City Collaboration with the School District
I have consistently advocated for stronger collaboration with the City and the Pleasanton Unified School District to resolve over-crowding and maximize uses for existing tax dollars.
The City and the Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) are two separate governmental bodies; funds and funding sources are entirely separate. Only the PUSD builds schools; the City does not build schools. But State law requires coordination between cities and school districts related to planning (Government Code 65302 and 65350) The City Council and the PUSD must do a better job at sharing the responsibility for balancing housing development with school capacities.
School capacities are an important concern to most people moving to Pleasanton to raise families. Pleasanton is the City of Planned Progress, an affluent community, and it is reasonable to expect as housing is approved, bringing thousands of new residents and students, new schools would also be planned and built.
Pleasanton parents are busy working, getting kids to activities, helping with homework, and trust their elected officials to look out for their families’ best interests. They have indicated their support and expectation that schools get built, and believe the representatives of our excellent community know that.
In the past, the City and PUSD worked together to get schools, gymnasiums, and sports fields built and maintained. There has been cooperation negotiating joint use agreements with shared facilities, and historically, the City has been supportive in helping with land acquisition as well. It has never been easy, but previous City Councilmembers understood that if they didn’t work to make it happen, schools would not get built and our entire community would lose – especially, our children.
Families might be surprised to learn that our school enrollments exceed PUSD enrollment guidelines, as well as State guidelines that identify how much acreage and multipurpose room and library space schools need. Thousands of new housing units have been built, but no new schools have been built since Hearst elementary was built in 2001. Every campus has temporary classrooms stuffed with students because of high enrollment. Our middle and high schools are significantly beyond the enrollment capacities they were built for. There are significant increases in student population projected with new housing, yet there are no additional schools even in the planning stages.
Building schools requires joint City/PUSD cooperation. Without this cooperation, our children lose and community resources are lost. It is past time for cooperation to begin again and I will be a strong voice on the City Council for stronger collaboration.
I will Stand for Residents, Not Developments!