Jeff Smith noon, March 8
County Supervisors Support Sycuan Land Transfer
County supervisors supported a proposal from Sycuan Tribe to transfer 1,357 acres of land to their reservation during a county hearing on Monday. If approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs the land, currently owned by the tribe, will be removed from county tax rolls, costing the county more than $300,000 in property tax revenues.
And while the Sycuan tribe has agreed to offset the losses from property tax revenues for more than seven years and pay for road improvements, local school officials in the Dehesa School District say losses to the rural school district have not been addressed.
District officials appeared at Monday's hearing asking supervisors postpone their decision until they had a chance to meet with tribal leaders. They say that the transfer would impact opportunities to pay a $5.5 million bond, resulting in a $975,000 loss; a lot of cash for a district with less than 300 students.
"We do not oppose the agreement, but we ask that there be consideration for the students," said Tim Scheidt, business manager for Dehesa School District. "Proportionately, we stand to have the most severe negative financial impact. We are stretched for facilities."
School superintendent Janet Wilson. "We ask that you delay the project for three weeks to engage in strategic problem solving and discussions with Sycuan. We have the responsibility, not to stop this, but to take the time and opportunity to know that we have adequately addressed the needs of taxpayers and our students."
Before county supervisors voted in support of the land transfer, Sycuan Tribal Chairman, Daniel Tucker, said the tribe will sit down with both Dehesa School District and Grossmont Union High School District to discuss the impacts.
Image from Sycuan.com
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