A $25 million bond to build a fourth elementary school will not go before Foster City residents on the November ballot after school officials pulled it to conduct environmental and financial studies on a possible site.
During a special meeting Monday, the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to remove a $25 million bond from the ballot. The district has been researching possible locations for a fourth school in Foster City to accommodate overcrowding for some time. While it has identified a preferred location, the board wanted more time to study it before asking voters to fund construction of the school.
"This is a timing issue,” said Trustee Julie Chan, who stressed the district still plans to construct the fourth school.
Superintendent Cyndy Simms explained the district has found a preferred site for the school. While that location was not disclosed during the meeting, the district would like to study the financial and environmental feasibility before asking for funds to build the school, she said.
Board President Mark Hudak agreed that adding community input on the location is also desired. Delaying a bond vote will not impede the district from building a school in time to meet growing enrollment needs, he said.
Purchasing land will be covered using funds from Measure L — a 2008 $175 million bond measure. Measure L’s bond language allows for helping with overcrowding issues. In recent months, the board has discussed four sites during closed session meetings with values ranging from $2.2 million to $20.6 million. Among the possible locations is: 400 Mariners Island Blvd., located on a street which acts as the boundary between San Mateo and Foster City; a six-acre parcel at 1164 Trinton Drive; a 4.9-acre parcel at 551 Foster City Blvd.; and a six-acre location at 1050-1064 Shell Blvd.
Earlier this summer, the board voted to put the bond measure before Foster City residents to cover construction costs of the school. As proposed, the tax would have cost property owners $18.82 per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value. Such a tax will still be needed to fund construction. Delaying the vote, Hudak explained, will allow the district to have a more detailed plan rather than a conceptual plan when seeking voters support.
In January, Godbe Research conducted a phone interview of Foster City voters.
Sixty percent of those polled supported at tax rate of $19 per the $100,000 of a property’s assessed value. Support increased to 64 percent when the rate dropped to $14.
Any measure can be pulled before Wednesday’s final filing deadline, said county Elections Manager David Tom. There will be some cost for work done for the district so far, Tom said, but that will be minimal since the district has a contested race for the Board of Trustees.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.