About this site

I was a Governing Board Member of the San Carlos School District, elected November 2007 and again in November 2011. This site was originally used for the purpose of communicating with school district constituents, however now it is used for surfacing ideas and expressing opinions on various subjects in education, politics, business, or otherwise.

Please note that any opinion express here is purely personal and does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of anyone else or any organization with which I am, or have been, associated.

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October 2011
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Creative Thinking on New School Site

Last night, the Superintendent presented to the school board some of the ideas that he and his staff have been working on with regard to options for a new school site (or two). As we have discussed multiple times, the district has a space problem. In many ways we are the victims of our own success — San Carlos continues to be a desirable place for young families to move, and our population of students continues to grow steadily. So, one of the goals this year has been to agree on a plan to increase capacity at the school district, most likely by building a new school, or even two.

There has been some amazing progress in the last few weeks. In particular, there has been a lot of thinking about how to use the existing Central Middle School site. Primarily because of its layout and the giant blacktop, this campus can actually be divided into two and have plenty of space to add a new elementary school. The south end of the campus would be the location for a new school. Take a look at the PDF that gives an overview of what the layout could be like. Although I won’t list all of the details here, it would include an elementary school, plenty of field space, and upgrades to Central, including replacing the old building and enhancing the current Mustang Hall to have a new performing arts area/theater.

Clearly more work needs to be done on this plan, but it’s a great start and represents some very creative thinking because it both (a) places a new school where the demand is, and (b) utilizing existing resources so as to minimize costs. You can check out all of the draft drawings on agenda online.

This is only one part of a potential multiple-pronged solution. Other ideas we discussed (but without the detail in the Central site design ideas) include potentially using the TL site for a new elementary school (assuming you can create a new entrance into the campus and otherwise deal with traffic issues), potentially build up at Heather School (which could be a perfect place for CLC), or working with the City of San Carlos on a land swap or other way to acquire land. It is the last piece where I’d like to see more engagement from the city to be proactive and creative on finding a solution, especially since the benefit to the city could be enormous — imagine a brand new park behind TL because the school district swapped that land with the city for a place build a new school.

So, a lot more work to do, but exciting progress!

On a semi-related note, the Board agreed to allow the small group of out-of-district students currently in 4th grade to matriculate to the middle schools. Although we recognize we have a capacity constraint problem at the schools, everyone understood that not allowing in these children will make no material impact at all. It’s great that we can continue to serve these families that have been in the district for years, volunteer, donate to SCEF, and have been a part of this community. We of course need to still address the much larger space issue, which is why I’m excited that we’re making real progress on the plans for a new school.

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