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