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Local Students May Be Pushed out of San Juan Hills High

Ladera Ranch and Talega residents have priority enrollment at SJHHS ahead of San Juan Capistrano students.

San Juan Hills High School may not have room for San Juan Capistrano residents in the future. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo
San Juan Hills High School may not have room for San Juan Capistrano residents in the future. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo

In 2007, the city of San Juan Capistrano finally saw a comprehensive public high school open within its boundaries, but students from Ladera Ranch and Talega could eventually force city residents back to Capistrano Valley, Dana Hills and San Clemente high schools.

On Wednesday, the Capistrano Unified school board will consider coming out publicly against a proposed 100-unit apartment complex planned for next to San Juan Hills High.

Buried within the recently revised resolution trustees will consider passing are statements questioning the future of San Juan Hills as a home for San Juan Capistrano resident-students.

“Students residing in Ladera Ranch and the San Clemente development of Talega are to have priority access because the community facilities districts in their areas [also known as Mello-Roos districts] contributed the acquisition and construction of San Juan Hills,” the resolution states.

After La Pata is punched through to San Clemente, students from Talega are likely going to be assigned to San Juan Hills, and as it stands now, the school’s enrollment is already over-capacity, the resolution states.

“With the San Clemente development of Talega possibly reassigned to San Juan Hills, provided the [apartment] project proceeds and the district is unable to expand San Juan Hills, then current San Juan Hills students who do not have priority access, specifically, students residing in the city, will be reassigned to other public high schools, including but not limited to Capistrano Valley High School and San Clemente High School,” the resolution states.

The resolution declares the apartment complex “detrimental” to San Juan Capistrano students, who could be forced to enroll in schools outside the city.

In August, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the council deny the project in part because traffic already is congested near the school. That was in spite of an offer the developer made to install a new traffic light above and beyond what environmental studies had recommended.

In December, the council considered taking action on the apartments, but decided staff needed more time to study yet further traffic changes, including restriping to allow two lanes of traffic to come and go at the intersection of La Pata Avenue and Vista Montana.

The City Council is now scheduled to hear the proposal at its Jan. 21 meeting.

The school board is scheduled to discuss the apartment proposal when it meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

shelly January 07, 2014 at 08:11 PM
Who wrote the revised resolution? It seems like some people are really pushing for segregation.
shelly January 07, 2014 at 08:12 PM
Before the school was build CUSD told residents of SJC that their kids would have a spot at SJHHS.
shelly January 07, 2014 at 08:16 PM
Are the same people involved who sued the district because they did not want to go to SJHHS?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 08:17 PM
The resolution is unsigned and no staff report accompanies it. You may read it for yourself here: http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1229223560406/1218998864154/1414186512881014019.pdf (page 39) Mello-Roos fees take first priority. In fact, as the board and district staff were debating the Talega Mello-Roos districts recently, I thought this could be possible. There are three small M-R districts in SJC whose students would also have priority: Rancho Madrina, Whispering Hills and Pacifica San Juan.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 08:19 PM
I don't understand your last question, Shelly. Involved how?
Dan January 07, 2014 at 09:00 PM
Any idea how this affects future residents of Rancho Mission Viejo ?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 09:08 PM
Well, RMV money wasn't used to build SJHHS, but RMV residents will pay M-R fees and their students need to be housed. There won't be enough high school students generated to support their own comprehensive high school. The district still needs to decide whether that means an addition to an existing school (SJHHS or Tesoro) or a less-than-comprehensive high school. My guess would be that if CUSD could somehow acquire the property next to SJHHS that is to become apartments (and there IS a scenario in which that could happen), then additions to the school might be helped financed by RMV M-R monies -- which will give yet another group of students from outside of San Juan Capistrano priority over attending the high school in SJC.
Erica Cox January 07, 2014 at 09:22 PM
So if I live right NEXT to Pacifica...my kids won't be able to go to San Juan Hills, even though we are in the boundaries now? Ridiculous
becki January 07, 2014 at 09:26 PM
I can't believe NOW after the school is full they are not going to allow SJC students. Back when they forst opened they FORCED students to go to sjhhs even if you wer closer to DHHS. Make up your mind politicians KIDS are suffering
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 09:38 PM
@Erica, it's a possibility, as the resolution says, maybe a good possibility. President Alpay also floated the idea (although no one really jumped on it) of the school district repaying Talega residents the $17 million they used to fund SJHHS and then redirect it back to SCHS. It would just be financially very difficult for the district to come up with that money for that purpose. In that scenario, Talega residents would lose their priority into SJHHS. I know people at first resisted SJHHS, but now that it's opened, and once La Pata goes all the way through, I think it will become a very attractive option for Talega residents. San Clemente High has very antiquated facilities, and that's putting it nicely.
PK January 07, 2014 at 10:37 PM
100 units? jeez Doesn't SJC have enough apartments and traffic problems already? Who's brilliant idea was this anyway? I guess developers will stop at nothing to make a buck. Who cares about quality of life anymore right?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 10:49 PM
Actually, San Juan has relatively few apartment units. The City Council gave an initial approval for apartments there in June 2011. http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/apartment-complex-at-whispering-hills-gets-initial-ok Affordable housing is planned there.
Mission Viejo Mom January 08, 2014 at 01:21 AM
What about the millions of dollars of Measure A funds that went towards the building of San Juan Hills High School?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 08, 2014 at 09:41 AM
Measure A doesn't "vest" priority enrollment like M-R districts.
shelly January 08, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Penny, The link you posted for the resolution goes nowhere. Do you have a more accurate link? And what I meant by "involved" was did they have any influence in writing this into the resolution. It was very clear years ago that some people did not want the majority of San Juan Capistrano kids to attend San Juan Hills High School. Some people made their opinions' clear in the public meetings and forums discussing boundary issues on who should attend SJHHS. Ugly things were said at these meetings about kids. SJHHS is a good school and it is good because of its whole student body and its staff.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 08, 2014 at 07:02 PM
Link woks for me. You can just go to the homepage for CUSD and then click on meetings to see agendas. The conversation at the meeting should be interesting tonight. I didn't read anything bad about SJHHS into the resolution. In fact, I read the opposite. So many families may want to go there, those with priority may crowd out SJC students. Ladera and Talega students have priority. No matter who's "involved," I'm pretty sure that's factual.
Capo Parent January 08, 2014 at 09:25 PM
Shelly Your understanding about the majority of SJC kids attending SJHHS is wrong. Up until the Good Friday massacre by Fleming, all of SJC was assigned to SJHHS. Because Fleming and his board did not want a large Latino population at SJHHS, the conspired at the 11th hour to assign a chunk of SJC kids to CVHS. This resulted in the Prop. 209 lawsuit in which the judge ruled that CUSD violated Prop. 209. I don't understand your whining about SJC kids not being able to attend SJHHS. You were one of the people who stated that people who bought homes with Mello Roos knew what they were getting into when they purchase their homes. Well guess what, with that burden of Mellos Roos comes the benefits of Mello Roos, priority enrollment.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 09, 2014 at 01:17 AM
follow-up story here: http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/groups/schools/p/capo-school-board-urges-denial-of-apartments-next-to-high-school (cut and paste)
shelly January 09, 2014 at 12:58 PM
Capo Parent, Contrary to what you might think I am not nor have I ever been a Fleming fan or supporter. I would have preferred all the kids of San Juan Cap. to go to San Juan Hills High School. I support a diverse population of students. I do not support segregation. I think it benefits all to have a diverse population. If you live in the Village or the North side of San Juan you are much closer to CVHS and those families had a choice just like the families of Talega. People in Talega sued the school district so that they did not have to go to SJHHS even though their mello roos were going there. People from Capo Beach were forced to go to SJHHS and now are going to be told to go back to SCHS because now Talega has deemed SJHHS worthy. Now that SJHHS is up and running and is a great school the people of Talega now want to go there. I am not saying they should not be allowed to attend but now that it is going to be easy for them and the school is up and running with most of the kinks worked out by other students now they demand to go and may possibly demand that others do not. When San Juan Hills was proposed the school district guaranteed it was school for San Juan Capistrano students. I would prefer that the school district take the Talega money out of SJHHS and put it into SCHS where most of their students have been going and are currently going and sued to attend. It would have been much easier and quicker for many of us to have had our kids go and even able to walk to closer schools but we did not have the choice.
Capo Parent January 09, 2014 at 01:53 PM
Shelly Your confused and misinformed. As for taking the Talega money out of SJHHS and putting it into SCHS, you're out of your mind. Won't happen. Are you and Alpay drinking from the same Kool Aid? Even if this fantasy of yours come to be, the Telega Mello-Roos was already spent on SJHHS, and Talega has a vested, legal priority to attend SJHHS. As for kids attending "neighborhood" schools, that's a fiction that CUSD and you have spouted for years. As for students from SJC working out the kinks at SJHHS, what's your point. Students from North MV did the same for Tesoro.
shelly January 09, 2014 at 03:27 PM
Capo Parent, Aren't the pioneer families of North Mission Viejo allowed to go to Tesoro? Again with the overused archaic kool aid cliché. I don't really think people even know what that really means but go ahead and keep using it if you must. By the way if we drank the Kool aid we'd be dead. Right? The majority families of Talega do not currently choose SJHHS. A few do but the majority do not. Why not put the money into the school where their children actually attend? No, you say. Talega families sued to not attend SJHHS because it was inconvenient. It was actually inconvenient for a lot of us because SJHHS is not the school closest to many of us by far but we had no choice because we lived in SJC. As I stated before I am not opposed to the Talega families going to SJHHS. I am opposed to removing what makes SJHHS the most diverse high school in SJC. The students of SJC. I am sure that some people feel quite the opposite about diversity because they were very vocal about it before.
shelly January 09, 2014 at 03:30 PM
Capo Parent, So was the Talega SJHHS boundary racial gerrymandering or was it planning for the inevitable?
shelly January 09, 2014 at 03:34 PM
Capo Parent, Why not redirect the 17 million back to SCHS? Why is that crazy when the school needs it and Talega parents have been making a choice for years and the choice had been SCHS.
shelly January 09, 2014 at 03:42 PM
E-Mail the San Juan Capistrano City council and encourage them to vote no on the rezone. sallevato@sanjuancapistrano.org, lkramer@sanjuancapistrano.org, jtaylor@sanjuancapistrano.org, rbyrnes@sanjuancapistrano.org, dreeve@sanjuancapistrano.org

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