Cardiff school project debate reaches Encinitas council

Supporters of the Cardiff School District’s plan to rebuild one of its two elementary school campuses appeared before the Encinitas City Council to state their cases Monday, April 17.

A Solana Beach resident spoke in opposition to the reconstruction of Cardiff Elementary School. He supported opponents who contend the project will illegally shrink the dimensions of a park on the school property.

In 2016, district voters approved Measure GG, which authorized a $22 million bond issue for reconstructing Cardiff Elementary and upgrading Ada Harris Elementary.

The plan for rebuilding Cardiff Elementary will result in a reduction in the size of George Berkich Park, which for years has functioned as a public space, but is on school district property.

Opponents of the project have filed a lawsuit contending that the project was approved without adequate environmental analysis. Opponents also say a previous agreement with a federal agency protects the park, despite the district’s ownership.

“The entire property is owned by the school district for a school,” said Michelle Lamoureux, one of three speakers supporting the project. “It’s not a park and never has been.”

Torgen Johnson,, the Solana Beach resident, said he regularly takes his children to play at Berkich Park and believes the district is making a mistake in destroying the school and going forward with the project.

The comments were made during the oral communications section of the council’s agenda, when the panel can only listen to statements and not discuss issues.

Under state law, the city has no jurisdiction over school district properties.