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Districts decide fate of surplus properties

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Residents in two northern San Mateo County communities are unhappy with proposals to lease or sell off vacant school sites.

The Jefferson School District board tonight will consider declaring the General Pershing site, a 6-room, 1.3-acre former school in the Crocker neighborhood of Daly City, as surplus property — a step toward either leasing or selling the site, which houses a district preschool program.

“It came as a great shock to all of our families, and we have a very viable and thriving community,” said Lisa Zimiga, the site director for the preschool program at General Pershing. “It was a huge insult to them being listed as surplus.”

Jefferson Superintendent Barbara Wilson said the district has heard from families who would like to see more preschool services available in other locations, closer to them. General Pershing, John F. Kennedy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt schools have preschool at their sites, but the Pershing site is the farthest from the center of town, Wilson said.

The Surplus Property Advisory Committee for South San Francisco Unified, meanwhile, recommended the sale or lease of the 26-acre Serra Vista Elementary School site on Longford Drive, which could bring roughly $2 million per acre. Many neighbors, however, have said they would prefer the property remain a school site or perhaps become senior housing.

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The school was closed in 1993 due to declining enrollment, but neighbors want the district to hang onto the property for possible future educational use and frown on any project that could bring in additional traffic single-entry site.

“Our whole goal is to keep that site an educational site,” said Cindy Alger, a member of the Winston-Manor Community Association.

John Sanna, the Surplus Property Committee chairman for South San Francisco Unified, said that one option the committee recommended to the school board was an outright sale of the 26 total acres at the Serra Vista site, 22 of which are developable.

Other options he outlined included: a long-term lease of the full property; a joint venture lease that would bring in a profit percentage of any project built there; and a hybrid lease that would see a portion of the property leased as the district held onto a portion in case they needed the space.

“We’re trying to give them the options that all include long revenue streams above and beyond the one-shot sale of property,” Sanna said.

The Jefferson School District has also hired consultants to help guide them in how best to use the closed Christopher Columbus and Colma Elementary schools for potential revenue.


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