At an annual joint meeting on Monday night, Pleasanton city and school district officials agreed to further explore the prospect of sharing maintenance facilities at the city's Operations Services Center on Busch Road.
No action items were on the agenda but leaders had plenty to say about the issues at hand.
Pleasanton Unified School District "may have better uses for the property on which its current maintenance facility is located (at 4750 First St.)", according to a report by consulting firm Management Partners, who also said that both parties "believe there could be benefits from co-locating maintenance facilities."
Should PUSD and the city end up sealing the deal, the district would relocate "multiple operations" to the OSC site at 3333 Busch Road, including its mail room and graphics shop.
During the discussion Monday night, PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said "it makes sense" to look more into the idea. "We serve the same constituents and so it makes sense to us, to have a conversation and look deeply at how we might be able to leverage economies of scale, to be better able to support our community," Haglund said.
The maintenance functions moved from the district site to the OSC would need about 17,000 square feet, plus storage areas and an auto service bay, and room for several dozen employees, 30 vehicles and additional staff and visitor parking.
Consultants also said that "the maintenance functions are similar to what is there now and could be complementary," although they also noted that limited parking "could become exacerbated."
Although a preliminary analysis found sharing facilities at the OSC is feasible, consultants concluded "it would not be the most efficient arrangement for either agency" as recent growth and service demands have forced both to expand operations.
Instead, locating both maintenance facilities close by "would yield the same efficiency benefits while not inhibiting either agency to expand operations as future needs arise." One possible option for the district could be acquiring additional acreage to the west or south of the city's OSC site, which would require negotiations with developers through the East Pleasanton Specific Plan process.
As the city explores the possibility of a new civic center, PUSD Trustee Mark Miller said he's "very much in favor of getting ahead of the game and what that could look like," including considering some outsourcing.
"The assessment that because of growth and so forth, we may not be able to accommodate that, doesn't seem to include the possibility that we may want to look at outsourcing some of those functions," Miller said. "I know that may be sensitive but to me, from a business-case perspective, that should be one of the options."
The co-location proposal had support from Pleasanton City Council members like Jerry Pentin, who also wants to see how outsourcing would impact labor because "at some point you're talking about economies of labor scale as well."
Haglund noted the school district currently contracts some services to outside vendors that city employees already regularly perform: "One example of economies of scale is the business stays in-house, so to speak."
Trustee Joan Laursen pointed out that the district's graphics shop and the city's sign shop are one possibility for sharing some in-house functions.
Co-location would be a "huge step forward for the community,'' said Councilwoman Kathy Narum, who added that she's been waiting to pursue the idea for several years.
"This has been on my agenda for a long time," Narum said. "I'm really glad to see some movement and cooperation to move forward. I'm all for it."
District and city staff will continue to study project costs and various options based on feedback from that evening. No future meetings to further discuss the co-location plan have been scheduled yet.
In other business
* Updates on Measure I1 projects were given after the co-location discussion including the Lydiksen Elementary renovation, building a new fourth- and fifth-grade campus at the Donlon Elementary School site, repairing the fire-damaged Harvest Park Middle School library and plans for the planned solar array installation during this summer at the Amador Valley High School parking lot.
An update on the Measure I1 audit and Citizens Bond Oversight Committee were also presented by district administration.
District staff have worked with the city recently to explore different ways to mitigate traffic when construction is expected to start next year at Donlon. Funding for building the extended drop-off area in front of the school has not been funded yet, a fact that bothered some residents at the meeting who spoke of their concerns about traffic safety and overcrowding at the campus.
Resident Audrey Purnell said during public discussion that a recent conversation with Haglund about whether the number of students admitted to Donlon would be capped left her concerned.
"He said that is not their intention to go over that proposed amount, so the answer is no, there's no cap," Purnell said. "I'm now asking the City Council for some type of assurance that this won't be a supersized school. My biggest fear is that because you're spending so much money on Donlon and that you won't have enough money for Hart and another bond measure will not pass, that you might make the new Donlon fourth-, fifth- and sixth grade. What assurances do we have that you won't do that?"
* City and district staff also heard an updated demographer's report at the start of the meeting. The district receives new projects each year from a contracted demographer, who provides them with the necessary numbers to plan for revenue, facilities and expenditures staffing. District enrollment is expected to increase by about 900 students over the next seven years, according to the demographer.