The proposed affordable housing development for local teachers and school staff is on track and expected to break ground within the next two years, according to an update at last week’s Los Altos School District Board of Trustees meeting.
Maegan Pearson, associate vice president of development at the nonprofit Abode Communities – the project developer along with the nonprofit Mercy Housing – shared the latest news on the apartment complex, set for construction at 231 Grant Ave. in Palo Alto, a 1.5-acre county-owned site.
The project has been in the planning stages for the past few years, a response to high housing prices in the area that affect schools’ ability to attract and retain teachers and staff. In 2018, Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian spearheaded the proposal, securing approval from his fellow supervisors to repurpose the land and to contribute funding. He also solicited a commitment from local cities and school districts – including LASD – to find ancillary funding to support the project.
According to Pearson’s report, the complex will feature 110 below-market-rate units, including studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, and 112 parking spaces. Twelve units will be designated for LASD, a mix of sizes.
“Right now, the distribution – which is not finalized – is that (LASD) would get three studios, seven one-bedrooms, and two two-bedrooms,” Pearson said at the Nov. 15 meeting. “Those units will (have) rent affordable to the range of 60% area median income to 140% area median income.”
The county requested a contribution of $600,000 from LASD, equating to $50,000 per unit. LASD trustees voted in 2018 to earmark the funds for the project. Participating school districts and the county will collaborate on an agreement for administration of the funds.
Demolition on the site is expected to begin next fall, with on-site construction set to break ground in winter 2023. Construction is scheduled to wrap up around the first quarter of 2024. Mercy Housing Management Group will manage the units.
Sandra McGonagle, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, briefed trustees on the disbursement of nearly $1 million to LASD through the state’s Educator Effectiveness Fund. The money, allocated for 2021-2026, is intended to support professional learning for administrators, teachers and classified staff.
McGonagle proposed the funds be directed to:
• Depth and Complexity Prompt Training and Coaching, to help challenge students.
• Practical Strategies for Inclusion and Modification, for special-education students.
• Early Childhood and Childhood Development Training and Coaching, to expand the transitional kindergarten program.
• Advanced Literacy Certificate Training, to support emerging early readers and writers.
• LASD Professional Learning Hub, training all teachers to support all students in their learning.
Trustees are expected to make a decision on use of the funds at their December board meeting.
County health clinic
Superintendent Jeff Baier presented a “Resolution in Support of Establishing a County Health Clinic in the Northern Portion of Santa Clara County.” The northern part of the county currently lacks a public hospital or clinic.
Trustees approved the resolution unanimously, supporting the establishment of a county health clinic with the goal of supporting the physical health and well-being of LASD students as well as those in surrounding districts.