Is Pleasanton leadership leading our community toward catastrophe?
Pleasanton is under pressure from the state and developers to approve more housing. A recent city meeting included a presentation on how Pleasanton could maximize housing on our current civic center site, despite a city survey showing 75% of our citizens do not support housing in downtown.
There is significantly more housing development in Pleasanton's future with a lack of infrastructure to support it. We will be burdened with more traffic, demands on our water supply and overcrowding at our schools. Our community should care.
Pleasanton Unified School District has historically been unwilling to use available funding to build schools. In years past, the need for a third high school was identified and approved but never built. The students are here but the land and funding are gone; the high school will never be built.
Our school board is now discussing using taxpayer-approved money, designated for an elementary school, for alternative uses. A new school was used to get voters to approve the $270 million bond; this is a dishonest bait and switch.
The result will be another capital asset lost to our community and additional debt for homeowners. Taxpayers should be angry.
The California Department of Education has a formula for best practices for school size. That best-practices formula was used when PUSD asked the city to identify school enrollment guidelines in our General Plan, which is Pleasanton's planning constitution.
Pleasanton schools currently exceed those limits at all grade levels. We like to think Pleasanton exceeds the state minimum standard we don't.
PUSD has in essence abandoned any enrollment limits. All Pleasanton middle and high schools exceed city and district enrollment limits, with no plan to ever build additional 6-12 schools. As PUSD moves to abandon building the one taxpayer-approved elementary school, our city will grow with unlimited enrollment at our current schools.
District employee costs not students, families or the community are the factors driving these decisions (think pension liability). Parents should be concerned.
Planning law makes clear and common sense dictates, comprehensive city planning requires building schools. In the past, there has been better cooperation between the city and school district that has resulted in schools getting built. Pleasanton needs to get back to that level of cooperation again.
Email your elected representatives. Tell our school board to honor their commitments made to the taxpayers, and act in our students' and community's best interests. Remind the City Council that housing without infrastructure is bad for Pleasanton; it is their responsibility.
Taxpayers should be angry, parents should be concerned, our community should care.
* Editor's note: A 30-year Pleasanton community advocate, Julie Testa is a former member of the Pleasanton Human Services Commission and has participated on various budget committees and planning task forces.