In my lifetime as a San Bruno resident growing up here from the age of six, I have attended San Bruno public schools from elementary school to community college; and in that same span of time I have witnessed the final and/or tentative closings of five different schools: Carl Sandburg, Crestmoor, El Crystal, and now recently, Peninsula HS and Rollingwood (the elementary school of my childhood).
- Carl Sandburg closed in 1978, later operated as Hoover Children’s Center. Sold in 2005 for $30.5 million.
- Crestmoor closed in 2014. Leased to Stratford Elementary.
- El Crystal sold in 2018 to Stratford Elementary for $13.5 million.
- Rollingwood to close at a TBD date. Whether to sell or lease TBD.
- Peninsula High School to close at a TBD date.
As the son of a public school teacher, I find this trend deeply troubling as it relates to the promise of a quality education to every San Bruno family, but it is the current dysfunction of the San Bruno Park School District together with the liquidation of invaluable public lots that has brought me to the realization that direct political action is the only solution. Given the exorbitant cost of living that San Bruno residents face, it is unacceptable that the same schools which were once a draw for young families to our city in the past have so severely diminished in reputation.
Supporters of the decisions to sell and/or lease these invaluable public properties cite three different arguments: 1) declining enrollment rates within the district; 2) budget constraints; and 3) a desire to transition from a system built around neighborhood schools to a regional one with larger campuses.
The actions and decisions of the San Bruno Park School Board are made even more curious by the fact that these schools are being sold under the pretense of declining enrollment projections. Yet these properties are now operated by Stratford School, a charter school with a tuition of $20,000. How can these properties thus be deemed as “surplus”?
Beyond being a vocal advocate for Saving Our Schools (SOS), as a Councilman I will strongly support the city buying any property.