News

Board seeks new school, more campus housing in Stanford growth plan

Members ask university to consider impact of proposed expansion on district

The Palo Alto school board will vote Tuesday on a set of requests for Stanford University to consider in its updated general use permit (GUP), including the need to open a new elementary school and add more on-campus housing to accommodate planned growth.

A revised letter, which will be sent to Santa Clara County as part of a public comment period on the GUP's draft environmental-impact report, asks that Stanford move a potential school site identified in its plan to a different location on the northeast side of campus.

A new neighborhood school is necessary to accommodate a planned influx in Stanford faculty and staff and prevent further traffic problems, according to the district. The two Palo Alto Unified elementary schools that currently serve Stanford students, Escondido and Nixon, are at capacity. To have new students attend Palo Alto Unified campuses farther away would increase traffic at peak hours, the letter states.

Opening a new school on the university's campus "is the only solution that preserves reasonable school-enrollment size and avoids the very poor alternatives either making enrollment at Escondido/Nixon larger or dispensing with the value of a neighborhood school and creating an unacceptable travel burden for parents and students," the letter states.

Stanford has proposed building 2.275 million net new square feet of academic buildings, 3,150 housing units and 40,000 net new square feet of child care centers between 2018 and 2035. Of the planned housing, 1,700 are for undergraduates students, 900 units are for graduates (mostly singles or couples) and 550 for faculty and staff, according to the university.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

The letter argues that more on-campus housing will be necessary to prevent Stanford from purchasing residential properties in Palo Alto to lease to faculty and staff — properties that would be tax-exempt. This would have a "negative impact" on the school district, which relies heavily on property tax revenue, the letter states.

"The university should be required to provide additional on-site housing to accommodate the full population increase," the letter states.

The board also requests that Stanford commit to not seeking exemptions for new developments under the new general use permit that would house students attending Palo Alto Unified schools.

The board is asking Stanford to more directly consider the impact of its proposed expansion on the district. If the university realizes more than 550 family housing units will be necessary to accommodate growth, for example, the district requests that school capacity be a "formal part of the discussion and consideration."

In other business Tuesday, the board will discuss a request from interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks to waive its two-meeting rule to support a county proposal to build teacher housing in Palo Alto. Last week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously directed staff to seek partners, including local school districts, to build 60 to 120 units of affordable housing on a county-owned site at 231 Grant Ave.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Citing the importance of addressing housing needs for both current and prospective teachers, Hendricks recommends the board authorize district staff to work with the county, city of Palo Alto and neighboring school districts in a "cooperative structuring of this housing effort."

The board is also set to discuss term limits for its members, goal updates and a plan to implement new state guidelines on dyslexia.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave. View the agenda here.

Related content:

• Watch Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss Stanford's proposed expansion on a "Behind the Headlines" webcast.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Board seeks new school, more campus housing in Stanford growth plan

Members ask university to consider impact of proposed expansion on district

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 29, 2018, 1:28 pm

The Palo Alto school board will vote Tuesday on a set of requests for Stanford University to consider in its updated general use permit (GUP), including the need to open a new elementary school and add more on-campus housing to accommodate planned growth.

A revised letter, which will be sent to Santa Clara County as part of a public comment period on the GUP's draft environmental-impact report, asks that Stanford move a potential school site identified in its plan to a different location on the northeast side of campus.

A new neighborhood school is necessary to accommodate a planned influx in Stanford faculty and staff and prevent further traffic problems, according to the district. The two Palo Alto Unified elementary schools that currently serve Stanford students, Escondido and Nixon, are at capacity. To have new students attend Palo Alto Unified campuses farther away would increase traffic at peak hours, the letter states.

Opening a new school on the university's campus "is the only solution that preserves reasonable school-enrollment size and avoids the very poor alternatives either making enrollment at Escondido/Nixon larger or dispensing with the value of a neighborhood school and creating an unacceptable travel burden for parents and students," the letter states.

Stanford has proposed building 2.275 million net new square feet of academic buildings, 3,150 housing units and 40,000 net new square feet of child care centers between 2018 and 2035. Of the planned housing, 1,700 are for undergraduates students, 900 units are for graduates (mostly singles or couples) and 550 for faculty and staff, according to the university.

The letter argues that more on-campus housing will be necessary to prevent Stanford from purchasing residential properties in Palo Alto to lease to faculty and staff — properties that would be tax-exempt. This would have a "negative impact" on the school district, which relies heavily on property tax revenue, the letter states.

"The university should be required to provide additional on-site housing to accommodate the full population increase," the letter states.

The board also requests that Stanford commit to not seeking exemptions for new developments under the new general use permit that would house students attending Palo Alto Unified schools.

The board is asking Stanford to more directly consider the impact of its proposed expansion on the district. If the university realizes more than 550 family housing units will be necessary to accommodate growth, for example, the district requests that school capacity be a "formal part of the discussion and consideration."

In other business Tuesday, the board will discuss a request from interim Superintendent Karen Hendricks to waive its two-meeting rule to support a county proposal to build teacher housing in Palo Alto. Last week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously directed staff to seek partners, including local school districts, to build 60 to 120 units of affordable housing on a county-owned site at 231 Grant Ave.

Citing the importance of addressing housing needs for both current and prospective teachers, Hendricks recommends the board authorize district staff to work with the county, city of Palo Alto and neighboring school districts in a "cooperative structuring of this housing effort."

The board is also set to discuss term limits for its members, goal updates and a plan to implement new state guidelines on dyslexia.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 25 Churchill Ave. View the agenda here.

Related content:

• Watch Palo Alto Weekly journalists discuss Stanford's proposed expansion on a "Behind the Headlines" webcast.

Comments

A PAUSD parent
Midtown
on Jan 29, 2018 at 3:29 pm
A PAUSD parent, Midtown
on Jan 29, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Stanford's growth is at the cost of Palo Alto residents. However, unless you are a Stanford faculty family, our kids are almost not possible to attend Stanford. They only admit Stanford families and kids from other states and other cities, NOT Palo Alto kids. Gunn and Paly probably are the two schools whose non-faculty kids are the most difficult to attend Stanford in the whole world. We should ask Stanford, why should we take all the consequences if they don't want our kids in?


Juan
Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2018 at 6:37 pm
Juan, Mountain View
on Jan 29, 2018 at 6:37 pm

Don't forget that Stanford refused to allow Jeremy Lin to attend. If a 4.0 student with NBA skills isn't allowed in, what hope do local kids have? Stanford actively discriminates against local kids, instead they let in out-of-state students like Brock Turner.


nomo
Barron Park
on Jan 29, 2018 at 7:03 pm
nomo, Barron Park
on Jan 29, 2018 at 7:03 pm

More housing means more traffic. Quit trying to solve our over congestion problems by bringing in more people.


Stephen
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2018 at 8:04 pm
Stephen, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2018 at 8:04 pm

How about noting that 4 schools are currently on Stanford land - Nixon, Escondido, Paly and Gunn. One thing that might help relieve school pressures in the area near Stanford would be to take back Fremont Hilsl School, which PAUSD currently rents to a private school. This rental apparently started when Nixon was opened. It would be good if someone (hint, hint PAW) would do some careful research into the history of Stanford and PAUSD, e.g. into the suggestion made on a different thread that the land Paly is sited on was only made available after a lawsuit by PAUSD. I would bet Nixon was built as part of the major development of houses that was built in the '60s, houses that are now mostly filled with retirees. One research task for both PAUSD and Stanford would be to find data on the number of students living on the Stanford campus that have attend Palo Alto schools down through the years. If the new housing results in an increase in number of students over the maximum in the past, then there would be a good case for a new site. Otherwise,.... How about this compromise? As an alternative to building another school of Stanford lands, one solution might be to get Stanford to agree to to cover the rent paid for Fremont Hills, and have kids from Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto Hills and some other parts of Palo Alto attend Fremont Hills instead of Nixon.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 29, 2018 at 8:14 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 29, 2018 at 8:14 pm

"The letter argues that more on-campus housing will be necessary to avoid Stanford purchasing residential properties in Palo Alto to lease to faculty and staff — properties that would be tax exempt. This would have a "negative impact" on the school district, which relies heavily on property tax revenue, the letter states."

The key phase here is "tax exempt" -- and they're not even senior citizens eligible for the parcel tax exemption!

Just say no. We're already subsidizing commuters (govt @ private), the $20,000.000 PA Utilities slush fund funneled into the general fund, the growing unfunded pension liabilities while the staff buys road furniture.....

Enough.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2018 at 9:37 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 29, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Thank you, Palo Alto Unified School District Board and staff! You are doing your due diligence against a behemoth. We taxpayers thank you!! PAUSD sees the situation clearly and is acting accurately. Please keep us updated on this situation, Palo Alto Weekly.

For the record: I oppose renting out public school facilities to such entities as Challenger School and to whoever is operating their business out of Fremont Hills elementary school. And please, re-build Cubberley as a fabulous central campus for PAUSD. That is an outstanding location with real value that must be kept by PAUSD.


private school
Stanford
on Jan 29, 2018 at 10:30 pm
private school, Stanford
on Jan 29, 2018 at 10:30 pm

@Stephen

I would be interested in a PAUSD survey of where Stanford faculty families attend school. There has been a huge turnover on campus from retirees to school aged children, but I would venture to guess about 50% or more attend private school. Certainly in my part of the neighborhood I count closer to 60% but that's more middle school and high school. My kids are in private 6-12. Perhaps the numbers are higher for elementary - but there sure are a reasonable number of cars with stickers from St. Raymonds, ISTP, Phillips Brooks, etc. zipping around


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2018 at 9:32 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2018 at 9:32 am

Posted by Juan, a resident of Mountain View

>> Don't forget that Stanford refused to allow Jeremy Lin to attend. If a 4.0 student with NBA skills isn't allowed in, what hope do local kids have?

LOL. The Harvard Fallacy is now extended to include Stanford. Even funnier in this case because the person in question -did- go to Harvard. If they hadn't discriminated in favor of/against __whatever__ , then I/my child/my friend/my cousin Vinnie/ would have gone to Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford/ etc.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with what strategy PAUSD needs to use to approach this problem. For the record, I have no problem with expanding PAUSD capacity to include the additional population, given the right funding model. The funding model should allow PAUSD to reopen Cubberly since Gunn and Paly are already -too big-.


LAHscot
Los Altos Hills
on Jan 30, 2018 at 1:03 pm
LAHscot, Los Altos Hills
on Jan 30, 2018 at 1:03 pm

To Stephen: Taking back Fremont Hills (more commonly called Pinewood after more than 30 years being leased to them as a private school site) is a good idea. Too bad Bob Golton encumbered the lease a few years ago with a bunch of poison pills in favor of Pinewood - and for zero improvement in the lease rate - only increasing the term a no extra charge, requiring 4 years (not the former 2 years) notice to take it back AND the requirement that the take-back be for a PAUSD school (not the former any public school or other public use). Go for it but I can hear the PAUSD windmill turning even now. Onward and upward, Don Quixote....

Sancho


Tellerundride
College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:13 pm
Tellerundride, College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:13 pm

How many school campuses does PAUSD have out for lease to private concerns? Fremont Hills, Cubberley, Stratford, Challenger and ??? Why build another new school when you already have more than you can use? Great planning!


If You Build It
College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm
If You Build It, College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Please do a real RFP and don’t just hand the project over to Gelfand Architects.


Quick fact check.
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm
Quick fact check., Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Challenger School campus is owned by the County, not PAUSD. They have a very long-term lease. The Ventura site is being used by PACCC--a good use for the site, I think. PAUSD also owns and leases 525 San Antonio.


PAUSD Parent
Los Altos Hills
on Jan 30, 2018 at 4:36 pm
PAUSD Parent, Los Altos Hills
on Jan 30, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Of note in the "Behind the Scenes" video discussion (Web Link around time mark 13:00 minutes) are these points:

1) Stanford claims Nixon and Escondido have enough capacity now given the projected Stanford family student growth and projected PAUSD growth.

2) When Stanford builds new housing on their campus, no tax revenues (property tax, bond revenues, and parcel tax) are generated for the PAUSD schools. This one funding factor will affect all PAUSD students as funding per student decreases.

3) These growth issues will not stop. Stanford expects to continue to grow their enrollments by 1% or more each year going forward.

At what point in time will Stanford housing generate more students enrolled than the city of Palo Alto? How will PAUSD have enough funds to educate all these kids or is the plan for PAUSD to become a state funded school district?


District Land Usage
Registered user
Greene Middle School
on Jan 30, 2018 at 10:40 pm
District Land Usage, Greene Middle School
Registered user
on Jan 30, 2018 at 10:40 pm

The Board does not seem to have a good grasp what land is being used for. Board Members seemed unaware of the use of Briones in $1 a year lease to the County, proposed to go up to $1,000 a year. It is valuable land, and the Board accepted a blanket statement the District had no space needs for it. The Board also doesn't seem to know how where and how much land is given to day cares for rent free. This is a form of a subsidy that only benefits some families who can get care at on campus centers. This might be great for everyone, but it is hard to say without more transparency about District land use. I hope the Board knows how ALL District land is encumbered, and what the real costs are.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

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