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In advance of a pivotal decision on financing strategies for a proposed teacher housing development in San Bruno, high school district officials will weigh the future of the land eyed for the new homes.

The San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees will host a study session Tuesday, March 19, discussing next steps for the former Crestmoor High School campus in San Bruno.

A focus of the discussion will be whether to declare a portion of the 40-acre site as surplus, a critical step in a recommended strategy requiring selling a piece of the campus to pay for construction of the units.

No decision is slated to occur at the meeting, which is the latest in a series of discussions examining the initiative identified as a priority for school officials to resolve this year.

“Deciding what to do with this valuable district asset is a very important decision,” said a district report.

In January, some trustees said it was a moral imperative for the district to redevelop a portion of the soon-to-be vacant campus into homes for teachers struggling to afford the cost of living locally.

A portion of the campus is currently occupied by Peninsula Alternative High School, which is slated in 2020 to move to a new campus in Burlingame closer to the homes of most students.

Following the continuation school’s relocation, only the campus athletic fields will be regularly used. Rather than allow the rest of the site to lay stagnant, officials are examining the opportunity to build as many as 100 units for teachers and other district employees.

To finance construction, officials are discussing selling about half the property to a private developer with hopes of preserving the soccer fields for the community. To bring such a vision to reality, officials must first declare the property as surplus — allowing other public agencies to express interest in the site first.

“It is anticipated that the board will hear from legal counsel describing our challenges and opportunities as they relate to the Crestmoor site,” said the report.

Crestmoor High School was shuttered decades ago due to dwindling enrollment. Some critics of the proposal to redevelop the land raise fears that the district population could jump again, and the high school district would not have adequate property to accommodate that growth.

Officials have tamped down those concerns though by noting the two schools closest to Crestmoor — Mills and Capuchino — have the capacity available to take on more students.

Trustee Linda Lees Dwyer has so far been the board’s harshest critic of the proposal, and recently suggested the development would not be an equitable way to address the cost of living concerns facing district employees.

Instead of building housing, Dwyer has advocated for paying employees more, which would be a fairer way of assuring all district workers are accommodated, not just the lucky ones selected to live in the units.

Rather than examine the project’s potential pratfalls, other officials have advocated for the benefit offered to district teachers and other employees who currently either face high rents living locally or long daily commutes from more affordable areas.

Should officials suggest they support the initiative, a resolution to declare the property as surplus will return as a formal recommendation at the board’s March 28 meeting.

The San Mateo Union High School District Board of Trustees meets 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, in the Mustang conference room, 650 N. Delaware St., San Mateo.

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105

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(3) comments

aball52

San Mateo 1980's closed 5 schools due to low enrollment building FC School already too small before it opened...The Private school kids came back edging out the 5th grade.who had to go to the old campus alone. I know too well the hindsight we should attitude as FC is still trying to find space.and a roof to educate our kids..Ask me I'll tell you about hind sight. School boards can't see it foresight nor hindsight or they wouldn't eliminate the future enrollments. You won't see another chance of ..property anywhere. I remember Burlingame had the votes not to close and Crestmoor got the boot. You are going to take the kids future in not placing them in a facility with over crowding...

JordanG

Teachers are leaving in droves because they can't afford to live here, and those schools you mention are closing precisely because families can't afford to live here either!

I personally think the board is showing tremendous foresight in using their publicly-owned land to build workforce housing for teachers and other education personnel who are being priced out of our cities, and as someone who went to a SMUHSD school, I truly commend them for it.

aball52

San Mateo closed 5 schools selling land because in the 80's there were no kids so they were sold. The population grew and hindsight no place to educate them because they lost all their schools building and developing instead of holding unto property. for future educational purposes. I watched this happen..I have raised two sons k12 through San Mateo schools and san Mateo high schools and now raising two granddaughters in Hillsdale Aragon and San Ma teo. It is downright foolish to let this resouce go wirh no future educational land on which to educate them .. Our FC kids attended different elementary and high schools with some famlies attending one kid st Aragon, one kid at San Mateo all over these two elemenatary districts..I know I saw it happen. make money build but no property for large enrollments for the future..Hindsight and foresight of the future foolish. I watched and witnessed the ek lementary and high school make these mistakes..The demographers were wrong about no more enrollment . San Mateo reopended the part of Beresford they didn't sell. invented the magnet schools to help these mistakes.to try and place these kids contributing to the burst od the student population. I have lived through 4 students K!2 1980'a and now K12 1990's. The teachers are taking priority instead of educating kids and where will you put them.loosing any options for future school student housing.

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