a burst of activity six years ago, our school board has made remarkably
little progress in building a new middle school. In 1996, the
board adopted a Facilities Master Plan, and received & approved
the report of a Site Selection Committee. In June, 1996, the District
voters approved a $35M bond issue for construction.
years later, the middle school is mired in controversy, and tied
to an environmentally destructive coastal development boondoggle.
Build at Cunha
already have a middle school site: Cunha. Building a new
middle school at Cunha removes our school district from the business
of developing coastal open space. Infrastructure is already in
Myth: the Cunha site is
You'll hear the claim that the
Cunha site is too small for a middle school. This
is simply not true.
over 17 acres, the Cunha site meets state site analysis guidelines
for a middle school serving grades 6-8. Why the confusion?
State guidelines also allow for larger sites (20+ acres) with
more extensive football fields. Cunha already has playing fields.
Surprisingly, the Wavecrest plans show only one baseball field,
one softball field (they overlap) and one soccer/football field
surrounded by a track.
the Site Selection Committee applied the existing state selection
criteria to the sites under consideration, Cunha ranked #1 out
of five sites; Wavecrest ranked next to last. With size
a significant factor in the rankings, Cunha scored 90 out of a
possible 100 points, the highest of any site.
of potential middle school sites in May, 2002, Superintendent
John Bayless did not find size to be a problem with Cunha;
in fact, Dr Bayless lists "size and shape" as one of
the benefits of the Cunha site.
Cunha site is so large, in fact, that our school board plans to
convert six acres of the site to 76,992 square feet of commerial
development. Does that come as a surprise? Read section
VI of the Facilities Master Plan to see how the board plans to
develop its two other sites in addition to a big piece of the
Cunha site. Perhaps it's only a coincidence
that the board-appointed committee that came up with the Facilities
Master Plan was stacked with real estate development interests,
including the current General Partner of Wavecrest Partners.
Myth: Cunha Middle School
is getting more & more overcrowded
It wouldn't be surprising if you
have this impression. The Facilties
Master Plan informs us that our middle school enrollment will
be 1,161 this year. In fact, the actual enrollment was 866.
That's nearly 300 fewer students than projected, representing
10-15 fewer classrooms.
undisputed fact is that Cunha Middle School enrollment reached
its peak in 1997, the year after the Master Plan was approved,
and has been shrinking every since. State projections for
San Mateo County suggest that our enrollment will be even smaller
Cunha is more centrally
District policy, as adopted in
the Facilities Master Plan, is to disperse elementary schools
into neighborhoods, and to centrally
locate the middle and high schools to make them, as much as possible,
accessible to the entire district.
With much of the district's
population living north of Half Moon Bay, Cunha is a more central
site than Wavecrest.
Cunha is a poor site for
a new elementary school
already have the largest elementary school in the district, Hatch,
across the road from Cunha. A new elementary school should
be sited so as to serve neighborhoods not served by an existing
elementary school. One such location would be a southern site,
serving Moonridge, Ocean Colony, and families south of Half Moon
If Hatch needs to be expanded,
the Facilities Master Plan suggests one approach. Move the district
offices to some other location (administrative offices are much
easier to relocate than schools are), and use the freed space
to build a new K-2 facility, using a refurbished Hatch for grades
3-5. This makes efficient use of the
site, keeps the individual schools small, and expands their overall
As a small but significant
improvement: build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across Hwy
1 between Cunha and Hatch.