Groundbreaking is likely in June for major new academic buildings at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools.
The Board of Education Tuesday night discussed solicitation of construction bids for two-story classroom buildings at both schools, as well as a new "media arts building" at Paly and a new gymnasium and air-conditioning retrofits to existing classrooms at Gunn.
The $50 million-plus tab for the projects comprises a significant piece of the $368 million facilities bond measure approved by voters in 2008.
The bond program, which will touch all 17 of Palo Alto's public school campuses, is intended to upgrade and expand the schools to accommodate projected enrollment growth.
The projects discussed Tuesday have received extensive prior scrutiny by the school board, as well as by landscape consultants and facilities committees including parents, teachers, principals and others at both schools.
Also Tuesday, school board members reacted favorably to a proposal for a trial, full-day kindergarten at Barron Park School beginning this fall.
Under the plan, all Barron Park kindergarten students would have the option of attending school from 8:10 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Currently, Barron Park kindergartners stay for an "extended day" -- until 1:45 p.m. -- just twice a week.
Officials said they expect children would show increased academic and social learning from the "full-day kindergarten." Additional costs would be minimal, they said, since kindergarten teachers already are paid for a full day of teaching regardless of the hours of student attendance.
Board members indicated they were supportive of the proposal, which will come up for a final vote at a later meeting.
In other business Tuesday, board members critiqued a proposal by Superintendent Kevin Skelly to convene an "elementary math task force" of parents and teachers to help spread "best practices" in math instruction.
Skelly said he will tweak the proposal and bring it back to the board for final approval.
The role of the group would be to consider what is currently being done in Palo Alto and elsewhere "to promote intellectual curiosity and excitement around mathematics."
After meeting monthly beginning this spring through March 2012, the group would "make recommendations for the superintendent, considering a whole range of potential resources and the way the recommendations would affect each elementary campus."
Under Skelly's proposal, the panel would consist of one parent and teacher representative from each elementary school, one middle school math teacher and one or two principals. It would be co-chaired by one principal and one parent, with support from district staff.