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The Irvine City Council on Tuesday night formed a committee tasked with keeping the Irvine Unified School District apprised of the city’s development plans and how they might impact schools.
The committee, known as the City/IUSD Strategic Planning Liaison Committee, is comprised of members of the City Council, city staffers and district officials.
The ultimate plan, according to Mayor Sukhee Kang, is to add between 25,000 and 30,000 new residential units to the city by the year 2025. The city’s strategic business plan projects that the total population by that year will be 293,700, which includes college housing for UC Irvine and Concordia University. The city’s current estimated population is 217,000
In the past, district officials have expressed concerns about being able to handle the influx of new students who would come with the addition of residential units at the Irvine Business Complex.
School officials have also said that although the type of high-density development at the complex hasn’t generated many new students so far, it’s too early to tell what will happen in the long term.
District spokesman Ian Hanigan said district officials have seen areas in the city change and evolve and that it is important to collaborate closely with the city on the expected growth. “It’s kind of the Irvine way to work together that way to make sure we have good schools and smart growth,” Hanigan said.
Kang said that, currently, the complex generates less than 100 students. According to Public Information Officer Craig Reem, only 36 percent of housing units at the complex are in the Irvine school district zone, and only 17 percent of the next 2,035 housing units under review are in the zone.
But only a portion of the city’s housing development plans over the next 15 years are at the complex, and Kang agreed that the number of total students in the city is going to be hard to predict.
“We don’t have a crystal ball,” Kang said.