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A New High School in San Carlos?

by Chuck Gillooley

Magnet School Proposal.

When the topic of education comes up in San Carlos, there probably isn’t a bigger lightning rod than the high school situation – or lack thereof, right here in the City of Good Living.

For those of you relatively new to town, San Carlos once had its own high school, which was located where Highlands Park now stands on Melendy Drive. San Carlos High School at that time was the newest of the high schools in the District, but was closed in 1982 due to declining enrollment. The land was sold by the District to developers, and the land surrounding the athletic fields where the school used to reside was converted over to residential property. It was a decision that many San Carlos residents now regret in hindsight, especially now as the District grapples for solutions to solve its rapidly growing enrollment.

If there’s a single shortcoming that ever gets singled out with the otherwise excellent education track in San Carlos, its the lack of a high school.

The option to build another “full-size” high school with athletic fields anywhere on the Peninsula, let alone San Carlos, is virtually impossible due to the lack of the contiguous acreage required, and the restrictions on where such a facility could be built if the acreage was indeed available. This has made the notion of developing multiple smaller “magnet” schools a more feasible solution to the enrollment problem that the District now faces.  In other words, break the problem into smaller bites — not too different than what the San Carlos School District is doing with their “bridge school” solution for 4-5 grades.

The District has taken a definitive step to developing one of these “magnet” high schools right here in San Carlos by entering into contract to purchase the light industrial facility at 535 Old County Road, which is ironically adjacent to Laureola Park (the site of another San Carlos school that was regrettably closed years ago.)  Here is a map of the location:

The school would house approximately 400 total students, which is about 1/5 of the enrollment of either Sequoia or Carlmont High Schools — or, smaller than just the freshman class at either of these schools.   The contract for the purchase of the property has a 60-day contingency period built in to allow the District to complete its due diligence of the location, which involves determining compliance to the rigorous restrictions that are in place regarding where a school can be built today.   If everything checks out, the purchase can close as early as mid-January of 2015.

There’s a great article by Angela Swartz of the Daily Journal with more details about the proposal.  Click here for that article.
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