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Lexington School Project Nixed

Los Gatos Union School District trustees unanimously vote to stop funding campus reconstruction project after learning that the California Geological Survey wanted additional information for the site.

Before an emotionally charged room of 300 people at Tuesday night, the board of trustees voted unanimously to discontinue investments in the reconstruction project.

The decision was based off a letter sent by the California Geological Survey on March 27 that the agency would require more information regarding the proposed rebuild site before it could approve the project.

“The unfortunate aspect of that is that we are not sure we can come back with a positive outcome,” said Mike Kleams, a geotechnical engineer with Pacific Crest Engineering. “We are being required by CGS to use such conservative assumptions that we believe it’s unlikely that we are going to be able to do this project. CGS doesn’t want to be the ones to tell you that. They want us to tell you that.”

The problems CGS had with , sent to them in late February, were that there were “differences in interpretation of landslide geology” and that further slope stability analysis would be required.

The agency recommended obtaining additional information on the treatment of ground water conditions, the shear strength test of the Santa Clara formation and information on the magnitude and duration of the earthquakes analyzed in the report.

The next step, Kleams said, would be to meet with CGS to get clarity on their concerns. Based on this recommendation, the board voted unanimously to allocate $5,000 of to send a team to meet with agency representatives on how the site could be utilized if a school was not an option.

“I don’t think it’s a viable site,” board member Chris Miller said. “But we owe it to the community to at least have an initial meeting with CGS to at least find out what the parameters are of what we can do with the site if we can’t have children there.”

Board member Tina Orsi-Hartigan said it pained her to have to discontinue the district’s commitment to rebuilding Lexington, though she couldn’t see any other alternative.

“If we go down this path with CGS, if we ever get a yes there will be so many caveats it will shrink the school and not make it a school worth building,” she said.

The board voted unanimously to fold the objectives it held for the Lexington school project into its .

Because the board voted to halt work on the project, the district must move forward with its backup plan to place Lexington students at Fisher, which was already predetermined as interim housing for students.

The board voted unanimously to move forward with preparing Fisher to take in these students come August. It will review options for increasing the scope of the housing at its May 15 meeting.

More than 40 individuals addressed the board on the Lexington School issue. After the decision came down, supporters and opponents expressed dismay at the outcome.

“It’s been gut wrenching,” said Emi Eto, a parent of students at Lexington. “We just got stabbed in the back in a major way. It’s been so promising up to this point.”

Tom Thimot, who spoke against the project, said he felt for the Lexington community.

“The shocking thing is that after they voted not to do the school, it’s almost like a light went off that they have 180 kids that need to go somewhere,” Thimot said. “They’re going to stick them in portables at Fisher. The real malpractice is that what [the board] has done is that they had no plan B.”

 

Mckenna Smith April 11, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Waiting for soil samples and delaying construction of a new school has been demoralizing. Moving to Fisher won't be easy, also the board needs to figure out what to do about the district now approaching overcrowding of students.
Dyan Chan April 11, 2012 at 06:25 PM
This is such a sad outcome, and there are still so many unanswered questions ... some of the speakers noted that not one school in the state (or maybe the country) would meet CGS's requirements using the assumptions they are asking the Lexington site to meet--primarily that of withstanding an 8.0 earthquake. Hopefully the conversation with CGS will bring some clarity. Of course we all want our children to be as safe as possible, but some questioned whether the requirements are reasonable--and if these are the new requirements, what does that mean for all existing schools? I appreciated that people who spoke last night expressed more strongly than in past meetings the desire and spirit to work together to find solutions to the various issues facing the LGUSD.
Dyan Chan April 11, 2012 at 06:29 PM
BTW, when the Lexington teachers came up (shown in one of the pictures), it was a wonderful, moving moment. Thank you to all our teachers, the school board, district staff and every parent and community member who are all supporting our children and our schools.
Cathy Weselby April 14, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I hope Patch continues to cover this story. I would like to see an accounting for where my tax dollars are going. I voted for the measure to rebuild Lexington School. Where are those tax dollars going now?
Vilma Huertas April 19, 2012 at 07:31 AM
Talk about inequity. After 11 years of paying tax dollars and two bond measures while patiently watching in the sidelines every other school get rebuilt to now face closure and the loss of a most important and valuable asset. A school that the parents worked so hard to get IB status and certification. A California Distinguished School. The only emergency evacuation shelter in the area and the community gathering place for the parents. People have no idea the repercussion that this will have or the level or stress and heartache that it is already causing the community. Our 1st graders cried together when they heard they are moving next year and asked so many questions. "What is going to happen to my friends, what about our teachers, what about the trees, the nest of the bird on that big tree, what are they going to name us? What is going to happen to my desk and chair? When are we going to come back? What do they want to do with our school, with our building? What do they want to do with our soccer field? Does our new place have a soccer field? Does our neighborhood postman bring the mail to our new school? Can we still play in new school after school is done?" Indeed, when are we going to come back? and what do they want to do with our school?
Robert Roch'e February 26, 2013 at 12:15 AM
More people doing stupid things, now all those families who have kids that live in the mountains will have to bring their kids to town to go to school or will they be bused there ? Why couldn't the kids attend the school on Summit road which is much closer, even if they have to install portables it would be a lot more convenient for the kids and their families. No Plan B, I just have to laugh at that !.
Robert Roche February 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM
More people doing stupid things, now all those families who have kids that live in the mountains will have to bring their kids to town to go to school or will they be bused there ? Why couldn't the kids attend the school on Summit road which is much closer, even if they have to install portables it would be a lot more convenient for the kids and their families. No Plan B, I just have to laugh at that !.

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