The Palo Alto Preparatory School, a small private high school; artists' studios; the Jewish Community Center; and the Children's Pre-School Center are a few of the more than 50 community organizations that would have to relocate to clear the site for a new high school.
PAUSD currently receives $2.7 million annually from the city under a lease. The district leased 27 acres to Palo Alto. It swapped 8 acres in 2002 for the 8-acre Terman Middle School site.
The task force roster reads like a Who's Who of local leaders. It includes more than 30 educators and city administrators, including principals from Gunn and Palo Alto high schools; Palo Alto City Manager Frank Benest; and Foothill College President Judy Miner.
High schools are projected to reach maximum capacity by the year 2011, according to the demographic firm Lapkoff & Gobalet.
The task force is assigned to find a "creative" and "attractive" way to meet growing student enrollment.
Moving into Cubberley is one of several alternatives on the table. No final decision has been made.
The task force is also considering building two 2-story buildings with 12 classrooms each at Gunn and Palo Alto high schools. The new buildings would increase capacity at each high school from 1,950 to 2,200. This option has a projected cost of approximately $12 million (not adjusted for inflation). Even with the expansion, the schools are expected to reach capacity by 2010-11.
Another option is creating a "magnet" or a "biotech" specialty school situated on a new 6-acre site, according to Superintendent Mary Frances Callan. The district could build a 500-student facility, possibly on "Strawberry Hill" on the Gunn High School playing fields. The projected cost of about $20 million (not adjusted for inflation) does not include the cost of installing utilities, she said.
"We have time to be thoughtful about how we want to house students that we will be unable to hold," Associate Superintendent Marilyn Cook told the task force.
It is a "rare opportunity" to create a "forward-looking program," she said.
The new option should be viewed as an attractive opportunity that draws students, not as punitive for not being able to attend Gunn or Paly, Callan said. She asked the task force to find an educational program that "sings to their (students') hearts," she said.
The Cubberley site is about 35 acres, smaller than the two existing high schools: Gunn has 47.9 acres and Paly has 44.2 acres.
The school board is scheduled to take action on any recommendation in January 2008. The task force members will do homework this summer, next meet in September and then begin the intensive three-month process to produce a recommendation by December.
One task force member asked about shifting grades downwards so 9th grade becomes part of middle school while grades 10 to 12 would attend high school. All options are on the table, Callan said.
The district has identified up to $772 million in building and technology-upgrade needs over the next 20 years, and is planning a bond measure election in June 2008 to fund at least part of that..
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