Facing ever-growing enrollment, the Sequoia Union High School District is one step closer to starting a facilities task force to address the challenge.
At Wednesday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, the board gave direction to the superintendent to establish a task force to meet the needs of students and better align feeder schools to high schools. Infrastructure improvements would be considered for classrooms, rest rooms, food service, locker room space and parking. The task force will report to the superintendent.
“It’s not just a question about facilities, but starting with broad questions with instructional issues like more art and music at schools,” said Trustee Allen Weiner. “Will we have small specialized high schools or alternative education? I would encourage the task force to think very broadly about district’s educational mission.”
The task force will be made up of about 10 people and will likely include two board members, administrators, teachers, classified staff and community representatives. Superintendent James Lianides said the task force should begin meeting by the end of September and conclude around March 2014.
The current remaining $165 million Measure J bond, passed by voters in 2008, has been exhausted on other projects. These projects include adding five classrooms to Carlmont High School, the move of the maintenance and transportation departments to Douglas Street and the purchase of 980 Myrtle St. in East Palo Alto, according to a staff report. There will also be construction on the site of 10 additional classrooms for Stanford New Schools, according to the staff report.
“The work is going to be very important to determine future facilities needs,” Lianides said. “It will be a strong factor in deciding whether to pursue a bond measure.”
Lianides said the bond consideration is an ongoing topic.
Trustee Carrie Du Bois said she would like to see a strategic plan in place before the district sets up a full plan for facilities. She said she would like to see broad community input, including that of teachers.
At the meeting, trustees Alan Sarver and Weiner both expressed interest in joining the task force.
Looking ahead, the district needs to set an enrollment target for each campus that includes the future growth. It can then work with the community to discuss possible boundary changes. Staff also plans on bringing a revised open enrollment policy to the board at a later meeting.
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