The City Council voted this week to notify the Redondo Beach elementary school district that the city is interested in leasing the land around the former Andrews Elementary School for recreational use.
The unanimous vote followed a stern warning from outgoing Councilman Jerry Goddard, a high school teacher, that the city would be "raiding" the educational assets of the district if it did not pay fair market value for the lease. Goddard said state legislation that enables cities to lease or buy surplus school sites at less than fair market value deprives school districts of much needed revenue.
Mayor Barbara Doerr disputed Goddard's claim, arguing that Redondo Beach taxpayers paid for the school and the land around it and that the taxpayers would benefit if the city leased the property. "I don't think anyone on this council wants to raid the school system," she said. "I look at it as a way of preserving it for a future school use."
Doerr suggested that the council place the issue before the voters, but the council did not agree.
The city hopes to lease about 2.5 acres at the former elementary school for a soccer field and other recreational uses.