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Claremont Unified approves surplus property sale to homebuilder

By Wes Woods, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, POSTED: 12/09/13

CLAREMONT >> The Claremont Unified School District made $18.88 million from the sale of an approximately 9.7-acre surplus property site recently.

The sale of the La Puerta property, at 2475 N. Forbes Ave., was approved at last month’s school board meeting after a public auction on Nov. 19.

Liz Jefferson, administrative assistant to district Superintendent James Elsasser, said the property was sold to the highest bidder, Brandywine Homes of Irvine.

The sale occurred after the district authorized the formation of a Surplus Property Advisory Committee to address the potential lease, sale or other use of district properties. The first property selected was a 2080 N. Mountain Avenue property on May 2011 which went to auction in February 2012 and closed escrow in June 2013. A site at 700 W. Base Line Road was sold in May 2013 and is currently in escrow with an estimated close date of May 2014.

The committee, also known as a 7-11 Committee, recommended the Base Line and Forbes properties as surplus in January and the board ratified the recommendation in February, according to the report.

Board member Steven Llanusa said the district is in escrow for the Forbes Avenue property and it would be at least a year before the district sees the money.

When the district receives the funds, however, it will not able to spend it freely.

“According to the Education Code, it says money that is raised from the sale of property does not go the general fund, it goes to the restricted fund,” Llanusa said. “And that fund can be used for capital projects.”

The school board is also required to hold a meeting on how to spend the funds, Llanusa said.

“And I expect that many stakeholders will be asked to give their input on the best uses of what we can use the money for within the restrictions applied to it,” he said.

Llanusa said the price of the purchase shows people want to live in Claremont.

“It’s a great community and recognized nationally as one of the five best communities to live in,” Llanusa said. “And the schools are pretty darn good too.”