Facing steep budget cuts, the Lucia Mar Unified School District could consider selling off some of its surplus property.
A property advisory committee will be formed to determine whether any of the South County district’s vacant property could be deemed surplus. It is too soon to tell whether a sale could take place in time to help the district in the upcoming fiscal year.
The South County district faces a minimum $3.5 million budget cut in the 2011-12 year if temporary taxes, including sales tax and vehicle license fees, are not extended and expire at the end of June. District administrators also have to contend with declining enrollment and the end of some federal stimulus money.
Future projections show the district must also cut $1.1 million to meet a 3 percent reserve requirement in the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to Janice Smith, the district’s interim assistant superintendent of business.
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A special provision in the education code, which ends Jan. 1, 2012, allows school districts more flexibility to use money from the sale of property toward general funds.
“It’s a fairly complicated process to sell school property, and it’s a little difficult to be dealing with this on a tight timeline,” Smith said. “It’s certainly possible, but things are going to have to move along pretty smoothly for that to happen.”
The committee will consist of seven to 11 members from different South County communities who will soon be selected by Superintendent Jim Hogeboom. Committee members will study only vacant property; the school board did not give direction for the committee to look at other issues.
“I don’t want to get involved with boundaries right now. I think we have enough on our plates,” board President Colleen Martin said during a school board meeting Tuesday.
The last time the school board discussed selling property was in 2005, when a committee advised board members to sell 1.03-acres at 227 Bridge St. in Arroyo Grande and a piece of property near Bello Street and Price Canyon Road in Pismo Beach.
Neither parcel was sold; the Arroyo Grande property has since been remodeled to house student services, said Kevin Baker, director of the maintenance and facilities department.
The areas the new committee will look at include a 10-acre parcel behind Arroyo Grande High School, about 20 acres at Willow and Via Concha roads in Nipomo, and a 17-acre parcel at 500 Hidden Oaks Road in Arroyo Grande. There are also a few properties in Pismo Beach, including two parcels at Price Canyon Road and Bello Street (one of which is designated open space; the designation of the other was not immediately known).
The education code requires a committee to be formed before the school board can sell, lease, rent or dispose of surplus property. The committee will give its recommendations to Hogeboom, who will then present his recommendations to the board. If the board decides to move forward with a sale, it first has to be offered to public agencies.
Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929. Stay updated by following @SouthCountyBeat on Twitter.