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BUSD to consider land exchange at Feb. 15 meeting

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Part of the land where the planned Citro development is located is in the K-12 Bonsall Unified School District while part of the land is within the boundaries of the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District and the Fallbrook Union High School District. The three districts are working together to modify the boundaries, which would place various neighborhoods in the same district, and the Feb. 15 BUSD meeting is expected to include BUSD board approval of the territory exchange.

The Jan. 18 BUSD board meeting included three agenda items pertaining to the transfer: a voting item passed on a 4-0 vote with Pascal Lapoirie absent and two informational items. The voting item involves a contract time extension and additional payment for the reimbursement to the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District for the study to assess the impact on the three districts. The presentation of the report was one of the informational items.

The other informational item was a first reading of the resolution consenting to a territory transfer and a resolution authorizing BUSD superintendent Joseph Clevenger to submit a petition for a reorganization to the County Office of Education, and the second reading and approval is a planned action item for the Feb. 15 board meeting.

“The goal of all this is to make sure there are lines drawn that are good for families and good for kids,” Clevenger said.

Tri Pointe Homes is the parent company of Pardee Homes and Citro was the Meadowood project in January 2012 when the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the 384-acre Meadowood development. The residential component is now expected to consist of 473 single-family and 352 multi-family homes.

The map also includes 13 acres for an elementary school which will be built by the Bonsall Unified School District; the school district and Tri Pointe Homes are in negotiations for the acquisition of that land, and the specific location is still a closed session matter for the school board.

“School district boundary lines were drawn a long time ago and that region had nothing but open space when it was drawn,” Clevenger said.

The three school districts expect Citro’s final phase units to be built and occupied by December 2030. The current district boundaries create streets, lots, housing types, and cul-de-sacs where students and families living next door to or across the street from each other would be in different school districts.

“It’s basically impacting all three of the districts,” Clevenger said.

In April 2022, the three districts commenced a study to address the boundaries, and that study also assessed the feasibility of changing the district boundaries to allow for a more logical divide of the community. The study also considered the fiscal impact of the new boundaries so that the exchange of parcels would be revenue-neutral for each district.

The three districts commissioned Zonda Advisory, which is based in Newport Beach, to perform the study. Zonda Advisory evaluated enrollment projections and provided the districts with various scenarios to equalize the fiscal impacts and allow for efficient transportation routes. The initial contract was for $15,000 with the Bonsall district funding half.

The complexity of the analysis, the number of required meetings, the request for additional scenarios, and the additional time required to prepare the scenarios resulted in additional time and expense incurred by Zonda Advisory. The cost overrun was $9,600. Zonda Advisory agreed to split the overrun amount equally with the school districts, and the Jan. 18 BUSD action approved the additional $2,400 for Bonsall’s share of the $4,800 to bring the total Bonsall funding to $9,900. The contract expiration date was changed from July 29, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

The three districts chose an option in which all public school students living in the Zutano neighborhoods will attend Fallbrook Union Elementary School District or Fallbrook Union High School District schools and all students living in the Meyer neighborhoods will attend a Bonsall district school. The boundary lines will also be adjusted so that students living on the same street within the Citro development will go to the same district.

The January informational item status on the territorial transfer allowed all three school district boards to ask questions. The input will be incorporated into the action item votes expected in February.


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