San Carlos School District-City, Land Swap Deal Being Considered

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The Basics

An issue which is quickly gathering steam around town is the proposed land swap deal between the City of San Carlos and the San Carlos School District.  One week ago, the SCSD sent a letter to the City of San Carlos, asking them to consider the a land swap which would include the City’s four acre parcel on the top of Crestview.  Before going further, here are some background facts:

(1) Tierra Linda Middle School and the San Carlos Charter Learning Center (SCCLC) both occupy a piece of property in San Carlos across from Carlmont High School, at 750 Dartmouth Avenue.

(2) Both TL and SCCLC are governed by the San Carlos School District.

(3) Due to a variety of reasons, including an enrollment surge and aging facilities, the SCSD has been trying to find space to open a 4th-5th grade campus for all of San Carlos.  The belief is that this would make room at all other schools by taking the 4th grade from the lower elementary schools and removing the 5th grade from the middle school locations.

(4) The SCSD would like to move the proposed 4th-5th campus to the space currently occupied by SCCLC at 750 Dartmouth Avenue.  This would push SCCLC out and in need of a campus.

(5)  In exchange for the City’s four acre parcel on Crestview, the SCSD would grant the City a similar sized parcel at upper Tierra Linda, which would allow the City to add much needed field and park space.

What It All Means

You can probably guess who is generally for this and who is against it:

In Favor of the Land Swap.  There seems to be a substantial amount of support coming from SCCLC….and why not, they get a new campus and will not be sharing.  Other schools are falling in line to support it, primarily out of the fear that they do not want to run the risk that it is their campus that gets selected to share with SCCLC if the land swap does not happen. Another powerful and very vocal group are the youth sports groups around town.  With field space at an absolute premium, expect to be hearing from the different youth sports organizations around town.  They will be encouraging you to make any support known to the city council.

Not in Favor of the Land Swap.  Not so happy are the homeowners on Crestview and the streets leading up the hill to Crestview.  Obviously, increased noise and traffic will occur, although just how much seems uncertain.

The SCSD’s Argument to San Carlos

The number one reason people move to San Carlos:  The SCSD.  They are indirectly, partially responsible for the massive upswing in our market and they are largely responsible for limiting the losses of 2009.  Nearby towns which did not have a similar school system to support them were devastated in the real estate market downturn.  With this demand comes a noticeable spike in enrollment that simply cannot be handled at campuses which are already beyond capacity. The SCSD also knows how starved the City is for additional park and field space.  This is why they view this proposal as a win-win.

The Question Yet to be Answered

While the SCSD’s proposal seems very much worth considering, the question remains as to whether the City could do something else with the property, such as hold on to it, or sell to a developer for a considerable amount that could then be used for other, equally important projects around town.

Have thoughts on the proposed land-swap?  Leave them below! The San Carlos Blog will be updated as more information on this topic becomes available.

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