Council majority agrees to joint use agreement with SPUSD for new park

March 29, 2017
Santa Paula News

With the Santa Paula Unified School District (SPUSD) hoping to construct a K-8 school instead of a K-6 campus in East Area 1, the City Council agreed — on a split vote — to a joint use agreement for four acres of parkland for limited SPUSD use. Councilman Martin Hernandez was the only hold out on the motion.

The council majority agreed to the plan at the March 20 meeting. 

The SPUSD has planned an elementary school at the new Harvest at Limoneira development but with the successful passage of its and a state bond, the decision was made to seek permission to construct an elementary and middle school combination campus.

But the 10.8 acres by the builder falls 4 acres short of the state guideline for land needed for the combination campus. 

According to the report by City Attorney John Cotti, the agreement  provides “a mechanism to schedule the District’s use of the Shared Park Property,” and that requires city and district staff to meet bi-annually and discuss the dates and times for the district’s use of the Shared Park Property; “discuss exclusive and compatible uses, shared uses, planning for any significant construction or maintenance to be performed, and discuss any other issues regarding the shared use of the Shared Park Property.”

The SPUSD is required to provide insurance for its use of the shared park property and, “restore it to the condition it was in prior to its use.”

Cotti reported “It is envisioned that this Agreement will become the starting point for a master joint use agreement that will eventually govern the use of all shared City and District land and facilities.”

He also noted that the city’s School Subcommittee met with its district counterpart on several occasions to discuss the contents of the agreement. 

“It’s in everybody’s best interests to allow them the four acres,” Cotti told the council, which was “never intended to be used on a daily basis.”

The SPUSD Assistant Superintendent of Finance Donna Rose told the council that the district board reviewed the agreement.

“The state has requirements for school sites and ours was on the small side,” and such agreements, she noted, are “very common.” 

Hernandez said the city’s “purview is much greater than the district,” and he wanted to know the hourly rate charged by the school district to the city for use of its facilities.

“We should have a symbiotic relationship,” on such uses, which includes the city’s use of high school sports facilities.

The district, said Rose, welcomes and is “looking forward to discussions for joint agreements.”

At this point said Gherardi, the district is unsure if it will secure the funding for a K-8 school. 

“This is the first step and if they get the K-8 that also comes with a gymnasium, that would be great,” for community use.

Councilman Clint Garman asked about plans for the campus and Rose said it would have 900 students, stages, a multipurpose room, gymnasium, “About 12,000 square feet, a nice gymnasium” as well as a possible track facility and general purpose field.

Hernandez cast the lone nay vote on the agreement, which passed 4-1.

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