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June 05, 2017



With all the high density housing coming into our town I'm reminded of a friend of mine's comment when driving from the east towards Las Vegas and seeing all those high-rise hotels and lights in the midst of the desert: "Where does all the poo go?"


I spent a considerable amount of time studying this on Planning Commission and as part of the General Plan CAC. My conclusions - there probably is a fair amount of capacity in the elementary schools, although one should not expect that their kids will automatically be going to the school in their own neighborhood, especially as it relates to neighborhoods around Washington and McKinley (especially McKinley).

I don't believe there is capacity at BIS to accommodate all of this planned growth (I calculated capacity in 2020 of 58 students, which would be equivalent to roughly 1,450 multi-housing units, assuming none of those students go to private school). Obviously single-family homes have a greater ratio of students, but I didn't expect much of our planned growth to be in that type of housing. These are all projections obviously and am more than happy to share my numbers for all elementary schools.

Since I highly doubt development fees will cover the building cost of new schools/capacity-based additions (and four years ago there was little traction to my thoughts that our development fees were insanely low), there will have to be another bond at some point to handle that growth as the current bond doesn't increase capacity (other than the classification as it relates to portables vs. permanent classrooms in a couple schools). If the bond doesn't pass, then we have a big problem. I've passed these thoughts on to the General Plan consultant and she thinks this is an issue that will have to be addressed in the EIR...her thoughts were that you cannot assume the growth can be accommodated if it requires funding that the school district currently does not have.

While I would hope that a bond would pass, I think passing a bond to improve existing schools is one thing while passing a bond to build new schools or expand others solely to accommodate new growth (because development fees aren't adequate enough) is another.

The growth would undoubtedly impact the quality, especially at BIS. The growth would also affect traffic patterns in the city and would demand much more Safe Routes to School infrastructure. I suppose one could opt out of bike infrastructure and put more families in cars driving across town, but those around BIS/Franklin already know how that idea works. It is tricky from a bike/ped perspective when we start moving more kids across El Camino though.

As for Burlingame High, I didn't get great info for my analysis. A quick conclusion would be more Burlingame kids would be going to Mills, but I haven't analyzed Millbrae's future growth plans and that impact on BHS or Mills.

If the quality of the schools decreases to the point where new families opt for other cities down the Peninsula or existing families move out (one of the things Burlingame currently benefits from as it relates to SF), then we are in for some rough times on many levels. So, it was not being ignored.


Who is paying the General Plan consultant?


The City of Burlingame pays for the GP consultant, although my understanding is a portion of the bill is paid through a grant from the California Strategic Growth Council.


Here is an excerpt from the Daily Journal article on the Lyon Hoag/Bayswater project. I don't know Mr. Huey, but I applaud his analysis!

Burlingame resident Alan Huey asked the commission to consider the impact of hundreds of new residents on the capacity of nearby schools. As a resident of 870 Bayswater Ave., which he said is one block away from the proposed project and Washington Elementary School, he already had concerns about whether the school could accommodate his daughter when she attends elementary school in a couple years, and wondered what an influx of students could do to enrollment at nearby schools.

“I think one thing to really consider is with [138] units, we don’t know how many of those people will have kids, it’s really going to impact our schools,” he said.


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