By Eric Heinz
On Tuesday, a group of parents and concerned citizens, known as the newly formed Citizens for San Clemente Unified School District, hosted a meeting at the San Clemente Community Center regarding the schools within the city forming a new school district.
Talk about forming a San Clemente school district started in early August when the city provided citizens a road map of the necessary steps organizers would need to take under the California Education Code.
The meeting Tuesday centered on what parents would like to see from a new school district rather than what would need to be done. Many who attended said they would like to see more financial accountability, more accessibly mental and psychological health services for students, retention of quality teachers, better test scores and academic achievement, a smaller bureaucracy within a school district and other things they feel Capistrano Unified School District has not provided students.
A major talking point from City Councilman Tim Brown, who was in attendance, was the cost of deferred maintenance of CUSD facilities. It was mentioned during the August meeting as well as the Tuesday night meeting by Brown that the current district still has $800 million in deferred maintenance costs.
Another meeting is planned but has not yet been scheduled for the Citizens for SCUSD.
“We are really pleased with how the meeting turned out last night,” organizer Wendy Redlew Shrove said. “We were able to collect lots of good input from the community. Now that we know there is support in the community, our next step is to form a charitable organization and commission a feasibility study. We are looking for an attorney who will help us get underway.”
The roadmap provided by the city is available at www.san-clemente.org on the homepage under “School District Separation Information.”
The organizers will have to get a petition signed by at least 25 percent of the voters residing within the proposed district in order to move to the next step. Additionally, the cost to administer the petition could be as much as $50,000 to $70,000, according to city documents.