MH school district ponders options for students of Coyote Valley development

MORGAN HILL
– The school district has at least three options to deal with
the proposed Coyote Valley development and its impact on local
schools, an official with the county’s office of education said
last week.
MORGAN HILL – The school district has at least three options to deal with the proposed Coyote Valley development and its impact on local schools, an official with the county’s office of education said last week.

Morgan Hill Unified School District officials can transfer the territory to some existing district; create an elementary district in Coyote Valley that would feed into a high school district, likely San Jose or East Side; or create a new unified, K-12 district.

The proposed development north of Morgan Hill would ultimately contain 25,000 new homes, 50,000 new jobs and 80,000 residents. One of the most significant impacts will be where the children attend school. All of the proposed development would fall within the Morgan Hill school district’s boundaries, which extend from San Martin northward to Bernal Road in south San Jose.

“It is incumbent upon you to consider the impacts of the development on your district as it exists today,” Jack Schreder, of Jack Schreder and Associates, told trustees. He is the district’s consultant on this issue.

Suzanne Carrig, Senior Research Analyst for the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Center for Educational Planning, told trustees at Wednesday’s workshop that many different groups can request one of the options, including the property owners in Coyote Valley, registered voters, school boards, certain local agencies or the county committee in charge of district reorganization.

Each of the options, Carrig said, has a process to follow that could take years.

The transfer, the creation of a new elementary district and the creation of a whole new district all begin with a petition, followed by public hearings and a study by the county to determine whether the situation meets nine criteria set by the State Education Code.

In the case of a transfer or the creation of an elementary district, the next step would for the county to take action.

In the case of the formation of a new unified district, the county committee would make a recommendation – after a study – to the State Board of Education. The board would then take action.

Resident Bob Benich said he believes the district needs to move forward with the process of forming a new district.

“Now I’m convinced more that ever that we have a path we can take for the formation of a new Coyote Valley district,” he said.

He said the nature of the development, which he referred to as “Santana Row style” is one of the major issues the board needs to consider.

“It’s almost going to be mandatory, in an acreage that small (11,000 for the development) … that schools are going to have to be multi-story,” he said.

The purpose of the sparsely attended workshop was to gather information and opinion about the district’s options as the development moves forward.

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