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After attending the second half of the San Anselmo School closure meeting last week (see previous report), I had a few additional questions regarding any next steps and what the disposition of the proposed schools would be should they be closed. Superintendent Manny Barbara offered to put me in touch with Deputy Superintendent Hardy Childers via email in response to the questions I asked. According to Mr. Childers, "We don't have final resolution on some of the matters, but I can certainly tell you where we stand."
Question: Was any action taken at last night's district board meeting on this topic?
Response: The January 23 board meeting was an "information" presentation, so no action was planned. Action would take place no earlier than February 13, with two public hearings to precede that meeting. At the January 23 meeting the Board was provided the detailed information regarding the recommendations and heard from several community members. The prior two community information meetings had apparently addressed the questions of most.
Question: What and where are the three declared surplus school district properties?
Response: Calero and Dickinson schools, and the District Office.
Question: Have any or all of these properties been proposed for sale?
Response: No proposals have been submitted at this time.
Question: Has a decision to sell these properties been made yet?
Response: No. We are still reviewing options with our real estate consultant. Our intent is to identify a strategy which would provide additional revenue for the District while also providing for a use of the property which is compatible with the neighborhoods. We currently have lessees in the two closed schools - churches, child care, community school and private school.
Question: If these properties are sold, what would they be used for?
Response: As noted [above], although we are exploring options, that hasn't been determined. Although we (and the District's Surplus Property Committee) propose that any uses to be considered be compatible with the neighborhoods, the actual use which fits that general description would also be determined in part by the successful bidder.
Question: Are there any plans to make any changes with the school district office property?
Reponse: Not at this time, and not likely in the immediate future. The main problem (or circumstance) with the District Office situation is that it is in an area which is zoned for industrial uses. That market is not strong right now, so we likely will hold off on doing anything with that property for now and continue to review possible future options with the City. We don't want to proceed with a plan which wouldn't offer the highest possible yield.
Question: Does the City of San Jose have the first option to bid on the three, and potentially five, surplus properties should the district wish to sell them?
Response: The City doesn't really have the first option to bid on the "sites," but they do have some preferential rights to offer a bid on a portion of the non-improved portions of the sites (the fields) under certain circumstances. That right comes in to play only if the site is to be sold. A decision to sell has not yet been reached on any of the sites, and we have stated publicly that we do not intend in the near future to consider the sale of the two sites now being recommended for closure.
Question: When are the next public hearings on the proposed school closures?
Response: The Board's Public Hearings will be held on Tuesday, February 4, and Wednesday, February 5, in the District Office Board Room. The intent of the two hearings is to serve the San Anselmo and Blossom Valley communities, respectively, but the public is certainly welcome to attend. The (earliest) Board meeting at which action can be considered is the meeting on Thursday, February 13.
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