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District May Build a Temporary Campus to Cope with Enrollment Growth

The district, the city of San Ramon and a private developer are talking about building a temporary school to deal with the influx of students in the Dougherty Valley.

Dougherty Valley’s four elementary schools won’t be able to accommodate the influx of new students for much longer.

, , and elementary schools were built to house 3,600 students with a student-teacher ratio of 20 to 1. The ratio has since been increased to 26 to 1, bringing the student limit to 4,368.

Slightly more than 4,000 students are enrolled at the four schools and 5,000 elementary school students are expected to live in the Dougherty Valley once the community is built out.

Those figures were presented by San Ramon Valley Unified School District  Assistant Superintendent Christine Williams at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting. Trustees discussed ways to handle the growing population in Dougherty Valley schools. The impact is being felt most strongly now in elementary schools.

One fix could be for the district to team up with the City of San Ramon and a private developer, said Superintendent Steven Enoch. The school district and city recently discussed the possibility of building a multipurpose facility on Monarch Road near Quail Run, he said. The building would hold 10 to 20 classrooms, accommodate 260 to 500 students, and include a multipurpose room and adjacent parks.

The multipurpose room would be used as a community center after hours and on weekends, Enoch explained. It would revert to city ownership and management once its run as a school ended. And it could be built by July 2012.

“There is some serious interest in pursuing this option,” Enoch said. “I think it’s a win-win-win situation for the school district, the city and for the developer."

Williams presented other options for handling the increasing number of students, such as raising the capacity of each elementary school from 1,092 to 1,200, diverting some students to schools outside Dougherty Valley, building a permanent elementary school, building a “satellite school” on an existing campus or adding new classroom wings on existing campuses.

Board members and parents at the meeting said they worry that increasing the capacity of schools could hurt students.

“We have to consider what we think makes a high-quality educational experience,” trustee Denise Jennison said, “If we go up to 1,200, would we be compromising that quality?”

Increasing the capacity at schools would worsen existing problems such as traffic and coordinating school assemblies effectively, said Live Oak Elementary PTA President Chip Shabazian, who has four children enrolled at the school.

“It would only exacerbate problems and is definitely going to impact the educational experience for children,” he said.

Trustees plan to continue the discussion at a board workshop Jan. 19.

Also at the meeting:

  • Trustees gave the district the go-ahead to create a new job: Child Nutrition/Food Services Director.
  • The board approved a resolution to support African-American History Month in February.
  • Passed a resolution to recognize National School Counseling Week, Feb. 7-11.

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