At the end of the week, the Gilroy Unified School District and
the Filice-family led partnership that is developing the Glen Loma
Ranch, 1,500-plus homes just west of Santa Teresa Boulevard, will
go to trial to settle a dispute regarding the price of land for an
elementary school site that will serve the residents of Glen Loma
At the end of the week, the Gilroy Unified School District and the Filice-family led partnership that is developing the Glen Loma Ranch, 1,500-plus homes just west of Santa Teresa Boulevard, will go to trial to settle a dispute regarding the price of land for an elementary school site that will serve the residents of Glen Loma Ranch.
Something’s terribly, terribly wrong with this picture. And calling the Filice Family greedy or school district officials planning nincompoops won’t solve the problem.
Our suggestion: SETTLE the price before going to trial.
At this point, unfortunately, that probably won’t happen.
This has all elements of a divorce case gone sour. Both parties have a heightened sense of righteousness and clearly – witness the six 11th-hour motions requiring response filed on Thanksgiving eve by attorneys for the Glen Loma Ranch – it has become a legal game of hardball.
The twisted tale involves land appraisals, counter appraisals, location of the school site, possible land swaps, arbitration – or not, and enough details and “dirt” to make your head swim … oh, and yeah, there are children involved, too, 500 or so who are starting school at the location next fall.
What the tale doesn’t involve is a whole lot of common sense.
The city’s General Plan pertaining to school facilities is clearly outlined in the box to the right of this editorial. If that’s the city policy, how did we end up with a school district taking legal possession of the land for a school site while still resolving how much the land is worth?
It shouldn’t happen, and now that it has, it certainly should never happen again. The clear message from our city to developers has to be: School facilities are a priority, and are simply the price of doing business in Gilroy.
Figuring out where, who’s going to build the facility, how much the land is going to cost, etc. has to become an integral part of the planning process, and one that’s insisted on by the city planning commission, the city council and the city staff.
The city cannot just look out for itself and extract fire stations, parks and trails from developers. Schools have to be at the top of the list. The city knows the school district has little leverage in the process, and the developers understand this, too.
So, if the city doesn’t stand united with the school district and support its own General Plan document, the community will be diminished by a struggling, overcrowded school district.
That’s not what Gilroy wants. Again, before more mud flies, before more egos get bruised and before more lawyers gleefully send out Christmas bills, we urge both sides to settle for the good of Gilroy.
City general plan/school facilities
GOAL: Coordination between new residential development and the development of new educational facilities; educational excellence in support of community and eco-nomic development; and enhancement of the role of schools as a community resource.
Educational Values. Ensure that the policies and actions of the City in relation to educational facilities and
community development help to reinforce educational values as expressed in the Gilroy Unified School District Mission Statement.
New Residential Development. Control the timing and location of new residential development in a way that allows the Gilroy Unified School District to plan and finance facilities in an orderly fashion.
Development Approvals and School Capacity. Verify the remaining capacity in local schools as part of the review process for residential subdivisions, with adequate school capacity being a condition for development approval. When capacity is limited, coordinate development approvals with the scheduling of capital funds for school expansion and/or improvements.
Land Dedication or Fees. Require developers of new residential subdivisions to dedicate land and/or pay fees (at the discretion of the City and School District) to offset the costs of providing new elementary and secondary schools resulting from their developments.
Inter-Agency Cooperation. Maintain and enhance a spirit of maximum cooperation between the City of Gilroy, Gilroy Unified School District, Gavilan College, Santa Clara County, and other educational organizations. Hold regular joint meetings to coordinate long-range
planning, discuss development decision making, and address issues of common concern.