The joint meeting will determine if there is sufficient interest in — or too many barriers to — proceeding with negotiations relating to sale or long-term lease of a portion of the Cubberley Community Center site on Middlefield Road.
The meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the City Hall Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto.
In 2008, Foothill-De Anza officials proposed buying 8 acres of the 34-acre site to build a modern building within the aging Cubberley complex.
The city owns 8 acres of "covered" or built-on area and leases another 8 acres of building-covered land from the school district. The balance of the site is fields and open space.
The lease provides several million dollars a year to the school district, and the city subleases space to community-based organizations and artists. The sale or lease to Foothill-De Anza reportedly will not displace existing community tenants at Cubberley.
But the college district backed off after several City Council members said they would only consider a long-term lease, not a sale. College officials said they would look at other sites for an expanded new campus.
Yet last March Foothill-De Anza reopened discussions with hints that a lease might be possible if it's long-term enough, and they said that changed financial conditions may require a phased redevelopment of the Foothill-De Anza portion of the Cubberley site.
The primary reason for phasing a development is that state funding has been sharply cut, including state reimbursement for Foothill students, which has created a budget problem for the college district.
The City Council held a "land-negotiations" closed meeting in late March, and the Palo Alto Board of Education has also discussed the matter in closed sessions.
Mayor Pat Burt told the Weekly this week that there are many questions that all entities have about the possibilities. He said he personally feels that keeping a close alliance with the college district potentially could be of strong benefit to students in Palo Alto high schools, some of whom already attend a "Middle College" run by the college district, where they get college credit for some classes.
"I'm impressed with the vision" of the proposed new campus and some of the ideas for joint curricula, he said.
School district officials may hold the key to whether a sale or long-term lease is possible, and Foothill-De Anza officials will have to decide whether a long-term lease is adequate to protect their investment of voter-approved construction-bond funds.