Stanford and Palo Alto Unified School District agree to direct talks on community benefits

Discussions will focus on community benefits that could be provided to the school district as part of the university’s future land use plans.

Stanford University and Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) have agreed to direct talks to discuss community benefits that could be provided to the school district as part of a development agreement for the university’s proposed General Use Permit. The two organizations are taking this step to accelerate the process for reaching a resolution on an issue of great importance to the university and Palo Alto residents.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted in October of last year to enter into negotiations with Stanford over a potential development agreement. The university hoped these discussions would lead to an agreement on additional support for local schools as part of a package of broader local community benefits Stanford would provide under a new General Use Permit.

After an initial meeting to discuss procedural items in November, county officials have not scheduled a second meeting with Stanford. At this point, with county hearings on the General Use Permit scheduled to begin soon, Stanford considers it imperative to work directly with PAUSD to explore options that address the school district’s concerns.

In correspondence to PAUSD Superintendent Don Austin, Martin Shell, Stanford’s chief external relations officer, said: "We believe it is important to directly engage with PAUSD to accelerate the generation of ideas that can be brought to development agreement discussions with Santa Clara County. Stanford and PAUSD have a great history of partnership that has lasted more than a century and a shared interest in high-quality public education. Stanford is committed to furthering that partnership as part of our future land use plans."

Stanford and PAUSD administrative leadership initiated a series of meetings last summer in an effort to examine the potential effects the General Use Permit might have on Palo Alto schools. Today, university and school district officials began a new series of discussions focused on identifying the appropriate benefits that Stanford could provide to the schools through the development agreement process.

Stanford remains committed to engaging the county in comprehensive development agreement discussions. Stanford will seek to have the results of direct discussions between PAUSD and the university included as community benefits in the final agreement with the county.