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By Allison Jarrell

On Jan. 14, the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees received a summary of an independent audit report of the district’s Community Facilities Districts (CFDs), which has been a controversial subject for the district in the past. Last year, the board requested that staff provide an audit on the CFDs, which will be conducted annually.

The district’s financial report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, was completed by the firm Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co, LLP, Certified Public Accountants. A representative of the firm presented their findings at the board’s Jan. 14 meeting.

The firm analyzed the district’s CFD finances during fiscal year 2013-14, which included the process for receiving and spending money and whether sufficient internal controls are in place, and concluded that there were “no internal control deficiencies to report.”

During the meeting’s public comments, Andrea Ewell and Laura Ferguson, residents of San Clemente’s Talega neighborhood representing Talega Residents for Fair Taxation, addressed both the audit and the CFD language discussed. They voiced ongoing concerns that CFD money is illegally being spent on school and school-related facility maintenance, mainly at San Clemente High School. Talegans have been voicing concerns over the state of the CFD since an August 2013 refinancing, the proceeds of which were initially not returned to residents. That decision was reversed in early 2014.

“Talega taxpayers are essentially paying twice for the same thing through the use of the Mello-Roos taxes and property taxes they pay,” Ewell said. “Talega is well aware of the laws and regulations of their Mello-Roos, and I have at my disposal 7,000 emails from Talega residents who are very anxious to know that you are going to be doing the lawful thing moving forward.”

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