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SIMI VALLEY : Trustee Replaced on City-School Panel

A Simi Valley school trustee who has opposed selling school district land at Tapo Canyon Road and Alamo Street has been removed from a committee determining what to do with the property.

Trustee Debbie Sandland was appointed to the joint city-school committee last month, but this week trustees decided that representatives should be selected by the superintendent--not by the school board.

As a result, Sandland was ousted, and Supt. Mary Beth Wolford informally selected board President Diane Collins and trustee Norm Walker to serve on the committee.

Trustees Carla Kurachi and Judy Barry said that because of Sandland’s emotional views regarding the property’s use, she was not chosen. Sandland could not be reached for comment.

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“The representative needs to represent the board--not (his or her) personal, individual feelings,” said Barry, who previously served on the informal committee for about three years.

“It was in everybody’s best interest to have two people who could go in more open-minded,” Kurachi said. “Debbie felt it was a highly emotional issue for her. . . . You don’t want anybody to have a fixed position.”

The district and the city have been working for years to find a suitable use for the 36-acre parcel of farmland across from City Hall.

School leaders have hoped to sell or develop the land to generate money for the financially strapped school district.

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The property is currently tied up in a lawsuit between developers and school officials, but the committee is meeting with city leaders anyway to discuss possible uses for the land, including using it as a site for a new police station.

“I think we are open to working with the city and trying to resolve what we are going to do with the property,” Barry said. “The board does not want it to remain a bean field.”


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