Santa Clara

Cupertino Union School District Abandons Teacher Housing Project, Cites ‘Tensions'

The Cupertino Union School District has “discontinued” plans to build teacher housing at an old school site.

The school board decided at the May 24 board meeting to relinquish the project, citing “tensions” among employees, parents, and community members as a reason for the discontinuation.

“Assumptions and misinformation permeating throughout the community have gone towards creating an environment where rather than coming together, divisions are being clearly drawn in the community,” read an agenda action item statement. “This impact was beginning to distract the District from its primary mission of providing all students in the Cupertino Union School District with a quality education.”

CUSD spokesperson Jeremy Nishihara said the district will continue to discuss ways to address the housing crisis in order to retain teachers, but no other plans have been set.

Superintendent Wendy Gudalewicz was not available for comment.

The Cupertino Education Association (CEA), which supported the initial housing project proposal, now says on its website that it agrees with the district decision not to move forward with the project.

Yet, CEA said the organization does not agree with the wording in the district statement.

“Prior to the board meeting, [the superintendent] went ahead and sent out the original statement as an email to all district employees without notifying CEA,” says the teacher union on its website. “CEA disagrees with some components of that statement.”

CEA released its own statement following the district announcement.

Community members rallied for months for the district to abandon the housing project. Members of the “Save Luther” online forum signed petitions and posted lawn signs around town to raise voice against the project.

“I’m glad to hear that they decided not to move forward because it’s not a viable project,” said Hoi Poon, a CUSD parent who lives close to the proposed housing project site.

“What I am happy about is the tremendous grassroots effort to prevent this housing development that seemed to be promoted by developers,” Poon said.

The Cupertino Union School District announced in December plans to build over 200 affordable housing units at closed school site Luther Elementary School, 220 Blake Ave. in Santa Clara. The district said the housing project was an effort to keep teachers in the classroom. A mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments were proposed to be rented below market value.

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