San Ramon Valley schools are bursting at the seams, according to school Superintendent Mary Shelton, who spoke to about 25 residents at San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson's monthly breakfast meeting Friday morning.
"Many of our schools are at capacity," Shelton told attendees. "Growth has been and continues to be a challenge."
She said the current student population at San Ramon Valley High is 2,377, and 2,615 at Cal High. Windemere Ranch Middle School, Shelton said, "is absolutely full."
Grading for a new elementary school in the Dougherty Valley is set to begin Nov. 1, and could be open to begin the 2015-16 school year. The as-yet-named school, with a capacity of about 800 students, should relieve the crowding at Quail Run and Live Oaks elementary school.
Meanwhile, Dougherty Valley High, which opened in 2007, is already planning to add 8-10 classrooms, Shelton said. That's not for overcrowding, but because more students are want to take science classes, and the school didn't have space to accommodate the increased interest.
The additional classrooms will be partially funded by Measure D, a $260 million school facilities bond passed by voters in November 2012.
While the entire district has experienced growth, Shelton said, "it's a good thing, because it brings more resources." School districts in California receive state funding based on average daily attendance.
She added that family and community support, such as the Primo's Run for Education, set for Oct. 13, "has kept us from making some of the cuts that other districts had."
Shelton also said the district's parcel tax is set to expire in 2015. Money from that has kept arts music and elementary science classes in San Ramon Valley schools, she said.
"While funding has gotten better at the state level, it is nowhere near where it needs to be," Shelton said. "So, we will be going back and asking for an extension (to the parcel tax)."
She said money from Measure D is already spoken for, adding "our needs are even greater."
Residents at the breakfast were particularly interested in whether proposed development at the Faria Preserve, which could mean as many as 740 residences, would also mean a new school.
Shelton said the district is getting a demographer's study done, which should predict the amount of growth it can expect at Faria.
Clarkson pointed out there's another factor in play, as homeowners move after their children grow up and new families with children moving in.
He also said state law blocks California cities from considering if there's enough capacity in the school district.
"The final arbiter of where students go is up to the school district," Clarkson said. "Cities cannot stop housing based on school capacity. You can't stop new construction."