The proposed sale of the former Adams Middle School to a local charter school organization will be the topic of a study session by the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education.
The session will take place on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, at 6 p.m. at DeJean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave., Richmond, CA.
The session is an opportunity for the Board to discuss the potential sale. Community members will have an opportunity to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.
A list of frequently asked questions regarding the proposed sale is available on the District website at http://goo.gl/ICgf5P.
FAQ: Potential Adams Sale
WEST CONTRA COSTA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
FAQ – ADAMS PROPERTY (PDF)
1. Has the District decided to sell the Adams property to Caliber? What are the next steps in the process for the Board to make a decision?
The WCCUSD Board of Education has been in real estate negotiations for the Adams property at 5000 Patterson Circle, Richmond, CA with Caliber. No final decision has been made. No written agreement has been finalized or approved by the Board. A community meeting was held at Mira Vista K-8 on May 10th, 2016 and a public hearing on May 25th to receive input from the community. The Board of Education will also hold a study session on the issue on Tuesday, August 2, 2016, at 6 p.m. at DeJean Middle School.
2. Will Mira Vista K-8 and other District schools be affected if Caliber is located at the Adams property?
The District, as a whole, has experienced a decline in enrollment, due in part, to the expansion of charter schools. We anticipate that the decline of district enrollment will continue. There are approximately 2,600 charter school students throughout the District with a projected enrollment to nearly double over the next four years. Despite these District-wide issues, Mira Vista K-8 is fully enrolled and is performing well. Likewise, Caliber is fully enrolled and has a lengthy waiting list.
3. How much would Caliber pay for the Adams property?
While a final purchase price has not been reached, the proposal does contemplate the property being sold for well below fair market value. The agreement needs to be looked at as a whole. For example, the parties have contemplated that this is a piece of property that will have significant restrictions on it, foremost being that it may only be used to operate a charter school. Further, the conveyance of the property would be in exchange for a waiver of facilities obligations and other favorable terms for the District. Further analysis will be provided once terms of any agreement have been finalized.
4. Will the District do a surplus property proceeding before it transfers the property to Caliber?
No. This transaction is an agreement that allows the District to meet its obligations to provide facilities to Caliber and falls outside of surplus property obligations.
5. How many students did Adams serve, when did it close, and why did it close?
The Adams site served up to 1,200 students over the years. It was closed in 2009, after receiving a report from structural engineers regarding the seismic safety concerns of the three-story academic building. The property has not been used since then. If Caliber locates on the site, they will be required to comply with the CA Building Code.
6. Can the site and current facilities be occupied by students taking into consideration the seismic concerns?
In its current form, the District may not house students in the three-story academic building unless it was improved to meet the State’s seismic requirements.
7. Is the District required to provide facilities to charter schools?
Yes. Under Proposition 39 and Education Code 47614, the District is legally obligated to provide charter schools with facilities that are “reasonably equivalent” to those used by students at District operated schools.
8. Why is the District considering selling the Adams property to Caliber? Can the District consider providing facilities other than selling the Adams site to Caliber?
There is limited space at the District’s campuses, particularly for a charter school with 800 students and potentially growing. To comply with Proposition 39, the law requires that public school facilities be “shared fairly” with charter schools. California courts have made some drastic decisions when interpreting a school district’s obligations to comply with the law. This includes contemplating displacing other students within the District or adjusting attendance boundaries.
Rather than take any of those steps, and to meet with Caliber’s anticipated growth, the District is considering this proposal.
9. Will the District pay for any facility upgrades, demolition, or rebuilding on the Adams site if it sells the site to Caliber?
If the sale of Adams is approved by the Board, the District will not be contributing funds toward any facility upgrades, demolition or rebuilding of the Adams site. In the event of a sale to Caliber, Caliber would be responsible for the planning approvals, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and facility modifications.
10. Are there any other alternatives for the Adams site rather than selling it to Caliber?
The property is zoned for use as a public school and it has been used as such for many years up until 2009. If the Adams site is not used to house Caliber, the District would be required to provide other reasonability equivalent facilities to Caliber students which could potentially displace District students or financially impact the district.
11. How will the impacts on the surrounding neighborhood be mitigated?
If the property is sold to Caliber, Caliber will be obligated to go through environmental review and comply with the county planning requirements related to traffic and other impacts on the site.