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Facilities Foundation president: No reason to dissolve group

Posted: June 13, 2013 5:56 p.m.
Updated: June 13, 2013 5:56 p.m.

Almost a month after the Hart district board voted to effectively shutter the foundation charged with managing the district’s land holdings, the foundation’s president says he believes the organization has yet to live out its useful life.

Board members of the William S. Hart Union High School District voted 3-1 in May to ask the Santa Clarita Valley Facilities Foundation to transfer all of its assets to the district, a move that would likely result in the dissolution of the foundation entirely, according to district officials.

Rick Patterson, the president of the foundation’s board of directors, said Wednesday he does not believe the facility should be dissolved at this point.

“We believe that the foundation has served an incredibly beneficial purpose for the school district and that, in some format, it should remain to be available for future opportunities and future projects that would be able to benefit the school district,” Patterson said.

Since the foundation is a private entity, any decision on asset transfer or eventual dissolution would have to be initiated by the foundation’s board of directors.

Hart district officials have previously told The Signal that the useful life of the facility has ended, saying there is no need for additional school facilities aside from Castaic High School, which is under construction.

Hart district board President Joe Messina reiterated that point Thursday.

“That’s still my thinking,” he said.

Messina said board members from the foundation and the district were supposed to meet recently, but had to cancel.

Because the two bodies have yet to meet, Messina said, he did not know if there would be any resistance to the Hart district’s request to withdraw all assets from the foundation.

“My thought process is, because they have said so many times in the past they take action based on the district, this is a slam dunk,” Messina said. “Or at least it should be.”

Created in 1998, the Facilities Foundation is a private, nonprofit public benefit corporation designed to help the Hart district locate, acquire and develop land for future school sites, according to Patterson.

Messina previously told The Signal the foundation could always be reformed in the future should the need arise.
But Patterson, citing difficulties with receiving approval for nonprofit status, said the foundation should remain open.

“I think anybody that’s involved applying and qualifying for nonprofit status carefully consider the difficulty and the expense of forming a new entity in the future,” Patterson said.

Part of the board’s May vote was to transfer two land parcels — 22 acres near Sierra Highway and Golden Valley Road and 70 acres near the intersection of Hasley Canyon and Sloan Canyon roads in Castaic — from the foundation to the district.

Since the district does not pay property taxes, such a transfer would save approximately $50,000 in levies against the land, according to the district.
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