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Palo Alto Unified's Request for Mitigations regarding Stanford's 2018 General Use Permit Application

Background: In November of 2016 Stanford University submitted an application to Santa Clara County for an updated land use permit, known as a General Use Permit (GUP). This application seeks approval for the next increment of campus development, including additional academic space and housing development planned through 2035.

As a Community Funded (“Basic Aid”) school district, PAUSD relies on local property taxes for a large majority of its operating funds, and receives very limited per pupil funding from the State. Under California tax law, rental housing for Stanford affiliates is eligible for property tax exemption, and, even if on the tax rolls, carries a below market value assessment, currently resulting in property tax revenue to PAUSD that covers less than 10% of the average cost per pupil. Based on the County planning staff’s projections the proposed additional housing is expected generate between 275 and 1,445 additional students for PAUSD.

Planning for our future
The Board of Education, on behalf of the families and students of our community, requests that our County Supervisors require Stanford to mitigate the impact of its housing expansion on Palo Alto Schools.

The PAUSD Board of Education unanimously passed resolution #2018-19.07 on November 14, 2018 stating the following priorities regarding the GUP:

  1. Securing ongoing funding for additional students in tax-exempt Stanford housing
  2. Obtaining a parcel of land large enough for a neighborhood elementary school
  3. Receiving one-time funding as a contribution to the construction of an additional school
Why does PAUSD need ongoing per-pupil funding?
  • PAUSD is a Community Funded district, with over 90% of revenue coming from local sources, regardless of how many students attend.
  • Stanford is the largest and wealthiest landlord in PAUSD, even excluding student housing. But Stanford's rental housing pays little or no local property tax.
  • The proposed GUP housing will be multi-family rental housing, adding hundreds of units to Stanford's inventory of low/no tax housing.
  • The result - hundreds of new student tenants with no new funding, on top of the $8 million of unfunded costs for students coming from Stanford to PAUSD today.
  • Stanford paid PAUSD $10 million for growth related to the 2000 GUP. It needs to continue to pay for those continuing students AND the new students from the 2019 GUP.
Why does PAUSD need a new school at Stanford?
  • Almost 300 elementary students live along the Sand Hill Road (SHR) corridor today, primarily at Stanford West rental community. With the proposed housing at Quarry Road, that number will grow by 275 according to the final Environmental Impact Report, with almost 200 elementary students, for a total of over 400 elementary students - more than enough for its own school.
  • PAUSD policy and history has been to make neighborhood schools available for all students. This is reflected in our Board Policies and has been true for over 50 years.
  • In all PAUSD, the SHR corridor is worst served neighborhood for elementary access. Elementary school students in the SHR corridor travel 2 miles to attend class. No alternative school is closer or more accessible.
  • PAUSD has building capacity to handle additional students elsewhere in the district, but the issue is PROXIMITY, NOT CAPACITY.
  • Stanford is the only landowner in the SHR corridor. Satellite photo analysis shows over 42 parcels of undeveloped land large enough for a school.
How do I get more information?

Additional information is provided in the Briefing Book below. This information was provided to the Santa Clara County Supervisors in early January 2019.

The following groups have formally voiced their support of the requests for mitigation:

Who can I contact to make my voice heard?

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors is the governing body that approves General Use Permits. Joe Simitian is the Supervisor representing District 5, which includes Palo Alto and Stanford geographic areas. The Board of Supervisors has appointed an Ad Hoc committee of Joe Simitian and Cindy Chavez to represent the County during negotiations. Contact information for each Supervisor is linked below.

Process Updates

February 14, 2019: Formal negotiations have begun between the County Ad Hoc Committee and Stanford University. Both sides agreed to ground rules linked in this document.

April 15, 2019: A conditional agreement has been reached that continues the history of partnership between the university and school district. The press release can be read on www.pausd.org, the full documents can be found included in the April 16, 2019 Board of Education agenda.

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