The Pleasanton school board decided not to decide whether to build new schools for an expected influx of new students in the future, but did commit to asking for land and, if possible, a building as part of expected development in East Pleasanton.
The board heard an update Tuesday night from Davis Demographics & Planning in which scenarios were outlined for two elementary schools: one on the north side and another on the east, where new development is planned.
The district's goal is to keep student populations at elementary schools between 600 and 700 students.
According to a report by Isaac Johnson of DDG, "the district is currently at its desired average elementary enrollment of 700 students and is projected to remain within reason to this goal through at least 2017 but by 2018 another elementary school will be needed in the Northwest portion of the District."
Adding a 10th elementary would drop the population at schools. The number of students at Lydiksen would go from 700 to 559, Donlon would drop from 921 to 568 and from 831 to 618 at Fairlands.
Johnson told the board that planning for a 10th elementary school should begin no later than a year from now. The report also calls for an 11th school to be built in order to handle new homes and apartments that could be built as part of the East Pleasanton Specific Plan, which could bring an additional 400 or more elementary-age students to the city.
The board was reluctant to make a firm commitment, with members asking about a variety of alternatives ranging from creating a magnet or charter school that would draw students from across the district, to using property it already owns at and redrawing school boundaries.
Board Member Chris Grant said he'd be hesitant to build a new school with a smaller population than other elementaries.
"It needs to work for us as a district to operate those school efficiently," Grant said. "Those are dollars we could invest in improvements."
He also said the district would face a challenge in building a new school in the north, because the district doesn't own property there.
Should the district decide to build a new school, Board President Jeff Bowser said it's important for it to be in an area that kids could walk or bike to, and one that's also easily accessible through traffic.
Board Member Valerie Arkin said the district could also consider swapping land from the site it already owns, known as the Neal School site, or swapping land where the administration offices and Village High School sit.
Bowser noted the district could also consider building a new administration building -- or having one built -- at a parcel donated by developers as part of the East Pleasanton Specific Plan.
Regardless of where the 10th school would be built, the district wants whoever develops the land on the east side to make a commitment to the district.
"We'd really like the developer to give us the land, and talking about a wish list, build the school," said Board Member Joan Laursen.