PLEASANTON — Two years after committing to expand the Donlon Elementary School campus, the Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) board has pulled the plug on the plan.
That plan entailed a remodel for the current Donlon building along with the addition of a brand-new school on the same site. The remodeled structure was set to house fourth and fifth grades. The new school would have served kindergarten through third grade.
But trustees at their regular board meeting Nov. 12 voted unanimously to scrap the Donlon site plan, opting to evaluate the possibility of establishing a school on the eastside of town. With new housing developments expected near the Stoneridge Mall, a new school on the eastside would accommodate that increased population. The possibility of this eastside school site won’t be known until the city makes a decision, which is expected in two years, said PUSD Assistant Superintendent of Finance Ahmad Shakeholeslami.
Prior to the change in plans, the district had earmarked $35 million in proceeds from the passage of Measure I-1, along with $1 million to conduct studies and drawings of a new school and its impact.
The district so far has spent $575,000 of the $1 million for studies and drawings. It's expected that, when the final bill arrives for other work, the total sunk into the project will amount to $750,000.
The $35 million for bonds has not been sold, so the district does not owe any repayment of them. Trustees knew two years ago when they approved the Donlon plan that $35 million would not be enough to pay for new school construction, but they were hoping they could swap enough of the district’s land with the city for new headquarters and a corporation yard. District officials had planned to sell off old facilities at the current headquarters to developers who would seek rezoning to make it profitable.
A public speaker at the Nov. 12 meeting, who said she has been on a committee of neighbors to give feedback on the plan, noted that abandoning the project will eliminate certain problems. One would have been the lack of site parking for faculty. Another was adequacy of street width in the area, since the Donlon site would have drawn more traffic. Some of the traffic would have to cross I-680.
A Farewell to Arkin
The meeting was the last for Trustee Valerie Arkin, who will be sworn in as a new city councilmember in December. She led the field in the council race. Fellow trustees praised her for her leadership and for listening to all sides of an issue.
Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan made an appearance via Zoom. She congratulated Arkin for her 12 years on the school board and eight years on the city library board.