City to PUSD: Prepare for more students | April 1, 2011 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 1, 2011

City to PUSD: Prepare for more students

Potential project at Hacienda Business Park could require new school

by Glenn Wohltmann

Pleasanton's new housing guidelines may set the stage for more than 800 new students in coming years, according to a discussion between the City Council and school board at a joint meeting Monday night.

One developer is eyeing a project for two of three recently rezoned parcels at the Hacienda Business Park near BART, city officials told school board members. Low- and middle-income housing on those two sites in coming years could send up to 654 new students to Donlon Elementary, Hart Middle School and Foothill High School, although Brian Dolan, the city's director of Community Development, said the number is likely to be closer to 500.

"I think these will come in at the low end of the density," Dolan told the combined group of school board and City Council members. "I think the vast majority will be two-bedroom or one-bedroom (units)."

That could ultimately mean the district would have to build a new elementary school, since many of the students at a new apartment complex would be young and would max out Donlon's capacity.

"We want to have students near their schools," said Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi. "I think we need to be very careful about students, where they'll be housed."

That's in addition to whatever growth or loss to student numbers other parts of Pleasanton may experience.

Other state-mandated rezonings could bump the total to 820 students in coming years, but Dolan said the city only has to rezone the property, not build the housing.

The city has identified a list of other properties that could be rezoned to meet state guidelines. A new report is due by Aug. 16; although any rezonings would not necessarily bring construction, Dolan said some communities are already upset at the possibility.

The district will update its enrollment projects based on a new demographic survey this fall, and will include the potential new development in its plan.

Board and council members also had the opportunity to commiserate over their budgets. Both agreed that the district, which relies heavily on state funding, is in far worse shape than the city, which receives its money from real estate, sales and hotel taxes.

The district has put together a budget that includes layoffs and cuts in every area and potential new expenses with no guarantees of promised state funding or income from a parcel tax.

"This has been going on for years," said City Councilwoman Cindy McGovern, who also served on the school board.

"The whole problem is you have this wonderful school district … and yet you can never get above this," she continued, referring to the district's reliance on state funding.

Both bodies also heard from students who participated in last week's Youth in Government Day. City officials and district employees took part in the event along with elected officials from both.

The event was a success, everyone agreed.

"Youth in Government Day opens eyes and opens ears," said Rahael Borchers, a senior at Amador Valley High School.

Borchers noted that shadowing one of the city's attorneys on her first Youth in Government Day had landed her a summer job as a clerk.


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