Board Meeting Agenda:

Board Meeting Audio at 48:00:


at 48:02

Kim Sprague - Ladera Ranch Resident Mother of 10th at Tesoro, 8th and 5th grader. She was told Ladera was zoned for Tesoro (why her son is there) and that the Ranch would be zoned for San Juan Hills. Because of the contaminants at SJH and because her son is a cancer survivor SJH is not an option for her and she would like to have her 8th grader at the same school as her son. We received a text stating that Tesoro is closed. We have paid Mello Roos for 16 years. The suggestion from CUSD was to send all of my kids to Capo Valley High School. Not an option - why would she want to move her son who is doing well. Why are the Ranch kids getting priority over a Mello Roos tax payer that has paid for 16 years? 

at 51:02

Dawn Urbanek - Feel that the Cities and the District need to work together. The Cities found out about the $889 million dollar bond from me- not from CUSD in ad hoc meetings. Now the Cities will find out about this which effects children and their families permanently. You need to get on the same page as your cities and come up with a solution that benefits everyone. Treating the Ranch special by giving them priority at Tesoro - displacing Ladera Mello Roos families and displacing Talega Mello Roos families is not fair or right. Work with the Cities and find viable solutions.

at 52:07

Diana Eubanks- 16 year resident of Ladera Ranch and Ladera Ranch PTA President. First time ever coming to a Board meeting. This is my second go around with School of Choice my daughter had to decide between Tesoro and San Juan Hills. The boundary splits Ladera in half so while kids are all together in middle school they are split apart for high school. Her daughter is currently a junior at Tesoro and was denied entrance to San Juan Hills because of a change in priorities and now my twin boys are being denied entrance into Tesoro. This is so frustrating. Not only is her community being divided, her family is being divided. She is being forced to have one child at Tesoro and her twins at San Juan Hills. Boundaries need to be changed. She found out about Tesoro being closed while she was at the Tesoro 8th grade incoming student meeting through a text.


at 55:20

Gila Jones- My understanding is that we are bringing in a large number of portables for next year and we are building a new 24 classroom building which will be open for the following year and the old portables will be gone.

John Forney - the portables are for temporary housing so that the new building can be built where the existing portables are. When the building is built- all the portables go away. The new building is going where the existing portables are.

Gila Jones - taking out 20 old portables and bringing in 16 for 2017-18. Then the new building which has 24 classrooms will be open for 2018-19. 

at 57:50

Trustee Reardon - so to clarify: 

current portables - 20 classrooms

2017-18 - 16 classrooms (loss of 4)

2018-19 - 24 classrooms (net gain of 4 over current capacity)

at 58:04 Trustee McNicholas - so is Tesoro closed for the up-coming year because of the loss of 4 portables for one year?

at 58:09 Staff - Susan Holiday - Tesoro is at or exceeding capacity all ready. 

at 58:18 Trustee Reardon - We have had discussions of the expanding growth at the Ranch and discussions regarding expanding capacity at San Clemente and San Juan Hills, but we never discussed expanding Tesoro. We are stepping back from flexibility on enrollment. 

at 59:19 Superintendent Vital - Flexibility depends on what happens with Sendero - what school Sendero chooses will tell us what flexibility we have. We need two or three years of trend data. We know 800 children will come out of the Ranch at full build out , but we do not know when. Net capacity at Tesoro is small - large at San Juan Hills and at San Clemente 2- 4 classrooms. We are dependent on enrollment at San Juan Hills to see what capacity we have at Tesoro.

at 61:14 CUSD Policy is NOT to accept School of Choice Applications for closed schools so we won't know- catch 22- we should be saying submit your application so we can see numbers and space at grade level.

at 62:50 Superintendent Vital - We can take applications but it cannot be viewed as a promise to be accepted.

at 63:46 Trustee Matha McNicholas - I was under the mis-impression that the three new buildings were to increase capacity at all three high schools when it is only San Juan Hills that is getting increased capacity. Is there any way to put 4 more portables at Tesoro so that we don't loose capacity?

at 64:30 Staff - the portables at Tesoro are in very poor shape. The goal was to get rid of portables. Plus we loose parking when we add more portables.

at 65:05 Trustee Martha Mc Nicholas - I am willing to loose parking rather than capacity.

at 65:21 Trustee Reardon - 3 years ago San Juan Hills was closed and we forced Ladera residents to go to Tesoro - now we are saying Tesoro is closed and we are forcing Ladera residents to go to San Juan Hills. We need to test the depth of the demand.

at 67:10 Trustee Hanacek -  Keeping families together is important.

at 67:48 Trustee McNicholas - I would like to look at some additional portables at Tesoro for one year.

at 67:58 Trustee Jones- It is really tight at Tesoro. When those portables were put in 14 years ago they were already used and old and they smell. 

at 68:34 Superintendent Vital - Here is what I understand from the Board:

1) We will take applications for Tesoro with the understanding that there is no promise Ladera Ranch students will get in.

2) The Value is to keep families together.

3) If we can increase capacity we will.

at 69:14 Trustee Reardon - It is our Goal to keep member of A family together. Not all families together. We cannot do neighborhoods.

at 69:42 Trustee McNicholas - Just a Reminder- CUSD tried to boundary Talega for San Juan Hills and we were sued.

at 69:56 Trustee Reardon- that was before La Plata was complete and families had to drive a long distance to get there through very difficult traffic. La Pata is open - that is a major change. We have to address boundaries, and we should address boundaries piece by pice . We must deal with boundaries especially in Area II of the Ranch.

at 71:30 Superintendent Vital - We are going to have a discussion about boundaries. We are doing an analysis regarding the opening of Escencia school.

at 72:00 Trustee McNicholas -  

at 72:16 Trustee Jones - Staff is going to eliminate the language "subject to proportionality" and then in the second paragraph I want to remove "for school of choice"

"Priority Criteria

If a student has continuously attended their School of Residence and moves anytime during the year, the student may apply to stay at the current school until he/she matriculates to the next level. unless the school is significantly impacted and the student is displacing a student living in that boundary."

at 73:18 Trustee Mc Nicholas - Does that mean a student can apply anytime during the year.

at 73:31 Trustee Reardon - Why are removing subject to proportionality?

at 74:12 Staff Clark Hampton - because code defines Mello Roos Seats.

Government Code Section 53312.17 defines Mello Roos seats

Our goal is to conform to the law.

at 74:50 Trustee McNicholas - Title I priority is no longer required?

at 75:10 Staff Susan Holiday - Giving Priority to Title I school improvement students is no longer a requirement - it is an option under ESSA.

Observation by Dawn Urbanek after listening to the Board Audio:

1) Staff - unilaterally, without the Board understanding what had been approved, made the decision to spend $45 million dollars to essentially replace "old - smelly portables" while allowing the Board to think the intent was to increase capacity at three high schools. Clearly the Board, from this discussion did not understand what staff was actually doing.

2) I was struck by Trustee Jones admission that students at Tesoro have been allowed to remain in "used, old, smelly portables" for 14 years while she has voted for over $120 million in compensation increases for staff the past 4 years.

3) The reality of Priorities:

The school of choice language gives Priority as follows:

1) The children of all CUSD employees have priority over everyone even though those families may not even reside in CUSD boundaries.

2) Ranch students have priority at Tesoro over Mello Roos Taxpayers in Ladera or it would have been made clear that those Mello Roos taxpayers wishing to go to Tesoro would be seated first, and the Ranch students would be seated next as space is available per the EIR which states that Ranch students are to goo to the closest school which would be San Juan Hills High School rather than Tesoro.

Staff's School of Choice Policy does not align with the Law, Government Code Section 53312.17 which would allow both Ladera Ranch Mello Roos taxpayers to have a choice to attend either Tesoro or San Juan Hills, and Talega Taxpayers to have a choice of San Clemente High or San Juan Hills. Unfortunately it is staff's intention to force Mello Roos residents into a law suit to enforce the law if the number of seats remaining at Tesoro or San Juan are insufficient for Mello Roos students.

4) The public should make every effort to find out why it is so important for CUSD to replace these old portables "immediately" when the current plan actually reduces capacity at Tesoro. 

5) I find it absolutely incredible that Staff is concerned about impaction at Tesoro when the Board has allowed capacity at San Clement to remain 900 students above capacity since 2004 and has done nothing to reduce the gross overcrowding at San Clemente High.

CUSD has changed this policy from the Policy presented at the December 14, 2017 Board of Trustees meeting agenda Item #31 

Board Agenda: page 548

Board Audio at 25:43

Learn More

In the January 25, 2017 Board Agenda Item #19, CUSD makes no mention of priority for students in Mello Roos areas who by law have priority.


ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [53311 - 53317.5]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1451, Sec. 1. )

53312.7.  (a) On and after January 1, 1994, a local agency may initiate proceedings to establish a district pursuant to this chapter only if it has first considered and adopted local goals and policies concerning the use of this chapter. The policies shall include at least the following:
(1) A statement of the priority that various kinds of public facilities and services shall have for financing through the use of this chapter, including public facilities to be owned and operated by other public agencies, including school districts, and services to be provided by other public agencies.
(2) A statement concerning the credit quality to be required of bond issues, including criteria to be used in evaluating the credit quality.
(3) A statement concerning steps to be taken to ensure that prospective property purchasers are fully informed about their taxpaying obligations imposed under this chapter.
(4) A statement concerning criteria for evaluating the equity of tax allocation formulas, and concerning desirable and maximum amounts of special tax to be levied against any parcel pursuant to this chapter.
(5) A statement of definitions, standards, and assumptions to be used in appraisals required by Section 53345.8.
(b) The goals and policies adopted by any school district pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include, but not be limited to, a priority access policy that gives priority attendance access to students residing in a community facilities district whose residents have paid special taxes that have, in whole or in part, financed the construction of school district facilities. The degree of priority shall reflect the proportion of each school’s financing provided through the community facilities district. In developing a priority access policy for residents of a community facilities district, a school district may incorporate a school district attendance policy including criteria for student assignment such as goals to achieve ethnic, racial, or socioeconomic diversity; federal, state, or court mandates; transportation needs, safe pedestrian routes; grade levels for which facilities were designed; and ensuring students continuity of schooling within any single school year.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 670, Sec. 54. Effective January 1, 2008.)



A Letter from Talega Residents for Fair Taxation Laura Ferguson and Debbie Flowers

CUSD has a dark history of lying. The Mello-Roos Act stipulates clearly what the district should be doing, but it chooses to ignore the law. Mello-Roos taxes from Community Facilities District areas (CFDs) generate special taxes paid by the homeowners that are earmarked for a special purpose, not a general fund.

The only reason for multiple readings of the district’s School of Choice policy is because CUSD wants to dictate where Talega kids attend high school and is attempting to deny their legal right for choice to attend schools that their Formation & Mitigation Agreements required them to fund facilities that would mitigate for their children’s impact on existing district facilities. The Agreement never said the district could take advantage of Mello-Roos taxpayers and force them to subsidize the expansion of facilities for neighboring communities beyond their impact. This represents unjust enrichment and economic discrimination. Remember a total of $20M in Mello-Roos was spent on each high school (San Juan Hills High School and San Clemente High School) above the basic taxes we all pay.

Talega Residents for Fair Taxation thought this School of Choice policy was concluded in early 2015 when members of our group addressed the board at that time. Then, the board had agreed on a district policy – in accordance with the Mello-Roos Act (Govt. Code Section 53312.7) –that gave Mello-Roos taxpayers priority attendance access because of their contribution of Mello-Roos taxes to the two high schools.  It appears they’ve changed their mind.

Again we see CUSD attempting to manipulate the law and disenfranchise Talega taxpayers. Currently, CUSD is using $10 Million in Talega surplus taxes (illegally over-collected from the taxpayers over several years despite declaring in 2006 that Talega had constructed all facilities required to mitigate for our kids in our Agreements) to expand classroom facilities at SJHHS and SCHS, and it wants to control attendance access to SJHHS because it never required the 14,000 unit planned RMV community to build a high school. Yet Talega only generates about 600 high school students who attend CUSD. If you think about it, that’s only about 20 classrooms (30 students per room x 20 rooms) yet at this very time we are helping fund the construction of 48 more classrooms at two high schools.

CUSD should revisit the Mello-Roos Act, specifically Govt. Code Sect. 53312.7 (b): “The goals and policies adopted by any school district pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include, but not be limited to, a priority access policy that gives priority attendance access to students residing in a community facilities district whose residents have paid special taxes that have, in whole or in part, financed the construction of school district facilities…”  

Don’t’ lose sight of the fact that Talega students make up less than 5% of the TOTAL population of CUSD. Talega taxpayers are paying twice for the same thing through the use of their Mello-Roos and ad valorem property taxes they pay that are allocated to CUSD. Mello-Roos taxpayers are subsidizing the refurbishment/renovation of schools and school related facilities in favor of taxpayers who live in non-Mello-Roos areas.