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School district to raise $6.5M

Posted: June 24, 2008 1:27 a.m.
Updated: August 25, 2008 5:02 a.m.

• Castaic Mello-Roos properties to provide income, but that doesn't guarantee new high school will be built

The Hart district expects to pull in $6.5 million from property in Castaic, but that money won't necessarily go toward the community's much-needed high school.

Following a lengthy legal process which included public hearings and an election, the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board has created a Community Facilities District that encompasses the Los Valles neighborhood in Castaic's Hasley Hills area. Developer Dan Palmer is planning to bring a golf course to the community and sell large custom lots.

Since the lots have not yet been sold, it may take a while for the money to make it into district coffers.

"We're in the early stage of this, and it will take a while to get everything together to sell those bonds," said Sue Guthrie, chief financial officer for Hart district.

The district will need to assemble a team to administer the process, according to Hart district Chief Operations Officer Rob Gapper.

The Community Facilities District Act, also known as the Mello-Roos Act, was enacted in 1982 and allows local government agencies to form Community Facilities Districts as a means of obtaining community funding. The facilities district seeks financing through the sale of bonds for the purpose of financing certain public improvements, including schools.

Gapper said the money would be used for school construction to meet the needs of the growing number of students in the Hart district.

"It's possible that it could be used for the modernization projects, but I don't think it's going to arrive in time," Gapper said. "It could go to a high school in Castaic, or it could go to those schools that are currently housing the Castaic students. It could go anywhere in the district.

"We have to put together a team to determine when we would issue the bonds, and we haven't done any of that yet," Gapper said. "We would probably wait until some of those lots are sold to issue bonds, and that might take a while in this market."

With the recent budget cuts the district has been forced to make, the money will be welcomed, he said.

"It's actually coming at a very good time - we're just not sure when we're going to get it or how much it's going to be," he said.


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