Cayucos Elementary continues reorganization discussions



The discussion surrounding Cayucos Elementary School District's reorganization options was focused on how the dollar would follow students after eighth grade. At the Dec. 13 meeting, though, the district shifted its focus to how the options would affect current bonds and property taxes.

Cayucos-hired law firm Ochoa and Moore produced a report stating that Cayucos receives benefits from a bond with Coast Unified School District—Coast Improvement District No. 1.

"The bonds of the Coast Improvement District No. 1 provide the elementary school facilities in the Coast USD to supplement the elementary school facilities in Cayucos ESD," the report stated.

The reorganization options that the elementary school board is looking into would involve Cayucos needing to drop its status as a component district of Coast Unified (where students are supposed to go for high school)—and therefore lose the benefits it reaps from the bond.

If that were to happen, Cayucos would also no longer be liable for the bond indebtedness that is linked with Coast Improvement District No. 1. Bonded indebtedness is a debt that is secured by an issued bond and the money received is used for corporate purposes.

"The Cayucos territory would no longer be assessed for the bonds of the Coast Unified School District, resulting in the reduction of the tax rate in Cayucos of the current $0.006 per $100 of assessed valuation ($6.64 per $100,000 of assessed valuation)," the report stated.

According to the report, if Cayucos were to become a component district of San Luis Costal Unified School District instead, the property tax would increase to anywhere between $30.78 to $108.91 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. But that number isn't quite clear because although San Luis Coastal voters approved $177 in bonds in 2014—$120 million toward high school facilities and $57 million for elementary school facilities—only $50 million has been issued so far. It also isn't clear how much of that total bond amount would be assigned to the Cayucos territory.

In order to become a component of San Luis Coastal, there would either need to be a change in state legislation or for all of the districts involved (Cayucos Elementary School District, Coast Unified School District, San Luis Coastal Unified School District) to agree on that redirection.

During the Dec. 13 meeting, Superintendent Scott Smith said state Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) called him to talk about the reorganization discussion. Specifically, he called to talk about a proposed amendment to an education code that could change where Cayucos students go after graduating from eighth grade.

"He voiced that he is concerned of unintended consequences of a legislative fix, because when you turn something loose like that, things can happen that you don't foresee," Smith said.

He concluded that Monning would prefer that the district find a local solution. New Times reached out to Monning for comment but did not receive a response before press time. Δ

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