As we first reported five months ago, concerned that surplus and underutilized real estate owned by San Francisco’s City and County agencies could be put to better use (“providing for housing or commercial, cultural, and/or civic activities”) and increase the City’s tax base, a Civil Grand Jury came up with six findings and recommendations for the City.
The Grand Jury’s Finding Number 4:

Current practice allows City Departments and [the San Francisco Unified School District] to keep property on their surplus list indefinitely without any consequence. The concern for a more rational approach to handling under-utilized or surplus property requires that a time limit be imposed on how long property may remain on these lists. If, after a pre-determined period, property which is identified as surplus or underutilized has not been put into use or fully-utilized or no plans have been adopted for its use or full-utilization, there should be specified consequences for the failure to act.

The Grand Jury’s Recommendation Number 4:

The Board of Supervisors and the SF Board of Education should each adopt rules which limit the length of time property may remain on their respective surplus list without action and which address consequences for such inaction.

The Board of Education’s initial response to Recommendation Number 4: “The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted or reasonable.” And the six-month update from San Francisco Unified School District as San Francisco’s current housing crisis grows: “There is no further update or change to this original response.”
A Grand Jury’s Call To Optimize San Francisco’s City-Owned Real Estate [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Louis

    did something just occur leading to this article? was there a formal response by the usd board?
    [Editor's Note: An update is scheduled to be presented to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors next week.]

  2. Posted by lol

    One prime example would be to make better use of the old Fleishhacker pool and pool house. This area is just huge and right across the ocean. This city could use more proper commercial or public space on this waterfront.

  3. Posted by noodle

    What about the children? Won’t somebody please think of the children?

  4. Posted by lol

    The underuse of public property makes me think of what happens to slobs when they win the lottery. They become much wealthier but are still slobs and are even reinforced in their laziness.
    I think we are in the same situation. We’re having a great few prosperous years when we should be building to ensure continued prosperity. But instead we have a giant yawn from people representing us.

  5. Posted by curmudgeon

    Public agencies can easily mothball properties without worrying too much…they’re certainly not paying property tax on them. In that, they are analogous to dwindling church congregations which seem to hold onto properties decades after they should have called it quits (again, no taxes).
    Schools do have a valid reason to keep some property in case trends turn and there is a need to educate more childen, as it would be extraordinarily expensive to acquire property. However, I think everyone can agree that the school district has way more property than they could ever use. At least they FINALLY sold their Pacific Heights property last decade, after holding it for several decades.

  6. Posted by Serge

    I can immediately think of two SFUSD properties that are underutilized. Supposedly they use them for conferences and meetings.
    John W. Geary School on Cook St.
    Francis Scott Key School on 42nd Ave. (the old one)

  7. Posted by Invented

    Shame. Some great locations for our private schools to expand to.

  8. Posted by jordan park

    The Geary School on Cook Street appeared fully occupied when we went there to register our son for kindergarten camp a couple of years ago. The signs on the office doors suggested that the building was used primarily to administer SFUSD’s pre-K and speech therapy programs.

  9. Posted by Serge

    Jordan: Interesting. Last I heard they used to administer tests and PTA meetings. Glad they are at least using it. Both the Geary School and Key schools are very nice looking structures. The half-timber style construction of the Key school is not something you see often.

  10. Posted by Scott Fenton

    ‘The Board of Education’s initial response to Recommendation Number 4: “The recommendation will not be implemented because it is not warranted or reasonable.” And the six-month update from San Francisco Unified School District as San Francisco’s current housing crisis grows: “There is no further update or change to this original response.”’

    So, in essence, the BoE is flouting the law because by law they have to explain their denial. Disgusting.

    Such arrogance is what is increasingly turning not just right-wing Americans away from the school boards, but progressives, as well. And there’s certainly nothing progressive about the power-, and now real estate-, hungry school administrations; they’ve just become left-wing conservatives, against any idea that decreases their power. They don’t give a damn about kids or the best educations or fiscal management. Everything is just political and power-jockeying.

    Only in the Bay Area are liberal-minded Progressives to the right of our conservatives. As long as the School Administration takes this kind of dismissive stance, I will vote against any School Board proposal unless it’s got sensible, obvious, and verifiable logic behind it.

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