Cypress School District mailed flyers to residents of Cypress with information about proposed development of two properties owned by the District, Mackay School and the District Office property. The following text is taken from that flyer.
Cypress School District Educational Philosophy
Cypress School District believes education is a community endeavor and must reflect the needs and aspirations of its people. We re sincerely committed to the ideal that each child must be given the opportunity to increase knowledge, develop abilities and skills, and recognize responsibilities as a citizen in a democracy. The District’ responsibility is to provide the opportunity for each child to better understand self and the world in order to live more effectively in an ever-changing environment. Finally, we believe it is essential that every child be provided an equal educational opportunity and be encouraged to achieve his/her optimum potential.
Ringing the Bell for Cypress Students and the Cypress Community
To better serve students and the community, Cypress School District is ringing the bell and taking steps necessary to rezone two of its properties: Mackay School (8721 Cypress Avenue) and the District Office (9470 Moody Street). Mackay School, now closed for 33 years, can better serve the children and citizens of Cypress. The District Office property can also be of benefit to the community.
FAQs on the Rezoning Proposal
What is Cypress School District proposing?
Cypress School District is exploring options of how the Mackay School Property, closed for 33 years, and the District Office property might better meet the needs of our schools and its community.
Why is the District investigating rezoning the Mackay & District Office properties?
Many of the schools in Cypress School District have been closed over the years due to declining enrollment. In fact, enrollment has declined by more than half when compared to our peak of 7,800 students in the 1980s. At that time, the District has 12 open schools.
Today, the District operates 6 schools for its 3,900 students. The following shows our District’s enrollment trend:
How has the recessioni impacted the District?
State funding for public schools has declined every year since 2007/08. Projections indicate that it will be 2015/16 before funding returns to the level schools were receiving nearly a decade ago. This dramatic loss of reveue, over 20% in most cases, forced school districts to lay off many valued employees, which in turn reduced programs and services for our students.
With the recent approval of Proposition 30 and the new Local Control Fundting Formula, districts can expect to see a slight boost in their operating budgets. Our District has experienced this by being able to give fewer layoff notices and not having to implement furlough days this 2013/14 school year.
However, Cypress School District would like to reinstate class size reduction, sustain technology in the classroom, and enhance its music and other enrichment programs for students.
What has the District done with its other closed schools?
As countermeasures to lost funding, the District has taken steps by leasing space at the current closed sites of Cawthon, Damron, and Swain Schools. This has helped pay for maintenance costs assocated with having closed properties and to offset some of its lost funds. Also, these leases help ensure open space in Cypress by allowing the playgrounds and sports fields to continue to be used for recreational and organized team sports by the City of Cypress and other groups.
Can’t the District find other was to fund schools?
It could. Many districts across California have asked their residents to pass a parcel tax to backfill losses experienced by this recession. In this case, homeowners have to pay an additional $100 to $200 per year to support their school district.
Cypress School District does not want to place this kind of burden on our local community. Instead, our District believes maximizing use of its current surplus properties could better serve its community, instead of a parcel tax.
What about Measure D?
It is important to note, nothing will be built on either property without voter approval. The District intends to proceed with any and all steps necessary to pursue rezoning of the closed Mackay property and the District Office property as required by Measure D. The District plans to take its request for rezoning for voter consideration on the November 2014 ballot.
Is it the District’s intent to sell these properties?
No. The District’s goal is to generate unrestricted, ongoing revenue to support its educational programs and services for students and staff. In addition, we hope to relocated the District Office and Maintenance & Operations functions to new locations.
What is the vision for the closed Mackay property?
Currently, the District has an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with Warmington Residential. This homebuilder is interested in doing an exchange of properties and then constructing approximately 47 single family detached residences on the Mackay property. Next steps involve the approval of an Exchange Agreement for property owned by Warmington. A neighborhood meeting will be held with nearby residents in October.
What is the visition for the District Office property?
The District Office was built in 1969 and has become very old and outdated for today’s professional needs in the public education environment. Currently, the District has an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with CenterStone Communities, Inc. (the same developer that developed 16 homes across the street from the District Office). CenterStone is interested in doing an exchange of properties which would result in 30 to 31 homes being built on the current District Office property.
As part of the agreement, the District Office property would be exchanged with property owned by CenterStone on Valley View Street in Cypress. CenterStone would provide all construction services necessary to build new District Office Facilities on the site and also facilities for the District’s Maintenance & Operations facility on the Swain School property, located at 5851 Newman Street. A neighborhood meeting will be held with nearby residents in October.
Is the District working with the City of Cypress?
Yes. In fact, the District and City of Cypress are working together on plans to have a 2.91 acre park site developed on the front section of the Mackay property (closest to Walker Street).
Editor’s note: for those who wish to see a park of similar size, visit Willow Park at Orange Ave. and Moody St. It is 2.9 acres. But please don’t feed the ducks!
In addition, the City has hired an environmental consultant to study the impact of possible residential developments upon the surrounding neighborhoods. The City also pans to hire a consultant to study the fiscal impacts for developing both the Mackay and District Office properties.
Cypress School District, Warmington Residential, and CenterStone Communities will reimburse the City for all costs associated with these services, as well as the costs associated with any staff time spent assisting the District and developers. In addition, the City will be reimbursed for all costs associated with placing this measure on the ballot.
What if enrollment grows in Cypress?
The District currently operates six elementary schools. In addition, the District owns several other closed school sites (Damron, Cawthon, and Swain) which could be reopened if ever needed. However, the District has been declining in enrollment for over 13 years straight, and we do not anticipate, with the limited amount of developable land in the City, ever seeing enrollment growing beyond the capacity of these 9 schools.
Who has the last word on this proposal?
The voters of Cypress. That said, Cypress School District is extremely grateful to our community for their support of our pursuit to provide the best public education environment for all of our children.
Open space in Cypress… We are committed!
Cypress School District is committed to working with the City of Cypress and its community recreational sports leagues.
Our commitment to open space within Cypress is proven by our Facilities Use Agreements with the City of Cypress.
The District has been committed to the City of Cyrpess and maintains an agreement which allows City recreational use at all District properties at no charge.
Open Space is being maintained at the following school sites
- Arnold Elementary
- Cawthon Elementary (closed site)
- Damron Elementary (closed site)
- Dickerson Elementary (closed site)
- King Elementary
- Landell Elementary
- Luther Elementary
- Mackay Elementary (closed site)
- Morris Elementary
- Swain Elementary (closed site)
- Vessels Elementary
File photo by C.E.H. Wiedel of Cypress School District headquarters.
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