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School board discusses PUSD properties, new school at facilities workshop

Original post made on Sep 13, 2017

Splitting grades K-5 between Donlon Elementary and a new school on the property and finding a parcel near Hart for a new elementary school were among the ideas generated by the Pleasanton school board Tuesday night during a study session on current and future district facilities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 5:12 AM

Comments (5)

30 people like this
Posted by More housing?
a resident of Downtown
on Sep 13, 2017 at 8:17 am

Here we go.... another sneaky way to add more housing to our Downtown area. Already, if the City has its way, we'll be seeing massive housing projects added to the Downtown area (these will be Mid to High-density housing projects or even "micro-units" and large parking garages) not only on the Civic Center/Library property, but in the surrounding Downtown neighborhoods and on Main Street. Now, as quoted by Joan Laursen, the School District is "open to moving and doing something with this site," we all know what that means, even more housing (mid to high-density) on the District property located right at First and Bernal. Why would the School District sell yet another piece of valuable property to housing developers, when Pleasanton is in such a desperate need for more schools? If we can't provide enough schools for our community, then why would we add even more housing and, ironically, on the School District property? Makes absolutely no sense! Use the School District property for a school not more housing.

11 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Sep 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

“We have some tremendous need in this district and some real repairs that are affecting our learning environments and our teachers’ work environments every day, and I’m not insensitive to the needs of our population and the need for our campuses to breathe,” Buck said. “But I don’t think that it’s prudent as a taxpayer and as someone who was out there on the front lines of the bond campaign effort to put so much emphasis on a new school when the existing campuses are in such incredible need.”

I couldn't agree more with this statement. Can the drum beat, and the attempt to hijack funds, for a new school please stop and let's fix the issues that exist currently that were identified and were voted on to get fixed.

17 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 13, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Joe, As the co-chair of the Measure I1 campaign, Ms. Buck would know that the new school was not only spelled out specifically in the bond language presented to voters, but also in the board's supporting resolution. There is no highjacking of funds. Not mentioned in that quote is her support for the $30MM in the bond to tear down and rebuild Lydiksen. There was no mention of the current plan to push the Lydiksen classrooms from the current front of the campus to the play area and field at the back of the campus. There was no mention that of the $270MM, $205MM are for repairs, modernization, and added safety and additional technology to all campuses.

Also omitted in the comments are the students stuck in the old owned portables; the $215,000 we spend annually from the general fund for the leased portables (29 of them); the 162 elementary students who are unable to attend their neighborhood school (one mother spoke of having to take her child to Valley View rather than Walnut Grove); the February 2017 demographer's report predicting the need for two new elementary schools; the millions we could lose in matching funds from the state if we do not act soon; nor the 3- to 5-year timeline necessary to build any new school if we started yesterday.

I will agree that because of a variety of decisions and external pressures, the district was unable to maintain our sites properly. But I applaud the board's beginning discussions to look at parity at every current site and for providing current and future students the proper space for their education, including a new elementary school. We need to be more holistic and provide equity of opportunity for every student.

1 person likes this
Posted by David
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Sep 15, 2017 at 8:43 am

Kathleen, the line item in the bond measure states upgrades to existing schools and then at the tail end of the description adds the new school facility almost like it was slipped in there. During the campaign, funding for a new school was not made abundantly clear to the wider public who dont follow school matters closely. Many residents I know including myself voted for upgrades only and not a brand new school. We believe with enrollment fluctuations (forecasted to decline) slightly at elementary levels that it is prudent to improve existing schools rather that incurring more taxpayer cost. Adding more administrative staff and more teacher salaries is burdensome and unnecessary in our opinion. Pleasanton is highly ranked in schools and to put money into anything other than upgrades is an expense we can not understand. Modular or prefabricated buildings (ie the new Starbucks on Santa Rita) are state of the art and not the old portables many of us are familiar with.

8 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

David, I don't personally think voters are that naive. And you couldn't vote only for one piece of the bond, you voted for all of that bond. Here is the ballot language (emphasis mine):
“To repair and upgrade aging classrooms and facilities at local schools; provide 21st-century learning technology and facilities; improve school safety and security; update science labs; improve energy and water efficiency; renovate, construct, and acquire classrooms, equipment and facilities; **and construct a new elementary school**, shall Pleasanton Unified School District issue $270,000,000 in bonds, at legal rates, with independent citizen oversight, annual audits, all funds used for local schools, and no money used for administrators’ salaries?”

And from the resolution:
Acquisition and construction of a new elementary school and related facilities, including:
• Acquisition of land, rights-of-way and easements made necessary by construction of such facilities.
• Planning, designing, and constructing the school and related facilities, including costs related to construction services, architectural design, engineering, site inspection and testing services and plan review fees.
• Associated onsite and offsite development, demolition of existing structures, and other improvements made necessary for construction of such facilities.
• Construction of such school and related facilities and grounds, including necessary supporting infrastructure.
• Acquisition and installation of furnishings and equipment related to the constructed facilities.
All or portions of these facilities may be used as joint-use projects within the meaning of Section 17077.42(c) of the Education Code (or any successor provision).

If campaigners did not mention the school, then place the blame there. East Side development looms, other building continues, and the February demographer's report says we will need two new elementary schools. And it takes three to five years to complete a school once you drop a gavel to begin.

We do not have Starbucks portables. Go out to Foothill behind all the buildings and see those portables. I wouldn't want any student or teacher in those structures.

I have a request in, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that absent the school, that bond money cannot be spent elsewhere. The bonds simply aren't sold and that debt is not placed on homeowners.

As to operating costs: there is $215K being spent annually and for many years on portables; there are costs that transfer from portables to new classrooms, specifically teachers' salaries and utilities expenses; and counselors, assistant principals, and shared custodial staff also can be moved and would not be a new expense.

And some questions: if portables are okay, why are we spending $30MM to tear down Lydiksen? Certainly the structures are sound; is there a reconfiguration of the inside of the pods that would serve us better for less? I believe those who support keeping portables and Lydiksen's planned tear down are trying to cut it both ways. Otherwise, why not tear down Lydiksen and fill the site with portables?

The board had some great discussions Tuesday evening about some thoughtful approaches to doing what is best for students. You should watch it.

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