What steps has Ramona Unified taken to dispose of excess property?

By Bob Graeff, Ramona Unified School District Superintendent

(Following is the second in a series about fiscal issues related to the Ramona Unified School District. The first, titled “How does Ramona Unified spend its maintenance money,” appeared in the Oct. 31 issue and is on the Sentinel website.)

As the district continues to explore ways to improve its long-term fiscal health, one of the most challenging areas of potential opportunity lies in property management. With two vacant pieces of property, one former school site, and 10 current school sites, we are asked frequently about disposing of property to make ends meet during these tough financial times.

So here is what the district has done in the past few years.

The “old Ramona Community School” on Montecito Road north of Main Street was vacated in 2006 when a new, larger site was built at Ramona Street and Hanson Lane. That older property was made available for lease by our board in 2008. While that former school site has served a wide variety of purposes hosting various government agencies and private organizations, we finally completed a five-year lease agreement with the staff from the North Inland Special Education Region Special Education Local Plan Area last spring. The SELPA’s offices and training rooms are now located on a portion of that older site and generate between $32,000 and $35,000 annually for the district.

The 40 acres of vacant land behind Ramona High underwent substantial review from 2004 to 2008 as the district sought to identify the environmentally sensitive portion of the property while making plans to expand the high school’s parking and athletic fields on the buildable portion of the property. As priorities have changed and financial issues have emerged, the district has been active in seeking parties interested in buying or leasing both portions of the property. In recent years, we have received multiple appraisals and met with potential buyers for one or both portions of the land. Potential suitors included San Diego County, a large utility company, a developer for a “big box” chain store, and developers of environmental mitigation banks. Unfortunately, no firm offer has yet been proposed to the district.

On Bellemore Street in the Estates, the district owns five vacant acres adjacent to a similar piece of property owned by the Estates homeowners’ association. With the understanding that residences cannot be built on our portion of the property, the district has been in negotiations with SDCEA for the past five years to sell or barter the property to the association. Despite many creative proposals, SDCEA and the district have not yet come to terms on a final solution.

All other district properties currently house active school sites, including the district office.

While school closure has recently become a hot topic in the community, this concept will be reviewed more fully in an upcoming article in this series.

The district commissioned a detailed facilities study several months ago and is due to receive that comprehensive report in the next few weeks. The study will focus not only on the properties identified here, but will also make recommendations related to additional school sites and offices. Once received, our current plans are to make that report available to the public in its entirety.

In summary, the community can rest assured district staff continues to take a very active, yet quiet, approach in generating potential revenue from our real property assets. It is our hope that as the economy improves, we can benefit from a renewed interest by parties wishing to purchase or lease our available land.

Related posts:

  1. Water district to sell house as surplus property
  2. How does Ramona Unified spend its maintenance money?
  3. Water board hesitant to allow property for evacuation use
  4. A Modest Proposal for Ramona Unified School District & the Citizens of Ramona
  5. Carol Canfield: Ramona Unified Teacher of the Year

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Nov 13 2013. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Comments for “What steps has Ramona Unified taken to dispose of excess property?”

  1. Jane Tanaka MD

    Could the 5 acres in the SDCE be proposed to Target and Soup Plantation, who wanted so badly to establish themselves in Ramona?
    Could the 40 acres of vacant land be leased to community members for organic farming? ( Or would that disturb the fairy shrimp, and be illegag)?

    • Darnell

      Are you serious about having a Target or Soup Plantation in SDCE?

      That comment is about as stupid as your other comments regarding the abolition of the school district. Come on!

      SDCE is no more prepared for something that large than Ramona itself is prepared for another 150 homes or other planned community; the infrastructure is just not there!

      A Target would be a wonderful enhancement to Ramona and might even make that pathetic K-Mart raise its standards.

      There are a lot of businesses that need to be brought to Ramona but the current mindset of not being anything but a horse town or becoming like Poway prohibits that from happening.

      Many residents of Ramona want to be mired in history rather than progress, but stating that SDCE has room for a Target or decent restaurant is sheer lunacy…

      Selling or leasing to the county would be dumb as well. The county will offer nothing to the infrastructure or economy. Common sense dictates selling or leasing to an entity that will bring jobs and potential revenue tot he community.

      I am sure people who live in town may not want the traffic on Main Street business brings, but something really does have to change.

      • Anon

        Can you tone down your condescension just a little bit. Geeze!

        • Darnell

          Did i strike a nerve there Anon? Are you one of the "horse town" mentality or the "I don't want to be like Poway" mindset?

          There was nothing condescending in my comments. Tanaka made a foolish suggestion and i pointed it out. Tanaka offers a lot to this community and to the comments, but even she says something crazy occassionally.

          There are too many people in Ramona that don't want progress in the form of businesses. Many dont want a Target or anything else because it will hurtnthe family owned businesses, but the reality is that life doesnt necessarily support the small "general store" anymore. That coupled with the fact that young families have moved up here because of affordability and what can be bought means that Ramona can't stay a one stop light, drive through community.

          Growth along Main Street has to happen. Roads need to be improved to accomodate the traffic that is generated by higher population and other factors that bring people to and through Ramona.

  2. M.Workman

    I seriously doubt any business plan for Target or Soup Plantation would consider SDCE as a legitimate option. Not to mention approval to place such a business any where in the Estates. Can you imagine the SDCE "regulars" coming un-flippin-glued at the mere mention of such a thing? Just not gonna happen. I doubt you could get either place established in town. If we wanna be taken seriously and help out, we have to be realistic.

  3. guest

    As a SDCE resident, we don't need a Target out there, however, we do need a gas station desperately!

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