News

Anonymous donor spurs major renovation plans at Addison Elementary School

Palo Alto school hopes to address overcrowding, revamp old facilities

A new two-story building, outdoor-learning environments, a maker's space, a multipurpose room that can actually fit the entire school — these are some of the items on Addison Elementary School's capital-improvements wish list, which could soon become a reality with potential funding from an anonymous donor.

A third-party representative for the donor approached the school district in May to communicate the donor's interest in making a "substantial" contribution toward facilities at Addison, said Bond Program Manager Bob Golton. Addison, which was founded in 1925, houses the oldest elementary-school classrooms in the entire district.

The donor subsequently funded a $25,000 planning grant for the district to engage its architect, the Addison site council and broader school community to identify what site improvements were most critical for the school and create a conceptual design.

Addison Principal Amanda Boyce created a site-planning committee made up of teachers and parent site-council members that, with Golton and the architect's support, kicked off a community-feedback process this fall, Boyce said.

The school started by surveying all of its second- through fifth-graders about what helps them learn best, what are the learning spaces on campus that they prefer — and which spaces need improvement, Boyce said. She then engaged with her staff to discuss how the physical site furthers, or hinders, the school's philosophy and mission, which is to "(support) students' learning and growth through clear and open communication, collaboration, taking risks, and building on the assets of one another with open minds."

Then in September, Addison hosted a schoolwide "design-thinking night," spearheaded by Boyce and a parent who works at the Stanford University Institute of Design, or d.school, to "engage the greater community to see, again, what could kids come up with that would help us build our dream school," Boyce said.

At this design night, parents interviewed their children about their experiences at school, identified facilities challenges — for example, crowded tables at lunchtime — and then designed prototypes that could solve the issues.

Boyce said taking better advantage of both indoor and outdoor spaces on Addison's campus emerged as a priority that night, as well as increased collaboration across campus, a larger multipurpose room (the current building can't accommodate all of Addison's 471 students, Boyce said) and a redesigned library. With obvious momentum around design thinking and innovation in education, building a maker's space is also "top on our list," she said.

The district architect, Lisa Gelfand of Gelfand Partners Architects in San Francisco, met with the planning committee several times throughout October to work through a conceptual design. A final version was presented at a joint staff-site council meeting on Nov. 12. and received "positive feedback," Boyce said. It was presented to the donor's representative the following week, which also drew a positive response, she said.

The conceptual design includes building a new two-story building that would house the administration on the bottom floor and a new library on the second floor. This building would also become the school's entrance, Boyce said, and be more visible along Webster Street.

Moving the library and administrative building from its current location — as one wing surrounded by all classrooms — would free up space to create what Boyce called an "academic learning quad" that "could be the center and the heart of the school." A small structure could be built close by to house the maker's space, she added.

This would also allow the school to get rid of four portables currently housing the entire fifth-grade class, Boyce said, with fourth- and fifth-graders moving into the new classroom space.

"It was a very big goal to get rid of the portables because they were just added as a necessity over the years," with growing demographics, Boyce said.

Taking out the portables would also free up more outdoor space, solving overcrowding on the school's field, Boyce added. The school has made piecemeal adjustments to address this, like staggering the primary and upper grades' eating and playing times so the entire school isn't out on the field at the same time, but Boyce said students need "more space to run and play." One idea is to build a multi-level "exploration" garden with tunnels and bridges.

"We are looking at every aspect of the campus," Boyce said. "We're redesigning in terms of not just classrooms and how you can redesign that, but what outdoor spaces can we create for that social-emotional learning and making sure kids are out there and exploring and having fun?"

The conceptual design also includes plans to demolish the existing multipurpose room and build a larger, more multifunctional space with flexible partition walls that could be used to create breakout learning spaces or smaller classrooms. The new space could also have a large open hangar door facing the school's field to make it an "indoor-outdoor space," Boyce said.

The next step is attaching a price tag to the project, Boyce said, and presenting that to the donor. The school hopes to seek board approval for the project in early 2016, Boyce wrote in a Dec. 8 message to families.

Under board policy, gifts more than $50,000 require an internal evaluation and approval process, led by the district's chief business official, and no bidding or work on a project can begin until it has been approved by the board and funds have been deposited in a district account.

If approved by the board, the school would then create focus groups to gather more input on how to design any new spaces, with an eye toward completing final schematic plans in June 2016, Boyce wrote in her principal's message.

The project will be further discussed at the school's next site council meeting Thursday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. in the Addison library.

School board policies on gifts

Under school board policy, donors are "encouraged" to make gifts to the district rather than to a particular school. At the superintendent's or designee's discretion, however, a donation can be used at a specific school. Donations to individual sites cannot be used for personnel costs during the school day.

The board's policy review committee is currently discussing this gifts policy. Under a proposed administrative regulation that would provide further guidance to the board's policy on gifts, the superintendent or a designee would be able to approve donations of less than $50,000, and amounts more than that would require board approval.

District Bond Program Manager Bob Golton said that he could not recall any major facilities gifts to elementary schools in recent years. Three elementary sites -- Duveneck, Fairmeadow and Ohlone -- have received significant upgrades and new buildings through the $378 million Strong Schools Bond voters approved in 2008.

There have been a few facilities donations at the secondary level. In 2007, the board accepted an anonymous donation, just under $3 million, to cover the cost of installing synthetic-turf fields at both Paly and Gunn. In 2014, a new track around the perimeter of Jordan Middle School's field was made possible with an anonymous $250,000 donation.

Perhaps the most significant facilities gift in the school district's history is the Peery family's $24 million donation, announced in 2013, to build a state-of-the-art athletic center at Palo Alto High School.

A board policy that was adopted in 2002 to address inequities in site-based fundraising stopped Palo Alto parent-teacher associations (PTAs) from raising money for specific schools to pay for personnel. In the wake of that policy adoption, which went into effect in 2004, nonprofit educational foundation Partners in Education (PiE) was launched to conduct districtwide fundraising, which is distributed equally to all schools on a per-student basis.

PiE is the only fundraising organization allowed by the school board to pay for salaries of personnel working during the school day, according to the group's website, while PTAs support materials, programs and events at individual schools. PTAs can also fund school improvements, playground equipment classroom enrichment and supplies, student scholarships for field trips and school-specific programs or events like assemblies.

The same year PiE formed, in 2005, the district's two high schools a parity problem in raising funds for new football stadium lights. While a few major Paly donors, including the quarterback's mother, stepped forward with more than $215,000 to pay for lighting structures, which were installed within months, boosters across town at Gunn -- inspired by Paly's new lights -- struggled to raise enough dollars to do the same. (They ultimately did and the lights were installed in 2006.)

Comments

13 people like this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 9, 2015 at 3:49 pm

Like very similar ideas for private funding tee'd up at the secondary school level, I don't see how this can possibly be criticized as a bad idea . . . . as long as PAUSD Board policies around fairness and equity are strictly followed.

And no preferences are given to the private donor in return.

Does anyone see this differently? (this is almost a rhetorical question as I'm sure someone in Palo Alto or on these anonymous online forums will object)


44 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm

This is interesting - a single donor paying for the upgrade of an entire school. How does this fit with "progressive parity" per Board Policy 7110 - "While recognizing that major facility renovations are incremental and sequential by nature ("progressive"), all facility improvements will be deliberately planned and phased to honor and work towards districtwide parity." Is there a plan to provide all the schools with MP room renovation (a need at many), new libraries, new classrooms replacing portables, and maker spaces?


9 people like this
Posted by Mike-Crescent Park
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Mike-Crescent Park is a registered user.

The school started by surveying all of its second- through fifth-graders about what helps them learn best, what are the learning spaces on campus that they prefer — and which spaces need improvement, Boyce said. She then engaged with her staff to discuss how the physical site furthers, or hinders, the school's philosophy and mission, which is to "(support) students' learning and growth through clear and open communication, collaboration, taking risks, and building on the assets of one another with open minds."

I find it hard to believe that second through fifth graders actually can provide anyone with valid information on what really makes them learn best. But if they can, it seems we could save hundreds of thousands in the consulting fees every project in Palo Alto eventually incurs.


46 people like this
Posted by PiE
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm

This is exactly why PiE was established so many years ago. The schools in the North were using fundraising dollars to pay for extra staff. It became an equity issue that needed resolving if the district was going to have campuses that provided equal educational experiences for all students.

I'm not sure when the district started accepting all of this money for specific site-related projects, but this is a step in the wrong direction. If the board wants to fix up Addison and remove portables, it should have put bond money into the budget. Instead, they took all of the site money and put it in a reserve. There is $60M sitting in a pot for elementary school renovations. Are we going to allocate an equal amount of this donation to each of the other schools with portables and old nasty MP rooms?


26 people like this
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2015 at 4:13 pm

While my children graduated some time ago from Palo Alto schools, and while my wife and I live in the Duveneck boundary, I wish to sincerely thank the anonymous donor. It's fantastic the donation will directly impact one of our elementary schools. Thank you very much!


52 people like this
Posted by Perspectives
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2015 at 4:46 pm

This is strange to hear. I could give a couple of examples of projects that were proposed at my own children's PAUSD elementary school that were ultimately turned down b/c it would not be "equitable" for all the elementary schools. They were projects with private funding. Some non-equality between schools going on here from what I can tell.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of University South
on Dec 9, 2015 at 8:05 pm

I think their goal is to create space by changing the site layout to accommodate student growth on a very small campus.


38 people like this
Posted by Long view
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 10, 2015 at 8:19 am

No offense, but that should have been done with the facilities bond. How much did paint and a few buildings cost again??


70 people like this
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:17 am

While I do feel it is wonderful that this much-needed improvement is getting done, I can't help but be a little suspicious.

In so many cases, the donor wants something big in return--either from the City or PAUSD-- a la Arrillaga.

There is simply no such thing as a free lunch.


52 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 10:24 am

Boy is the school district two faced.

When my kids were in school in Palo Alto there was a huge stink about the fact that Addison and other schools in the North part of town raised more money from parents then schools in the south part of town. The parents in Barron Park complained that it wasn't fair.

So the PiE was formed and money was supposed to be pooled and shared equally among all the schools.

Now, as soon as some parent want to give big bucks to some school in the north part of town, the PAUSD rolls over and says fine.

PAUSD clearly favors schools north of Oregon. Take a look at the landscaping at Addison, Walter Hays, etc and then compare it to the dead bushes at El Carmelo.

/marc


30 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 10:34 am

Crescent Park Mom is a registered user.

This school REALLY needs an upgrade. If someone is generous enough to cover the costs to get it done, bless you!! This checks one more school off the "50-year upgrade list" and allows District funds to flow to the other schools that need it.


24 people like this
Posted by Thanks but questions
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:15 am

This sound really wonderful. However is it really possible to make an anonymous donation like this to a government entity, which the school district is? Won't everyone know who it is? Will they go through a foundation and do it that way? If someone is going to have that much direct influence on our public schools, however charitable and generous, shouldn't we understand where they're coming from? Isn't it a public record who the district is interacting with in exploring same? What about the Roller & Hapgood site across the street, is that part of the proposal? An unrestricted gift to the district is one thing, but a directed gift where the donor has input over use of the money seems rather questionable, if they want to remain anonymous. Not questioning the generosity, just the public process for change and improvement, especially given McGee's latest.


41 people like this
Posted by who can it be?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:33 am

Maybe the Yahoo lady who bought the funeral home next door to the school?
Maybe trying to get leverage to change zoning for the land, and build her mansion, and have her kids go to Addison in a few years (just in time for the renovation to complete). That's what I call advance planning!
Or, am I too naive thinking such people's go to public schools?


13 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:40 am

Many of these comments are so off base. What's the harm in rebuilding one school so that the PAUSD resources for other upgrades can be focused on the rest/fewer schools? It's a win win if there ever was one! Furthermore, the gift is for Addison, not all the schools in Palo Alto. Thank you donor for this extremely generous donation!


18 people like this
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:51 am

Just to give you some history, Addison was recommended for closure by a committee of parents in the late 1970s when elementary enrollment was dropping dramatically after the baby boom generation had gone through the School District. However, the School Board decided to keep Addison as it was historically preserved and the oldest elementary school in Palo Alto. Sadly, one elementary school in north Palo Alto had to be sacrificed so Crescent Park was ultimately picked for closure.


44 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Seems bizarre that this hasn't been on the school board agenda. Was the board really in the dark about this one too? Why bother electing trustees if they are totally out of the loop?


39 people like this
Posted by did the board know about this?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:16 pm

"Furthermore, the gift is for Addison, not all the schools in Palo Alto."

This is exactly the fact that raises concerns. We have a board policy that requires equity among the schools and we have the PIE organization that is supposed to receive the funds. There are exceptions but not for construction. This raises policy considerations and to me it appears that this will be so far down the road and the community so attached by the time it gets to the board that McGee will have done another end run around the board's policy making authority. This is getting to be a familiar pattern.

The influence of private money in public education is a policy question for the board. McGee is going off half-cocked again.

Yes the board has flaws but if you don't like the board or have criticisms, the solution is to run for the board (like Dauber) and win, not to try to go around it with your money and influence.


7 people like this
Posted by Kerry
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Great news for Addison school that they are going to be remodeled and have wonderful spaces for children. I'm wondering why some of the elementary schools are overcrowded with many ugly trailers and bad school layout design/ functionality issues. Shouldn't State modernization funds have addressed these basic problems for our elementary schools? An interesting sidenote from the 50s, the original elementary schools had an architect who received his 12 design payments, even though all elementary schools were basically identical.
JLS could really use a total remodel!!


9 people like this
Posted by Aniela
a resident of Addison School
on Dec 10, 2015 at 2:35 pm

I think it is absolutely wonderful. Who cares if the donor has a child/children that will attend the school. It is the correct thing to do. Our child went to Addison and it is in need of major changes to make it efficient and able to accommodate the ever growing number of students living in the downtown area. I commend the donor.

I would hope that the donor does have children that can attend the rebuilt school. Public education is quite fantastic and we are extremely blessed in Palo Alto to have our schools. As a teacher at a private school, I would actually pay to go to the public Palo Alto schools versus some private schools out there.... Private does not mean better by any means!


24 people like this
Posted by did the board know about this?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 2:53 pm

This story does not correctly interpret board policies that govern this matter. This situation is governed by BP 7110, on Facilities Master Planning, which contains the following among the community values that MUST be followed in making facilities decisions (the language is mandatory "The district's facilities master plan shall reflect the following community values"): Web Link

Progressive Parity: Provide adequate and comparable school facilities, learning
environments, educational experiences, opportunities, and staffing ratios throughout the
district, including shared resources (such as libraries, subject specific classrooms, elective
spaces, support staff areas, and athletic/play/outdoor areas). While recognizing that
major facility renovations are incremental and sequential by nature ("progressive"), all
facility improvements will be deliberately planned and phased to honor and work towards
districtwide parity.

This means that the Board cannot approve something for one school merely because a private donor has decided that they want to pay for it if it would violate this requirement of progressive parity. Private money has a necessarily distorting effect on priorities and that is why this requirement exists. There was a planning process around the bond, and the items paid for reflected this community value. Along comes Rich Donor who doesn't like the way that the bond process identified school projects and says "I want this, I will pay for it." But what about the other schools that also would like a brand new and beautiful fancy MP room but lack Rich Donor?

This gift is a policy matter, the board is being circumvented again, and McGee is just basically dissolving the board and doing it his way. There are many other board policies and community values that reflect the commitment to equality among schools and comparability.

Here's another couple that matter. This is board policy 0100, the guiding philosophy of the district:

"Accountability for the district's programs and operations is shared by the entire
educational community, with the ultimate accountability resting with the Board as
the basic embodiment of representative government"

This policy also provides that "A high level of communication, trust, respect and teamwork among Board
members and the Superintendent contributes to effective decision making. " I think that someone forgot to ensure that McGee received his BP Manual.


34 people like this
Posted by 6 Generations
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm

We came to Palo Alto in the late 1800s so we have seen innumerable and positive changes. Unfortunately, one thing that has never changed, at least in the past 60 years, has been the way the city continues to cater to the north. Today it is often just more subtle, under the linen cloth. When I was a child the term "South of Oregon" was often used as if those in that part of town were less worthy than those north of Oregon.

Having said that, if this donor was giving to a school in the southern section of town , would some of the comments be praising the donor instead of criticizing? Did the donor go to Addison? Did several generations in the donor's family go? If the donor went, did Addison provide the donor with what we'd wish all teachers and schools would give every student? The skepticism and negative attacks regarding the donor's motives are alarming considering the commentors don't know the donor. Maybe, just maybe, this donor simply wanted to share his or her love of the community by helping our kids - who don't give two hoots about north versus south nor PC anything!


31 people like this
Posted by cm
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm

The big problem with Addison and so many of our other elementary schools is that it was designed to have - at most - 3 classes in each grade. That would be 20 students/class X 6 grade levels (K-5) X 3 classes = 360 students. In fact when my kids first started there, many years ago, there weren't even that many. Poor planning by allowing too much housing and cramming too many students into the school has made it a portable classroom nightmare. The portables take up the playing space and the facilities, like the MP room and eating area can't house all the students.

Some may feel that the answer is to stack the kids up into larger multilevel buildings. But if the goal is to provide an excellent educational experience, I maintain that these schools are too big. When my kids were there the principal knew all the kids by name and most grade levels teachers knew all the kids in their grade and many others. At the current size this is just not possible and that's when kids start to fall between the cracks. Smaller schools offer a more intimate experience.

It is time to stop cramming students into crowded mega-facilities. Yes, it is a shame that the school district sold off dozens of school sites in the 70s - but they need to bite the bullet and buy some land and open some new schools. That combined with the ability of the residents of this city to stop the crazy population growth and concentrate on building a sustainable and balanced city that can provide adequate educational space for its students in a small enough environment that they are known, encouraged and educated.


22 people like this
Posted by did the board know about this?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 4:40 pm

What will happen when the district opens a 13th elementary school or a 14th as it is currently discussing -- will this construction be pointless and wasted? This is cart before the horse again.

[Portion removed.]

School board, are you just ceremonial or do you have a purpose? If so, take the reins back.


37 people like this
Posted by The Rest of Us
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2015 at 5:59 pm

I sure hope someone super rich and motivated moves into my Palo Alto 'hood so our neighborhood school can get some of that fancy stuff Addison is going to get. Just another reason for my family not to donate to PiE anymore. Why donate to the one big PiE pot when private donors with big bucks are welcomed at individual school sites? The "U" in PAUSD is a farce.


6 people like this
Posted by the rest of you
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2015 at 7:26 pm

PiE came into existence because the people in south PA couldn't raise the funds themselves so they wanted to take the money from north PA.

Ok, that was years ago. I get it.

Times have changed and there is no reason south PA can't now raise their own funds. There is nor reason to continue supporting PiE. If you want more money for your school, start to raise the funds yourself!

Schools auctions raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and promote neighborhood connectedness. No one buys school supplies, it's all funded. [Portion removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Gunn Alum
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 10, 2015 at 7:56 pm

@the rest of you - Wow, you really have no clue, do you? PiE came into existence because the schools in the north were using PTA funds to pay for extra aides, thereby decreasing the student to staff ratio. It caused an equality issue in the district and kids in south Palo Alto were not getting the same education as those in the north.

The wealth distribution in this town has not changed. There is a reason home prices jump as soon as you cross Oregon Expressway.


3 people like this
Posted by weird
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 10, 2015 at 8:20 pm

@GA,

House prices south of Oregon are now far above house prices when PiE started. Wealth is probably far above that when PiE started.

Regardless, it seems totally weird to promote "parity" by stopping those north of Oregon from donating instead of asking those south of Oregon to step up.


13 people like this
Posted by Parity....How do we work together as a community?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Parity:

$24 million for Paly Gym
$60,000 for Paly journalism program
$25,000 for Addison design work plus unknown additional sum for massive renovation.

These are big numbers. I don't object to donation (and Addison definitely needs improvement), but I wonder how a public school district maintains parity with this going on. This is a worthwhile discussion; however, the tone of the thread has just gotten ugly. Let's be civil.

Many families in the south do not own their homes. They rent. Much of Palo Alto's affordable housing is in the south end of town. South PA schools (excluding choice programs) carry many kids on the federal school lunch program (a key marker for real poverty).


21 people like this
Posted by Gunn Alum
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:10 pm

Housing prices in the north have gone up just as much.
I'm not saying the donor shouldn't give the funds. I'm saying that the district needs to look at the whole picture. Maybe this donation is enough to open two new elementary schools, making the MP rooms large enough for a smaller student body and allowing them to get rid of the portables altogether.
There is no reason to stuff 450+ kids into a school built for 360.


6 people like this
Posted by volunteer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:11 pm

So if those in South Palo Alto believe in parity with neighboring schools, by that logic we should distribute the money raised privately with schools in East Palo Alto, too. They are our neighbors, too, shouldn't we be sharing our pot with them?

When PiE started, the schools in North Palo Alto had lots of volunteers who worked hard to raise money so all schools could benefit. Although South Palo Alto residents complained the loudest about the disparity, the schools in those neighborhoods did not have nearly as many people willing to volunteer and pitch in to get parents at their schools to donate. It's okay to want parity, but you have to be willing to help out and do the hard work to get donations once the system is in place. It's not okay to just complain and then not pitch in to make sure that parents from all over the district are giving at a level that is meaningful to them.


32 people like this
Posted by did the board know about this?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 9:13 pm

The ugly tone of North/South mine/yours is ENTIRELY the fault of Max McGee, who stirred this hornet's nest and disturbed the PIE compromise by just wildcatting and engaging the entire Addison school community in working with an architect and drawing up plans for their "dream school" without properly going through the right channels and getting board approval.

There is no way this should be this far down the road without the board even knowing. That is astounding.

Good luck getting this toothpaste back into the tube.

[Portion removed.]


28 people like this
Posted by concerned
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 10:09 pm

We have a public school system. Decisions to make major renovations should rest with the elected school board.

I remember a situation in the '90s when a group of parents wanted to build a new multipurpose room at Addison. The idea was promptly rejected as this one should be UNLESS Addison is "in line" for this sort of major renovation OR the donor is willing to fund the projects that are in line before Addison as well as Addison.

I don't buy into the North vs South argument. South has a fabulous new library/community center, the Y, the JCC, Cubberly. But I don't believe rich parents should be able to finance the public school they want for their children.


27 people like this
Posted by Barron Park parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Did the PAUSD Board know about this or not? I appreciate free private money as much as anyone, but I would like an answer to this question, as I don't understand how it passes muster with the "progressive parity" Board policy.

Can we get the Board to comment or explain?


35 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2015 at 12:45 am

Whether some or all of the Board was informed of this - and how well informed - is unclear. It is clear that the Board has never discussed in open session, so by definition there has been no opportunity whatsoever to discuss whether they would accept the proposed donation, how it impacts "progressive parity," and how the community should discuss and decide this.

Dr. McGee seems to be taking the approach that he will just tee up projects he likes, working with whatever interest groups and donors he likes, and then leave it to the Board to say yes or no at the end. That was his stated approach on the XQ school proposal - it was a "placeholder," done without any Board input or discussion, that the Board could accept or reject later.

The problem with this is that it pits the Superintendent, teamed up with a wealthy donor and/or interest group, against the Board - he leads the project down the path without Board discussion or buy-in, and then dares the Board to turn it down after a constituency has been built and it is presented as a fait accompli. This is naive at best and insubordinate at worst - certainly not what we should get for the kind of $$$ Dr. McGee is paid.


9 people like this
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 11, 2015 at 11:21 am

First of all - thanks so much to the Donor! Our kids went to Addison and it is a great school, but could absolutely have a better space plan. As for "ulterior motives" from the donor, I think the motive is simply improving the neighborhood school the donor's children will attend. Sometimes people just do nice things.

As far as equity between school sites, there is already a huge difference in size and space at our school sites. Hays has access to the Junior Museum, Rinconada Park, and the Children's Library. Ohlone has the Farm and lots of relatively new flexible space. Fairmeadow and Hoover have access to Mitchell Park and the new Library. You get the point.

Spending donor money on one school frees up money to be spent on other school sites.


16 people like this
Posted by Long View
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 11, 2015 at 12:16 pm

@volunteer,
Ahem, south and north Palo Alto are in the same City and school district. East Palo Alto is not. You have just made a completely specious and unsupported argument in favor of unequal distribution if resources within a district based on whether people want to give to a district in another city.

You follow that with a justification, saying you think south Palo Alto parent volunteers don't work as hard or give as much. Hey Gunn parent volunteers, did you realize the reason your school looks so decrepit compared to Paly and so much less was spent on your new gym is because you don't volunteer as much as north parents and hence no longer deserve parity of resources across the district?

@concerned,
South isn't just one place - a large segment of the south side of town is segmented from those resources by El Camino, Alma, the rail tracks, and east west streets that are untenable. Those resources have no "adjacency" to many neighborhoods in that side of town, where there are no community assets whatsoever except the ones residents paid for themselves, such as in Barron Park. Community meetings I've attended have typically had to be held in private spaces. All community assets are a bear to get to now be ause of the traffic.


9 people like this
Posted by menlo resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 11, 2015 at 12:19 pm

So sad that a simple thank you for clearing up public funds for other schools is insufficient and, in fact, questioned. How is this not a net gain for the other schools which can then use the money not needed by Addison...

Is it really best to hold all back until every student can walk along....rather frightening thought to me. Let's keep all to the lowest common denominator; can that really work to the advantage of society as a whole? Or is it best to improve what we are able to improve, bringing others along as we go.


13 people like this
Posted by Long View
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 11, 2015 at 12:19 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by Long View
a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

@menlo resident,
Was there money allocated to improve Addison that won't be used? Because most of the schools got very little except added classroom capacity.

If the donor is indeed giving money to free up planned improvements, that's one thing. But that's not really what's happening, no matter how you parse it. You're buying one child a penthouse in manhattan and saying it's freeing up space in your old house for the other kids so why would they grumble? The concept of fairness in education, especially within a district, has pretty significant legal implications.


5 people like this
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

@Long View - The improvements at Addison aren't "buying one child a penthouse" they would upgrade a whole school with the oldest buildings in the District and I think the smallest geographic site for 500 children every year. Our schools can't and don't have parity at the school sites. They are different size lots, different amounts of students, different programs, different locations, etc.

Improving Addison takes nothing away from the other students in PAUSD.


6 people like this
Posted by menlo resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm

@ Long View: If money was allocated to renovate Addison and is now not needed because of a specific donation, then this is a net positive. If money was NOT allocated and is therefore not needed, then another net positive. Pretty unclear as to where the loss to society is in improving schools for students without encumbering assets which can be used to improve other schools.

Or we could just become socialists and wait for the government to assign what is just for society....


11 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 13, 2015 at 10:21 am

All those who are advocating for parity ought to take a trip to east palo alto schools. Why are north palo alto schools forced to share resources with wealthy south palo alto schools when closer schools in east palo alto have so little funds?


5 people like this
Posted by Duveneck Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2015 at 10:35 am

This school needs an upgrade and it would be so positive for future Addison school children. I'd hate to see the children lose out on this because parents at other schools block it because they did not have someone donating an equal amount to their school. If anything, it will free up future capital funds for other PAUSD schools that would go to Addison instead.


45 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 13, 2015 at 10:54 am

Can't that argument be made for any contribution - it just frees up money for other things? But unless the project was going to be done anyway, it doesn't free up money; it just gives that particular school something other schools don't have.

Since there has been no program in place to update older MP rooms and libraries, and add Maker spaces (except in unused classrooms), it seems hard to argue that this donation would meet the "progressive parity" test. Read that again - there is no program in place, these projects were not scheduled.

It seems like you have your checkbook ready, you can get what you want at PAUSD nowadays.


39 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm

There are a host of serious problems with allowing a private donation of this magnitude to make one school so much better than the other 12 in a public school system. Democracy depends on a few things: (1) the relative equality and fairness of distributional outcomes; and (2) governance that is by an elected board rather than by wealthy individuals acting behind the scenes.

If either of these two conditions breaks down, the democratic governance of the district also breaks down. Here are some examples of how this donation could be corrosive and destructive to democratic governance of the district. As "Parity?" Barron Park points out, there is no plan of any kind currently in place for any school in the district to create new MP rooms or maker spaces or fancy special multistory play spaces. If a wealthy individual is permitted to obtain these things for one school, but the others can never have them, then that breaks the linked fate of all schools. It creates a race in which wealthy donors will emerge to get these or other things that they want for Walter Hays and Duveneck but schools which lack wealthy benefactors will never obtain them. This will create fundamental differences in both space and the curricular decisions driven by space among schools and these gaps will be north south gaps.

Second, the ability to make improvements across the district depends on the ability of the district to pass bond measures. If some schools are able to purchase better facilities without bonds through the use of private funds, then those parents have little or no incentive to vote to pass bond measures that will benefit other schools, primarily in south Palo Alto. That will disrupt and possibly destroy the ability of the district to fund improvements altogether.

Max McGee should not have allowed this situation to get this far down the road. He is obviously someone who sees no harm from taking private money for any purpose, and who sees no problem in concealing or distorting information given to the board and the public. Whether this is characterological or simply that he is not paying attention is beside the point. It's bad.


6 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@parent - so if you have two kids, and I give $1 to the first, and $2 to the second, you are arguing that the first child is now worse off, and both should get $0. That pretty much sums up why Palo Alto is the most underachieving city in the country given its resources.


52 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2015 at 2:40 pm

No it's like if you give a toy car to my kid and a brand new Tesla S to your own kid and then tell my kid to shut it and stop being divisive and be grateful for his toy car and wait for the wealth to trickle down.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 13, 2015 at 8:22 pm

No sense giving a brand new Tesla to someone who couldn't afford the insurance.


5 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 13, 2015 at 9:09 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@ parent - OK, keep following your own logic. I shouldn't be allowed to give me kid a Tesla because you can't afford to give your kid a Tesla? Is your kid worse off because my kid has a Tesla, and your kid got a Corolla? You'd rather neither kid receive anything?


31 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Both kids should receive the Honda Civic that the school district is able to afford. That's what being part of a district (rather than just one school with private funding) means. A Honda Civic is a great car, by the way. You can go buy a Tesla. That's called private school though.

McGee, stop privatizing our public schools and pandering to the super rich.


15 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 14, 2015 at 12:28 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@parent - You can have two Civics because the district didn't have to pay for the Tesla - everyone wins.


19 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 14, 2015 at 7:40 am

No one needed a Tesla so "not having to pay for it" is not a benefit. But now the Tesla has to be serviced because it is so unreliable -- it needs a lot of maintenance and the doors keep jamming. Bob Golton has to learn how to fix a Tesla and get it serviced frequently at the specialty Tesla place. Most of Bob's time is being devoted to handing the Tesla issues, instead of just ensuring that everyone has their Civic.


30 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 14, 2015 at 8:48 am

I don't know anything about Teslas and Civics, but I am familiar with our board policy of "progressive parity," which says "all facility improvements will be deliberately planned and phased to honor and work towards districtwide parity."

So parity IS our policy - period. You can't buy a better school for your child. If people want to change that, they can talk to the Board or work to get new people elected. In the meantime, I hope the donor sees fit to give their money to PIE or to the district directly, for the benefit of all the students of PAUSD.


30 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2015 at 9:24 am

There was a story from a number of years ago ( could be urban myth) that Steve Jobs wanted to pay out of his own pocket to renovate the park near his home so his children didn't have to go over to Rinconada park to play.

The park near his home was not scheduled to be renovated for a number of years. He was willing to pay out of his own pocket, follow the plans the city had already drawn up but move the renovation to the front of the list. The city would save money and his nanny and children wouldn't have to cross Embarcadero.

The city turned him down saying if they allowed this, the everyone who had money would want to be moved to the front of the list and wouldn't be fair to those that didn't have money.

Seems like the same thing. Next you will have parents wanting to supplement salaries and added teachers at their local school.

/marc


7 people like this
Posted by Barron Park dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 14, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Let's just get the school board to clarify their position on this. Will they allow the District to accept the money or not? The issue is not whether donors should make the offer. The issue is whether we can accept it.

Can one of the board members comment on this via their respective web pages and newsletters?

If they are not reading this online forum, surely they have friends who can relay the question to them.


6 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 14, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Given that the Board has never been presented with any info on this, aside from what has appeared in the press, or had any opportunity to discuss as a group, it would seem premature to ask them to state their positions for the record.

That's an issue onto itself - the Super has enabled this to go forward to this point without any board discussion. This puts the board in the position of potentially saying "no" to a crowd of Addison supporters who contributed to and would directly benefit from the plan. Of course the Board can always "just say no," and in this case they probably should; but Super should have gathered their collective input in the first place.


3 people like this
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm

The Board would be foolish to say no to this donation and there is already a precedent for accepting a private donation for school construction - the Paly gym. This could also set the bar higher for the rest of the school sites with the idea of improving some of their community spaces also.


10 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 14, 2015 at 4:05 pm

@palo alto mom - there are have been other donations made as well, but all were careful to observe the "progressive parity" policy. The Paly gym donation could not have happened, in my opinion, if Gunn had not just built a new gym and renovated its existing gym. Paly did not get artificial turf until Gunn got it as well. Unless there is a plan to ensure all the schools get something, we can't accept donations so that one school can, no matter how generous or well-intended. There is no plan to do for the other elementaries what is being proposed for Addison; in fact, at this point there is no plan for elementary school improvements at all.


7 people like this
Posted by Long View
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 8:03 am

@Parity? and Mom,

The Gunn gym usn't a good example here, because the gym/athletic center cost $12 million, while the new Paly gym will cost ~$40 million, ~$13 - $16 million of which are district funds. The donor required the district to do the construction through lease-leaseback in order to use the donor's preferred contractor and accept the gift. And then somehow this came with a requirement to spend an additional amount of money that exceeds what was spent to build the Gunn athletic center. This is highly illegal, to use lease leaseback to avoid a bidding process with district funds. The reason for all this was chasing the gift. (Could they not have used a small fraction of it to replace the floor boards of the new Gunn gym that are already potato chipping?)

No matter how bad any financial issue stinks around here, still there is no accountability, and no one minding the store. I am glad for donations, but not if the price involves good governance, ethics, parity, and a few souls to boot. Could we not have been more proactive? It sure seems that a benevolent donor would want to work within the bounds of school rules and keep things above board.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

@long view - the reason the Paly gym donor wanted to control the construction is to make sure it happened as quickly as possible to minimize the time Paly was without a gym. District controlled construction takes forever as does the City controlled construction (think Mitchell Park).


15 people like this
Posted by unenvious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:26 am

My kids don't go to Addison, but I don't begrudge them their new facilities. All our schools are a little different from each other and that's just dandy. The kids don't give a rats-ass if Addison has a makerspace. Some Palo Alto parents are just too involved in micro-managing the schools. Thank you anonymous donors. Contrary to what you might feel reading the comments, most parents in Palo Alto are grateful too.


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:32 pm

I remember before PIE, one of the elementaries, I think Fairmeadow, had a dedicated science room which all the classes could use. There was also a dedicated aide for that room with a science credential. This was all funded I believe by the school PTA. The argument was that this was providing an unfair advantage to those elementary kids.

It may start with a building, but it can end up in providing all sorts of inequalities all over the district.


4 people like this
Posted by Long View
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:41 pm

@mom,
That's fine, if the donor ponied up all the money and didn't require taxpayers to foot as much if a bill or more than they did across town. They may have had good reasons, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. There are also reasons that the law requires a bidding process. The simple fact is that using lease leasevpback to avoid a bidding process is illegal if public funds are involved.. If the donor wanted to circumvent it, then the gift should have been more comprehensive, or the design should have been closer to what was done across town for less.

I'm not suggesting this is the case here, but it's very easy to see how such a situation could be used as a kind of bait and switch with the donor using the district and not actually putting in the funds promised. We would never know because this district doesn't really do oversight.

@parity,
You have a point about parity across the state between towns, but East Palo Alto shares only a name with Palo Alto and is not within the same city borders, nor does it have the same tax base, city government, school district. It's not even in the same county, is it? It for sure does not even share the same funding basis as Palo Alto. To reoeat: East Palo Alto is a digferent city with a similar name. Some students are shared through the Tinskey transfer program (interestingly, a lawsuit about fairness), but the kids have to do interdistrict transfers to attend. Schools in south and north Palo Alto are in the same district and administered by the same entities and paid for with the same budget. Fairness is a fundamental principle in public education written into the codes locally and at the state level. If you don't like it, as has been stated, there us school for people who don't like that called "private school". Entities with principles turn down donations all the time. Your senator isn't allowed to take personal "donations" from rich people either, even though it would in principle free up the senator's salary dollars for other things. NPR turned down a huge donation from Kuwait. I don't think it's necessary to turn down donations, but stewards of the district should educate donors about the best way to make an impact within the principles and public guidelines. A sincere donir wanting to improve public district will understand.

@envious,
I think it's really sad that anyone would couch the essential issue of fairness in public education, about which there are many laws for important reasons, as a matter if envy. That's just manipulative.


5 people like this
Posted by unenvious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 2:01 pm

@Long View: Our schools are all equitable in the only thing that matters. The students by and large come from families that care about the students' education, and can support that education in numerous ways. Everything else is window dressing and pretty much irrelevant to the eventual outcome. What does it matter if Addison fortuitously gets new facilities next? Other schools will eventually have upgrades, donors or no donors. The "long view" should be over decades.



4 people like this
Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 2:04 pm

To give some examples of existing lack of parity at our elementary schools:

Ohlone - multiple "flex spaces" to be used for a variety of learning purposes, the Ohlone Farm, Mandarin Immersion Programm
Duveneck - multiple "flex spaces" to be used for a variety of learning purposes, NO portables!
Escondido - Dedicated science lab and science teacher, Spanish Immersion Program

I'm sure other schools have other assets that are unique to them.

It sounds like this would be closer to bringing Addison in line than to upgrading it far above other schools!


1 person likes this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 2:43 pm

@palo alto parent - the MI and SI programs are not features of those schools - they are separate programs, open to all through a district-wide lottery.

Ohlone's Farm is not a big capital investment item, so far as I know - if other schools wanted to convert some of their playspace to farmspace and organize curriculum around it, they probably could; I'm not sure any others do.

Duveneck's expansion was, in retrospect, likely a mistake - it was approved, on a 3-2 vote, before it was realized that enrollment in the north was shrinking. It was designed to provide classrooms, not flex space.

Schools do have unique features, it's true - Barron Park and Hoover have Maker spaces already, for instance - but in this case we are talking about a $10M (guess) capital improvement, and not to handle capacity (as at Duveneck). In my mind that's a different animal.

@unenvious - if it is all window dressing, as you say, then I suppose there is no harm in passing up the gift, to support civic harmony. The Addison students have the most important things already. As the saying goes, "enough is as good as a feast."


3 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Crescent Park Mom is a registered user.

Couple of thoughts...
PIE is for STAFF only. Its only job is to provide fair distribution of fundraising money for staff needed throughout PAUSD. PIE doesn't provide any tangible stuff or capital for improvements. So it wouldn't be appropriate to give money to PIE for capital improvements. Parents should give to PIE to cover the headcount needed to provide counselors, low teacher to student ratios, unique and relevant special programming, etc. They do a great job getting money into the right schools so that staffing is balanced across all schools in PAUSD. Major kudos to all the parents that work tirelessly behind the scenes to fund-raise for PIE and all the parents that give so generously every year.

The PTA, on the other hand, provides STUFF. Parents provide annual donations to their children's school PTAs to pay for school supplies, programming and some minor capital (ie play structures, tables/chairs for students, etc). For the Gunn High School floor example, this is where I would go. If Gunn HS gym floor is peeling up, and the original contractor won't come back and fix it, the Principal could ask the PTA if they have the funds to cover the costs in their reserves. Many PTAs in PAUSD have the funds to cover these costs in their reserves right now. They just need to be told its a priority by the school administration and make a budget adjustment proposal to parents for approval. If they don't have the reserves to cover the expenditure, the PTA can budget it for the following year, get the budget approved by the parents and then increase their per-child fundraising "ask" from parents the following year and attempt to raise the funds to get it done.

Major capital improvements have come from bond money or donations. In the last few years we've seen major facility improvements to Ohlone, Fairmeadow, Duveneck, JLS, Jordan, Terman, Gunn, and Paly, with minor improvements to the other elementary schools as well as technology improvements (I don't see any preference for a particular part of Palo Alto here. Looks like they hit all high schools, all middle schools, and fairly chose three elementary schools from across the District). The costs for each school are expensive and anyone who wants to donate funds to get any of the remaining elementary schools upgraded and reduce the amount of additional bond money we need to raise to upgrade the remaining elementary schools gets a gold star from me.

More about the projects that have been completed so far or are in process: Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm

@CPM - I think you misunderstand what was done with the bond projects for elementary schools.

Fairmeadow, Ohlone, and Duveneck all received EXPANSIONS, not upgrades. The primary project at all three was the addition of a two story classroom building; all significantly increased their number of classrooms. Fairmeadow and Duveneck also received some library expansion (in line with capacity expansion); Ohlone added a flex room (and still is way tight). But the primary purpose of these projects was to add classrooms. The schools were not chosen to spread upgrades "across the district" but based on expected enrollment growth and available room to grow.

What is being proposed at Addison is strictly an upgrade. No new classrooms are proposed - indeed, none are needed, given several open classrooms at both Duveneck and Hays and shrinking enrollment in the North.

There is no plan in place today to upgrade our elementary schools. No projects are in the pipeline; all elementary projects were stopped after Duveneck. So the donation doesn't reduce the amount of money needed for future upgrades - it provides an upgrade to Addison that has not been given to, and is not planned for, any other school.


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Posted by Resource Use
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm

It's nice if they get remodeled buildings, but concerned about this school's responsible use of resources after this school filed 2 legal cases against disabled students in a single year.
To gain Board of Education approval promotion of Administrators, and to allow the Administrators to use the same lawyers after they were promoted, Administrators told the Board it doesn't incur legal fees since it "settled" cases. What it didn't tell the Board was the District initiated the legal cases, meaning any legal costs incurred were created by the District, not the children.
When the District initiates a legal case and then settles them, this indicates they saw they were not likely to win, or that a judge ordered the case dismissed. The legal resources were better spent elsewhere. It takes school employees to initiate these cases and testify against its disabled students. Major construction will create years of disruption to the downtown community. The final result could be greatly beneficial, but it can't be for this type of resource use to continue.


2 people like this
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 21, 2015 at 10:51 am

@parity - one of the goals of the Addison donation would be to eliminate the portables (I think there are six or so) and house ALL classes in permanent buildings. Some of the other construction bond $$ - for example at Duveneck - was used to do exactly that, replace portables with permanent classrooms. Some of the portables are at Addison are at lease 15 years old!

Permanent classrooms would provide parity to Addison students!


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Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

@palo alto mom - many portables around the district are 10-20 years old, that's not unusual. There is no plan currently in place to replace them with permanent structures; indeed, most are in very good condition and in some cases preferable to older, permanent buildings (larger rooms, better climate control). But if the plan were simply to replace portables with permanents, perhaps that could be justified. Right now, my understanding is that the proposal at Addison is much, much bigger than that.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm

@parity - it sounds like the new building at Addison would allow the office, library etc. to move from their current space and that vacated space would be used as classrooms. The space where the portables currently are would revert back to play space (I think Addison has the least per student square footage of play space in the District).

And perhaps this would encourage a campaign to eliminate all the older portables that aren't in good shape.


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Posted by Parity?
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 22, 2015 at 1:50 pm

@Palo Alto Mom - I think the district is able to eliminate or repair any portable that are not in very good condition without any special campaign. Are the ones at Addison in poor condition? The principal should let the building people know; portables are not that expensive and there is no need to have any that are not in good condition. I have personally been in 20 year old portables that I thought were indistinguishable from new and every bit as comfortable and usable as any permanent classroom.

According to the data I have seen, Addison does have more children per play area than other schools, but within 10% of Duveneck and Fairmeadow, the next two, so the difference is not dramatic. Really the best solution would probably be to re-draw the lines further to shift attendance from Addison to Hays - Hays has dropped over 60 students in the last 2 years, and will likely drop another 25-50 next year (there are 3 Kindergartens vs. 5 fifth grades). That's a far easier and effective solution than re-building Addison school.


3 people like this
Posted by Parity?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm

This item is now on the Board agenda for this week. Web Link The proposed price tag is $17 million. That seems like a HUGE amount to spend on a single elementary site. Fairmeadow added an 8 classroom two-story building (expanding its capacity), plus a significant library expansion, for $7.5 million - less than half what is being proposed here. Duveneck and Ohlone had $20M spent between the two of them, and both added capacity.

Something doesn't seem right here. Is this another Peery gym, where we allow a donor to buy the "deluxe" model for their favored school, while the other schools get the "basic" model? Is the board going to allow this?


3 people like this
Posted by about time!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 21, 2016 at 7:28 pm

wow, looks like a huge improvement. Finally getting rid of those portables and sorting out the MP room that was trashed by that teenager.


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