Search The Tattler

Monday, November 19, 2012

State: New $60 Million School Will Be Sub-Standard

Sacramento Says:
New Emeryville School Doesn't Meet State Mandated Minimum Standards

Emeryville Parent Challenges Planning Commission

Emeryville parent Brian Carver has alerted the  Planning Commission, scheduled to vote tonight on the final schematic design of the new school planned as part of the Center of Community Life; the facilities do not meet California minimum space standards for children.  Additionally, Mr Carver asks the Planning Commission to consider the fact that the School District has engaged in an end run around citizen engagement and disallowed the people of Emeryville to help decide if the Anna Yates Elementary School should be closed and moved to the new high school site.   Lastly, the District has not committed on telling the people of Emeryville what is to become of the newly abandoned school properties as it moves forward with the contentious Emeryville Center of Community Life.

Here is Brian Carver's letter:

Dear members of the Planning Commission:

Thank you for service to our City.  I have followed the development of
the ECCL project very closely, and as a parent and active community
member I continue to have concerns about this project's design and cost.
Most importantly, I simply do not believe that this project provides
enough outdoor space for our children.  Even at Anna Yates, since the
recent change to move the 7th and 8th grades to that location, we do not
have enough space for kids to play (particularly in the morning, before
school).  We have had times at the school where the play structure is
"scheduled," meaning that only certain classes may use it for recess
that day.  My concern is that the drive for "efficiency" and shared use
will not solve this problem, but will be a very expensive replication of
it at the San Pablo site.

There are State guidelines that outline the amount of space necessary in
new schools.  While EUSD staff insists that no one meets these
standards, I do not believe that after many millions of dollars we
should be creating a project that shortchanges our kids and community on
space.  A new project should aim to do better, rather than to replicate
the failures of others.  We should also be looking at how much space
neighboring, successful public schools offer--these schools will be
competing with us--and if we do not have adequate space for outdoor
activities, learning, and programming, then enrollment will suffer,
potentially to the point that maintaining a School District in
Emeryville becomes fiscally unsustainable, all while leaving our
residents with decades of bond payments.

Finally, the Commission should condition any ECCL plan approval on firm
commitments from the District regarding the future uses of the Anna
Yates and Ralph Hawley sites.  Both Board Trustee Simon and
then-Superintendent Sugiyama promised the attendees of the July 2010
City-School Committee meeting, myself included, that residents would
have a voice in the decision to co-locate all the grades at one site.[1]
They assured voters that this opportunity was guaranteed by the
language of Measure J itself.  However, this summer, when over 70
individuals signed an open letter to the District urging the Trustees to
keep the elementary students at the Anna Yates site, the plea fell on
deaf ears.[2]  At this weekend's design meeting, Superintendent Lindo
told attendees that the co-location decision was made over a decade ago
and was not up for discussion.  This is not the community engagement
process that was promised in 2010 or in the language of Measure J
itself.  Since the District will not keep its promises to residents,
perhaps it will keep promises to the Planning Commission:  Ask them to
assure you that these public properties will not be sold off or rented
to a competing private or charter school.  Ask them to go on record as
to their plans for these sites' long-term use and maintenance as a
condition of any ECCL approval.  It should be part of their
responsibilities as Trustees to have long-term plans for the use and
maintenance of public properties, but residents have had no luck in
getting these Trustees to be transparent about such plans.  I hope you
can.  (Anticipating a rebuttal: A task force whose very charter directs
its members to conclude that the Anna Yates site should be used for
adult education is not a part of any transparent community engagement

Thank you. Please do what you can to ensure that our children have
adequate facilities for recreation and play to support their learning.

Brian W. Carver
Emeryville resident and parent of a child at Anna Yates



  1. The footnotes were omitted. They were:



    1. Sorry about that...I included the footnotes at 10:03 AM

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I applaud Mr. Carver for his understanding and diplomacy. I am not so kind. I pay multiple Property Taxes in Emeryville, and this year's billing for ECCL got my attention. What a waste! Who are these outsiders who come to our Community, pick my pocket,and stick us with what they benefit from? We do not need the ill conceived ECCL; especially since Anna Yates works, and our High School is bought and paid for. Child Development and the Senior Center are doing just fine, as they are.
    Future enrollment in Emeryville Schools is bleak. The money is unsustainable. Are we nuts, or what? Wake up, Emeryville.

  4. Yes we are nuts. Thank You Brian. The space standards are important and I'm sure were set for a reason. It would be nice if we could at least meet them for the money this is going to cost us. As usual your letter will probably fall on deaf ears and we will continue on this slow moving fiscal train wreck that nobody is willing to keep in check. Property owners are on the hook for this for years to come and yet the silence is deafening.