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.

I will not accept anonymous comments, and all persons who post comments must have a valid e-mail address. Note that I reserve the right to edit, reject, or delete posts based on spelling, grammar, readability, or my judgment of what is appropriate discourse.

 

June 2014
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Phoenix or Icarus?

As I wrote in my end of the year wrap-up, the City of San Carlos reconsidered its original opposition to the idea of the land swap proposed by the school district and agreed to a joint meeting of both agencies. We then had a series of negotiation sessions with the hope that we could reach an agreement to both meet the school district’s need to accommodate additional enrollment without further exacerbating traffic and safety issues on the Alameda/Club/Dartmouth corridor and the city’s need to both preserve and increase available park and recreation space.

Due to a strong commitment to the cause as well as an incredible number of hours devoted by folks at both agencies, we have reached a tentative agreement! This agreement has the following terms:

  • In exchange for the City deeding the Crestview site to the school district, the District would deed the city the Upper TL site as well as the Heather Dog Park (a site few probably even realized was owned by the school district)
  • The District would agree not to build any buildings on the current fields at Heather School for a period of at least 5, but potentially up to 10, years
  • The District will work with local sports groups who have already pledged to contribute $1.5 million for the building of a field at the Upper TL site
  • Both parties would agree that if either chose to sell any of these three parcels, the economic benefit would be split 50/50 (which in reality would give a strong disincentive to sell any of the properties to a developer)

There are at least three more major hurdles to clear before this deal becomes reality:

  • The City Council must hold a “protest hearing” on June 30th where it must decide whether or not to put a measure to the voters in November to change the current classification of the Crestview parcel as a park — at this hearing, at least 4 out of the 5 council members must vote yes to proceed
  • A majority of San Carlos voters must then vote in favor of this measure in the November election
  • The School District must determine that the Crestview site is indeed capable of housing the new school, including any environmental site, engineering and constructability assessments and any state approvals necessary — the District will have to invest a modest amount of money to get such assessments

In addition, one of the homeowners associations on Crestview Drive has threatened to sue the City and/or School District to prevent such a transaction. Although all evidence points to the fact that they would not likely to be successful, they could certainly delay the process and/or cause greater expense for one or both agencies. I implore local residents to work with the District to develop the best possible mitigation solutions while embracing the school rather than fighting a battle which will only cause all to lose.

I, like many others, was very skeptical on the likelihood of reaching a deal after the initial city council meeting in May, but a combination of the incredible public support and a bona fide effort by all parties has gotten us to where we are today, so I thank all involved for the tremendous work! I hope that the city council allows the voters to decide the matter and that the voters approve a historic partnership which will serve all San Carlans for decades to come!

4 comments to Phoenix or Icarus?

  • Bill

    Why not purchase and raze one of the city’s 15 churches for the CLC site. The cost would be far lower than what you’re offering for Crestview, and frankly, this too could be viewed as a win-win.

  • Seth

    Icarus it is. City Council only voted 3-2, whereas it needed 4 votes.

  • Guillermo Vargas

    How propos; like Icarus, the SCSD flew too close to the sun and got burned.

  • Seth

    Guillermo — that may be, but if you never fly high, you stay grounded!