Bass Lake for sale?
The El Dorado Irrigation District could sell Bass Lake and approximately 141 acres surrounding it to the Rescue Union School District for a future school site, according to the Bass Lake Action Committee.
“The parties may be close to inking a deal,” the committee’s August bulletin states.
“The EID Board declared Bass Lake and the parcel of land in question surplus last year,” said John Thomson, president of BLAC. “EID officials explained then that Bass Lake, formerly used to store recycled water, was no longer viable for doing so. EID then solicited bids for the property.”
EID Director of Communications Mary Lynn Carlton confirmed the EID board’s action, explaining, “We mailed out letters to certain government agencies within their jurisdiction boundaries. El Dorado County and RUSD first responded. We are currently in discussion with RUSD. Until that concludes there’s no further public comment at this time.”
RUSD officials have not confirmed or denied negotiations to buy the property. When reached by phone, district Board of Trustees President Suzanna George said, “The Rescue Union School District is currently experiencing declining enrollment and not building any new schools at this time. However, the board does want our district to be positioned for future growth. Opportunities for potential future school sites are discussed in closed session at our regular monthly board meetings under real property negotiations.”
When asked why the district would consider building a new school site in the wake of a slashed education budget and declining enrollment, Superintendent David Swart said the district receives federal or state funding that can only be spent on specific programs and can’t be transferred to other funds for other uses.
“There is categorical money that can only be used for school acquisition. It is not general fund money,” he explained.
Swart also echoed George’s comment that the district must look to the future. “We have to look at the price of land now — not 10 years from now,” he said. “But in the end, the Board of Trustees makes that decision.”
El Dorado County, led by then-District 1 Supervisor John Knight, considered purchasing the property last year, according to Thomson.
“RUSD at that time expressed a desire to use the northern part of the Bass Lake property and part of the adjacent county-owned parcel for a school site,” he said. “Access for the school site would be from Bass Lake Road, and to satisfy the fire department the site would have a secondary access road that would connect the school property with Serrano Parkway.
“According to EID documents, negotiations with RUSD to buy the Bass Lake property began in March of this year, and have continued to date,” Thomsom continued. “As a part of the deal, EID would retain a parcel of about 30 acres that currently holds the EID maintenance yard at the southwest corner of the property.”
A search of the March EID meeting minutes does list a discussion on the board’s closed session agenda.