Foothill officials lament 'missed opportunity' on Cubberley

Middlefield Campus prepares for exit to Sunnyvale after 27 years in Palo Alto

As Foothill College prepares for an eventual exit from Palo Alto, college officials expressed regret they could not reach agreement with the Palo Alto Unified School District for shared use of the old Cubberley High School campus.

Former Palo Alto Mayor Betsy Bechtel, now a trustee of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, said she was "deeply disappointed at the lack of collaboration," despite what she said had been years of efforts.

Trustee Bruce Swenson, a 35-year Palo Alto resident, said the failure to agree represented a "huge missed opportunity" to create an educational institution for the future.

Bechtel said she was particularly galled to hear public testimony at a City Council meeting recently to the effect that, "'It will hurt our brand in Palo Alto if we allow a community college to be (at Cubberley) as opposed to Stanford.'

"That really bothered me because we are a real resource to the community, and I think people don't know it and don't appreciate it," said Bechtel, a Stanford University graduate, in an emotional statement during a Foothill-De Anza trustees' meeting Monday.

"I've heard some school board people say, 'Our children don't go to community college, they only go to four-year colleges.' I hope people will convey ... that they may think Palo Alto students only take AP classes, but there are a whole lot that don't, and there are a whole lot that our schools could serve better," Bechtel said.

Between 13 percent and 18 percent of Gunn and Palo Alto high school graduates enter community college after graduation each year, according to figures supplied by Foothill-De Anza.

The high schools themselves publish somewhat lower percentages. Gunn said that 13.7 percent of its Class of 2010 said they planned to attend two-year colleges, and Paly published a figure of 9.2 percent.

Bechtel said many other Palo Alto students begin at four-year schools but return to regroup at Foothill when things don't work out as planned.

Foothill offers a little-known Transfer Program in which admission to certain University of California and California State Universities is guaranteed if a student maintains an agreed-upon Foothill grade point average.

The college works with administrators at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools to offer many classes on those campuses -- including digital photography, Photo Shop, sports medicine and environmental horticulture -- for which students get both high school and Foothill credit.

However, except for a Java class once offered at Gunn, Palo Alto schools have not taken up the collaboration offer from Foothill, according to Denise Swett, Foothill's associate vice president for the Middlefield Campus and community programs.

Swett oversees Foothill's Middlefield Campus, which serves up to 4,000 students, about 25 percent from Palo Alto. Since 1984 the Middlefield Campus has occupied about five buildings at Cubberley and now pays $933,000 a year in rent to the city of Palo Alto.

With $40 million in bond money, Foothill had hoped to purchase 8 acres at Cubberley to build a state-of-the-art education center.

That option appeared all but dead this week when the Palo Alto City Council decided to send a letter to Foothill-De Anza stating it is not interested in selling Cubberley's eight city-owned acres. The decision followed a unanimous June 28 statement by the Board of Education that it will need all of Cubberley's 35 acres for future enrollment growth.

Foothill officials said despite numerous meetings with Palo Alto school officials, they could not find enough common ground for collaboration.

"Over the past year there have been a number of meetings with the superintendent that also have been attended by the city manager," Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Linda Thor said.

"We have not found a lot of areas of agreement on opportunities for joint programming, or even necessarily a shared vision for the type of programming we would offer at an education center."

As Foothill turned its sights toward two land options in Sunnyvale, Swett said she hopes to keep some programs at Cubberley, where the college is on a month-to-month lease.

Those include the popular REACH program for people recovering from strokes, as well as classes using gym space, including yoga and pilates.

"We feel like it's a done deal," Swett said. "I'm always looking to collaborate and we've really reached out.

"I'm really disappointed because we really would have loved to stay here."

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Posted by Diana B
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Jul 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm

It's disheartening to hear that Foothill is leaving the Middlefield Campus. Foothill has done a great service not only for people in Palo alto but also neighboring towns such as Mountain View and Los Altos. People who work in Palo Alto such as myself have taken advantage of Night classes here. You are a great resource and I'm sorry to hear that all your efforts have been undermined and unappreciated. To say that most Palo Altoans prefer to have their children attend better colleges should not discredit the fact that you've helped plenty of people in the community to achieve a better chance of getting a four year degree to UC's and other colleges. I hope you can continue to remain a positive impact to a great community.

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Posted by Shawna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Foothills college is a great resource, but the fact is, Palo Alto has way too many incoming families and not enough school space to accommodate the growth. I have taken many great classes at Cubberley and these opportunities will be missed.

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Posted by local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

There are plenty of kids from Gunn and Paly who start out at four year schools and come home during or immediately after their freshman year. Don't let the statistics fool you!

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Posted by Palo altan
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I hope that Foothill realizes that such statements aren't representative of most Palo Altans. The fact that Foothill has been a tremendous asset to our town was never a question to me. But we need that space for other community services (such as public schools) that have to be located within city limits.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Using this very choice location for Foothill or PAUSD needs (or both)would be fine with me and makes the best sense.
On the other hand, being bullied by oddball groups and letting it continue to deteriorate and be used by miscellaneous persons and groups does not make any sense.
SOME bold decision should be made about this key place. A bold vision is needed and action. Please let this not be another Alma Plaza or Edgewood. (Yes I know the difference between commercial and non-commercial development but my point still stands.)

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Posted by Erin Mershon
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 14, 2011 at 2:23 pm

In my opinion, this decision has nothing to do with the "educational institution of the future" but what our educational needs are right now. It has been said at a recent PAUSD Board meeting that we will need a fourth middle school by as early as 2015 and a high school by 2020. That means we need to start working on the plans and renovations for that site now!

Foothill is a fabulous community college and a wonderful resource for our community and for our students. That fact should not be lost in this discussion and hopefully Foothill will find a wonderful location for their campus.

Bottom line - City and PAUSD publicly owned property should not be sold off to the highest bidder. The people of Palo Alto should have had a voice in this decision and thanks to a big grassroots effort, many people's voices were actually heard - even in the middle of the summer, late into the night when parents aren't thinking about school and can't attend meetings.

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Posted by Disappointed too
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

We missed a great opportunity to have an innovative campus blending high school and community college and enriching the high school curriculum. This would have been fantastic for our high school students. After all our high schools already offer Foothill college classes. Why could they not think outside the box? It's pathetic.

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Posted by words
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Delilah
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Foothill first presented vocational classes also geared toward commuters outside of Palo Alto for nite and weekend classes.

Interesting that Palo Alto did not approach Foothill to purchase our land, it was the other way around. Would the analysis have included top appraisals of this valued land. Did Foothill have this type of funding, to build out and purchase Palo Alto lands.

It may have been an interesting option to allow Foothill to build the campus renting the property back from the City. With the City having an option to buy back the new building when needed. I think the right decision was made in the end, not to sign the letter. Thanks to the city council and the school board and their good decision on behalf of Palo Altans.

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Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2011 at 8:05 pm

As a graduate of Foothill College's Emergency Medical Technician program in 2003 which was/is held at the Middlefield campus, it saddens me to learn of the Middlefield campus closure. I will always appreciate the opportunity Foothill gave me by having a safe, convenient location within the city, particularly since I did not have a car at the time.

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Posted by Palo Alto is Full of it.
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Four year colleges, blah blah blah. Maybe academics aren't everyone's thing in high school, but Foothill is a great way to turn that around. Having night classes and the Foothill resource center on the Middlefield campus is a definite help and i'll be very disappointed to see them go. Too bad Palo Alto is full of materialistic yuppies, that are full of themselves and mostly do what's in their own best interest.

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Posted by Pobre Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2011 at 5:04 am

I'm heavily - and prominently - involved in the world of education, and educational futures. I have no formal attachment to Foothill College. Without equivocation, this is one of the most boneheaded decisions ever made by the Palo Alto community. Most Palo Altans have no idea what's in store for K12 education in the next 10-15 years. Do they really think that students are going to be sitting in classrooms all day, or even taking classes at K12 institutions until they finish 12th grade. My god, the aloof ignorance of your population never ceases to amaze me. Palo Alto will come to regret this decision, immensely. Then again, maybe not, as PA's population is fast moving toward a time in the next 20 years when almost half its population with be at or near retirement age. Clearly, Palo Alto is no longer the leader among Peninsula cities. It's still up there, but no longer the special place it was, or could have been. Sad.

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Posted by Sunnyvale-Better-Site
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2011 at 6:45 am

The Cubberley site might not have been the best for Foothill for expansion. Sunnyvale is more centrally located, meaning that more people would likely have to travel shorter distances to get to campus.

Education has been too expensive, and will only continue to grow in cost until there is a paradigm shift to distance education. As broadband becomes more widely available, we will see better distance learning courseware available. there are so many advances in hardware/software that have yet to be integrated into a meaningful tool set. The idea that people should have to travel more than an hour (round trip)to sit in a class to hear someone talk is really counter-productive. Once we get to that stage, these large, expensive, campuses will not be needed anymore.

And as to Foothill being a "resource" for Palo Alto--that's pretty myopic thinking. The likely site of a new campus (Moffitt Field) is less than ten miles away. The tone from some posters that Palo Alto students might "have to leave town" is pathetic.

The Community Colleges need to seriously rethink their missions. The taxpayers are tired of subsidizing "permanent" CC students, and "recreational" students. The CCs need to stop believing that they can gouge the taxpayers, and lavish those funds on staff and students. This is clearly going to be a bitter pill for all of those who believe that "education is Palo Alto's priority", when Palo Alto has long-term obligations to its infrastructure in the billions of dollars. Throwing money away subsidizing people who have nothing better to do than sit in a CC class somewhere is simply crazy, and needs to stop. Pronto!

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Posted by Don'tBrandMe!
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

My Palo Alto High School student who will pursue a worthy and noble Palo Alto profession, and is a straight A, AP student has chosen to go from a PAUSD High School to Foothill to clear GE requirements. The student's thinking, "why waste $100,000+ on 2 years of GE mostly taught by TA's when I can go to Foothill and get real professors." "Have you seen the state of the UC's?"
The Palo Alto Unified School district culture at large, has made it a hush hush topic. With undertones of Foothill is for those who can't or are aren't apt students. Have you ever seen a student bedazzle their graduation cap with Foothill, De Anza, or West Valley? I bet not. Because the message out there is still "you're as good as your grades are and the sweatshirt you where on college sweatshirt day."
No matter where Foothill is located it will always be loved and well attended, yes, 1,000's of students will find their way to its' campus, be it under the cloak of darkness or for the very brave, with proud beaming smiles!

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Posted by Penny
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 15, 2011 at 10:47 am

As a voter who supported the Foothill bond measure, I want Foothill in a location that is ideally suited to the college’s evolution and growth of their programs. The school district’s need for capacity and Palo Alto’s increasing demand for community services would compete with Foothill’s future needs at Cubberley.

The district has clearly stated that they do not see this as a partnership that will work for them. I don’t see this as an ideal situation for any of the parties involved, and so I have to oppose the sale or lease to Foothill.

But we still need a funding solution for the maintenance of the aging Cubberley facility. Eventually, PAUSD will need Cubberley for a school site, and then we may lose the community center space. We need a fiscally feasible long-term plan to preserve (or create) community space that provides local homes for the arts, child care and other community programs that are important to our community fabric. We also must have adequate space for public school enrollment growth.

Finding a solution will require a collaboration of the district and city like the one twenty years ago that yielded the creative and successful Cubberley lease and covenants solution. It strikes me that community services like those at Cubberley now have excellent potential for synergies with k-12 programs. This partnership, the one between the city, school district and community, is the one we should be working on.

Old agreements will either be discarded or evolve. We need our representatives at PAUSD and the city to start working together with community members, actively and transparently, to find a new path forward--or we will find ourselves at a crisis point in 2 ½ years when the Cubberley lease is up. We all need to be at the table TOGETHER now to find a solution that works for the community. We need a Task Force to address schools growth, community services and playing fields now.

Palo Alto can find a new solution to this old problem if we work together. We have done it before.

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Posted by Pobre Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

"Sunnyvale-Better-Site" isn't aware that 8 states have already set up formal, approved programs for Junior transfer (from K12) to high schools; this is not just a fad; it's a coming trend. The Foothill site had very strong potential to house a significant portion of Palo Alto K12 students in innovative programs that will become more a hallmark of K12 education in the later grades. The advantages of proximity for THOUSANDS of Palo Alto students is now lost, not to mention the multiplier effects of having CC infrastructure within easy reach.

SBS might also pay more attention to the likes of "don't brand me!". Yes, completion rates at CC's are low because they are open to all and relatively inexpensive. Yes, here are some students who "hang out" at CCs and don't graduate. Yet, there are also many students who "hang out" at very expensive private colleges while obtaining their expensive educations. SBS is correct re: CC's rethinking their missions, but what does s/he think the new Foothill Campus represents, long-term? Essentially it's a plan to deploy new educational access and services to all comers. What you hear from the SBS's of the world is "it costs too much!", while they blithely dismiss the long-term *savings* and benefits of "soft" investment. What you hear is how whatever group it is is asking for money that "they need to rethink their mission" before we spend a dime. In the meantime, other communities benefit.

As for Palo Alto's forward infrastructure costs, and using the specter of those costs to strip opportunity from Palo Alto (a favorite ploy of those who have rabidly in the past been against spending of any kind - *including* infrastructure, is to decry the cost of "soft" services because "we have an infrastructure emergency").

There's not much more to say, other than to again note the stunning lack of vision in decisions like this one.

Heck, if you want efficient use of infrastructure, go figure out efficient and economical - even profitable (heaven forbid!) ways to utilize dormant K12 infrastructure in Palo Alto. Physical plant siting idle in evenings, on weekends, and through much of the summer? Are you kidding me? I know for a fact that an expensive consultant once recommended the deployment of a no-nonsense business development effort by PAUSD, to optimize dormant K12 plant. The PAUSD Superintendent buried it.

From a relative outsider's view, Palo Alto has lost its real passion for vision and innovation. All I see are squabbles and the same old mind sets (and getting older).

As for "sitting in a class somewhere", that's an insult to the many thousands of students who have benefited and gone on to contribute to society in positive ways *because* of their CC education.

Palo Alto has a way of kicking the gift horse in the mouth. Well, that horse has left town. The patina is wearing off folks. Get used to it. Now you can all argue about color to paint the school lobby, or what species of trees to plant.

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Posted by anciana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

I'm a graduate of Foothill College. Got my AA there. I could not have afforded any other school.

My educational experience there was nothing short of wonderful. When my younger and snobbier brother went to my classes with me one day, he said the quality of teaching and facilities was much better than those at the Ivy League college he was currently attending. That was back in the Sixties; I don't know how instruction is now, but I do know that it is a place where thousands of students have been able to learn skills, prepare for four-year schools, and find enjoyment.

I also really liked the idea that so many non-profits have been able to locate at Cubberley over the years since Cubberley closed.

Hoswever, I am afraid that Palo Alto will need the space for future elementary or secondary students. The city made a mistake in selling off some of its school properties when enrollments were low. Now enrollments may be higher in the near future, and the space may be needed. It would be very expensive, perhaps impossible, to find adequate land if a new school or schools were to be needed in the city in the future. Bottom line -- we should not sell that land to Foothill College.

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Posted by Pobre Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:10 am

"But we need that space for other community services (such as public schools) that have to be located within city limits. "

Have you ever seen a multistory K12 building? Done right, they cost less to build, *and* maintain. How many single story sites does Palo Alto have? Answer: quite a few. the argument that we need more land is a canard; we don't. We need more careful thought, and more careful probing outside the box. It's mostly too late for that, now. Yet another opportunity lost. Enjoy your retirements.

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Posted by RT
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

Al these arguments about 4-year colleges/community college, etc. are missing the point. I went to Foothill before going to a UC, I have taken classes at Foothill at Cubberley - so what. The issue is that our high schools are ALREADY over-crowded. Cubberley is needed to relieve the over-crowding and future growth ( which shouldn't be happening, but the City is constantly approving new housing.....Fry's site is next) - we need the space!

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Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

Unused K-12 space? Where? And do you know how heavily armed those classrooms are with expensive computer equipment? Do you know how balky and touchy that eqipment is? No visitor to a classroom would be allowed to touch any of that equipment for fear of upsetting its settings for the next day's class. No one would want to risk components being pocketed. Public schools are becoming more specialized by the moment. And except for the arguing, all possible school space is spoken for.

Palo Alto has a history of up and down school population. In the sixties there were around 20,000 students in our schools. We sold 12 school sites in the '70s and '80s. Now we're growing again.

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Posted by Local Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

It's such a shame that parents appear to be so worried about the emotional stress that their children experience taking those much-touted AP classes. And, yet, they say a community college (that incidentally would make supplemental learning an option and also a less expensive alternative for two years) does not provide the type of education that is proper for a city like Palo Alto. What a mixed message that sends to these teenagers who, more than likely, are receiving performance pressure from the same parents oppposing Foothill-DeAnza's presence in their "brand" city.

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Posted by Close neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

The City will live to regret the day they turned Foothill/De Anza away; Sunnyvale will be the lucky recipient of a very fine Institution.

As for the School District needing the Cubberley site; why are they building 11 new classrooms at both Gunn and Paly and 6 new classrooms at JLS and Jordan? There is a mistaken assumption that increased enrollment will go on forever. Read the history as follows:-

After Cubberley was built to accommodate the post-war baby boom, the School District claimed that, due to ever increasing enrollment, they needed a third high school. A bond was floated and Gunn was built. Almost immediately more and more students attended Gunn and fewer and fewer attended Cubberley until it closed in 1979. An expensive high school was built that lasted less than 25 years!! In fact residents who lived around that time have told me that the moment Gunn was built Cubberley was doomed.

About 1993 the School District's demographers came out with a report that declining enrollment would continue indefinitely because there was no more land in Palo Alto on which to build. We went down to one Middle School and there was serious talk of closing Gunn and having just one high school.

Again in 2011, the School District and residents are assuming there will be increasing enrollment forever. Look at the history it goes both up and down and will continue to increase and decrease. We just happens to be on an upturn right now, but history has told us that may not continue forever.

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Posted by Good decision, Council
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm

The interesting discussion that came out of the Council meeting was not only about the need for school capacity---but also for community center space to deal with a growing, acute shortage of preschool and after school child care. Further, the demand for affordable space to support the arts and a lively cultural environment, and other programs is increasing as well.

Someone said recently, "This is Silicon Valley, and presumably we who live here believe in successes being most likely to happen where start-up costs are low and failures can be survived. Whole office buildings operate on the principle of renting affordable small spaces out to entrepreneurs and professionals on a daily or even hourly basis and charging a certain amount for infrastructure that would not be available to any of their tenants in isolation. What works for business, ought to work for recreational, artistic, specialty educational, etc. pursuits as well; by accident if not by design, the existing Cubberley has demonstrated this. Why not be even more deliberate about it, supporting the individual teachers, artists, and small organizations at Cubberley with decent bathrooms, basic shared office services, and a variety of lease options that allows for even more effectively shared use of space per day? Some rooms at Cubberley would benefit from removable harmonica wall partitioning (no need for musical instrument lessons to take place in something the size of a dance hall); others from removable purpose-specific furnishings (e.g. freestanding gallery display walls). I suspect there would be plenty of simple ways to increase usage and thus income by enough to cover the cost of such fairly modest renovations and upgrades.

A good place to start would be a survey of current tenants of both Cubberley and similar centers elsewhere in the area to see what they perceive as either prime benefits or unmet needs in their current situations."

This is the kind of exploratory thinking the city and PAUSD should be doing together NOW. It looks to me as though the first school use will probably be a middle school (which probably wouldn't have mixed very conveniently with a college--Remember 6th graders are 11 years old)...and then possibly a magnet high school program. Some people think Foothil might have been helpful with the latter, but I read their request for proposals and listened carefully to them. That was not clear at all. Ultimately, Council was wise to hang on to the site with the idea that they would like to work with the district on a comprehensive strategic plan for the site's future. That planning would still have been needed (and would have been done in a terrible RUSH--prioritizing Foothill's deadlines and needs) if the Foothill deal had moved forward.

The city has built a lot of housing. We are going to need that space for schools and services to meet the demands of new residents. I don't see the south Palo Alto enrollment growth slowing. I see it heating up. Housing sales doubled in my neighborhood this year. I don't know what the rest of the city looks like, but the market is booming here with seniors selling to families with young children.

We welcome our new neighbors who are moving here, just like we did, for the excellent schools and extraordinary quality of life that we enjoy in Palo Alto.

Foothill is a wonderful institution, and I am grateful for all they offer Valley residents. Unfortunately, Cubberley was not the ideal site to accomodate them, given our community's current needs.

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Posted by Ken Horowitz
a resident of University South
on Jul 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Foothill College had a planned unique educational campus for the Cubberley site.It would have be ready in just a few short years with recommended modifications in regards to parking and traffic issues.It was presented to the City Council four years ago.This plan was not rushed nor developed in secret in the middle of the night.The City and the PAUSD did not act on this request for years until they were given a deadline.And now it has become a missed opportunity for Palo Alto residents.A $40M campus would have been a tremendous asset on Middlefield Road.

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Posted by Ollie
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 15, 2011 at 4:05 pm

The message that Palo Altan children don't attend community colleges is reckless. No wonder the suicide rate is out of control.

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Posted by Perspective
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 15, 2011 at 11:38 pm

I watched the hearing. All of the speakers, minus the one person Ms. Bechtel opted to quote, said wonderful things about Foothill and expressed regret that it couldn't work. This decision was not a rejection of Foothill. It was a decision to reserve flexiblity for our local public schools and community services (already in short supply) to grow to meet the demands of our growing population.

Palo Alto closed twelve schools and built a LOT of housing. It is time to create a vision for the future...rely less on incrementalism. What's the plan? Work together, please.

Foothill won't be that far away.

Now we have opportunity to make a plan for Cubberley...and I hope the district and the city will get to that quickly.

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Posted by susan
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 16, 2011 at 5:29 am

My son started off at UCLA and came home after freshman year. In order to figure out a major he attended West Valley, Mission, Foothill and Canada. He thoroughly enjoyed the quality of all the community colleges and was able to hold down two jobs, too, while attending them. Of the four colleges he raved the most about Foothill, especially after the shoddy teaching at UCLA (teaching assistants who never held office hours or even showed up). Palo Alto definitely lost a jewel but I understand our enrollment is growing and we need that space.

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Posted by matthew
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Disappointing to see how many people (and indeed the main thrust of the article) want to make this an issue to Palo Altoans rejecting Foothill or even community college in general. That's simply not what has happened. We just need the space.

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Posted by Alison
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jul 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It was a difficult decision, but we did the right thing.

I strongly believe the City should buy the Peninsula Day Care site and, as Cubberley becomes K-12 again, provide there the community resources that have been available at Cubberley. Quick, too, because there's Summerhill Homes has been trying hard to get it, and new homes there would burden the City with (on top of the loss of the playing field, the daycare slots and the potential for community rooms to be lost at Cubberley ) the expense of rebuilding the already seriously inadequate sewer line there, making current Palo Alto residents subsidize the developer's profit. (Yes, they got turned down for 23 homes but apparently they're trying again with a smaller number.)

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Posted by can't believe it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Need the space? I don't know if you have been watching, but we're paying millions extra in order to put up buildings to sandwich those kids at Gunn and Paly. IF there's a different plan, the leaders of those projects should take the responsibility for putting them on hold for a few weeks until the district irons out what it plans to do with the Cubberley property, because the Measure A money can be used more wisely to improve all 3 campuses if we aren't irretrievably committed to spending it a certain way at 2 in order to expand them.

I feel really jerked around by PAUSD. It sounds to me like they just want the city to sit on that land for them. Why shouldn't they? Instead of having to be responsible for doing the best job they can with the money they have, they feel they can always come back to us for more later (have said so in public meetings). Skelly gets to build huge edifices to himself at Gunn and destroy the indoor/outdoor feel of the campus (not to mention make the traffic on Arastradero 100 times worse, oh, and introduce systemic challenges to connectedness), and will blithely come back to us later for more money later.

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Posted by can't believe it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

In short:
I say, improve Gunn and Paly, don't expand. Use the money saved to reopen Cubberley instead. If the board was able to do due diligence on the Foothill question now, exactly why wasn't considering the future of the Cubberly site part of it? It's not like any of this is new.

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Posted by Why it happened
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2011 at 1:56 pm

RT has it right <Cubberley is needed to relieve the over-crowding and future growth ( which shouldn't be happening, but the City is constantly approving new housing.....Fry's site is next)
and huge 195 Page Mill is closer.
Thanks to developers and to the city council for approving so much housing and creating a big problem for the schools. A few people made a lot of money causing this.

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Posted by can't believe it
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Lots of good points. Don't forget we will soon be getting new community space at Mitchell Park, though I wish they had taken community input for the community space instead of just for the library. I voted for the measure largely on the promise of a new community center on our side of town and was dismayed to find it was just going to be a new version of basically the old limited functionality.

I think Palo Alto should think of using some of that Stanford money to acquire land or even buildings to allow others to develop and rent at a discount so long as the businesses benefit the community -- like allowing the bowling alley a cut rate, for example, or other children's programs.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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Contemporary Indian restaurant, Ettan, headed to Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 6,094 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,358 views

Is racism also a local problem?
By Diana Diamond | 37 comments | 1,100 views

Two degrees can do all that?
By Sherry Listgarten | 3 comments | 901 views

Tame, Maim and Claim the Wild Sea Vegetable
By Laura Stec | 1 comment | 486 views


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