News

Ravenswood school district eyes teacher housing

District under deadline to develop plans for unused property

The Ravenswood City School District Board of Education unanimously directed staff on Thursday night to explore building affordable housing for teachers and staff on a former school site in east Menlo Park.

Staff brought a brief proposal to build below-market-rate apartments at the site where James Flood Magnet School used to operate, located west of U.S. Highway 101 next to Flood Park. The goal is to "help attract and retain outstanding teachers and staff in the cost-prohibitive Bay Area," Chief Business Officer Steve Eichman said at Thursday's board meeting.

The science magnet school moved and then closed years ago. The district has tried to lease the site unsuccessfully, board President Ana Maria Pulido said, before the remaining buildings were razed earlier this year. She and Vice President Sharifa Wilson have been "having meetings" to find potential solutions for the site, which the district could potentially lose, Pulido said. Ravenswood is under an 18-month deadline for developing a plan for use of the property.

There's also an external pressure from the Menlo Park City School District, which in initial phone calls with the district has expressed interest in the site, according to Eichman.

In a March letter to Ravenswood Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff, Menlo Park Superintendent Erik Burmeister requested that Ravenswood directly notify in writing his district of any offer for sale or lease with an option to purchase the property. The letter came after inquiries about the site from Menlo Park's chief business and operations officer went unanswered, Burmeister wrote.

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"Please note also that the MPCSD is interested in discussing the sale of the property as another local governmental agency," Burmeister wrote. "Such a sale to our district, if consummated, would not be subject to several of the limitations of the Education Code on sale of surplus school property and would therefore present significant mutual advantages to our respective districts."

According to the Menlo Park school district's spokesperson, Ravenswood did not respond to Burmeister's letter.

Ravenswood is now considering building 28 single-story townhome units, which is within the density limits the site is currently zoned for; 38 units of two-story housing or up to 50 units of three-story housing. The higher-density concepts would require approval from the city.

The apartments would be owned by the district and managed by an independent professional for a management fee.

There is not yet a cost estimate for the project; staff said they were waiting for formal direction from the board before pursuing more concrete design plans.

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Approval of a final concept for the project will be subject to another board vote.

Many other school districts in the Bay Area are looking at building housing for teachers and staff. In Santa Clara County, a proposal for an affordable housing complex at a county-owned site in Palo Alto is gaining steam, with the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and the Los Altos School District agreeing to "identify" and set aside up to $600,000 to help finance the project.

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Ravenswood school district eyes teacher housing

District under deadline to develop plans for unused property

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 10:22 am
Updated: Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 11:00 am

The Ravenswood City School District Board of Education unanimously directed staff on Thursday night to explore building affordable housing for teachers and staff on a former school site in east Menlo Park.

Staff brought a brief proposal to build below-market-rate apartments at the site where James Flood Magnet School used to operate, located west of U.S. Highway 101 next to Flood Park. The goal is to "help attract and retain outstanding teachers and staff in the cost-prohibitive Bay Area," Chief Business Officer Steve Eichman said at Thursday's board meeting.

The science magnet school moved and then closed years ago. The district has tried to lease the site unsuccessfully, board President Ana Maria Pulido said, before the remaining buildings were razed earlier this year. She and Vice President Sharifa Wilson have been "having meetings" to find potential solutions for the site, which the district could potentially lose, Pulido said. Ravenswood is under an 18-month deadline for developing a plan for use of the property.

There's also an external pressure from the Menlo Park City School District, which in initial phone calls with the district has expressed interest in the site, according to Eichman.

In a March letter to Ravenswood Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff, Menlo Park Superintendent Erik Burmeister requested that Ravenswood directly notify in writing his district of any offer for sale or lease with an option to purchase the property. The letter came after inquiries about the site from Menlo Park's chief business and operations officer went unanswered, Burmeister wrote.

"Please note also that the MPCSD is interested in discussing the sale of the property as another local governmental agency," Burmeister wrote. "Such a sale to our district, if consummated, would not be subject to several of the limitations of the Education Code on sale of surplus school property and would therefore present significant mutual advantages to our respective districts."

According to the Menlo Park school district's spokesperson, Ravenswood did not respond to Burmeister's letter.

Ravenswood is now considering building 28 single-story townhome units, which is within the density limits the site is currently zoned for; 38 units of two-story housing or up to 50 units of three-story housing. The higher-density concepts would require approval from the city.

The apartments would be owned by the district and managed by an independent professional for a management fee.

There is not yet a cost estimate for the project; staff said they were waiting for formal direction from the board before pursuing more concrete design plans.

Approval of a final concept for the project will be subject to another board vote.

Many other school districts in the Bay Area are looking at building housing for teachers and staff. In Santa Clara County, a proposal for an affordable housing complex at a county-owned site in Palo Alto is gaining steam, with the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and the Los Altos School District agreeing to "identify" and set aside up to $600,000 to help finance the project.

Comments

Dawn1234
Registered user
Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 29, 2018 at 11:51 am
Dawn1234, Menlo Park: Belle Haven
Registered user
on Sep 29, 2018 at 11:51 am
Like this comment

This is an excellent idea!!!! Its a great perk that Ravenswood can offer than other local districts cannot - which will significantly help their "recruit and retain" goals. As a voter, I'm in favor of this plan. And having teachers in the community benefits everyone.


Do not Believe Pulido or Gloria
Belle Haven Elementary
on Sep 30, 2018 at 10:37 pm
Do not Believe Pulido or Gloria, Belle Haven Elementary
on Sep 30, 2018 at 10:37 pm
2 people like this

I agree is a Pulido's tactic to get teachers to vote for her. She knows they will not vote for her after she ignored their petitions of removing the super last year, and when so pany parents and teachers asked her not to renew Gloria's contract. he renewed the contract's super when she knew she were doing a terrible job. Also, the anymous donation that Pulido got is not anonymous anymore; Gloria is the one who "donated" the money so Pulido will look good and people will vote for Pulido. Pretty corrupted both of them. They shall go and tried to get money somewhere else. Ravenswood School District parents had enough. If Pulido had some dignity, she would not be running again, after what she did.


Brian
Registered user
Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 1, 2018 at 9:35 am
Brian, Menlo Park: The Willows
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2018 at 9:35 am
3 people like this

It is a great idea but does anyone trust the current Ravenswood School board to do this in an above board manner? Given the previous history of the Superintendent and the board this could become an opportunity for personal gain and could be handled very poorly. The board needs to be replaced before this project moves forward.


Christopher Chiang
another community
on Oct 1, 2018 at 1:01 pm
Christopher Chiang, another community
on Oct 1, 2018 at 1:01 pm
6 people like this

Why not turn the site into a community of tiny homes for teachers. Teachers could buy and bring their own homes, and the district would retain future flexible use of the site, and limit their expenses to just providing utilities and landscaping. Tiny home communities/tiny home villages, while mobile, are different from RV parks, they are very attractive, yet anyone who follows tiny homes knows it's impossible for any teacher to currently find a place to park a tiny home.


Machiavelli
James Flood Magnet School
on Oct 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm
Machiavelli , James Flood Magnet School
on Oct 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm
2 people like this

I really hope from the bottom of my heart and seaweed of my soul that this doesn’t become a failure and waste of school funds like GHG’s idea to build washing machines earlier this year. Anything coming from the current board majority should raise eyebrows and be questioned! I also believe that future meetings between the aforementioned board members in this article should be made before the public to allow input of the community and prevent any brown act violations as I doubt Marcelino was left out this matter.
— Machiavelli


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