Is it too much to expect our city and school district elected officials to work together in the best interests of the tax-paying residents? A large share of our taxes support community and education needs. In too few cases, LBUSD and the city cooperate to leverage expenses to deliver needed services. They formally meet only once a year, and there is no specific assignment of either entity represented at the other’s meetings.
LBUSD recently approved spending $16 million to demolish the current pool facility and construct an Olympic competitive pool twice the size and without the current “wading” pool. There are less than 90 student aquatic athletes at the high school, and the board used unapproved city participation volumes to justify the need for a mega-sized new pool. The city council formed a subcommittee to explore options for a shared or dedicated community pool, with a report expected in March.
Rather than work in concert with the city, LBUSD redirected $10 million of tax-supported educational funds and launched the project to build a 50 meer pool. They know the city has a decision pending but appear unwilling to work in unison with the city to find a cost-effective solution that meets both groups’ needs and minimizes resident impact.
LBUSD and the city worked out a sound aquatic solution not so many years ago that left the current pool intact and met community, and school needs so it could be done. Enrollment and city population are down, and the city now owns additional property. There are viable options to consider.
The city council has stated that the pool subcommittee will not make a recommendation but will present “findings” to the full council, further stating that there is “no good answer.” There is a good answer, but it requires cooperation between the two groups, a willingness to compromise and respect for the community. We should insist they do so.
Gary Kasik, Laguna Beach