If a $9.2-billion school bond is approved by state voters in November, the Capistrano Unified School District will act immediately to begin building three much-needed schools, trustees have decided.
"We want parents to know we want to move forward," said trustee Mildred Daley Pagelow.
With a vote taken Monday, the board authorized district staff to begin advertising for bids quickly if the bond passes.
The three schools, which district officials say are needed to accommodate enrollment growth:
* Don Juan Avila School in Aliso Viejo, a 20-acre school costing between $28 million and $29 million that will serve 1,500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
* A six-acre, $7.5-million elementary school in the Marblehead area of San Clemente that will serve 700 students.
* A $12-million to $14-million elementary school on a 7.6-acre site in San Juan Capistrano.
If the state bond passes, construction on the schools could begin in as soon as six months, officials said.
The district, the county's third-largest, has grown by 28% in the past five years, from 31,206 students in 1993-94 to 40,115 students in 1997-98.
Dozens of portable classrooms have been added at some schools to help relieve the crunch of students.
The five candidates running for three seats on the Capistrano Unified board of trustees have made building schools their top issue in the race.
Cities have been struggling with whether to establish Mello-Roos districts, which tax property owners for new schools, or make developers pay to build schools.