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Lexington School Student Relocation OK'd

Los Gatos Union School District trustees heard from District staff and parents about the costs and effects of moving Lexington students to Fisher.

Lexington School Student Relocation OK'd

After lengthy public comment and discussion about geological hazards, trustees voted Tuesday evening to relocate Lexington Elementary School students to R.J. Fisher Middle in the fall.

Trustees, however, said they would revisit the matter at their May 15 meeting.

LGUSD Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Leslie Paulides called the move an interim housing solution for the approximate 170 students that currently attend Lexington and who will move to Fisher Middle School at the start of the 2012-13 school year.  

Paulides, LGUSD consultants Melinda Lum from HMC Architects and Rick Kramer from Kramer Project Development provided cost options for the interim housing.

Paulides asked trustees to provide feedback and direction to “have enough runway to get the site ready by August.” 

The move could add a new playground structure at Fisher for the incoming Lexington students, an additional building on the west side of the district office for administrative purposes, a club house and also some flexible areas for Fisher student-use, Paulides said. 

Options for the proposed interim housing plan were considered after Lexington and Fisher parents, teachers and administrators and Los Gatos-Saratoga Recreation representatives met with Paulides, Lum and Kramer on April 23 and again on April 26. 

Key themes discussed by the group included the need for:

  • Adequate play space and green space
  • Adequate storage
  • Dedicated space to offer quality programs
  • Driveway, parking, drop-off and pick-up safety
  • Accomodation for some of the lost space for middle school students
  • Adequate bathroom facilities 

According to Paulides, the group focused on what is best for the kids and the importance of a timeline for a solution and a willingness to compromise.  

Lexington parents and teachers expressed concern that the interim plan may easily become a permanent one and that the children will be harmed as a result.  

One parent said that it didn’t make sense to put together an interim plan  without knowing where the money to pay for the plan would come from. 

Others expressed concerns that the future is too uncertain with respect to Lexington and that spending $1.5 million to construct an interim housing site hastily is not a reasonable thing to do. 

Trustees Tina Orsi-Hartigan and Doug Halbert were not present during the meeting. 

The interim housing plan came about after  

LGUSD Superintendent Diana Abbati wrote in her blog on April 16 that trustees did not vote to close Lexington, but to stop spending LGUSD monies on engineers, architects and consultants.

She noted that trustees also moved forward with the interim housing plan “while the district contacts the CGS to confirm whether or not the additional work required will suffice to ever getting the green light to build a new school at the current Lexington site.”

The decision has angered many Lexington parents, teachers and Los Gatos residents. 

The district has spent approximately $4 million to gain the needed approvals from the state for the Lexington project, according to education officials.

The school, if it were to be built on its present site, would cost about $21 million, Paulides said. 

Money to build the campus was supposed to come from Measure E, a bond measure approved by voters in June of 2010. 

As one parent said, the Lexington community is unhappy because they worked hard to pass the initiative, they have been told they must vacate their current campus at the end of the school year, they are going to be housed indefinitely in cramped interim housing behind Fisher and they are being denied the building of their new campus.

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