The Torrance Unified School District Board of Education, beset by financial troubles, decided this week to sell two surplus school sites for a combined minimum price of $12.5 million.
Bids on the properties--Grace Wright and Meadow Park--will be opened in mid-February, about the time board members take up a preliminary budget for next year.
"The money will certainly come in handy," said Paul W. Mackey, the district's administrator for special services, noting that the district has been girding for some tough decisions on how to make ends meet in the 1987-88 school year.
Restrictions on Proceeds
Under state law, principal from the sale of school property can be spent on capital improvements or invested and the interest used for general fund purposes.
Before deciding on an outright sale at a board meeting Tuesday night, board members also considered proposals for long-term leases or a joint venture with developers.
But reluctance to get the district into the land management business, along with the prospect of getting an immediate return from the properties, led to the decision to sell.
Mackey said sale of the two properties also will release the district from paying penalties to the state for not disposing of the surplus land sooner. He said the state assesses "non-use fees" on the theory that closed schools should be placed on the tax rolls if they are not used for their original purpose for more than five years.
Actually, Mackey said, the Wright and Meadow Park schools have been used for adult education, but that does not exempt them from the fees. As a result, an $11,000 penalty was assessed against those two schools and the closed Levy and Hamilton elementary schools, which are also used for adult education, he said.
Mackey said adult classes at Wright and Meadow Park are being shifted to the Jefferson and Newton campuses, which were closed last July in the district's continuing effort to bring its facilities in line with declining enrollment.
The district's minimum price for Meadow Park, a 9.5-acre campus at 3860 230th St., is $6 million. It closed in 1973. The Wright school, which shut down in 1979, has 7.3 acres at 3915 Spencer St. and the district expects to get at least $6.5 million for it.