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Tax District to Fund New Schools, Roads

The Capistrano Unified School District voted unanimously this week to create a special tax district for the 1,003-acre, 2,500-unit Las Flores planned community under construction just south of Rancho Santa Margarita.

Approved under a joint agreement with the county and the developer--the Santa Margarita Co.--the special tax district is expected to generate $15.5 million for schools and $6.8 million for road improvements for the future community. The development is expected to bring nearly 600 students to Capistrano schools, including 337 kindergarten through sixth graders, 92 middle school students and 163 high school students, according to district figures.

Under the guidelines of the plan, called a Mello-Roos tax district, future Las Flores homeowners will be assessed an average of $1,064 a year, or 76 cents per square foot, for future schools and roads. Commercial owners would pay about $14,000 per acre per year.

The Las Flores district is the fifth Mello-Roos tax district within the Capistrano Unified School District.

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“This is our way of trying to be as proactive as possible in providing the kind of school housing we know this community is going to need,” said Jacqueline Price, a school district spokeswoman. “So often school construction is playing catch-up because students arrive long before the funding for the schools you need. When you are dependent solely on the state, which always has a funding shortfall for school construction, you never know when you will get adequate funding.”

The school district recently opened a school--Arroyo Vista Elementary School--in Rancho Santa Margarita that was built with Mello-Roos funding, Price said. Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo is expected to open in the fall of 1993.

“Anyone who has a high school student in this district knows we desperately need another high school,” Price said. “Dana Hills High now has more than 2,600 students and Capistrano Valley High School has more than 2,700 students.”


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