Sunday, April 21, 2013

Civic squabble behind Burlingame repurchase of Hoover Elementary School

The main argument against restoring this once appreciated elementary school is increased traffic.  Traffic sounds like an existing Vallemar school site problem in this city.  Our Pacifica solution: add a couple access and exit traffic lanes by widening highway 1. Now everyone is happy, right?

San Mateo County Times/John Horgan, 4/17/13.  "John Horgan:  Times sure have changed in one Burlingame neighborhood."

Back in the late 1970s, the Burlingame Elementary School District was in a heap of trouble. Its enrollment was declining quickly and, as a dire result, its operating budget was in serious jeopardy.  

To address both critical, related issues, district officials made the difficult call to shut down three elementary schools, nearly half the district total. (Pershing had been shuttered some years earlier and converted into the district's then headquarters.)

You can imagine the uproar that ensued. All three schools slated for the chopping block -- Coolidge, Hoover and Roosevelt -- had their outspoken supporters. Parents were angry.  The tony Hoover community was particularly upset. The most isolated school of the three, Hoover, located in the western hills near the boundary with Hillsborough, was eventually sold to a religious organization. 

Now, more than a generation later, Hoover is scheduled to be born again. The district repurchased the school site and intends to reopen its renovated classrooms within two years to accommodate a growing enrollment. 

Ironically, many in the Hoover attendance area aren't happy. They view its impending reincarnation as a mistake. One of their main arguments against the decision involves an expected increase in traffic congestion. There is even litigation involved. Goodness, how times (and attitudes) change. If there are any of the Hoover families left from that contentious period during the Carter administration, they must be shaking their heads in stunned wonderment. Whatever happened to the vocal desire to maintain that cherished neighborhood academic institution?  Read more.  There are other topics and reflections in this weeks article as well.

Related -  Hoover Elementary School, Burlingame Elementary School District.  The photograph is from this linked website courtesy of the Burlingame Historical Society.  Note:  John Horgan's opinion articles are printed one time per week on Thursdays. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

No one is ever happy in Pacifica. That is why they all left the town to rot.

Anonymous said...

This is so reassuring. There are NIMBY Chapters everywhere. Crappy Pacifica or divine Burlingame--NIMBYs everywhere.