Was the School District Bought off by the Developers?

posted in: North 40, School | 7


Our position is that we support the Specific Plan vs having No Plan or even simply following the General Plan.  The school district is likely to have children enter the school system with the addition of houses to the North 40.  The following is a brief synopsis of what we believe is in the agreement and why we think this was a good deal for the schools.  As we do not go into details, you can read the entire agreement here:  LGUSD – Grosvenor Agreement:

Summary:  Some people are voicing an opinion that the Los  Gatos Union School D­­­­­­istrict sold out by crafting a school impact mitigation agreement with the North 40 Phase One developers.  There are people who feel that the school district sold out by making a deal with the developer.  LGCA, on the other hand, feels the monetary terms worked out are very good. If the current application is approved, the school district will either receive 2 contiguous acres for a school site or receive $ 6,368,500 more than it would under state mandated rates (that would equal $975,600).

Some people think the Los Gatos Union School District (LGUSD) sold out.  We have not heard their reasoning for this thinking and therefore cannot comment.  From what we know, we tend to think the LGUSD board and the superintendent negotiated a very good deal for their school district.

The size of a unit at the North 40 is about 1572 sq. ft. per averaged sized living unit, not including the senior affordable housing. Without a negotiated increase in the school fee, the total due to the school districts would be approximately $3600 ($2.29 x 1572).  However, the LGUSD negotiated an agreement with the potential developers to either give 2 contiguous acres of land within the school district, including possibly land on the North 40, or they would give the schools $23,500 per living unit (not including affordable nor below market rate housing).

Using the current application, this would mean $6,368,500 (271 market rate units x $23,500) additional dollars to the district over that required by the state.  Keep in mind that reductions in the quantity of units in the district,  or should  the developer not work out a purchase with the owners, the deal gets modified or  goes away.  The next developer will only be obligated to pay the $3600 per market rate unit to the schools unless they work out a different deal with the schools.

An agreement of this magnitude has never happened in Los Gatos before. There has not been, to our knowledge, a development this big before.  As a comparison, the Albright (aka, Netflix) development was 21.5 acres vs. this portion of the North 40, approximately 22 acres.  The “deal” we are addressing only involves the 22 acres as no one knows if or when the northern section will be developed.

Neither Netflix nor their developers offered anything additional to the schools of which we are aware, and even today, to our knowledge, does not yet support Los Gatos Schools.

The Laurel Mews development (Robeson Homes) contributed an extra $150,000 for 22 homes 9on about 2 acres) with pricing starting at $2,000,000.  This donation comes out to $6,818 per home, with each home about 3000 sq. ft plus finished cellars.

(see: http://www.lgusd.org/ourpages/archived_meetings//Minutes_BoT/Minutes%20051512.pdf )

If the school superintendent and the board sold out, what did the naysayers do to help with the negotiations?  What deal did they propose that was better?  If the school did not negotiate at all, would they have been criticized for doing nothing?  What are the chances any developer of the future high-density housing called for in the Housing Element will do anything extra for the schools?

7 Responses

  1. Dan S

    I could be wrong, but Robeson Homes publicly stated they WOULD contribute $150,000 to the schools, but it isn’t clear whether they actually ever did.

    • MLRistow

      Good point. There was a huge banner on Van Meter School thanking Robeson Homes, so I assumed the check went to the schools.

  2. Danny

    Hello Jak, have you been able to find an answer to the above?

    • Jak

      Danny, I have to admit to a lack of bandwidth at the moment. The North 40 has consumed so much time to respond to the misinformation that is flying around, even with my friend-base.

      An equally, possibly larger issue that I am participating in is Unfunded Liabilities that the town (and most across America) are being confronted with. 3 other resident and I will be meeting the the town Director of Finance to discuss this. The problem has potential to be so large that future town decisions may heavily be influenced by our debt load, rather than making decisions on doing the next right thing.

      This site is a blog whereby I would hope that we can all assist one another with the knowledge we/they have. There are far too many complaints for a small percentage of people to resolve the number of issues.

  3. Danny

    By the way, I appreciate and agree with your assessment of the LGUSD’s efforts in securing a positive benefit from this “Proposed” project. I (amongst so many) do oppose all 3 phases of the North 40 project but… do appreciate the ability of the school district to secure this monetary commitment, in the very unfortunate case that the project does somehow get passed through.

    • Jak

      Dan, Sorry for the delay. I emailed Martin Fregoso, the Assistant Superintendant of Business Services. He said they did receive the check for $150,000 in May, 2012.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.