Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2009 at 12:57 pm
Although many of us knew about Garland being reopened, I think it is true to say that none of us were expecting this to be such a big school. Suffice it to say that the BoE, in its wisdom, at the end of the AAAGs more than 12 months deliberation and conclusion of opening a 13th elementary, they, the BoE, thought it was not necessary to do so. Now, it seems, that just a couple of years later they have decided that the AAAG was right and not only do we need a 13th elementary school, but we need a four strand, two storey, campus.
I can understand the local residents being worried about traffic problems, particularly as many of the students will be coming from across Oregon which makes it more likely that the school will be more like a commuter school than a neighborhood school.
I can also understand why the Garland residents worry about traffic as many of these students will be dropped off at the back entrance in their neighborhood due to it being safer than the front of the school on California.
I can also understand all the issues related to parking and traffic at the front of the school, and along Barbara in particular.
What I fail to understand however, is the noise and use of the MP Room issue. It seems short sighted to build a new MP room and then not have it available for community use. Community space for meetings and in particular basketball during the winter season is very tight in Palo Alto. Arguing that there are outside basketball courts to help is not on as basketball leagues take place in the winter when practicing outside can't be done after dark without floodlightsin the early evenings and in wet weather.
Moving near a school means that local residents will be affected by school activities. That is a given. Schools are not only used at school times, but at evenings and weekends. We do not live in areas like San Jose where the school campuses are locked as soon as school activities end so that the locals can use them for evening and weekend activities. Our schools are community assets and all of us should be able to use the amenities they provide.
The size of the campus in my mind makes a 4 strand school a bit crowded. The idea that this school should become the gem of Palo Alto schools makes it very unfair for those who do not attend it.
Rather than having this school so big, was it ever discussed that it should be a regular 3 strand school and the Greendell campus also reopened to become another 3 strand school taking perhaps some more space from Cubberley so that the Young 5s could also expand along with Preschool Families.
Cubberley is an underutilised site by the school district. It does get income from letting out space, but at what cost to the children in our schools. Using some of the Cubberley space to house a school along with the Greendell site, when the JCC vacates, seems to make a great deal of sense to me.