Where can I find lots more information about the Build Our School Now initiative?

Explore this website. You'll find the full text of the initiative, histories of the Wavecrest project and our efforts to get a middle school built, and much more.

What does the Build Our School Now initiative actually do?

Please read the HMB City Attorney's official summary of the initiative, or, better yet, read the initiative itself. Briefly, the initiative says that a vital civic goal for Half Moon Bay is to have a pedestrian-friendly, centrally located downtown core, and that the middle school is important for achieving that goal. It amends the Half Moon Bay Local Coastal Plan (LCP) to prohibit the construction of any new school of school facility west of Highway 1, and permit construction of any new middle school in the centrally located downtown core of the City. It goes on to amend the Wavecrest Village plan to remove its proposed middle school.

Why can’t people from the unincorporated areas vote on this issue? After all, our children attend the Middle School and are affected.

This ballot initiative was not our first choice. Originally, a year ago, a group of parents attended a number of school board meetings and urged board members to reconsider the Cunha site in light of the Wavecrest site's myriad troubles. We were dismissed. We returned after five days of signature gathering with nearly 1,400 signatures and again urged that the board put a vote to the people. The board told us that our signatures had been coerced, that we had "strong-armed" citizens to sign the advisory petition. It was only after appeals to CUSD and the subsequent defeat of three parcel tax measures that we went forward with the only option we could find to affect forward movement on the middle school issue. Citizens aren't allowed to place an item on the CUSD ballot; only the school board can do that. So, instead, we had to go through the city of Half Moon Bay.

Didn't we already vote on the middle school?

No. Perhaps you're thinking of Measure K, the bond measure that passed in 1996 to fund various improvements to all the schools in our district. Measure K did not specify where a middle school should be built. The site selection committee didn't make its determination until after Measure K passed, and even then ranked Wavecrest third of five candidate sites.

I've read that Measure K doesn't allow us to build a middle school at Cunha.

That's a common misconception. In fact, Measure K says nothing about the location of any school. This question can be argued at length, but the short answer is that Measure K is more concerned with what we can do, not what we can't.

We've prepared a complete discussion of Measure K for your information purposes. Read it here.

Does this have anything to do with the Cunha Store?

No, aside from the fact that both the Cunha Store and the Cunha Middle School are important pieces of the heritage of Half Moon Bay.

If the current Cunha site were to be used for the new middle school, and if the project took a year, where would the kids go to school for that year?

As a community, we haven't yet reached the point of discussing how a new Cunha might be conceived, designed or configured. So we can't be specific about construction logistics, except to say that much of it takes place in the summer and on weekends. We'd suggest you look at John Bayless's May 2002 powerpoint presentation, which explains how such a project could/would be phased in.

Much would depend upon whether the school's main buildings were shifted, say, to the south end of the campus (adjacent to the library) or perhaps over toward the skateboard park. If planners opted to keep the main buildings where they are now, at the corner of Church and Kelly, then that would require the use of temporary, mobile classrooms (and more disruption to playing fields). We want to emphasize that the proponents have not envisioned any specific new school. That would evolve from school officials and community input.

What we proponents DO know -- and have researched thoroughly -- is that middle schools are being entirely reconceived and rebuilt right now all over the nation and around the Bay Area -- including right now at Los Gatos, Saratoga, Hillsborough and San Mateo. Pacifica re-did two middle schools last year. Their school district passed its facilities bond a year after our Measure K received approval. Their middle school construction is done. Ours has yet to begin.

Can we change our Local Coastal Plan through an initiative?

Changes to our LCP must be approved by the California Coastal Commission. Within reason, the Coastal Commission takes its lead from local legislation. We believe that they would be inclined to support this initiative. It's consistent with our general plan, and it supports the recently adopted open space element, which discourages construction in general west of Highway One.

Can we change the Wavecrest Specific Plan through an initiative?

There are several possible answers to this question.

• The Wavecrest developers have unilaterally changed the development plan, altering the original proposed commercial space component and shrinking the middle school site by three acres, relocating it next to Highway One.

• The city council has found the Wavecrest project out of compliance and the development deal's future is in question. Further, staff at the California Coastal Commission have not yet received a revised project submission nor are they satisfied with the biolgical analysis provided thus far.

• Even if the changes to the Wavecrest plan were successfully challenged, the initiative's severability clause provides that the rest of the initiative would still stand, in which case, the remainder of the initiative would guide the city in negotiating the revised development agreement sought by the Wavecrest developers.