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School officials: 'No need for Cubberley until 2019'

Original post made on Feb 28, 2012

Breaking a long silence on their plans for Cubberley Community Center, Palo Alto school officials have recommended postponing consideration of school facilities on the property until 2019.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 9:05 AM

Comments (20)

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Posted by Bill Klink
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

As a former mid-towner (Stelling Drive) and 1967 graduate of Cubberley, it would be great to see the paw print of the Cougars return.

Many of us have fond memories of our days @ 4000 Middlefield. Other (future) students deserve the same.

High time to bring back that rivalry with that old school in North Palo Alto.

Bill Klink
Phoenix, AZ


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Posted by Don
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Meanwhile our City spends over $6 Million/year to keep Cubberley alive for the school district. There will not be enough revenue in the next few years to sustain this as well as following the recommendations of the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission to catch up with all the infrastructure maintenance and replacement needs.

Too many turn a blind eye to fixing existing problems and then create new programs before prior ones are dealt with. A >$1 Million bike bridge over Highway 101 to serve less than 1 percent of the population comes to mind.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

$6M/yr? Ouch, prorates to 30-cents a day out of this PA resident's pocket. School district is probably spending it on something ridiculous like teacher salaries. Go Cougars, Cubberley did alright by me. (And greetings to Bill, you were there a bit ahead of me.)


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Posted by Let-Cubberley-Go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm

> Ouch, prorates to 30-cents a day out of this PA resident's pockets.

Actually, this $6+M comes out of the Utility Users Tax. If you are not paying a Utility Bill, then you are not directly contributing to keeping Cubberley open.


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Posted by Joe Hirsch
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The rent under the Master Lease at Cubberley is in the $4million/year range, not $6+ million, which includes many other services that the City underwrites not only for the PAUSD, but the overall community as well. Cubberley is home to many non-profits, such as The Cardiac Therapy Foundation (CTF), that provide many beneficial services to the residents of Palo Alto. Without Cubberley as a home, many non-proftis, including CTF, might go out of business, as they simply cannot pay the extremely high for-profit rates ($1.5/sf/month NNN) that exist in this community. Each person needs to get all the facts before drawing conclusions about the value of retaining Cubberley in City hands.



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Posted by Ken
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm

"Actually, this $6+M comes out of the Utility Users Tax. If you are not paying a Utility Bill, then you are not directly contributing to keeping Cubberley open."

This is a smoke and mirrors statement. Everybody in this city pays the utility tax, directly or indirectly. If renters, who do not pay their own utility bills, think they are avoiding it, they are deluded...it is a pass through in their rents.

Cubberley needs to be decided on its own merits.

Palo Alto is facing a "crows-come-home-to-roost" problem, because it drank the kool aid of the public workers unions, as well as a "we-can-have-it-all" agenda. It is too late now...the crows are back, to stay.




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Posted by Let-Cubberley-Go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

> The rent under the Master Lease at Cubberley is in the
> $4million/year range, not $6+ million,

That was true back in 1990, but the yearly payments are keyed to CPI, so the yearly payment is now over 7M/year. The following snippet from a Weekly 2011 article makes that point--

Web Link

But it came with a huge price tag, with annual payments that have now grown to more than $7 million. How did the city come up with the money to support this deal? By passing a Utility User's Tax that now generates more than $11 million a year from local residents and businesses.
--

> Cubberley is home to many non-profits, such as The Cardiac
> Therapy Foundation (CTF), that provide many beneficial services
> to the residents of Palo Alto. Without Cubberley as a home,
> many non-proftis, including CTF, might go out of business,

All of these so-called non-profits are not the legitimate concern of the City of Palo Alto, the taxpayers or the rate-payers. If they go out of business, then it will be because of bad management, or a poor business model.

The Non-Profits are just not the taxpayer's problem!


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Posted by Let-Cubberley-Go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm

> Everybody in this city pays the utility tax,
> directly or indirectly

Stanford is not a customer of the Utility. While it's not clear how many Stanford residents utilize the Cubberley facility, those that do are not contributing via the Utility Tax.

And, renters probably don't pay the same $300-$400/month in utility bills that home owners do, and certainly don't pay the huge bills that the commercial clients do. So, renters are not paying their "fair share" since they don't know what they are paying, unless they happen to pay their own utilities.

There is no fairness in the exaction of taxes to support this white elephant that caters to more non-residents than residents.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Bad idea.

The board is just continuing its lack of foresight. Plans need to be made now so that when the large numbers of elementary students become high schoolers there will be space for them. If you leave it until they become high school age, then it will be too late. Unless of course, they are thinking that it will be someone else's problem because they will be gone.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm

The last thing I want to see is 30 acres of condominiums from Middlefield to Nelson.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:54 am

@musical

Thank you for your posting. It gave me a chill.
If "30 acres of condominiums" are approved, I am out of here.


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Posted by laura
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:59 am

The high schools are too gig NOW. Get working on reopening Cubberly pronto!!!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 11:35 am

The answer to Cubberley is for the City to sign another five year lease with the School District.

But, they must renegotiate the terms and payment of a new lease. For example right now under the terms of the present lease between the City and the PAUSD, the City cannot increase rents on the non-profits at Cubberley.

A clause in the present lease says any increase in rent must go directly to the School District. So only when there is a change of tenant can the rent be increased. This has to end.


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Posted by Enuf growth coming from existing homes
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Crowded schools are real now. How can the board decide to table this until 2019? Waiting is a bad idea. This is no bubble. (and wth is this about condos near Middlefield and Nelson??) Sales of EXISTING homes are filling up the schools too.

12 of the 14 houses sold in the past five years in our immediate neighborhood, went from an elderly or empty nester owner to a family with 1-3 pre-school or elementary school age children. A few others have become rentals to families with children in PAUSD.

PAUSD remains the "safe bet" district for people coming here for tech jobs. Not that I am proud of the lack of vocational diversity, but who else, but a family w/young kids would pay the premium to live in many of the run down houses around here? We definitely don't need more houses - we are already adding to the population by turning over 1-2 resident homes to 4-6 resident owners.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I agree with "Enuf growth coming from existing homes".

I came here in Palo Alto with 3 school age children, putting up with my old style house. As soon as my youngest graduates from Gunn, I will move out with big money.

I observe, one by one, elderly move out in my neighborhood, replaced with families with children.

Actually, I realize now that my family replaced an old couple when we came.


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Posted by Charlene
a resident of another community
on Feb 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I used to live in Palo Alto, but now live in Bologna, Italy where culture abounds. Cubberly is home to many cultural organizations as well. When I come back to visit, I take my classical ballet lessons at Cubberly as do many former professional dancers, community residents, as well as pre-professionals, one of whom has already won national and international recognition. As a former resident, having a cultural facility in the community I find added value to the quality of life that attracts families and individuals to Palo Alto. Remember, without culture, there is no civilized society. Is putting the almighty dollar value on an intangible unique cultural value the be all and end all of Palo Alto?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm

At least when properties turn over, kids or not, the property tax we collect generally goes up.

What worries me is middle school capacity. The report says we'll be okay for a while with the high schools, but we are already out of room for middle school. How can we just sit on this for five more years?

I agree that the Cubberley residents are getting too sweet a deal. The location is great, and the folks who are using it to store their artwork or whatever should move elsewhere. The tenants that charge real fees for their services -- dance, child care, piano, etc -- will continue to thrive. Let's change the lease and make it a win-win for the city.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:42 am

I agree with Resident, except on the point about property tax. Many people with young children moving in are taking over the home from older relatives and their property taxes do not go up. They send their children to school here, but are freeloading on the backs of the rest of us. JLS is already overcrowded and so is Gunn. We need Cubberly to go back to being the school it was meant to be. Transportation from the Cubberly part of town to Gunn is already a nightmare. Since administration is rightly concerned that the Gunn 'brand' is needed, why not make Cubberly part of Gunn, have shuttles go between the two if needed, and have enough capacity to educate our students? This is not just the almighty dollar, education is a primary need in a community. Ballet is nice, but it is not a primary need. A viable dance school or artist or tennis lesson, or any of the other activities that are housed at Cubberly should find alternative locations rather than continue to camp out on much needed educational space. Cubberly is not the only space in town, it's just the only space that is appropriate for and should be dedicated to education.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Hey, Cubberley can be a 'brand' again too, even if it's usually misspelled.


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Posted by Size matters
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Paly is more crowded than Gunn nowadays....


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