As most know by now, a special City Council meeting was held on August 31, to allow citizen input regarding the San Mateo-Foster City School District’s request regarding the availability of four parcels of land for a possible fourth elementary school in Foster City.
The identified locations were two parks (Boothbay and Port Royal) and two pieces of undeveloped land (15-acres adjacent to City Hall and the terminus of Halibut and Beach Park). After several hours of comments from concerned citizens, the City Council voted to allow the School District to pursue the Halibut and Beach Park site for building a fourth school.
Our parks are open space and to relinquish one or two of them for whatever reason is open space and parkland gone forever! The two parks in question have been parks for many years and are used and enjoyed by many Foster City residents.
One of the main attractions that allure people to Foster City is our park system, which has had a direct upward impact on property values and our quality of life. One of the undeveloped land locations was the 15-acre site adjacent to City Hall which is currently under obligation with a developer that will bring much needed revenue to the City.
The City has taken and continues to take the school overcrowding issue very seriously. The City established a subcommittee to work with the School District, exchanging ideas and exploring alternatives. Even after the August 31st City Council meeting, the subcommittee remains in place for the same purpose.
Members of the City Council subcommittee have attended no less that four meetings with members of the School District subcommittee and have also attended six School Board meetings. On September 17, I attended the post August 31st follow up School Board meeting with the intention of hearing their thoughts on the next steps and to determine if there is something additional that we (the City) can do to assist in School Board’s decision-making process.
We must always remain mindful that when we talk about Foster City, we are addressing approximately 30,000 residents and their needs. When we talk about the San Mateo- Foster City Elementary School District, we are addressing the needs of about 123,000 residents in both Foster City and San Mateo. Needless to say, the School District’s focus is much different than that of the City.
Yet even though the focus is different, there are similarities as we both share financial obstacles. Foster City revenues have been attacked by the State and the economy while the School District has been hit with the reality of less money from the State with which to operate.
At this point, I remain confident that the City Council remains committed to doing the best that it can to assist in the School Board’s decision making process so long as our assistance is helpful and desired.
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