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Planned Stanford housing units mean school enrollment bump

Original post made on Oct 13, 2013

With nearly 250 new units of family-friendly Stanford University housing on the horizon, Palo Alto school officials are puzzling over where to put the new kids come 2016, when people start moving in.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, October 13, 2013, 4:40 PM

Comments (42)

Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Oh, this one's easy--get Greendell open and move SI there and take MI with it. SI takes two strands of Escondido for which the school does not have room. Ohlone's dangerously overcrowded with 600 kids and very little street access.

Another alternative--look into reacquring Ventura and opening it, but Greendell's actually semi-available.

This would, of course, require the district to think ahead and make decisions.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm

One other aspect that hasn't been mentioned in the article is that Stanford historically want to keep the kids from faculty housing separate from the kids from postgrad student housing (Escondido village). At present as I understand it, Escondido student housing go to Escondido, Jordan, Paly, while the faculty housing is Nixon, Terman, Gunn. Stanford thinks it is important to prevent "best friends" forming between a student and their professor's children. Whether this is a good idea or not, the policy has existed.

Is this something that will continue?


Posted by Citizen Cain, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 13, 2013 at 8:58 pm

[Portion removed.] Stanford has no such policy or idea. And these aren't all going to be kids new to Pa schools. Olmsted worked fine and this will too.


Posted by this is big, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:38 pm

This development will undoubtedly have a huge impact on PAUSD schools and PA traffic. IMO, it's ludicrous that folks in BP/GM are treating the possibility of 12 new townhouses on Maybell as potentially catastrophic when those of us in College Terrace are accepting and accommodating wrt a much larger development.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:44 pm

I attended Gunn, years ago, and there were faculty kids there and I also distinctly remember (at least) one girl who whose dad was attending grad school or doing a fellowship and they lived in Escondido Village.
I am more concerned with making sure property taxes are paid on all this housing, since the housing will very likely produce a lot of kids attending Palo Alto public schools. I already pay very high property taxes...


Posted by Paly Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Wow, the School Board needs to re-evaluate VTP/Tinsley. PAUSD is too overcrowded to accept students from a different county. It worked in the 80s when enrollment was down, but times have changed.


Posted by EPAMom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:03 am

The school board cannot re-evaluate Tinsley. It was a court order with all of the other schools districts involved.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:31 am

Technically Tinsley/VTA is a court-approved settlement (due to a lawsuit) not a court order. To modify or cancel the agreement would involve all parties; PAUSD cannot just withdraw on its own.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:32 am

Oops. VTP, not VTA!


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

PAUSD website explaining VTP:

Web Link


Posted by Palo Alto Grandma, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2013 at 11:35 am

Wow . . . it's hard to believe Stanford actually has the school attendance policy that "Resident" describes. Where do all the Stanford faculty members come from if not from post-grads?

So did the Palo Alto School District know about this housing expansion or were they blindsided? And shouldn't Stanford be putting up some real money to help deal with this? With a $17 billion endowment, they should be able to devote at least a few million to educating the next generation.


Posted by Drogo, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm

One of my closest friends teaches in the Russian dept at Stanford and her children went to Nixon until they were old enogh to go to the Girls' Middle School. She did not want her kids in PA schools after that because at that time the middle schools here were notoriously poor.

However, even this professor admits, as a former South PA resident, that Stanford has never been a very good neighbor to PA and imposes a lot on the citizenry.

As a member of the CT community, I think we should do what the Maybell residents have done and FIGHT this--Sta ford is NOT part of PA and has no right to impose on our schools this way. let them build their own on-campus primary and secondary schools, or else build some for Palo Alto.

This is Stanfoed's fault, but as usual, they have made it OUR problem!


Posted by Moving Choice programs, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I agree with OPar: move Spanish Immersion and Mandarin Immersion strands to another PAUSD property. Both of those are highly popular and have more students/families apply for enrollment via lottery than there are spots available. Many families would be thrilled with the opportunity to grow these school choice programs and it's a logical pairing.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm

[Portion removed.] Does anyone know how many PAUSD campuses are sitting on Stanford-donated land? Or how many CPA playing fields/parks are on Stanford donated land?

Do some research and then try to say that Stanford just does what it wants without giving back to PAUSD or CPA. Such hooey. And no, I don't work for Stanford nor did I attend Stanford.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm

> Does anyone know how many PAUSD campuses are sitting on
> Stanford-donated land?

Palo Alto High School originally was sitted on Stanford lands. But in the 1950s, the District used its power of eminent domain to take the Palo Alto High site, paying about $55,000. The land would revert to Stanford if the school district were to cease using it for education.

The other schools, Nixon and Escondido sit on Stanford lands, as does Gunn. Not certain if the school district ever tried to use eminent domain to take legal possession of that site.


Posted by Polard, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Palo Alto as a city was here before Stanford U. Stanford chose to become a separate town, with its own zip code, even. let them stick to their town and keep themselves to themselves. If they want to use our schools and overcrowd them, they should contribute and build some schools here to provide for the overflow!


Posted by What Stanford Wants, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm

No wonder Stanford is pushing so hard for big housing on Maybell. Stanford Vice President McCown was the spokesperson for the Maybell developers at the League forum.
Retired Stanford Vice President Bacchetti, signed the Argument in Favor, in the official Sample Ballot.
Stanford is so rich, they don't even need to hide it when they push Palo Alto around.


Posted by chris, a resident of University South
on Oct 14, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Polard,

You are wrong. Stanford came before Palo Alto.

Leland Stanford asked his friend to start Palo Alto because Mayfield
(s separate town then) and Menlo Park allowed sales of alcoholic beverages.


Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Stanford is not a town. Some of Stanford is in Palo Alto, some of it is county land, some it is Menlo Park. Zip codes have nothing to do with municipal jurisdictions--part of north Palo Alto and East Palo Alto share a zip code, but they're still two different cities in two separate counties.

The PAUSD has never, I believe, aligned with the city boundaries. There's a chunk of south Palo Alto in the Los Altos school district, while parts of Los Altos Hills, Stanford and even a weird bit of Portola Valley that are in the PAUSD.

So, let's get the board to follow the recommendations of the community advisory committee and move the immersion threads to Greendell. And *also* start planning for the next schools after that.


Posted by Stanford home owner, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 14, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Stanford has no such policy regarding attendance - the boundaries for attendance run along Alvarado row - about one third of Stanford houses are on the east side of Alvarado and attend Escondido-Jordan-Paly. Those west attend Nixon-Terman-Gunn.
It has nothing to do with who is a professor and who is a grad student.


Posted by Stephen, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 14, 2013 at 6:02 pm

for Poland - please check out (the first has some nice description of the history)

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Midtown Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Why was the housing approved if we don't know where the kids are going? I don't get how we can be this stupid. And if Palo Alto has no say on whether the housing is going to be build or not, let Stanford pay for it. Heck, let Stanford pay for a new school anyway. They have a massive endowment. We have to put up with the traffic. The least they can do is pay for another elementary and maybe high school too


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm

How about an Arrilaga Elementary School, and Arrilage Middle School, and an Arrilaga wing at Gunn? Then he can get his name on more buildings since he does put his name on whatever he builds. (Take a look at the campus and Menlo Park!!) Stanford should be responsible for building schools to educate "its children".


Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Is this the planned housing that was part of the Mayfield soccer field agreement? If so, this has been in the works for a long time.

From a paloaltoonline article dated Dec 2004

Web Link


Posted by Juno, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 12:01 am

I recall that the Development agreement specified that all the children from the Mayfield Deal housing units would go to Barron Park School. Haven't Palo Alto school officials read the Development agreement?


Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 15, 2013 at 12:05 am

Kate, given the number of district schools on Stanford land, I think the University's doing its part.

What's failing big time is the board and district bureaucracy who keep putting off the reopening of schools that were kept precisely to deal with growth.

So, again--Greendell should take on the immersion programs particularly as Fairmeadow's just been overbuilt, so it can manage the neighborhood kids.

Greenmeadow should be looked at and, if there continues to be this kind of build up in the west, it's time to think long-term about the Palo Alto Hills site--very nice campus, by the way.

There should also be some discussion about the Ventura site, currently owned by the city.

Again, these sites were kept so the district could reopen the schools if the population grew. Well, we've got the population and the district refuses to do anything besides overcrowd existing schools.


Posted by BRS, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

Does Stanford pay any property taxes on this development?
If so, how much?


Posted by KP, a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

OMFG! Such a shocker that our schools will be overcrowded! Who saw that coming?!!
I have no idea how the city council can make these grand decisions about large housing units without considering the fact that our schools are already crowded!
So glad my kids are now out of school. Now we just have to worry about the quality of education for our grandkids in PA.
Or the fact that we will have some bond put out for US to pay for a new school or two!! THANKS CITY COUNCIL!


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

It's been a while since Terman was reopened, back in 2003, funded in part by money provided by Stanford. The PAUSD and Stanford agreed to a $10M transfer of funds, to be used to refurbish the site. The two parties each signed of on what was then called: the Stanford/Terman agreement. Part of this agreement, which seems to have been quite forgotten by most people is that Stanford was able to convince the PAUSD to accept the $10M, and agree to NEVER ask for any more money to help fund the education of students from the Stanford campus.

Since the District is claiming that it is spending at least $13,000 per student (and more with under-the-table money from parents, and booster groups), the cost to the District for the 681 students is close to $10M a year. Some number of these kids come from Staff housing, which pays property taxes. But children of students, live in housing that does not contribute to paying property tax—so the PAUSD taxpayers have to pick up the tab.

It would not be impossible to renegotiate the Stanford/Terman agreement, if the public were to wake up and realize how badly the PAUSD Board of Trustees negotiated this agreement. It's difficult to believe that anyone on the Board at that time could see anything but the $10M being offered by Stanford, while ignoring the ever-growing cost-to-educate students at the PAUSD. At one point, Stanford suggested that its long term growth plans might bring its student head count up to 1200-1400.

There is no mention in this article as to whether this housing will end up being property tax exempt, or will be assessed at a reasonable market value. If it is not property tax exempt, then it will be contributing about $460,000 to the PAUSD for every $100M of assessed value, as well as also contributing to the retirement of school construction bonds. Given that that the cost of teaching staff at the PAUSD is now well $100K per teacher. This small amount won't go very far towards educating children that will be living in these quarters.

It's long past time for the Board of Trustees to stop believing "its all free in the library" and to build a finance model for the District that includes all of the contributing properties, the cost of educating students, and projected near-term growth. Looking out beyond five years is really tricky, so this model would need to be updated every year. This would mean the School District would need to be monitor every new project in the District. Since it has an "in-lieu" fee, then this monitoring mechanism is in place for projects that are approved. It would need to get better input from the City on projects that are "in the pipe line", however.

It's also past time for the PAUSD to recognize that it's paying for Stanford students' education, and to come to better understanding about Stanford's contributing to the cost of their enrolled students' kids' attendance in the local school system.

If this were an ADA district, then adding Stanford kids would be not problem. As the headcount goes up, money from the State goes up. But, since the PAUSD is a Basic Aid Funding District, its finances are incredibly convoluted. It might not be a stretch to suggest that it has the most complicated public school financing model in California.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

> Does Stanford pay any property taxes on this development?

It's too early to tell. Stanford owns some off-campus housing, like Stanford West, which is not shows that it is more-or-less assessed as a commercial (multi-family) property.

We'll just have to wait and see.


Posted by Erin Tuomy Mershon, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

"if the public were to wake up and realize how badly the PAUSD Board of Trustees negotiated this agreement. It's difficult to believe that anyone on the Board at that time could see anything but the $10M being offered by Stanford, while ignoring the ever-growing cost-to-educate students at the PAUSD."

Wayne - as the daughter of the board member who negotiated that deal, let me just tell you that it was a huge win for the school district and an extremely hard-fought battle. Stanford didn't want to pay a dime. Ever. $10M was HUGE and it was all they could get.. There was plenty of foresight by the board. My father grew up here, was a teacher here, and knew what kind of enrollment and cost increases were coming. It was not at all short-sighted.

Now, if the district would just go ahead with their plan to open another elementary school, as they should have in 2011, we would be fine.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:31 am

> let me just tell you that it was a huge win for the school district
> and an extremely hard-fought battle.

Thanks for the information. However, having done considerable calculations involving school district finances, I can tell you that in the coming decades Stanfod will be costing the PAUSD about $100M over the next ten year in education costs for their students. With additional students entering the picture, the cost will increase.

I fail to see how $10M is a big win, when the real costs come into focus. Can you provide any hard evidence other than "trust me"?

I do appreciate your comments that "Stanford did not want to pay a dime." I don't remember the BoT making that point clear at the time, but I have no doubt that it is true. Your comments make my point about the PAUSD recognizing that Stanford is not paying its way, relative to educating the kids of its students.

> Now, if the district would just go ahead with their plan to
> open another elementary school, as they should have in 2011, we would be
> fine.

What???


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:33 am

> Stanford will be costing the PAUSD about $100M over the next ten year

And that $100M wll grow in the ten years after that. Given the uncertainty of the future Stanford headcount, it's not realistic to project beyond ten years, but it's clear that the numbers will only grow.


Posted by Stanford home owner, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:41 am

Wayne,

I agree that Stanford should pay more, but I want to add two things
1. Stanford homeowners pay property tax to the county based on value
2. many Stanford families -at least in my part of campus -which feeds into Gunn - have pulled their kids out of public school - including me. Reasons are personal and vary widely - but from on my street and surrounding ones I'd say PAUSD attendance after elementary is about 50 percent or fewer. And no - it's not all Castilleja - it goes from Harker to,the south to Crystal and Nueva to the north and everywhere in between.


Posted by Wayne Martin, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

BTW, Stanford is showing some understanding that it's future growth might be hindered here on the Palo Alto campus. It's not that hard to believe that Stanford will be opening satellite operations around the local area, perhaps in other states, and I would not be surprised to see Stanford open a campus in China one of these days.

So, it's really going to be difficult to do too much in the way of growth prediction. However, that does not keep us from doing baseline cost estimates with some accuracy.


Posted by Marlen, a resident of Meadow Park
on Oct 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Palo Alto citizens: we don't want any out of town bureaucrat or developer making descisions in our town, but we certainly should have a say in what other cities are allowed to do!


Posted by Satellites, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Stanford already has satellite campuses all over the world. One of my friends graduated from the campus at Cambridge in England, and now teaches at the the local Stanford. Another friend teaches at the Stanford satellite in Russia every three years.


Posted by I'm not a blank check, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

It's clear that Stanford is the cradle for what Palo Alto has become, but residents already pay millions to buy here, and Stanford adds all these extras.

I'm not a blank check. Stanford/Arrillaga rearing to build 27 University, in Menlo Park bordering Palo Alto. Sorry to bring this back to traffic and CARS, more crowded schools, Stanford pushing Maybell too?

Dear Stanford.

I have already paid the going price for a home here, you keep asking me to pay more.

With the traffic, cars, crowded schools, and affordable housing stories, you are also taking away what I paid for in the first place.

Thank you for the satellites, that is the way to go. You will be doing the world good by taking the success you bring to others in much greater need of "development."

There is a blog post by Steve Levy about the future of Palo Alto, infrastructure, planning ahead, all that good stuff - what say you?


Posted by Margit Aramburu, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 19, 2013 at 9:23 am

The College Terrace Residents Association (CTRA) urged that Stanford meet with Palo Alto Unified School District to determine where the future students will attend school, especially for elementary school. It is important that this decision be made as soon as possible so the project plans can incorporate appropriate and adequate pedestrian and bike lines of travel to allow children to safely walk and bike to school. Stanford will submit plans for the two projects for Architectural Review Board review before the end of 2013.

For the children living on upper California Avenue, they would need to cross California Avenue and pass through College Terrace to get to the crosswalk to Escondido. Or to reach Nixon, walk up the poorly designed path up Kite Hill, or across College Terrace and up busy Stanford Avenue. Very different directions and needs.

For children living in the housing at 2500 El Camino Real, CTRA has suggested the need for safe pedestrian and bike access at the rear of the site, versus using the sidewalk on El Camino Real to reach Escondido. The line of travel for those children should be defined to allow for safe travel across California Avenue, through College Terrace, and to the crosswalk to Escondido.

For older students biking to school, an additional bike lane should be added along upper California Avenue to allow safe bike travel to existing City bike routes.

I urge the PAUSD make a decision about where the anticipated students would attend school NOW, so appropriate plans and provisions can be made.


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 19, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Juno,

The Mayfield Development Agreement includes no mention of which school(s) children from the 250 units of housing would attend.


Posted by EscondidoDad, a resident of Escondido School
on Oct 31, 2013 at 11:31 am

I could not disagree more with Opar! There's a pipeline of students in these programs that depend on enrolling them where they are. Moving them would mean pulling the rug from under these students---a large number of kids would have to drop out in the middle of the program. A very bad idea. DO NOT MOVE SI and MI!!!


Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I totally agree with OPar - the Immersion programs make perfect sense to be located at Greendell. Lots of parking, put immersion together, free up space in neighborhood schools. In particular, it makes sense to free up space at Escondido with the new Stanford housing.

@EscondidoDad - there is no reason for students to drop out because the location of the program changes. Choice programs schools do not need to be neighborhood schools.


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