San Rafael Elementary News

28 Jun

San Rafael Elementary School

Having conducted eight public meetings over a period of five months, the San Rafael Elementary School 7-11 Committee submitted its final report to the PUSD Board of Education Thursday evening, June 26th.

Mandated by the Board of Education to determine community “limits of tolerance” for alternative uses for the school site to be vacated in 2017 due to earthquake faults, the committee, despite staff/attorney admonitions for exceeding its scope of duty, nonetheless chose to exceed its scope of duty.

With the submission of its report, the Committee now is de-commissioned leaving neighbors to work with the Board of Education on the “limits of tolerance” for future use of the site.

Below are courses of action considered viable by the 7-11 Committee. In all cases the Committee had neither official mandate, technical expertise nor fiduciary authority to attempt analysis.

  1. The SRES site will be trenched to follow four already-tested fault lines to provide 100% proof of seismic conditions at the site.
  2. SRES buildings (including the historic brick main structure) will be cut and moved to surface areas between the four fault lines on the 3.2-acre site.
  3. The southwest lower corner of the SRES site will be seismically tested for construction of a new, 3-story building.
  4. Site placement of buildings to skirt fault lines while housing the needed critical mass of students may require additional property on Nithsdale.

The Board of Education must grapple with the above while considering the District’s current factual and fiscal imperatives along with neighbor surveys.

Recent data developed with Davis Demographics as discussed by the Board of Education Boundary and Master Plan Committee shows a 23% loss in District enrollment (5,187 students) over the last ten years (2003-4 to 2013-14) with five elementary schools under-enrolled (Altadena, Cleveland, Franklin, Jackson, Roosevelt).

The District’s updated 2013-14 data on facilities shows a capacity for 29,226 students and enrollment of 16,900 (10/02/13), an excess capacity of 42.2%.

Under these circumstances, the Board of Education is hard-pressed to justify allocation of capital funds for construction of new elementary school classrooms, particularly since facility needs at other sites have not been funded.

Further, due to unfunded actuarial obligations to teacher benefits, the Governor’s recent budget calls for stepped increases in District/employer contributions to CalSTRS (8.25%, 2013-14 to 19.10%, 2020-21). The District presently is analyzing options to forestall deficit spending in future budgets in order to make these contributions.

The stated mission of the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (SRNA) is “to enhance and maintain the character and quality of all San Rafael neighborhoods through advocacy and an activated community.”

SRNA welcomes the opportunity of working with the Board of Education, District staff and neighbors through the transitional stages scheduled for the San Rafael Elementary School site.


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