District complete the entire project in a timely fashion. This is about kids and fixing an out of date, deteriorating school building.
Mithu Sherin, Ph.D.
Cardiff resident and parent