Synopsis of Cupertino Union School District Board Meeting, March 22, 2016

Many community members from across CUSD spoke during public comments on several troubling issues, including the Luther School apartments plan, and many of them called for Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz's resignation. Reasons given were the Superintendent's misplaced priorities, lack of competence, alignment with developers and divisive approach.

People from the neighborhood also asked the school board to do their job, which is to hire the right Superintendent and provide real direction and oversight. To many it appears that the Superintendent has too much of a free hand to make reckless decisions before any community input, including her decision to announce the Luther School apartments in December.

Community members recorded the speeches by CUSD parents, two speeches by students, and the presentation by staff, and posted the videos on Youtube for those who could not attend.

The Luther agenda presentation by the District provided no new information beyond a rehash of the December PR release.

Community members from Santa Clara spoke during public comment session expressing that any project has to be both beneficial and feasible, asking to see employee survey results, how many teachers want to live in one location, how can a project that doesn't start until 2020 be viable, disappointment that there have been no answers, lack of confidence in the leadership to provide real answers, non-conformance with Santa Clara's general plan, the likelihood of many more housing units being built along Stevens Creek Blvd, and not wanting to waste resources on exploring the concept.

Here is a quick rundown of the presentation:

  • Page 1: cover page,
  • Page 2: references to media reports about employer-staff housing (one of which was CUSD's own Dec 8 press release),
  • Page 3: historical summary of Luther School and current leases and dates; it was verbally communicated any project would require rezoning by the City of Santa Clara.
  • Page 4, 5, 6: Google map satellite view of the school rotated three different ways showing the site surrounded by single family homes,
  • Page 7: a diagram of "Next Steps: Board Direction" that is a hexagon labelled Employee Housing surrounded by Information, Process, Feasibility, and three question marks.

The board discussion following the presentation exposed huge unknowns on every possible front: what do teachers & staff need? What is the right solution for their needs? Is building apartments at Luther even feasible and at what cost to the schools? All of these questions are the same ones that the community has been asking as well for the last few months. Some board members expressed concern that answering all of these questions was consuming scarce staff resources for a project that has undefined need. A board member also remarked that only a couple of employees had spoken in support of building apartments at Luther.

The Staff was directed to write down the list of questions to vet the need and it's possible there will be an employee survey.  We will demand that the right questions are asked and we don't get a filtered, sham view of employee needs.

Please chime in vigorously on the various forums - Nextdoor and CUSD_discuss - to raise awareness about Luther as well as the broken CUSD leadership. Share/Like our Facebook page:

Email teachers and staff that you know and point them to our website and FAQs. It appears that the information they need to know is not filtering down to them, and in many cases District PR is promoting skewed information on enrollment and growth.

We will not stand by and watch while our schools and community are under threat!