Hurry up or wait is the dilemma facing the Hart School board this week. The board is holding not one but two governing board meetings on Wednesday; one starting at 5 p.m. and the other at its regular time, 7 p.m.
The first one, though, could be fraught with controversy, judging by the amount of buzz it’s generating on the street.
After considering 17 different locations for Castaic High School, and, it must be said, after many false starts where one group or another proclaimed “this is the one,” the board will consider three locations for the school: Romero Canyon, a piece of property owned by local developer Larry Rasmussen; Hasley/Sloan, a piece of property already owned by the Santa Clarita Facilities Foundation, a real estate holdings company that looks for school properties and the Green Valley Ranch property, on Del Valle Road in Val Verde.
“We’ve already been told by the state of California that we’ve taken longer than any other school district to select a location,” said Board President Steve Sturgeon. “The board has considered 17 sites over the last nine years and the two outgoing board members want to have some input in sending the property (or properties) forward to the next, more permanent step in the process.
“Wednesday’s vote is not a final vote by any means,” he continued. “The new board will have plenty of chances to vote on the site and school as it nears development. But we’re going to take the information on the last three sites being considered and choose which ones are going to go into the environmental impact report stage.”
In July, the board met with the Castaic Town Council and reviewed several properties that were discussed and either embraced or put aside. Focusing on the Hasley/Sloan property and the Green Valley Ranch property, the Town Council promised their support and that they would get the backing of the community, if the board would proceed on those two.
Then Rasmussen came along with the Romero Canyon parcel and the board found themselves in the position of telling him to do his own footwork.
“We told them they needed to get the community support and the approval of the county that they would support any mitigation,” Sturgeon said.
Sturgeon said that another factor encouraging them to move ahead was a mention from Supervisor Michael Antonovich that they had the approval of the county in a letter sent to the board protesting the early Wednesday meeting.
“The reason we’re doing this Wednesday instead of waiting until December 9 is that it’s time to tie up a site. The EIR will take 12 to 18 months to complete, then we can go for state approval. We will not be buying Green Valley or Romero Canyon until that process is complete.”
The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the board room at the District Offices.