By any measure, San Carlos is flourishing. Property values are rising, new businesses are moving into downtown, our city budget is balanced and, in a recent survey, 98 percent of residents described our quality of life as very good or excellent.
Young families are moving to San Carlos in droves, looking for a place to put down roots and raise their children. They are drawn by our outstanding quality of life, access to great job opportunities and the excellent reputation of our schools.
As anyone who has walked down Laurel Street recently can attest, our child population is on the rise, and the San Carlos Elementary School District estimates that student enrollment will grow close to 20 percent by the end of the decade.
To maintain our excellent quality of life, and meet the rising demand, we need to provide the facilities our kids need to learn and play. With budgets tight, and little available land, the school district and the city have been working together to find a creative solution to that challenge on behalf of our community. We believe we have found that solution.
Our joint plan will create more classrooms, increase playing field space and protect trails and open space.
First, the plan calls for relocating San Carlos’ historic Charter Learning Center to a parcel of undeveloped open space on Crestview Drive. This will free space to build two new schools, one on the Tierra Linda campus and one on the Central Middle School campus to meet growing enrollment in the school district.
Second, the city and school district will partner to build a new athletic field, open to the public, behind Tierra Linda. In addition, the playing field at Heather School will be protected and a new field at the Charter School will be available.
Third, the trails and dog park located on the hillside to the west of Heather School will be protected and maintained.
This plan has been the result of extensive discussion and public input. We respect the members of our community who have voiced concerns about locating a school on Crestview and appreciate their thoughtful engagement in the public dialogue.
There are still several steps in the process to make this plan a reality. Because the open space on Crestview Drive was originally intended to be a park, California state law requires a vote of the people to build a school. It is our hope that this will be placed on the ballot in November. To do so requires a four-fifths vote of the City Council. That vote will occur June 30.
Because this proposal has received such widespread interest from so many, we believe that the people of San Carlos deserve to have the opportunity to decide its fate. To do otherwise would be disrespectful not only of our citizens but of the democratic process itself.
San Carlos is built around families, and the bedrock belief that our kids deserve a hometown where they can learn, grow, play and chase their dreams. As a new generation of families take root in San Carlos, this plan will make sure our kids have the schools and fields they need for years to come.
Ron Collins is the vice mayor of San Carlos, Cameron Johnson is member of the San Carlos City Council, Adam Rak is the president of the San Carlos Elementary School District Board of Trustees and Nicole Bergeron is a member of the San Carlos Elementary School District Board of Trustees.