In a presentation to the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District (BRSSD) board of trustees last Thursday, Amy Richards, top administrator at Crystal Springs Uplands School (CSUS), outlined potential professional development opportunities for teachers in the district should CSUS get the okay to develop a campus in Belmont.
"We would open up on-site workshops to faculty from Belmont-Redwood Shores, including our Tech Boot Camp and Project Based Learning programs," said Richards.
Richards, CSUS' head of school, attended the meeting along with CSUS board members Laird McCulloch and Tony Stayner in an outreach effort toward the Belmont-Redwood Shores public school community.
To read past articles, letters to the editor, blog posts and op-ed pieces about the CSUS project, click here.
In her informational-only presentation to BRSSD trustees and administrators, Richards outlined a variety of CSUS-BRSSD faculty and student shared opportunities such as a middle school book exchange, student trips, faculty in-service programs and participation in the Common Ground speaker series.
In addition to faculty development, Richards also discussed her school's financial offerings to the city including a $250,000 annual payment to the city, a portion of which would go to BRSSD, offsetting the loss of property taxes currently being paid by the property owner. Property taxes are a main source of funding for public school districts.
If the project is approved, Richards said, "Given our proximity to Ralston Middle School, we see many opportunities for combining teachers for faculty development.
Following Richards' presentation, several audience members addressed the board.
Jeff Selman, a BRSSD parent who has spoken out previously in support of the CSUS project, said he was pleased with Richards' presentation.
"It would be good to have that interaction, and I thank Amy for educating us on what those opportunities are," said Selman.
Ann Snelling, a first grade teacher at Cipriani Elementary School and a parent in the district said she felt it was helpful to have Richards come to the meeting to discuss the opportunities for professional development as well as the financial incentives to the city.
"I'm glad to hear the school district would be make whole," Snelling said.
But she also echoed the concern of other members of the community regarding traffic and zoning issues associated with the proposed school, and asked if CSUS would be open to creating some type of turnaround on Davis Drive for Ralston parents when picking up their students on minimum days.
Traffic is also a concern of Karin Hold, a resident of Belmont Heights who is in opposition to the project.
Hold told addressed the board saying, "This project is very controversial."
"The traffic study was flawed, and in addition to traffic during the one-and-a-half-year construction project, there will be excessive noise that will affect students at Ralston Middle School."
"I urge the Belmont Redwood Shores School District not to support this project," Hold said.
Because Richards' presentation was informational only, board members took no action, but thanked her for coming to speak.
The Belmont City Council will discuss, and likely vote on the CSUS project on Tues. Oct. 23, at 7:30. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers of Belmont City Hall, One Twin Pines Lane.
For more information, and to view the meeting agenda, go to www.belmont.gov.