Friday, March 25, 2005 | Rancho Santa Fe School District sued over land purchase

The group also claims the school district placed “the trustees’ personal interests ahead of the educational interests of the children of the district” by moving forward on this property, located in the northeast portion of the school district and outside the boundaries of the Rancho Santa Fe Covenant. The Covenant, located in historic Rancho Santa Fe and considered an elite community with some of the most expensive homes and property in the county, is governed by the Rancho Santa Fe Association which has opposed any land purchase for the district’s second school within the Covenant. The suit argues that the trustees’ decision to locate a school outside the Covenant boundaries “is intended to preserve their personal property values as residents of the Covenant,” because four of the five trustees reside within the Covenant and are members of the RSF Association.

The school district currently operates one school located in the heart of the Rancho Santa Fe village and serves over 800 students in grades K-8. The newly purchased property is located at Aliso Canyon Road and Via Del Charro Road. Over the past five years, the school board, faced with increasingly overcrowded conditions at the village school, has reviewed dozens of potential sites both inside and outside the Covenant, many of which were rejected because of neighbors’ strong objections.

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Torrey Hills School has over 750 students, about 300 of whom live outside the Torrey Hills attendance area in nearby communities. Because the district is allowing these children to remain at Torrey Hills, many other children who have since moved into the Torrey Hills attendance area are being told there is no room at the school. Torrey Hills is one of six schools in the DMUSD, which serves about 3,500 students in grades K-6. The fast-growing district has opened three new schools since 1998 and will open its seventh school this fall.

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– Marsha Sutton, Voice Education Writer

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