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Donlon Elementary Odors?

Original post made by Linden Foster, Del Prado, on Mar 7, 2014

We're prospective buyers looking into buying a home in Pleasanton, in large part because of the great reputation the schools have gotten (we have a 3 year old and a 6 month old).

We've heard from a couple of sources to take caution with homes going to Donlon Elementary. They say there's a distinct odor there due to its proximity to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the teachers and children can smell it. The mixed user reviews on greatschools don't give us additional confidence either, but it is ultimately rated a 9.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated - thanks!

Comments (19)

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Posted by School district in turmoil
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Mar 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

Living near a smelly water plant should be the least of your concerns right now. Please see the article about "Jon Vranesh's principal status unknown" printed just last week. Hopefully things will be resolved by the time your kids are old enough to enter the PUSD. Right now the District office and 3 Board members are under fire for corrupt and dishonest action. Buyers beware!

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Posted by Downward march
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Mar 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

Schools in pleasanton are on the decline. You have better choices in San Ramon, Dublin or the South side of Livermore.

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Posted by Lee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Danville or Dublin has much better run schools. There have been 3 Donlon principals in 4 years. Go to a better managed school district that is less chaotic and corrupt.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Mar 10, 2014 at 7:47 am

If you are going to move here the only elementary that is any good is Mohr Elementary. They also offer Saturday and Sunday afternoon prep school. The rest of the schools in town are declining and in turmoil.

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Posted by Get the Facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Get the Facts is a registered user.

Wow. And the sky is falling too.

Linden, I used to live in Val Vista, the housing area that surrounds Donlon. There was a sulphur smell about twice a year, but it wasn't strong. I liked living there, we had great neighbors.

Please don't listen to the haters. Donlon has had three principals because the last two moved away, not because there was anything wrong at the school. Nice school, nice place to live.

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Posted by Fact follower
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

Do not discount the aforementioned school district problems
I would encourage anyone moving to P town to collect their OWN facts!

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Posted by Donlon Parent
a resident of Del Prado
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:03 am

I have two children that attend Donlon Elementary. The smell is really not an issue. A couple times a year people say that you can smell something. Our house is 2 miles away from Donlon so we have never experienced the odor... if there really is one.

I believe another person commented that Donlon has had 3 principals in 4 years. I really think it is 4 or 5 principals in 5 years. BUT we finally have an outstanding principal this year who has made incredible improvements to the school with teacher moral, community support, and overall excellent leadership. That coupled with Donlon also gaining a part time assistant principal has been a step in the right direction. Last year I was ready to change schools and leave Donlon due to frustrations with the administration. This year, I am one of their biggest supporters.

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Posted by James
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:15 am

My child's been a Donlon for 3 years and I have never noticed any strange odors. I don't think that's a legitimate concern, at least not from what I've seen over the past couple of years. You are better advised to study a school and district's test scores and how they are progressing with implementing the common core standards that they have recently been mandated to implement. If you haven't heard about them, read up on them. That will have more of an impact on your children in the coming years than anything else. I'm not thrilled with these new standards or how they are being implemented, and they are a radical shift in teaching styles from when I went to school. They are unproven in my opinion but seem to be here to stay. I will also say that a child's success in school greatly depends on the involvement and support of the parents. That is even more true today with these new standards being taught.

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Posted by IBBillyJ
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

I lived in Val Vista for 10 years and the smell was never really an issue. It is a great family neighborhood. Welcome to Pleasanton.

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Posted by Val Vista Mom
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 11, 2014 at 10:32 am

My family has lived in Val Vista for over 20 years now. We thought it would be a starter home, but chose to stay. It's close to all three schools, majority of homes are on cul de sacs, filled with kids playing in the neighborhoods. The smell comes and goes, depending on rain or sometimes extreme heat in the summer. But you can't beat the friendliness of down-to-earth people in this neighborhood. It sure beats the ghost-town look of much pricier neighborhoods. Donlon, Hart and Foothill are great schools!

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Posted by FnSuite
a resident of Downtown
on Mar 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

The problem isn't the water-treatment plant it's the fact that the whole housing tract was built on landfill.

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Posted by Kangaroo
a resident of another community
on Mar 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

It's the unions that are ruining Pleasanton schools. Tenured teachers that have no business being in the classroom is a major problem. My daughter was stuck with a teacher that couldn't care less because he was retiring. It was 11 grade math, a very important subject at a critical time, trying to get into a good college. At the end of the year, I gave him a lovely parting gift. (Removed)

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Posted by Love the Neighborhood
a resident of Val Vista
on Mar 11, 2014 at 1:02 pm

When we were looking for a home in the Val Vista tract about 10 years ago, we noticed a smell while house hunting. It seemed to be present in the area to the east of the treatment plant. So from about Denker/Inglewood/Stoneridge area. We bought a home closer to the W. Las Positas side and have never smelled any odor. Consequently, both my kids went to Donlon and never complained of smells. And to the poster above who said Val Vista was built on a landfill, no, it was a hops field. That is why there is so many settling issues with the houses because it was a swamp!

We love our home and our neighbors in the Val Vista area!

I also would not rely on any posts in here to determine whether you buy a house in this area. Do your own research and not on the back of public opinion.

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Stoneridge
on Mar 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

One thing to notice is that when you ask for advice on a blog like this you are opening the door to a lot of haters. The first few negative comments may have been from people who probably are not happy wherever they are. Pleasanton is a great city with wonderful schools and neighborhoods. Donlon is the perfect school. The school has many very intelligent and caring teachers. Hart and Foothill (middle and high school) are also great. Both of my kids have gone through the schools and were both very prepared for college. As for the smell, we live 2 miles from the plant and do not get the smell. My sister lives in Val Vista and the smell is not an issue for her either. Welcome to Pleasanton! I hope you soon meet some of the nice family oriented people who also live here (not the haters).

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Posted by Leland
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

If that's the best you can afford, the surrounding smell shouldn't be that much of a surprise.

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Posted by Leanne
a resident of Mohr Park
on Mar 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm

Honestly, we lived in Val Vista for several years, but moved because at the time Vintage Hills was the "it" school. We did buy up, but I have to admit to this day I miss our 2,000+ square foot single story Val Vista home and will likely buy there again as I age to be back on a big single story with indoor laundry. By the way, never once did I smell anything.

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Posted by Fact follower
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 11, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Calling a person who is simply trying to raise public awareness a "hater" is ignorant. When I moved to p town I researched the school system as extensively as I could. There were not any apparent problems when Casey was Superintendant. It is a different story in the school district now. Public record documents speak for themselves in the Vranesh principal case that has made recent news. I think anyone thinking of moving here should make themselves aware of what is currently going on in their prospective school system so they can make an informed decision

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Posted by Fact follower
a resident of Birdland
on Mar 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Read today's article that just popped up in the headlines regarding the Pleasanton Unifird School District and their recent bungling and the two ladies with the courage to defend themselves. A good school district is headed up by a good District office and superintendent Pleasanton deserves to have good leadership again Pertinent info for any citizen , not just one considering moving here

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Posted by Leland
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Mar 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm

How amusing it is that Right should raise a question about 'stink', which is okay because he's probably an expert on this matter. But he then plays the victim card when someone responds with similar verbiage. Well, fortunately none of my neighbors are quite the stink experts that Right claims to be. I'd guess it probably comes with the neighborhood.

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