A New School? Raise Hand If You Know Right Answer

A drawing by an unknown artist of (impacted) White Oaks Elementary

How to solve the problem of San Carlos’ overcrowded schools?

Lots of ideas floated and discussed Tuesday at the 2+2 Joint City Council/School Board meeting.

Enrollment has shot up, a trend that is expected to continue in the coming years.  Simply put, there just isn’t enough physical space for all the K-8 children, according to Superintendent Craig Baker.

While the School Board is keeping its options open, Baker says it’s “highly likely” a solution will include a new school.  A big concern is new development in SC that will add new residences, adding even more school aged children into the mix.

(Attending the meeting:  2+2 members:  Mayor Andy Klein, City Council member Randy Royce, School Board Trustee Seth Rosenblatt; also School Superintendent Craig Baker, City Manager Jeff Maltbie, Assistant City Manager Brian Moura, Community Development Director Al Savay)

After much discussion, a consensus emerged:  the East side of San Carlos would be a great place to put a school should it be decided that a new school is the way to go.

One challenge is the lack of vacant space in San Carlos.  Some parcels are owned by developers with plans of their own.  Other space owned by the City doesn’t make sense for a new school for a variety of reasons, including proximity to an already existing school or next to the freeway.

The path to a solution appears both long and complicated.  For every proposal, there’s a downside of which everybody is well aware.

Here’s a short list of some of the ideas (and they’re just ideas at this stage) discussed:

–A land swap of School District owned, unused space in back of Tierra Linda for City-owned space elsewhere;

–Adding another school in back of Tierra Linda, as there is plenty of space (con:  adds more cars onto an already maddening artery)

–Adding a second story to Tierra Linda (Mayor Klein said the City would need to step up and help solve the transportation challenges with any solution involving T.L.)

–Adding a second story to White Oaks (con:  adding more kids to a school that must stagger certain activities because of fire codes, etc.);

–Leasing a building to house a school;

By the end of the meeting, the 2+2 Joint Committee decided it made the most sense for the School Board’s need for a new facility to be added to the City’s Parks & Recreation Master Plan.

In any case, the School Board still has a lot of homework to do before the group meets again October 3rd.





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