SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – A plan to bulldoze a pair of schools to make way for affordable housing was the topic of a heated meeting in South San Jose Wednesday night.
Parents, students and community members packed the room, armed with questions for San Jose Unified School District leaders.
“Really shows how unprepared you guys are for this,” said one student.
The idea: to tear down Leland High and neighboring Bret Harte Middle School and build in its place affordable housing, for teachers, staff and even low-income families.
“And it would take millions of dollars to replace all of this. I can’t understand,” said former Leland parent Buford Barr.
Richard Tredway, who also questioned the proposal, said, “How would you even consider it to put low income housing where we’re standing? It wouldn’t be enough.”
Frustration grew, when district leaders couldn’t answer, how many affordable housing units would be built or how rebuilding the schools to a vacant lot a mile away, made more sense.
“The move of something like this is going to change the traffic patterns. It’s going to stop Almaden Expressway which is already backed up. It just doesn’t fit in to this area,” Buford said.
District staff emphasized at Wednesday night’s meeting that this was just an idea. Which is why many questions could not be answered.
But they say, the discussion needs to be had, because they are losing too many teachers to the high cost of living.
“The school district needs to pay the teachers enough that they can make a viable living,” said a school district employee named Adele, who did not give her last name.
Parents weren’t the only ones asking questions, and still searching for answers.
“Change is hard for a lot of people. We’re happy to have this process,” said deputy superintendent Stephen McMahon.
When asked about how he felt after hearing the comments, McMahon told KPIX 5 reporter Maria Medina, “I think journalists like you have a tough job nowadays because getting facts and stories out against social media is an interesting phenomenon. There is much more misinformation out there, then there are facts.”
McMahon disputed rumors of both schools being shut down.
Wednesday’s meeting is the first of what is expected to be many for the proposal.