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Poway Parents Want Answers About Their Mello-Roos-Funded Schools

— Angry parents in the Poway Unified School District confronted district officials about their Mello-Roos taxes at a school board meeting Monday night. They wanted to know why their kids weren’t able to attend the newer schools in their neighborhood.

Parents who pay extra property taxes called Mello-Roos question whether they are getting the new schools they thought they were paying for.

“I’m paying into Willow Grove (Elementary). My child should be allowed to go that public school,” Jenny Duncan said.

Duncan was the first of several parents to speak to school board members and the superintendent.

She is one of 55 families told in May there isn't room for their kindergarten children at the newer school in their neighborhood, an upscale new development called Santaluz. Instead, many of them will have to travel miles away to go to a much older school.

The parents say they’ve been paying thousands of dollars in extra property taxes called Mello-Roos because they thought they were getting new schools.

Earlier this week an inewsource investigation revealed millions of surplus Mello-Roos taxes are collected and spent throughout the district, including in non-Mello-Roos schools. But the district made a decision not to spend $100,000 on portable classrooms to make room for the displaced Willow Grove students.

Superintendent John Collins says the district could bring in the extra classrooms but they won’t be ready for use until January. And he told parents paying Mello-Roos taxes does not guarantee their kids will have a seat in their neighborhood school.

Other parents in the neighborhood also questioned district officials about why a new middle school wasn't built in the area as initially planned.

Collins said the district doesn't have the money to build the middle school.

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