SAN RAMON -- For families in the Dougherty Valley who have been caught in the student enrollment crunch borne of overcrowded elementary schools, relief is finally on its way -- though it'll take longer than everyone wants.
Construction on a newly planned elementary school will start in mid-June, San Ramon Valley United School District officials said during an April 22 Board of Education workshop.
Dougherty Valley's fifth elementary school, it will be located in east San Ramon, on a 7.4-acre site about a half-mile southwest of the Dougherty Station community center and library in a yet-to-be developed area next to a 30-acre park now under construction.
But its opening won't happen as soon as everyone had hoped, they said. It's estimated the new school won't be completed until spring 2016, so students will have to wait until the start of the 2016-2017 school year to move into its classrooms. The district had been hoping to find ways to shorten construction time, typically about 18 months, so the school would be ready by Christmas 2016 and ready for students after winter break.
"But that's always been wishful thinking," said board President Rachel Hurd.
While much of the student enrollment for the new school will come from the last pockets of yet-to-be developed neighborhoods, district staff are proposing a new boundary plan for its enrollment. That plan recommends moving a few neighborhoods within the Live Oak and Quail Run Elementary School attendance areas into the new school's boundary area. Details of that proposal are posted online at http://bit.ly/QCat4s.
The plan will also be presented and discussed at two community meetings, on May 13 and May 15. Also, an online survey is available on the school district website to drum up suggestions for a name for the new school.
At least for now, it appears that the district has the necessary capacity for next school year to bring back the 198 Dougherty Valley students it had to place outside of their "home" school this year, said Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Toni Taylor. About 51 of those students were placed outside of Dougherty Valley at another district school; the remainder were placed at other Dougherty Valley schools, though not their home school.
"But these numbers are fluid and these are always in flux," especially with new families moving in and out of the district, said Superintendent Mary Shelton.
Yet, the following 2015-2016 school year, the district will have to weigh the pros and cons of a number of potential temporary measures to deal with the escalating enrollment numbers at Dougherty Valley's four elementary schools, said Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations Gary Black. Among them would be getting permission to use day care classrooms to increase class space; keeping the student-teacher ratio at 26:1, which would require negotiations with the teachers' union; and even adding up to six temporary portable classrooms at the various elementary campuses, which would cost at least $500,000 total.
The district is also asking for suggestions for naming the new school, and that they be submitted by Wednesday, May 21 at the district website at http://svy.mk/1iiEjGP.
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/JoyceTsaiNews.
There will be two community meetings on the boundary proposal:
Boundary proposal is posted online at http://bit.ly/QCat4s
Name suggestions should be submitted at http://svy.mk/1iiEjGP.