On November 16, 2015, I attended one of two CVUSD community meetings regarding the new facilities master plan that the district is working on in conjunction with a consulting firm, Total School Solutions.
- Having adequate core facilities at each school.
- Including flexibility in classroom design “to accommodate varying teacher modalities and pedagogies.”
- “equity in facilities” to “provide an equal opportunity for education.
- “Castro Valley High School should be modified to provide adequate space for programs for all students currently housed at the site and for the additional students projected for the next 10 to 20 years.”
- Community access to school outdoor play areas and facilities for community events along with community input on what type of facilities they would would like to see.
- Improvement of the technology throughout the District and the inclusion in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) programs.
CVUSD’s biggest issue is space. As there isn’t really any suitable land available, there won’t be any new schools built. There could be improvements that involve building up in some cases. Almost all options are still on the table.
In order to pay for these improvements, the board is considering going for a bond in June 2015 to pay for it. The consultants conducted a survey recently of Castro Valley residents to determine if there is enough support to pass a bond and, if so, what size bond might pass. If Castro Valley does pass a bond, there is a high likelihood that a small state bond that is expected to follow next November would increase CVUSD’s bond funds by 50-60%. This is another compelling reason to go for a bond. If we don’t do a bond, we won’t get much from the state’s bond and implementing these new plans will take a very long time.
Several new issues discussed at the community meeting included a big desire for a centralized combination staff development space and storage facility for things like science and math materials. There is a high need for this collaborative space that is not adequately served by the district office. Also, there is a great need for ADA compliance that meets current needs more than the floor that the ADA code prescribes (e.g. one disabled parking spot at schools with classes for moderate to severely disabled students). The consultants seemed very savvy in these kinds of strategic planning processes; they listened well and had great suggestions.
The next step is a school board workshop this Saturday, December 5, 2015, at 12:30pm in the boardroom at the CVUSD offices. The community is welcome and encouraged to join this meeting. At this meeting, the consultants will present the draft plan to teachers and staff. At the regular school board meeting on December 8, the school board will finalize and approve its priority list and the consultants will present the results of the community polling process.