A potential new school for Palo Alto will be a topic of discussion tonight as the Palo Alto Board of Education meets for the first time in the 2012-13 school year.
Superintendent Kevin Skelly will ask the board to authorize a preliminary search for a location to build a fourth middle school.
With a recent surge in enrollment showing no signs of stopping, officials have said a new middle school as well as a new elementary school will be needed in the next five years without committing to a location for either.
One obvious venue the district-owned Cubberley High School site currently leased to the City of Palo Alto for use as a community center is currently the subject of discussion between the district and the city as the lease is up for renewal in 2014.
But Skelly said he'd prefer to scour for an alternative location for a middle school as a way to preserve the $7 million annual Cubberley lease income to the school district as well as to keep "the option to reopen Cubberley sometime in the future as a third comprehensive high school."
Loss of the Cubberley lease income, he said, "would require major structural cuts to the PAUSD educational program." The funds represent about 4 percent of the district's approximately $160 million operating budget.
The school district also owns elementary campuses on North California Avenue, currently leased to the private Stratford School, and on Fremont Road in Los Altos Hills, currently leased to Pinewood School. Last year, the district also acquired 2.6 acres at 525 San Antonio Road, which backs up to the Greendell School Campus, which is contiguous with Cubberley.
In other business tonight, the board will discuss its annual "focused goals" including a goal of making its own meetings more efficient.
The board also will hear reports on the Cubberley negotiations with the city and on summer construction progress at school sites funded by the $378 million "Strong Schools" facilities bond measure approved by voters in 2008.
The board also will consider endorsing either of two initiatives on California's November ballot that would raise funds for schools: Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase, and Proposition 38, Los Angeles attorney Molly Munger's state income tax increase.
The meeting, which will be webcast live through the Midpeninsula Community Media Center and cablecast on local government channels, convenes at 6:30 p.m. on the boardroom of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.