The school board adopts a Master
Facilities Plan, based on projections for future growth and
district needs assessments. Among recommendations: a new middle
school. A site selection committee is formed. This document is
supposed to undergo an annual review, which it has never had.
In the intervening seven years, growth trends and projections
have changed considerably.
More than 75 percent of Coastside
residents vote in favor of and easily pass CUSD's proposed Measure
K, a $35 million bond measure to support new middle school
construction and other CUSD facilities upgrades. It has been argued
that this bond money can only be used to build a new middle school
on a NEW site. Not true, according to a nationally recognized
bond counsel's pro bono opinion. Read
this legal analysis.
CUSD enters a deal with Wavecrest
Partners and Pepper Lane Properties to swap approximately 20 acres
of school district-owned land in El Granada valued at $1.7 million
for the purchase of a 25-acre middle school site valued at $2.7
(this site has since been relocated and reduced in size as a result
of flawed environmental analysis.)
CUSD attorney commissions an appraisal
on the district's El Granada property. No appraisal was done on
the North Wavecrest site. According to a subsequent Grand Jury
investigation into the CUSD deal, the North Wavecrest valuation
was determined by information provided by Coastside realtors.
The School District later claimed in Grand Jury testimony that
it was unaware that within two years prior to the agreement Wavecrest
Partners had purchased 17.364 of the 25-acre North Wavecrest site
for $909,000, or approximately $52,350 per acre, less than half
the acreage price used for the $2.7 million valuation in the agreement
for North Wavecrest.
Contracts between CUSD board of
trustees and Wavecrest are executed. Under this agreement, CUSD
is obligated to pay Wavecrest Partners a development fee of $255,000
in semi-annual installments during the two years following the
San Mateo County Grand Jury begins
first of two investigations into irregularities related to the
land swap deal. Following CUSD's refusal to explain who had provided
the information used in reaching the real estate valuations used
in the transactions, subpoenas were issued. The Grand Jury eventually
learned an initial appraisal of the El Granada property found
it to be valued at $4.4 million. According to testimony, the CUSD
board felt that this appraisal was incorrect in assuming an adequate
volume of sewer and water entitlements would be available for
sale to satisfy the proposed developments. The appraiser was not
asked to reevaluate the site assuming the unavailability of entitlements.
San Mateo County Grand Jury releases
final report on CUSD's land swap deal, finding several significant
issues and making recommendations accordingly. Click
here for the final Grand Jury report.
Parcel Tax I, a four-year commitment
of $125 per year, fails to pass.
California Coastal Commission
finds substantial issue with the Wavecrest project and votes to
Parcel Tax II, a three-year commitment
of $75 per year, fails to pass.
After more than three years of
delays, CUSD President Ken Jones and other board members call
a public hearing to discuss the middle school dilemma. Superintendent
John Bayless presents the School Board and public with an exhaustive
slide show detailing all available middle school site options
and concludes by making an extremely strong case for modernizing/improving/expanding
the middle school at its current Cunha site. He explains all the
pros of going with this option and also outlines a strategy for
phasing in the project over three years with the project able
to begin nearly immediately. Superintendent Bayless's full presentation
may be viewed by clicking
June 6, 2002
School Board holds another public
hearing for community feed-back on the middle school issue. A
sizable group of parents and concerned citizens speak on behalf
of the Cunha site as a viable and desirable alternative. They
are dismissed (and in some cases publicly denigrated) as "eco-terrorists"
and a small "fringe" group.
June 20, 2002
A week later, parents return to
speak before the school board, this time bearing the names of
1,350 Coastside residents collected in five days outside of Safeway.
The petition urges CUSD to consider placing the new middle school
at Cunha rather investing any further in the long-delayed Wavecrest
plan. Once again, this alternative is dismissed without further
deliberation. All five school board members vote to continue their
commitment to Wavecrest. The seeds of the "Build It Now Initiative"
Coastal Commission declines to
consider approval for Wavecrest, citing still incomplete biological
A Joint City Council-CUSD town
hall meeting is held specifically on the middle school site issue.
President Ken Jones and member Dwight Wilson, representatives
to the joint city-CUSD committee, do not attend the meeting. All
five members of City Council are in attendance. CUSD sends no
Joint City Council-CUSD School
Board exploration of viable middle school sites determines that
there are only two such sites: Cunha and Wavecrest. City Councilors
Toni Taylor and Jim Grady recommend Cunha as community's best
option (to see a full PowerPoint presentation addressing the Cunha
site option and arguments that have been made against it, see:
here). CUSD school board members vote to table the discussion.
Parcel Tax III, a five-year commitment
of $250 per year, does not pass. Less than a week later, the school
board votes to reintroduce exactly the same parcel tax, without
any adjustment or reconsideration, in a special June election
at a cost of $50,000.
A mystery donor gives the district
$50,000 to mount the Parcel Tax IV election. After the district
refuses to provide the public with access to the donor's identity,
both the San Mateo County District Attorney and the California
Fair Political Practices Commission investigate.
Parcel Tax IV, again a five-year
commitment of $250 per year, fails to pass.