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For the Kids / Para los Niños » For the Kids

For the Kids

Image of For the Kids Logo
 CUHSD Land Development Initiative Introduction
The Campbell Union High School District strives to provide each student a quality education with the utmost consideration for equity, excellence, opportunity and engagement. In an effort to increase financial resources for students, the District has put forth a Land Development Initiative that builds a brighter future “For the Kids.”

In the Spring of 2018, the District asked the City of San Jose to amend the City’s General Plan for a parcel of land owned by CUHSD, to allow for mixed use development which included both commercial and residential projects.  On December 11, 2018 the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to approve the District’s General Plan amendment application.


"At a time when local land use proposals have so often failed to reflect the needs and desires of area residents, we want to engage the community by being open, and upfront. Nothing less would be acceptable to us, because we have the honor and responsibility of educating your children, and cannot do it without your trust." - Dr. Robert Bravo, Superintendent

 THE PROBLEM:  Expenses Rising Faster than Revenue
The Trustees of the Campbell Union High School District take their role as stewards of public funds most seriously.  This includes ensuring that every asset of the district is maximized for student achievement. Despite California's economic recovery since the last recession, school districts across the state are making tough choices as they plan for dramatic increases in retirement pension costs for their employees. These increases are necessary to ensure that the state teacher retirement system, CALSTRS, and the public employees retirement system, CALPERS, are sufficiently funded, particularly because teachers do not receive Social Security. As stated in a recent Mercury News article, "districts took on the greatest share of those new costs, with payments rising from 8% of their payroll in 2013 to 19% by 2020." Therefore, these costs will have more than doubled within a decade. In addition, rising healthcare expenses and the loss of State funding for Career Technical Education (CTE) are encumbering CUHSD’s general fund.
Chart of CALSTRS and CALPERS contributions between 2003 and 2025
In 2014, the State of California mandated all school districts increase retirement contributions
which will more than double within a decade.
 THE SOLUTION:  Revenue Generation through Land Redevelopment

In 2016, recognizing that expenses were rising faster than revenue, CUHSD began a holistic assessment of the 244 acres of property owned by the District to find opportunities to generate revenue to offset the oncoming structural budget deficit.  The consulting firm, Terra Realty Advisors, was hired on a contract basis to analyze district-owned properties for revenue-generating potential. Our guiding principles for this project were simple:


  1. Be a good neighbor to those who live near our property;
  2. Maintain fidelity to the City’s General Plan; and
  3. Generate as much unrestricted/ongoing revenue as possible.
 THE PROPOSAL:  'For the Kids' Land Development Initiative
Our holistic assessment of district-owned properties led us to the 12-acre district office site.  This site is a remnant from the sale of Camden High School which accounts for its odd shape.


Aerial map showing current use of CUHSD land between Camden and Union Avenues

Current Land Use

Camden Post-Secondary Academy, Maintenance Yard, District Office


Acknowledging that the site's current General Plan designation of Public/Quasi Public (PQP) is intended to maintain the City of San Jose’s inventory of employment lands, CUHSD sought commercial developers for the whole 12-acre site in order to maintain fidelity with the City’s General Plan.


With guidance from our realty consultants, the district sought commercial development partners that provided commercial uses that the surrounding neighborhoods would find beneficial.  In particular, the district sought commercial uses that would not significantly impact traffic, noise, quality of life, and property value.


We determined that self-storage and memory care/child day care commercial development for each of the property’s end lots may be the best commercial uses for the site.  However, during a period of almost 18 months, the district could not find any developers, including the development partners for the two site frontages, that were interested in developing the middle six acres of the site. Our realty consultants helped us conclude there is no market demand for commercial development for this long and narrow six acres because it is landlocked between two residential neighborhoods with no visibility from the street. The conditions which make this part of the site undesirable for commercial development will not change with time. CUHSD determined that the next best land use would be Residential Neighborhood (RN).


Aerial image of proposed land use of CUHSD property between Camden and Union Avenues

Possible Land Uses

Self Storage (Land Lease), Homes (Land Exchange for new District Office), Memory Care & Child Day Care (Land Lease)

To maintain one of our guiding principles of “being a good neighbor,” we sought a residential development solution to conform with the prevailing existing neighborhood character as defined by density, lot size, orientation, and form.


With regard to community engagement, CUHSD sought to have the community take the journey with us in order to understand why we are taking this step, and to ensure no surprises by any requirements of the General Plan amendment process such as the development signs that are posted at the property. CUHSD conducted several community meetings for the residents who live within 1500 feet of the project, and attended community meetings with the Cambrian Community Council, Friends of Cambrian Park Plaza, Branham PTSA, Leigh Home & School Club, Del Mar PTSA, Prospect PTSA, and Westmont PTSA in order to gain feedback on the mixed-use development proposal.  There was overwhelming community support for this project with 1265 signed letters of support and no organized opposition.


The project also creates more employment land for the City of San Jose given the fact that the identified commercial use along both Union and Camden will double the current jobs on the site. Additionally, this 12-acre site will be added to the property tax roll, for the first time, generating additional revenue for the county, city and school district.


In order to implement the mixed-use development proposal, District staff members submitted a General Plan amendment application to the City of San Jose requesting that the 3.28 acres at the Camden frontage be rezoned from PQP to Commercial Industrial Commercial (CIC) and that the 6 acres in the narrow middle section be rezoned from PQP to RN. On December 11th, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to approve the District’s General Plan amendment.


With the approval of the General Plan amendment, residential land will be exchanged for ownership of the Heritage Village Office complex near downtown Campbell, enabling the district office to relocate with room to spare, and providing immediate tenant lease revenue. The frontages of the property are slated to become 66-year ground leases. Between all the leases and tenant income, CUHSD expects to receive $1M to $1.5M in UNRESTRICTED annual revenue for the general fund. This amounts to over $100M over the 66-year term. Additionally, CUHSD will retain ownership of the leased property, and at the end of the lease, will own the buildings that our development partners construct.


Image of Heritage Village Office Building exterior

Heritage Village Offices

Please contact Sarah Kennedy at with any additional questions.
1. What prompted the Board to create a land development proposal?
The need to generate ongoing unrestricted revenue to offset the rising costs impacting school districts throughout the state, including contributions to state pension programs and healthcare, which are increasing at an exponential rate.
2. How can CUHSD increase revenue?
By law, school districts are restricted to the following mechanisms for revenue enhancement:
    • Charging fees in accordance with the Civic Center Act for the community use of school facilities;
    • Leasing unused properties;
    • Levying a Parcel Tax which must be approved by a two-thirds majority of voters; and
    • Fundraising through an educational foundation.
3. How did CUHSD identify this opportunity?

In September of 2016, the Board directed that the District initiate a study of our potential to generate ongoing unrestricted revenue from a variety of sources. It was concluded that the District owns an oddly shaped and currently under-utilized strip of land that could be repurposed to much better serve student needs.


4. Why this piece of land?
  • The District currently uses the land to house our district office, bus lot, maintenance yard, and The Camden Post-Secondary Academy.
  • This is an interim location for the Camden Post-Secondary Academy and analysis for where and when to relocate this program is already underway.
  • Last year CUHSD implemented a plan to decentralize maintenance operations to the school sites, greatly reducing the needs for a centralized maintenance yard.
  • The land is an awkwardly narrow strip that widens at either end and separates two neighborhoods of single-family homes. The value of this land is high, while its shape makes its potential utilization for student learning very low.


 5. What will happen to the District Office?
Now that the narrow portion of the land is successfully rezoned to RN, the District is working to exchange that land for the Heritage Office Complex at the corner of Winchester and Campbell Avenue.  It has the capacity to house our operations and still yield considerable lease revenue as it already has existing tenants.
 6. What will happen to the Camden Post-Secondary Academy?

Prior to the identification of this site to provide ongoing revenue, the District had already made plans to upgrade and relocate this program to different location because of the potential to better serve students. The new location has not been determined.


 7. Where will the school buses be stored? 
CUHSD is looking into many different options.  At this time, it has not been determined where the school buses will be stored. When the facilities staff have completed their evaluation and are ready to make recommendations, CUHSD will hold community meetings to gain feedback prior to any final recommendation to the Board.
 8. How will CUHSD generate revenue from the two wider pieces of land at either end of the property?
CUHSD will enter into a 66 year ground lease with our selected development partners.  Lease payments are considered UNRESTRICTED revenue for the general fund. There are increases in the lease payments built into the lease agreement over time.  By executing a ground lease, CUHSD maintains ownership of the land. At the end of the lease term, CUHSD will take possession of all buildings and improvements made by the development partners.
 9. What considerations have guided the Board in creating this initiative?
The Board, as the fiscal stewards of the District, wants to ensure that all land use at this site meets the goal of maximizing revenue without negatively impacting the existing neighborhood with regard to:
    • Traffic;
    • School enrollment;
    • Public services such as fire and police;
    • Building height and view scapes; and
    • Surrounding homeowner property values.


 10. What is "zoning?"  What is a "General" Plan?
  • “Zoning” is the process of dividing land into zones within which certain land uses are permitted or prohibited.  For example, houses cannot be built on land zoned for commercial buildings.
  • A “General” Plan is a broad planning guideline expressing a city’s future development goals.  It must express the vision, goals, and objectives of the city taking into consideration eight different elements: land use, housing, circulation, conservation, noise, safety, open space, and environmental justice.


 11. What is the zoning of the identified piece of land?

Currently the land has a General Plan designation of PQP (Public Quasi-Public). It is a land use designation the City of San Jose uses to “protect” land for public use. The PQP zoning includes allowable uses such as schools, colleges, corporation yards, homeless shelters, libraries, fire stations, water treatment facilities, convention centers and auditoriums, museums, hospitals, governmental offices and airports.


To implement our mixed use development proposal, our General Plan amendment application requests that a portion of the land be rezoned to CIC to enable the development of self-storage, and RN to enable the residential housing. The land where the District Office currently resides will be kept PQP because the proposed memory care and daycare development are allowable land uses under the PQP zoning.

 12. What steps has the Board taken to date?
  • The Board initiated a holistic assessment of all CUHSD’s property to determine opportunities to increase unrestricted revenue.
  • A comprehensive mixed-use land development proposal was created.
  • An application to Amend the City of San Jose’s General Plan to accommodate the mixed-use development proposal was submitted.
  • Community meetings have been held to inform the community, get feedback on the proposal, and secure community support.
  • CUHSD received close to 900 letters of support from community members.  There has been no organized opposition to this proposal.
  • The proposal was endorsed by dozens of community leaders who have hailed it as “smart development” and complemented CUHSD’s community outreach activities.
  • At the City of San Jose’s Planning Commission meeting of November 7, 2018, the Commission voted to recommend approval of our General Plan amendment application to the City Council.
  • At the City of San Jose’s Council Meeting of December 11, 2018, city council members voted unanimously to approve the District’s General Plan amendment application.
  • Negotiations with Robson Homes and the owners of the Heritage office property are ongoing.
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