Lets play the Gulen Shuffle and create demand and urgency for a school where there is none. The school district should vet that waiting list. Our bet it is a majority of Gulen families, and some of the kids are not even of school age.
The Sal Cracolice Building, the former Milpitas senior center and a current site for city-run recreation classes, could be the setting for a new privately-run school that teaches math, science and technology.
Milpitas City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize the city manager to begin negotiating a three-year lease agreement with Magnolia Charter Academy Public School for use of the Sal Cracolice Building and adjacent modular buildings at 540 S. Abel St.
Felix Reliford, the city's interim planning director, told the council if Magnolia is approved for the site it may only be temporary.
"Until they can find a permanent location in the city," Reliford said.
Tim Saka, a Magnolia principal, indicated his private charter school specializes in teaching science, math and technology to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.
Saka added Magnolia schools typically had a uniform policy; offered small classes (25 students maximum); offered after school and Saturday tutoring classes; and provided its students exposure to math and science competitions around the state.
"So there's a big demand for our school," he said.
The Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation is a non-profit organization that established its first charter school in California's San Fernando Valley in 2002. Magnolia Foundation has 12 locations throughout California including a new location in Santa Clara. Magnolia is planning to open another school in East San Jose.
Magnolia's administration reported approximately 100 Milpitas parents have submitted applications for their children to attend the school, which seeks to open this August.
On May 22, the council's land use and transportation subcommittee reviewed and approved the proposal, then directed staff to forward their recommendation to the full city council.
The subcommittee also directed staff to conduct community outreach meetings with residents of Luna and Terra Serena (homeowner associations south and across the street from U.S Postal Service office) and the Starlite Pines Homeowners Association.
According to Reliford, city staff contacted all three homeowner associations and requested to be placed on their next meeting agendas. He added those meetings would likely occur by late June.
City staff reported Magnolia charter school would be required to seek approval from Milpitas Unified School District to operate at the site.
If the Milpitas school district does not grant permission, the school would not be under the school special district designation regulated by the state and would be subject to city zoning and land use requirements. Therefore, a conditional use permit would be required by the city's zoning ordinance.
In addition, the city is in the process of having an appraisal assessment of the property (lease and for-sale) to determine the appropriate costs, if the building is leased out.
Prior to the meeting, Reliford said potential city revenues by having the charter school at the Sal Cracolice Building would not be known until after the property appraisal is complete.
City Manager Tom Williams said by August the Magnolia charter school item would likely be brought back for the council's final review and approval regarding lease rates for use of the Sal Cracolice Building.
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