Recently, I commended the San José Unified Board of Education for calling on staff to develop a master plan for district properties. I believed this long-overdue process would help identify underutilized land and facilities that could be leveraged for community benefits like affordable housing and nonprofit sports programs.
Instead, staff released a list of nine sites targeted for wholesale redevelopment, without any analysis to show why these sites were selected. Understandably, parents, educators, and neighbors have responded with frustration over a lack of outreach, and a good idea is already on life support.
As Chair of the San José Planning Commission and former San José Unified Public Information Officer, I believe district leaders should:
Appoint an ad hoc committee of parents, educators, students, taxpayers, and district administrators to work from now until June 2019 to develop a complete Master Plan for district lands and facilities that includes analysis of the return on investment for each property and a list of all potential opportunities for community benefit – including but not limited to housing.
Commit to adding 500 housing units (50-150 at each of our 6 high schools) for employee/family villages, to be completed by the Mayor’s 2022 target for producing 25,000 units citywide.
Legitimately and intimately involve the community in a collaborative process to achieve this goal. Community meetings should be held at schools throughout the district as part of a robust planning process. This barnstorming tour could be used as an opportunity to market all of our schools.