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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | LAGUNA BEACH

Newport-Mesa Transfers to Be Discussed Today

April 30, 1998|LIZ SEYMOUR

School district officials are unable to agree--so far--to a boundary transfer with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District on property along the Newport Coast, reviving plans to enroll as many as 342 students from planned development there.

"The boundary transfer is far from negotiated at this point," said Steven Rabago, a trustee of the Laguna Beach Unified School District. "We are waiting to hear more substantial proposals from the city, from [the developer], the Irvine Co., and from Newport-Mesa."

Another closed-door meeting between representatives of the two school districts and Irvine Co. officials will be held today. If an agreement isn't hammered out before June 1, Rabago said, the Laguna school board would accept the developer's $6.6-million offer and increase student enrollment.

Doing so would anger many parents who have packed school board meetings in recent months to oppose enrollment expansion plans. They said the district's aging, overcrowded schools cannot handle more students.

But an architect and a financial consultant hired by the district recommended the offer, contending the $6.6 million would offset the cost of adding more students and provide more revenue to refurbish schools.

In January, members of the Laguna Beach City Council also offered financial help to the schools if the school board rejected the Irvine Co.'s offer. But Mayor Steve Dicterow said Wednesday that city assistance would only amount to about $100,000 to $200,000 a year.

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