At last week’s board meeting we had a lengthy discussion around the District’s facilities master plan.   The discussion focused on the opportunities to address our current capacity challenges should Measure H, the $72 million bond on the November ballot pass.  We anticipate continued growth in our student population and passage of Measure H is critical to meet our capacity challenges, upgrade science labs, and repair aging facilities.

Adding capacity to our existing campuses would be phased in over the next few years.  The Board is in agreement that the first phase should focus on the Central campus.  The current thinking would be to build a 4th and 5th grade school and a new 6th through-8th grade Central Middle School.  Brittan Acres and White Oaks would then become K-3 schools thus reducing enrollment at both locations.  However, a number of details still need to be worked out.   

Board opinion on phase two is less clear as there are two potential options currently on the table.  One would be to build a new 4th and 5th grade school on the Tierra Linda (TL) campus, while upgrading both TL and making it a 6th through 8th grade middle school.  In addition,  Charter Learning Center (CLC) would also see infrastructure  improvements and remain on that site.   While there certainly is significant acreage on the TL site to accommodate additional students, traffic flow is a real problem given the limited access to campus.    

The second option would be to move CLC to the Heather campus and build a new school there.  A 4th-5th grade school would take over the existing CLC space at TL and be modernized.   This scenario would increase the number of students on the Heather campus, but have limited impact at TL.  There is significant acreage at Heather as our second largest campus,  however, traffic flow, impact on field space and possible locations for a new facility have not yet been fully examined.    

There are varying opinions among the Board on the best option for phase two.   I believe that we need more information on the impact to both the Heather and TL campuses before recommending the best path forward.   Other options may also exist that should be considered.  

I would add that 4th and 5th grade curriculum align well academically, and provide a good transition to middle school, so we would be building 4-5 schools for good reasons.    The potential infrastructure improvements on all of our campuses will allow us to better move forward with the District’s vision of providing a 21st Century education for all of our students.  

Finally, the Board discussed early steps for creating a district-wide sustainability policy.    This policy can be an important guide to our building and infrastructure investment should Measure H pass.  It is the right thing to do for our environment, and it can also help the District realize cost savings that can be poured back into our classrooms.