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School district partners with San Ramon, Shappell Homes to solve overcrowding in Dougherty Valley

The city of San Ramon, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and Shapell Homes recently announced a partnership that designates land for a future park and elementary school in the Dougherty Valley. The school would be located on an 8.6-acre site one-half mile southwest of the Dougherty Station Community Center in an undeveloped area, next to a 30-acre park.

Shapell Homes will donate the land to SRVUSD, with the understanding that play fields will also serve as a permanent park for the city like other schools. There is no set development timeline for the project, which school district officials estimate will cost $31 million.

"This is a win for everyone," said San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson. "To develop more park space is a goal of our city. We also believe that this will help ease congestion in the community by pulling traffic away from other congested neighborhoods."

Officials expect the future elementary school to help alleviate the enrollment crunch at Dougherty Valley's four existing elementary schools, three of which house over 1,000 students in buildings meant for 900. Ultimately, the district hopes to reduce the number of families being diverted away from their neighborhood schools, as families from the Live Oak and Hidden Hills school areas have been.

Slowed down construction around Quail Run Elementary has allowed the district to divert students there, said SRDVUSD Community Relations Coordinator Terry Koehne. As home construction begins to pick up in the area, the more students will need to go to school.

The district had previously discussed jointly operating a multi-use facility with the city that could be used as an auxiliary school, but ultimately decided that a new elementary campus would be a better solution.

"We think this is in the best interest of the community, particularly as the homes in that area continue to be developed. As needs change, I suppose we will have to look at the existing facilities we have, the purposes they serve and adjust as the situation calls for," Koehne said, adding that the district has already modified buildings to accommodate growth.

Koehne added that the school district recognizes a need to expand Dougherty Valley High School, but said the most immediate need was for additional elementary space.

"This is clearly a benefit for the city, the developer, and most certainly for the school district and the families of the Dougherty Valley," said Board of Education President Greg Marvel. "While we still need to pass a facilities bond to build the school, having the land and some of the infrastructure provided will save the school district and taxpayers millions of dollars."

The cost of the new elementary school has already been figured into the facilities bond currently being discussed by the Board of Education. Although the board is still looking over recommendations from a citizen's oversight committee, Marvel estimates that the school could be built in a minimum of three years should the bond pass.

"It would come on board just when we need it, the projection is that we're going to continue to see growth out there," Marvel said. " The voters that we talked to out there in the Dougherty Valley indicated that they would be supportive of a bond if it meant that their elementary schools could be reduced in size. Some of those schools are projected to go as high as 1,400 (students)."

While the three parties have been meeting for nearly a year to discuss and review options and alternatives related to a joint use school and park site, only recently has this specific proposal for a new site in the Dougherty Valley taken shape. The various stakeholders will continue to work together on finalizing the terms of this partnership and spell out the details related to planning, implementation, funding and joint use of the park and school site.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by no new bond measures
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 30, 2012 at 8:59 am

Let's be clear. The district (undoubtedly with the aiding and abetting of the developers) GREATLY underestimated the number of students that would live in Dougherty Valley. Therefore, the DEVELOPER FEES that were supposed to cover the COST of building sufficient school capacity to house all the students ARE TOTALLY INSUFFICENT. Now, all the taxpayers in the SRVUSD are going to be asked to pay $11 million dollars for a new elementary school, and for additions to the Dougherty Valley High School (or an entirely new high school?), and presumably a new or expanded middle school? And all Shapell is doing is donating some land, presumably much of it, if not all, in satisfaction of PREEXISTING OBLIGATIONS under the Conditions of Approval for the Dougherty development? TAXPAYERS ARE LEFT HOLDING THE BAG AGAIN!!

BTW, the same shenanigans are likely to happen again soon as 123+ dwellings are being proposed for the Diablo Road corridor in Danville. Who is willing to bet the number of students projected to live in those homes will be greatly underestimated?? LOS CERROS MIDDLE SCHOOL IS AGAIN OVER ITS CAPACITY, with 700 students expected next year. LOOK OUT FOR MORE PORTABLES COMING YOUR WAY, and overcrowded gyms, multi-purpose rooms, and everything else. The same thing will probably happen at Green Valley and Monte Vista.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by no new bond measures
a resident of Los Cerros Middle School
on Mar 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

OOps! The fee for the new school and park is $31 million! It's worse than I thought!! Hide your checkbook!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Mar 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

Tell SR to put in 8-16 tennis courts.
The City has allowed all those 10,000 influx of new houses and people and NOT increased the public tennis courts to cover the adults and kids.
How "stupid" can these Planners be!?!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:15 am

None of this should comer as any surprise, see the Contra Costa County Grand Jury Report, "The Dougherty Valley School Situation" dated June 2001.
< Web Link >
The unfortunate thing is that the Dougherty Valley Oversight Committee choose to ignore the report and play politics with the developers rather than representing the interests of the people they represented. The result is that the additional elementary school(s) will be at the cost of the taxpayer not the developers. Shame on our local politicians!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by webguy
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 30, 2012 at 10:54 am

Duffy - your referenced link is broken. Can you check on it, please?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Mar 30, 2012 at 12:00 pm

The correct web link for Contra Costa County Grand Jury Report, "The Dougherty Valley School Situation" dated June 2001 (Report No. 0105) is:

< Web Link >


 +   Like this comment
Posted by living in this mess mom
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Maybe the school district should levy a special DV tax, because some of the homes house multiple families. Maybe they and the developers should attend their own schools to learn arithmetic again, since x number of homes times x number of dwellings should have been pretty easy to figure out...

Schools like Los Cerros will continue to be the District's armpit, and less and less money will go to the Danville and Alamo schools, some of which are crumbling from age.

Maybe I should buy stock in the company that provides those brown portables to SRVUSD.

Watching more and more homes go up here in DV is so outstandingly short-sighted, because the glut of cars, houses, and people out here is just not the least bit wise. This is really a reason to divide the District into separate entities, and let the Bollinger Canyon/Dougherty Valley corridor pay for its own educational needs. It's currently draining the rest of the district's resources as it pays the big bucks to those areas that may not even pay taxes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ann
a resident of Danville
on Mar 31, 2012 at 10:00 am

Maybe the Chinese government could make a hefty donation.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Danville
on Mar 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm

It would be interesting to know how the projections were done for number of students in Dougherty Valley. Did the District (or the developer) REALLY believe that any of those 4- and 5-BR houses would be occupied by anyone other than families with school-age kids?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gena
a resident of Danville
on Mar 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Request for more $$? What a surprise!
The only way I would vote in favor would be if there were a guarantee that a portion of the funding would be used to make the 3 other District high schools as nice as DVHS. The contrast is stunning. If 100% of the $$ goes to Dougherty Valley then I will vote NO!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Daf
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Has anyone estimated the cities loss of income due to all the low income housing and BMR's(below market rate)apartments in DV?

I will never support another school bond.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Apr 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm


"The voters that we talked to out there in the Dougherty Valley indicated that they would be supportive of a bond if it meant that their elementary schools could be reduced in size."

Of course they would be supportive of a bond that would help them, but what about the rest of us? Are we really supposed to pay for something that is not going to help our children one bit? I completely agree that Bollinger/DV should be broken off so they can pay for their area and not drain the rest of us!!!

Everyone in Danville/Alamo/San Ramon (Cal High area) need to vote NO on a new bond measure as it all will end up in DV! Enough is enough!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MeasureA
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 2, 2012 at 4:31 pm

"This is really a reason to divide the District into separate entities, and let the Bollinger Canyon/Dougherty Valley corridor pay for its own educational needs. It's currently draining the rest of the district's resources as it pays the big bucks to those areas that may not even pay taxes."

This is a really ignorant statement by someone who is obviously not a homeowner in the Dougherty Valley area. All of us in that area pay a MUCH higher property tax rate (~1.7%) than everyone else in San Ramon. This is primarily due to a nice ballot initiative called Measure A that the voters of San Ramon approved prior to the start of construction in Dougherty Valley. This measure taxes only the Dougherty Valley area for the next 25 years in order to improve all the OTHER schools in the San Ramon Valley. All of the new schools in Dougherty Valley were paid for by the builders which again explains why they were built using overly low estimates of student population.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Douglas
a resident of Blackhawk
on Apr 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

"This is a really ignorant statement by someone who is obviously not a homeowner in the Dougherty Valley area. All of us in that area pay a MUCH higher property tax rate (~1.7%)"

Speaking of ignorant, I think you need to get your facts straight. Not all of you in the DV area pay the higher rate. In fact, you real homeowners need to make-up for the huge amount of low to moderate housing dwellers who do not pay anything at all whose kids get an education on our dime!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nan
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Apr 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Did you all hear that starting this year, we will not be able to deduct money which is assessed as a School Bond? I heard this from a Tax Preparer. For emty nesters and retirees this could end up a financial hardship. Not all Retirees qualify for the exempt age.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Green Valley and Los Cerros Parent
a resident of Green Valley Elementary School
on Apr 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I believe Measure A is mistaken; I don't live in Dougherty Valley and I pay Measure A taxes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Live in DV
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I live in the Bollinger Canyon and Dougherty Valley area. I pay these taxes, and watch my kids go to school with kids from families (2 or more) "living" in the same home! Renting the address to either their home or their backyard cottage to other families who dump their kids in schools my kids attend. How do we catch them???? They split the tax cost, and bring their kids miles to attend. There should be a way to prevent this!!! Maybe there is but we don't know what to do. And, the developers may pay for the building of the school, but the real cost comes after the doors open for business. And apartment dwellers don't even pay the same kind of taxes. The district is known for some great things, but is being suckered by too many who don't really live here and pay the costs.


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