News


Ravenswood school district eyes teacher housing

District under deadline to develop plans for unused property

The Ravenswood City School District Board of Education unanimously directed staff on Thursday night to explore building affordable housing for teachers and staff on a former school site in east Menlo Park.

Staff brought a brief proposal to build below-market-rate apartments at the site where James Flood Magnet School used to operate, located west of U.S. Highway 101 next to Flood Park. The goal is to "help attract and retain outstanding teachers and staff in the cost-prohibitive Bay Area," Chief Business Officer Steve Eichman said at Thursday's board meeting.

The science magnet school moved and then closed years ago. The district has tried to lease the site unsuccessfully, board President Ana Maria Pulido said, before the remaining buildings were razed earlier this year. She and Vice President Sharifa Wilson have been "having meetings" to find potential solutions for the site, which the district could potentially lose, Pulido said. Ravenswood is under an 18-month deadline for developing a plan for use of the property.

There's also an external pressure from the Menlo Park City School District, which in initial phone calls with the district has expressed interest in the site, according to Eichman.

In a March letter to Ravenswood Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff, Menlo Park Superintendent Erik Burmeister requested that Ravenswood directly notify in writing his district of any offer for sale or lease with an option to purchase the property. The letter came after inquiries about the site from Menlo Park's chief business and operations officer went unanswered, Burmeister wrote.

"Please note also that the MPCSD is interested in discussing the sale of the property as another local governmental agency," Burmeister wrote. "Such a sale to our district, if consummated, would not be subject to several of the limitations of the Education Code on sale of surplus school property and would therefore present significant mutual advantages to our respective districts."

According to the Menlo Park school district's spokesperson, Ravenswood did not respond to Burmeister's letter.

Ravenswood is now considering building 28 single-story townhome units, which is within the density limits the site is currently zoned for; 38 units of two-story housing or up to 50 units of three-story housing. The higher-density concepts would require approval from the city.

The apartments would be owned by the district and managed by an independent professional for a management fee.

There is not yet a cost estimate for the project; staff said they were waiting for formal direction from the board before pursuing more concrete design plans.

Approval of a final concept for the project will be subject to another board vote.

Many other school districts in the Bay Area are looking at building housing for teachers and staff. In Santa Clara County, a proposal for an affordable housing complex at a county-owned site in Palo Alto is gaining steam, with the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and the Los Altos School District agreeing to "identify" and set aside up to $600,000 to help finance the project.

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Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Machiavelli
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2018 at 2:20 pm

The teachers at RCSD surely do need better treatment. Unfortunately this is just another fairy tale being illustrated to gain attention for the upcoming election! That campus has been abandoned for the longest time and all of the sudden Ana Maria has interest to “HELP” the teachers. GHG is making sure her most valuable asset stays on that board. The other have surely passed on to the National Corruption League Hall of Fame so no publicity is going to be made for them. GHG never liked Dr. Knight but saw a benefit of keeping Dr. Knight in her pocket once she was there. The clock is literally going tic toc as we speak and the charade will soon be over.
— Machiavelli

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7 people like this
Posted by I Aree
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2018 at 10:55 pm

Right on Former Poster. They are just trying to convince people to vote for Pulido since she did not get the RCTA endorsement even thought they claimed that Pulido got an "anonymous donation" which is not anonymous anymore; Gloria is the one who pretended to give a donation for Pulido to get attention, and so Pulido stays on the board. She needs it.


5 people like this
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2018 at 10:38 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

Ravenswood School Board Candidate Forum this Wednesday, Oct 3rd at 6pm at St Mark AME Zion on 1794 Bay Road in East Palo Alto. All of the candidates except Charlie Knight are confirmed. Come on by if you want to hear from the candidates directly! If you stick around until 8pm, you can hear from the East Palo Alto City Council Candidates as well.


2 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 1, 2018 at 10:51 am

Why not turn the site into a community of tiny homes for teachers. Teachers could buy and bring their own homes, and the district would retain future flexible use of the site, and limit their expenses to just providing utilities and landscaping. Tiny home communities/tiny home villages, while mobile, are different from RV parks, they are very attractive, yet anyone who follows tiny homes knows it's impossible for any teacher to currently find a place to park a tiny home.


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