Officials from the neighboring Santa Ana Unified School Districtand the Rancho Santiago Community College District want 100 acresof the parcel so they can build sorely needed new campuses. Tustinofficials want to sell the land to commercial and residentialbuilders as part of their ongoing redevelopment efforts: They haveoffered smaller parcels to the two school districts and millions incash, but the districts claim that's not enough and that some ofthe land Tustin is offering may be contaminated.

To ease such concerns, Tustin officials recently offered to payfor half the cost of testing the soil to see if it's free oftoxins. But Santa Ana school officials have rejected the offer,saying they want Tustin to first make a backup offer in case testresults show that the land is indeed contaminated.

No compromise is expected soon. Though Governor Gray Davis inJuly signed a bill into law that requires Tustin to turn over the100 acres, Tustin officials say the measure isn't legallyenforceable because it attempts to override federal laws that guidebase closures and conversions. Meantime, the school and collegedistricts are pursuing lawsuits of their own against Tustin cityleaders, and those suits could take years to wend their way throughthe courts.

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