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School board favors Cooper Park housing

Original post made on Jan 24, 2018

Responding to an overwhelming need by local school teachers for more affordable housing, Mountain View Whisman School District board members agreed last week to explore building workforce housing at Cooper Park, transforming a portion of the district-owned land into three-story townhouses for school staff.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 12:02 PM

Comments (55)

Posted by Incredulous
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 3:22 pm

You can't be serious. Cooper Park itself will not be affected??? We who actually live in this neighborhood consider the whole area Cooper Park. What will be left will be basically nothing. This park is the center of our neighborhood for all kinds of activities. Is it the position of the City and the School District that progress and solutions mean more people, less character, less green space, and in almost every situation making Grant Road impassable?


Posted by Sally
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 3:23 pm

It is disingenuous to say that Cooper Park would not be affected. The athletic fields and surrounding area have been used as a park for over 35 years. Part of it was designated as a dog park in the last year. What would be left is pitifully insufficient.


Posted by Outrageous
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Unbelievable! There are 11 acres in Cooper Park / School identified as part of the City's Parks and Open Space plan -- how much of that is lost in this plan? Looks like about 80%. The only other open spaces in the Grant planning area are Huff School Park and MV High School, not ideal since they are not open to the public during school hours. This plan goes against the City's open space goals and highlights the problem of using schools as open space when the school district can unilaterally build on those sites.


Posted by Sally
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jan 24, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Raze the district office, build an 8-story apartment tower on the land, house the district office in the first floor and the teachers in the rest. Problem solved. Beyond that, it scares me when Gutierrez talks about financing in such simple terms. He never seems to have a firm grasp on the topics but puts forth a no-it-all responses while spitting out accusations of segregation. This plan will end up being a give away with very few teachers ending up in such housing in the long run. Best to subsidize loans for teachers to buy homes in neighboring cities. Make the teachers put some skin in the game.


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Housing is the single greatest driver for teacher turnover, so MVWSD must do something. San Jose, Palo Alto, San Mateo and San Francisco school districts are all developing plans, and unlike other government agencies, school districts often have underutilized land, as does MVWSD.

That said, I hope the district does NOT sell any land at Cooper. While I believe teacher housing can be placed at Cooper in a way respectful to the character of the community, I do not believe that selling land to private development (to fund teacher housing) is respectful to that neighborhood, or any neighborhood.

I urge the district look at new housing lifestyles like the rise in adult communal startups, see Fortune Magazine: Web Link These aren't the "hacker houses" that have been problematic. Looking beyond traditional housing setups will reduce the footprint.

Anyone who spends time in Cooper Park nows that the land next to the preschool is underused and unkept. To build housing there is no loss to anyone's park experience. Likewise, those fields to the south are a great asset, and it would be a tragedy to lose them.

The answer should be innovation, and then everyone's needs can be met. That's the Silicon Valley mindset.


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Anyone who spends time in Cooper Park nows that the land next to the preschool is underused and unkept. To build housing there is no loss to anyone's park experience. However, those fields to the south are a great asset, and it would be a tragedy to lose them.

The answer should be innovation, and then everyone's needs can be met. That's the Silicon Valley mindset. Please build teacher housing and also don't sell land, and also don't build over those precious community fields.


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 24, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Or how about a pocket community of tiny homes. Examples and info here:
Web Link

Tiny homes are movable, thereby preserving the land to be converted for other future uses.
Tiny homes, modern communal housing, or something else equally innovative, small in footprint, and cheaper.

Selling district land for traditional homes and private development that overlaps popular fields seem so disagreeable, that were those sketches drawn to intentionally draw out controversy?


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 5:31 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Cooper Park is an extremely valuable open space essential to the quality of life in Mountain View.

Any housing built in Cooper Park should blend in with existing local housing. This is the primo 'hood in Mountain View, and it should NOT be degraded by medium- or high-density housing, nor by grossly inappropriate housing. No "planned developments". Single family & single story detached homes with no condos, townhouses, or row houses sneaked in. NO apartments or other rentals or leases. One story max height with lot sizes equal to mean single family lot sizes near Cooper Park. No in-law units, either in the houses or in their yards. Otherwise, we'll just end up with another 3-story townhouse ghetto & disaster like that on Miramonte next to St. Joseph Catholic school, a visual monstrosity that is totally out of character with the surrounding modest, 1-story single family house neighborhood.

Mountain View should limit its medium- and high-density housing mania to along the El Camino corridor and to north of Central Expressway. It should sacrifice its established single family neighborhoods on the false alter of "affordable housing".


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 5:35 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Correction: It should NOT sacrifice its established single family neighborhoods ON the false alter of "affordable housing'. Affordable housing is just a cruel hoax for people who don't understand simple market economics.


Posted by Ted
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 5:46 pm

Ted is a registered user.

First and foremost, local agencies operate for their own benefit. Neighborhood adversely affected? Tough luck. This school district, especially, has two school sites for which it just extended private leases for decades. Leases generate spending money - higher salaries and benefits. Is the absence of neighborhood schools bad for the neighborhoods? Sure but too bad. You allowed the election of these trustees. Maybe next time you will find candidates who actually care about students and neighborhoods. Maybe not.


Posted by Mazo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 6:10 pm

Why not use the PG&E houses for teachers? Web Link


Posted by Martha
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 6:13 pm

I would support a proposal to add teacher housing IF it preserved the playing fields. I think something could be built on the portions that house Primary Plus, the off-leash area, and the undeveloped section. Selling the perimeter to houses is simply a horrific idea, sorry. I know that legally these fields are not "Cooper Park" but they are a hugely popular, highly-used community resource. Not just by those of us who live in the neighborhood, but by youth soccer, little league, adult soccer leagues, summer soccer camps, etc. the loss of these fields would reverberate through the larger area. Find another way to finance it!


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2018 at 7:53 pm

@William

"It should NOT sacrifice its established single family neighborhoods ON the false alter of "affordable housing'. Affordable housing is just a cruel hoax for people who don't understand simple market economics."

Easy for you to say. You're not paying the cost that comes with keeping everything zoned so low. But rent and housing prices keep going up for the rest of us.


Posted by Nitha
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 8:13 pm

This is the only park in the walkable distance, how can this be taken out. cooper park itself is not sufficient for the neighborhood how can one think of any plans around it


Posted by Resident
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:08 pm

Cooper Park isn’t the only park in the area, Cuesta Park is a 10 minute walk away.

People need to accept Mountain View isn’t all about single family homes anymore. These are unaffordable for most people moving into the area. The constant circle of complaining is just ridiculous, traffic is terrible we need more housing, don’t build the houses near me, don’t build them 3 story high, don’t build apartments, all the good teachers are leaving, we demand the city do something, city propose something and people start complaining again. Tiresome


Posted by Incredulous
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 24, 2018 at 9:20 pm

We who paid lots of money to be in a certain type of neighborhood are not ok with totally changing it so we can have more and more people. You think sitting in traffic is ok? Is progress the most people in the smallest area working in a never ending explosion of jobs? Some of us might support something on the site of the day care and the "wild" area near it but we're not losing a park so we can have more people clogging our streets in the name of "progress."

The arrogance of Ms. Wheeler saying we'd still have a park - basically a swingset - when she has no idea of the importance of this park to the area is unbelievable.


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2018 at 10:06 pm

@Incredulous

"We who paid lots of money to be in a certain type of neighborhood are not ok with totally changing it so we can have more and more people."

And I'm not OK with the rising cost of living that you're externalizing onto me by restricting the supply of housing. You paid a lot of money for a house, not the right to keep the neighborhood static.


Posted by I'll throw you a pity party
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 24, 2018 at 10:24 pm

Oh, stop the complaining. Across from my house I currently have a neighborhood school, a district office, a new Stevenson School (which my kids can't even attend and brings in tons of car traffic) being built AND now a preschool serving the whole district! If my neighborhood has to put up with all that from this school district squeezed on one plot of land, then you should be able to handle some teacher housing in yours. Cooper park is not the only park near you, Cuesta Park is massive and close by. There's also the Cuesta Park Annex, Oak Elementary and MV High School have lots of green space, and Marymeade Park is also close.

It's about time South of El Camino contributed some affordable housing in Mountain View. It all seems to get dumped in my neighborhood. Your turn to help out for a change.


Posted by Mountain View Man
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 3:22 am

The consulting team based in Dublin responsible for this plan that will take away heavily utilized open space and playing fields: Web Link


Posted by Tom
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 4:04 am

Tom is a registered user.

Instead of teachers, how about housing for native Americans displaced by European invaders? How many teachers are employed in the MV-Whisman District? How many administrators? This is not nearly enough housing for them all. Could we give priority to native American staff, if any? Did you know that Pioneer Park between City Hall and the library is a native American burial ground? Maybe Cooper Park could be sold for burial plots to raise money for subsidized housing elsewhere. Just offering some ideas. No charge.


Posted by BillyJoe
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 25, 2018 at 7:02 am

BillyJoe is a registered user.

What a stupid idea....perfect for Mountain View!


Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 7:37 am

Juan is a registered user.

This is one of the worst ideas I have heard, but it's no worse than other terrible projects getting approved around San Antonio. So now one side of the town says "we approved the terrible six-story apartment building that blocks out the sun all day, now YOU have to bulldoze your park to build public housing. It's only fair!" And in the end, we lose the park, the sunlight, the neighborhood.. rent still goes up, still have housing shortage, so what's the point? Oh developers make billions, I see. That certainly makes it worthwhile.


Posted by Close to Hetch Hetchy Trail
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 25, 2018 at 8:25 am

Who paid DCG to come up with this plan?! How much did it cost for this plan that makes so many compromises?


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2018 at 8:36 am

@Juan

"we approved the terrible six-story apartment building that blocks out the sun all day"

Good thing it wasn't 7 stories or it'd be perpetual nighttime across Mountain View!


Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 9:36 am

Rossta is a registered user.

Terrible idea. Sell that land and the school can never afford to get it back. Where do you relocate the soccer and pony-league teams that play there? Some other idea for the neighborhood off-leash dog area that would be lost?

Not opposed to putting appropriately sized teacher housing there on the under-utilized portion - that is quite a bit of space. Not sure the condition of the existing school used for PrimaryPlus.

A bond makes more sense since this will generate income that can pay back the bond. With the land already paid for, it should be easy to make the income pay for cost of construction amortized. If not, then our economy is too broken to fix.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 11:40 am

The consultants were paid about $35,000 on a "consent agenda" contract that only needed the Superintendent's signature, and not even a vote of the Board (they were officially informed of the action, allowed by their delegation of authority to the superintendent). Were the neighbors sent a postcard informing them of the process? For ether of the Board meetings where this was discussed (this was the 3rd)?

If you disagree with Ellen Wheeler'a approach to this type of development, and lack of early community public engagement (transparency or opacity?) please remember - she will be up for re-election this November.

I agree with Chris Chang's comments at least as far as this school owned site is appropriate for a small number of teacher-units. I myself - after talking with the neighbors over several constituent meetings (in Cooper Park) and listening to their written comments (just the surrounding streets) - have concluded at A LAND SWAP with the City, for maybe 6-7 acres of unused Cuesta Park Annex - would be much better city/community planning. Cuesta Park Annex (So. of El Camino) is very close to Huff, Bubb and Graham, and it is also walkable to a nearby shopping center. Many teachers could live there WITH NO CAR and walk and use nearby public City and VTA transit routes. Also - stage several Zip Cars there. (common at college campuses)

I agree with Coladonado - it is unwise to sell-off publicly owned land to finance this. Stanford, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Clara USD and San Mateo Community College District do NOT do this and still retain Public Title to the underlying LAND. (Ground rent). As in the case of these educational organization, this allows control of Who Can Own the overlying single family home.

SN is a retired Trustee of the MVWSD
P.S. Councilwoman Showalter probably has a good handle and opinion on this housing/job issue.


Posted by Mazo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 3:15 pm

This sounds like an underhanded way to push a development project by calling it “teacher housing”. Then a few years down the line when budget woes arise, they will sell off thes high density units to any buyer willing to pay the price. What will we be left with? An overcrowded neighborhood, a slide and a swing set park, and a massive traffic jam on Grant Road. Plus years of suffering construction detours, noise, delays, dust.


Posted by Karen
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 5:21 pm

This does not feel like a child centered decision to me. Every child involved in AYSO and Pony League baseball will be affected. It will mean more competition for the remaining fields citywide, and it will increase challenges for practice time. Cooper Park is a very well used park both day and evening. Because of the frequency of benches there are several elderly people who walk more because they have places to rest. To me, it does make sense to develop space on the Eunice side of Cooper Park, where it has long been dirt, potentially the preschool (which I imagine is not up to earthquake standards) and the dog area. That said, the dog area is a very well utilized place for community building, and though not a dog owner I would miss it. And certainly the preschool is a sweet space in our community.


Posted by Mountain View Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 25, 2018 at 8:21 pm

Why not just do what Menlo Park does and pay teachers more money. You think Menlo Park teachers are whining about high cost housing? Nope! They're jazzed because they get paid a decent wage. Paying well is a lot cheaper than housing! The ONLY motivation to provide housing is, well, NOTHING!

Pay teachers more money and you get good teachers. Period. They'll figure out their own housing.


Posted by What a bunch of Whiners
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 25, 2018 at 11:24 pm

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Oh no...don't take my doggie park away. So what if teachers have to drive 2 hours to teach our kids?

[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Its the district's land, not yours. They can use it to help their employees.

You still have the ACTUAL Cooper park. And there are a ton of other parks walking distance. Walking...its good for you...


Posted by Jessica
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 26, 2018 at 6:03 am

@What a bunch of Whiners

What you fail to see is that the district would be selling most of the land to developers to build private homes one. And the land won't just be for teachers, it will be for all employees. Why? I thought the whole idea was teacher housing.

As someone said above, pay the teachers more. Much more. They are educated. Many are married to high income spouses. That's the kind of professional teachers we should be attracting. Not the kind who got into teaching because they couldn't do anything else and with a minimal education and means who get tenure in three years and then potentially squat in teacher housing for years and years while performing flat. If you don't think such teachers exist, then you haven't been around public education long enough.


Posted by Over-taxed, under-served
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 26, 2018 at 8:20 am

Hey William,

There are single family home neighborhoods north of Cental Expressway. I live in one. Why should we have to have all the affordable housing in our neighborhood? Is our neighborhood not worth "preserving" it's character? The sad part of all of this is I'd be willing to bet that I paid more for my house than you did. Housing prices here are just a function of when you bought.

It's also quite likely that I pay more in property taxes than you do. If I'm paying more than you, why should my neighborhood be sacrificed?

If Mountain View wants to build more housing, if that's a priority for our elected officials, it needs to do so THROUGHOUT all of Mountain View, including in your precious neighborhood. I don't like it any more than you do, so we all need to share the burden. You are not more important than anyone else here.

Sincerely,
Your over-taxed, under-serviced neighbor


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2018 at 8:28 am

@over-taxed

"Is our neighborhood not worth "preserving" it's character?"

Nope. Same goes for the other neighborhoods. This isn't a tiny town in the middle of the rust belt somewhere. Things are growing, we have to build new homes, schools, and mass transit infrastructure, and we have to do so in high-densities.


Posted by Different objection
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

I could support teacher housing at Cooper Park but I have to say that if the plan is to charge teachers 70% of market rates, it's just not worth it.

A starting teacher is just as unlikely to be able to pay 70% of market in MV as to be able to pay full market. I think for this to have any real impact, and be worth all the disruption and loss of park space, the rental discount would need to be at least 50%. Otherwise I fear we will have lost access to extremely valuable land for no strong benefit and teachers will still be leaving. It's not clear from the article if the teachers said to support this were aware they would still be on the hook for 70% of the rent.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 26, 2018 at 10:49 am

Dear Jessica and Under-Served. There is sufficient data to show that most college-educated teacher families have (in most communities) a higher than median salary. So - the model that I think former Trustee Chiang and I are talking about is more Starting Employee. A single teacher at starting salary has a problem here, Santa Clara County, because of the abnormally high cost of housing. The TARGET BENCHMARK: what the Santa Clara USD did/does with publicly owned land, and public financial resources (they used a specific-to-project mortgage-like financing). This would be a rejection of the JUST MORE $$ FOR SALARY way of thinking.

I totally understand the park-space imbalance between North of ECR and wealthier areas South of ECR. After observing and talking to many residents who actually use Cooper (school site fields & City parklands), it is extremely clear that it is an important community recreational public space - much more important that an equivalent 6-7 acres at lightly-used Cuesta Park Annex (close to me for 25 years).

Yes In My BackYard (or nearby) would be a much better (green and low carbon-footprint) housing plan than NO COOPER FIELDS. Do the 'out of town consultants' really know better than the community? Heck no!


Posted by Think Bigger Picture
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm

There are many reasons for the residents of the city (not just Waverly Park) to not want this development:

1) What happens when MVWSD needs to build more schools? Which they will.

2) Increased traffic on Grant affects access to El Camino Hospital. Already the traffic on Grant Rd is terrible and the intersection at Eunice/Grant is blocked by cars frequently. I hope you don't need life saving emergency care during rush hour especially if you live north of Eunice.

3) Teachers want choices too. Pay them more, give them housing stipends, help them finance buying a house. There are many solutions, but putting money in the pocket of developers shouldn't be one of them.

4) Open space and preserving redwoods is something that I thought people in this city cared about. I guess only when it's in their neighborhood?


Posted by Long Gone
a resident of another community
on Jan 26, 2018 at 3:05 pm

It seems to be too late to realize that more businesses followed by more housing, forced upon Mountain View by ABAG and now pro-urbanization activists will change the city into San Francisco. We got out in time.


Posted by Sylvan Park Resident
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 26, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Sylvan Park Resident is a registered user.

Here's a novel idea, why don't we PAY teachers a living wage on par with a Police Officer? If you want good teachers you need to PAY them. Why is it that a rookie cop's starting pay in MVPD is 98K (before OT)? Cleary the school district has they money, the money is there, the administrators are very well paid. Warehousing teachers in low-end housing is not sustainable, it would appeal only the most junior employees. It reminds me of the boarding houses provided by factory owners during the Industrial Revolution.

MOUNTAIN VIEW WHISMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT TOTAL COMPENSATION; SOURCE: Web Link

MOUNTAIN VIEW POLICE DP - ENTRY LEVEL FIELD OPERATIONS
SOURCE Web Link
$98,173 to 119,216 annually. BENEFITS Generous paid leave, CalPERS medical coverage, dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, and an employee assistance program (EAP). Access to CalPERS retirement (3% at 50 for current classic members; 2.7% at 57 for new members) and retiree medical benefits as well as access to IRS Section 125 flexible benefits for pretax child care, health spending accounts and tuition reimbursement.


Posted by gcoladon
a resident of Slater
on Jan 26, 2018 at 8:22 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

Someone said:

"Why not just do what Menlo Park does and pay teachers more money. You think Menlo Park teachers are whining about high cost housing? Nope! They're jazzed because they get paid a decent wage. Paying well is a lot cheaper than housing! The ONLY motivation to provide housing is, well, NOTHING!

Pay teachers more money and you get good teachers. Period. They'll figure out their own housing."

Here's the salary schedule for the Menlo Park City School District: Web Link
For a starting teacher in the 2017-18 school year, the entry level salary is $59,889

Here's the salary schedule for the Mountain View Whisman School District: Web Link
For a starting teacher in the 2017-18 school year, the entry level salary is $60,933


Posted by New in town
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 26, 2018 at 11:20 pm

If i were a teacher, i wouldn't want to be told where i could live. What if the teachers have kids? Or pets. Or play the trumpet? What if they value getting paid a living wage in the town they work? $60k (before taxes), barely pays for a tiny OLD apartment in town. Raising the salary is a better idea than some sort of subventionized campus living. Rents are too high for many, though. For janitors, hair dressers, food and hospitality workers, support staff at the tech companies. If you build a teacher campus, cost of living will still be too high for others. What can be done for them? Lets keep ignoring the problem of landlords charging outrageous amounts in rent. (Yes... i know that in a free market supply and demand rule... I know).


Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2018 at 12:30 am

"What if they value getting paid a living wage in the town they work? $60k (before taxes), barely pays for a tiny OLD apartment in town."

60k pays for your half of a bedroom that you share with an SO, in an apartment that you share with other housemates renting the other bedrooms.

100k might get you a very tiny, very old studio apartment if you're willing to splurge on it to have your own place. More than likely it just gets your own unshared bedroom in an apartment with housemates.

"Lets keep ignoring the problem of landlords charging outrageous amounts in rent."

That's not the problem, as you pointed out after you said this. Housing is a market. There's a lot of unsatiated demand for condos, apartments, and bedrooms. Rents are going to go up from all of the competition for what few units are available. The actual problem is the Bay Area hasn't built enough condos and apartments to keep up with demand for years and years, resulting in a huge housing gap that's only getting bigger.

Paying teachers more money is obviously a great idea regardless of what the housing situation is, but you could give everyone a raise and they'd still be competing for the same scarce supply of apartments and driving the cost of them up.

We need to build more apartments and more condos, and in very high quantities, if we want to bring the cost of rent down so others besides retirees and engineers can afford to live here.


Posted by @YIMBY
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2018 at 8:10 am

I wonder if "In My Back Yard" works better if the load for new teacher housing (or is that "school workforce") is distributed to several different neighborhood backyards. We know that many wealthy/vocal Waverly Park (around Cooper and South of El Camino) homeowners do not want BMR (Below Market Rate) or Section 8 renters in their area. The response to opening up Water District owned rentals along Stevens Creek make that clear last year.

But YIMBY I think you are correct. "We need to build more apartments and condos, in very high quantities, if we want to bring the cost ... down"


Posted by Jack Cormode
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 27, 2018 at 5:11 pm

Either use the present pre-school site for another elementary school (Huff is oversubscribed) or
Get rid of the pre-school and use its site and add the dirt areas of Cooper site and build housing available to all low paid school district employees. The School District floats a bond issue for housing and builds below-market-rate housing for any of its employees. No builder profits and we retain control of the land and keep our park which is so important to our neighborhood and environment.
The City of Mountain View could do the same for its employees over at the ‘Reserve’ next to Cuesta Park.
In all instances, we should remember that we are not talking about School District land or City of Mountain View land.
It is Our Land, the residents and taxpayers.
Maybe we need some new School Board members who have a better sense that they are public servants and they do not own the School District or its land.


Posted by Think Bigger Picture
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2018 at 6:54 pm

@Jack Cormode

Totally agree about the School Board. Right now part of the reason Huff Elementary is oversubscribed is the School Board's refusal to enforce their own enrollment policies. Last year they promised to do home checks, but now they refuse to acknowledge there is a problem. There are kids at Huff who don't live within the boundaries as well as kids who don't even live within the school district. They expect the public to report any discrepancies. The School Board doesn't care where the kids come from as long as they have body count so they can get as much money from the state.


Posted by Tom
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 27, 2018 at 11:49 pm

Tom is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by anonymous neighbor
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 28, 2018 at 6:38 am

I've long supported to schools, canvassed to support bond measure and put signs up in my front yard on street that is an access street to the school neighborhood. However,

Why not consider paying teachers a living wage so they can afford to live where they choose? -Web Link

Are they really thinking they need to build more housing when El Camino will soon be filled with more high density housing than our transportation system can deal with?

I would like the district to turn the Cooper Site back into a kindergarten or even a higher grade elementary school overflow site (as was recently rumored) or leave the option open to re-open the school there. Parents in the district have for years wanted more neighborhood schools - not fewer with ever increasing enrollment and larger class sizes.

The district will lose my vote and support (for any future bond measures) if they build housing or sell land that was paid for by taxpayers $ on this well used and loved site.


Posted by Tom
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 28, 2018 at 7:00 am

Tom is a registered user.

How many schools has this now-combined district closed or leased out for cash? Students are secondary at best.


Posted by Don
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 28, 2018 at 11:08 am

I live just a block from Cooper Park, and have to fight traffic on Grant Road daily, but it just doesn't make sense to sell precious land to perpetuate a 1950s, quarter-acre-lot lifestyle that is unsustainable in the 21st century. Mountain View and neighboring cities have started the transition from suburban to urban, and with demand for living space increasing, it is the option that serves the needs of residents best.

I am in very much in favor of affordable teacher housing. If we are going to finance this by building more housing in the Cooper Park area, rather than let developers build on large lots that will only be used by single families, we should build higher density housing that will back up on a beautiful park that can be shared and enjoyed by many more people. This would house more people, preserve the playing fields, and continue Mountain View's sensible trend away from inefficient land use.


Posted by John G.
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 28, 2018 at 6:01 pm

This is total outrageous. I grew-up in that neighborhood and played at that park almost every day. I played there with my brother's and sisters, my friends, and even played all of my base ball games there. To demolish 90% of this park for some communist housing project is absolutely absurd. My family still lives in the neighborhood, but this yet again another reason why I fled to Texas. The school district DOES NOT OWN this land. The TAX PAYERS OWN this land. The TAX payers better have a right to vote on this. Remember, there is no such thing as Government Property, it's TAX PAYER property, remember that.


Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 30, 2018 at 3:15 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

I have an alternative suggestion different from my "highly restricted development" post above --- a compromise that will provide teachers' housing, protect the Cooper Park's quality of life, and provide a badly needed new school for our children.

MV presently is considering authorizing the Los Altos school district to build a school at a truly HORRIBLE location --- the 8 acre Safeway/Old Mill tract on California Ave at San Antonio Rd. Due to traffic, noise, overcrowding, and pollution problems, this location is a non-starter for a school.

Instead, why not build the teacher housing on some or all of the Safeway/Old Mill tract? That neighborhood already has been destroyed with excess high density housing, so it can't be ruined any more than it already is. Let the Los Altos school district have SOME of the land at Cooper Park for the new school. Specifically, tear down the preschool buildings along Eunice, build a modest school and playgrounds along Eunice, and keep the rest of the land as it is for both school and public use? Los Altos gets its school in a really nice neighborhood, teachers get their housing within walking distance of a markets, shops, and restaurants, and the residents of Cooper Park get to keep their open space and traditional neighborhood --- with a school instead of a preschool.

My main fear is that this makes too much sense in a city where no planning decisions make sense anymore.


Posted by proudbayarea
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2018 at 8:28 am

proudbayarea is a registered user.

This proposal is insane. Big government out of control. Besides permanently losing a vital beautiful space, is it really the most efficient long-term use of our tax dollars to have the SCHOOL BOARD running large housing developments? Needless to say, this is not their expertise. These sorts of out-of-scope projects are what drive budgets totally out of whack in the long term. If the schools are also running housing that means the need for additional employees (growth of bureaucracy), liabilities and law suits.


Posted by RickV
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm

RickV is a registered user.

Since when do School Boards become developers and rental agents? Why are they in favor of giving up 9.5 acres of open space for development of high density housing? What will happen to the athletic fields and daycare that currently occupy that space? Someone needs to get the story straight, the Feb 2 2018 Voice has a lead article "Teachers' annual raises likely to shrink. After trailing its peers in MV Whisman District is now competitive." Which are we to believe, Teachers don't make enough to work in the Mountain View Whisman School District or are their salaries "now some of the best-compensated in Santa Clara County"?


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

I'm proud that MVWSD has made great strides in paying teachers a fairer wage, but make no mistake that the disparity still exist among Mountain View school districts.

MVWSD starts at: $60,933 and tops out at: $109,243 (no masters/phd stipend)
Web Link
MVLA starts at: $79,162 and tops out at: $149,586 (additional $2,400 masters & $3900 PhD) Web Link

That doesn't even account for the difference between what the high school foundation raises compared to the elementary school foundation. If you don't see MVWSD as a poor district, it's possible you either confuse MVWSD for the high school district or your elementary and middle school teachers bend over backwards to mask the disparity with their sacrifices.

Everyone benefits from MVWSD's success, (especially homeowners), so doing what we can to attract and retain the best teaching force helps our entire city. There must be a more innovative way to both address the housing crisis for teachers and make better use of underutilized district property, without losing valuable public fields or selling district land that we'll never get back.


Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2018 at 9:13 am

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

Maybe it's time to consolidate the 2 elementary school districts and the high school district into a single unified school district. I've heard board members of LASD say that the reason not to do this was that you'd have to pay the elementary school teachers more. Maybe they should be paid more. However, it's worth noting that most of the elementary teachers have an elementary, multiple subject teaching credential whereas all of the high school teachers have a secondary, single subject teaching credential. This hold true even for secondary school teachers in the elementary district, i.e. grades 7 and 8.


Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on Feb 5, 2018 at 9:20 am

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

About the park land. The park is obviously bigger than it needs to be. Space
on the periphery is not used much at all. The city owns 5.19 acres of land which is all used for the park. This is the part that aligns with the Waverly Park subdivision. MVWSD owns 9.5 acres of land in the Cherry Wood Acres subdivision. About half of this is used as part of the park. So the park area of potential change is about 45%, not 90% as someone commented. And of the overall 9 acres that is actually used as park and might be cut down to 5.2 acres, not all of that 9 acres is really actively used. For example, part was recently converted to an off leash dog area. That's a very large area that was completely idle for all practical purposes, until this new off leash dog area was created.

Which is more important, a designated few hours a day for the land to be used as a dog off leash play area, or teacher housing?

I would say that it would make sense for there to be a pathway through the new teacher housing area to connect to the park. Cutting off direct access would be a bad change. But this doesn't need to interfere with the teacher housing. In fact, it makes the housing area nicer to have direct access to the park.


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