Laguna Beach council to consider annexation of El Morro Elementary property from county

Students walk into El Morro Elementary School on their first day back to school in 2012.
Students walk into El Morro Elementary School in 2012. The school occupies unincorporated county land. Parents raised concerns about police services, expansion of the school resource officer program and possible annexation of the land in September.
(File Photo)

In response to safety concerns posed by parents, the Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday will discuss whether the city should annex the county land under El Morro Elementary School.

Acquiring the unincorporated plot could cost more than $100,000 and take two or more years.

Opened in 1953, El Morro is one of two elementary schools in the Laguna Beach Unified School District. The K-5 campus sits on a “county island” a half mile north of the city adjacent to state parkland and Newport Beach.

Because of its location, public safety services were jointly provided by the county sheriff and city police.


Parents first raised concerns at a PTA meeting, saying they would prefer the Laguna Beach Police Department exclusively serve the school.

At a council meeting earlier this month parents requested the city consider annexing the land and asked for more school resource officers; Laguna’s four public schools currently share one.

The city has since received approval from the county to provide all police services to El Morro. The city has also reached a tentative agreement with the school district to split the cost on hiring an additional school resource officer.

Trolley service changes

In other business, the council will consider ending the neighborhood weekday and Saturday trolley service.


Staff is seeking direction on whether to terminate or modify the “Mainline,” which has seen a decline in ridership. Any changes will affect routes for North and South Laguna, Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights.

The routes under consideration operate Mondays through Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturdays between 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The council voted to terminate the year-round extended weekend neighborhood service in September.