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LOS ALAMITOS : Plan to Sell, Lease Schools to Be Studied

May 15, 1993|BERT ELJERA

A citizen panel will be created to look into a proposal by the Los Alamitos Unified School District to sell or lease district properties to generate income.

This week's unanimous action by the Board of Trustees drew cheers from members of a community group opposed to the sale or long-term lease of Oak Middle School, one of four properties identified for possible sale or lease.

"We are pleased in the direction the board has taken," said Brenda Gorman, founder of Save Oak School, which has submitted more than 4,000 signatures in a petition drive opposing the district's plans.

In announcing the creation of the so-called strategic planning group Monday, School Board President Keith Polakoff said the district needs to reassess how it will address the critical issues facing it now and in the next 10 years. He said the panel will re-examine the district's so-called mission statement, its beliefs and goals and how to achieve them. In addition, the panel will look at the district's budgets, its financial resources and assets, and how best to utilize these.

Polakoff said the panel, described as a strategic planning task force, will involve students, staff, parents, business and community leaders. He did not say how or when the members will be selected, though the board expects the panel to be formed by September.

"We hope the panel will complete its work by December," Polakoff said.

Polakoff said the board has decided to postpone a decision on property disposal until the panel completes its work.

District officials planned to select the property to sell or lease by June 28 so the money could be used to reduce a shortfall of about $1.9 million in the $31.7-million 1993-94 school budget, according to district Business Manager Ronald Murrey.

Aside from Oak Middle School, district properties being considered for sale or lease are the Weaver Elementary School site, Los Alamitos Elementary School/Laurel Park site and the district office/Laurel High School site. Only one site would be sold or leased, district officials say.

Opponents of the district's plan say it is unwise to sell those properties because the district may need them in the future as enrollment increases.

In the last seven years, the district has sold two school sites and one other district property.

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