LTUSD approves the sale of land |

LTUSD approves the sale of land

Now the bidding begins.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the sale of 4 acres of surplus land for the county’s juvenile hall site at its Tuesday meeting.

Board member Wendy David was absent.

The $450,000 from the purchase of the land will go to general maintenance.

The approval, the end of a 2.5-year negotiation process, paves the way for El Dorado County to receive contractors’ bids for the nearly $9 million, 20,000-square-foot, 40-bed project. Groundbreaking is expected in May with a September 2004 opening.

Vehicle access to the site will be available through the existing entrances of El Dorado County Jail on Al Tahoe Boulevard and the entrance to the government center parking lot on Johnson Boulevard.

Picked as the primary site for the facility, the 4 acres sit behind South Tahoe Middle School and next to El Dorado County municipal buildings. Two out of the 4 acres will be used for building construction.

The vote came after numerous questions from parents regarding the placement of the 12-foot high walls, where the maximum security youths will be housed and the proximity of the compound to South Tahoe Middle School.

Various county officials present at the school board meeting handled questions.

George Sanders, with the general services department of El Dorado County, said there were attempts to provide a buffer zone between the detention center and the middle school. A parking lot will provide that buffer zone while there will be a solid wall facing the school.

Greg Sly answered questions about security of the facility and criminals. Sly, deputy chief probation officer, said the hall will consist of different layers and assured the crowd “maximum security kids will never see the light of day.”

The comment elicited laughter from astounded parents.

Knowing the audience would be large following a parent meeting days earlier on the rumored but unfounded Sierra House Elementary closing and the juvenile hall land sale, the board held the meeting at South Tahoe Middle School.

More than 50 parents, staff and county officials sat in metal foldout chairs listening to board members and Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn speak through a microphone.

Prior to the juvenile hall vote, eight Sierra House parents addressed the board, asking them to consider options other than a future school closing.

Analysis of the cost of operating a school, along with the examination of more than 70 district programs, has been part of the research into how to cut expenditures during the budget crunch caused by declining enrollment.

No decisions have been made to alleviate the problem of the shrinking dollars. By the first week of February there will be program cuts. Layoff notifications will be sent March 15. Next year’s budget will be decided in May.

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