Get the Facts!

FAQ on the Stanford GUP

  1. What is the Stanford GUP?

Answer: Santa Clara County regulates Stanford land use development through General Use Permits (“GUP”). Stanford and the county are currently negotiating Stanford GUP development through 2035. In its GUP application, Stanford proposes to build out 2.275 million square feet of academic facilities (over 50 acres). Stanford’s proposal is the single largest development application in the history of Santa Clara County.

  1. What is the school community asking of Stanford?

Answer: Full mitigation. We welcome all students! Whatever Stanford builds, the school community asks Stanford to share the costs of educating our children:

  • pays the cost to educate K-12 students housed in its tax-exempt rentals
  • sells PAUSD land and funds a portion of the cost of building a new neighborhood school
  • contributes to Safe Routes to Schools costs – crossing guards, bike lanes, etc.
  • contributes to oversubscribed after-school childcare services
  1. Is there precedent for Stanford to contribute to the school community?

Answer: Yes.

  • Funding. In the prior GUP, Stanford contributed $10 million to educate new students.
  • A new school. When Stanford built neighborhoods, Stanford sold PAUSD land at fair market value to build neighborhood schools. When Stanford built Escondido Village, PAUSD built Escondido school across the street. When Stanford built Frenchman’s Hill, PAUSD built Nixon school in the middle of the new neighborhood. PAUSD opened Nixon during the steepest enrollment decline in PAUSD history. But Nixon school was built because PAUSD policies are a new neighborhood requires a neighborhood school.
  1. What is Stanford offering PAUSD in the current GUP?

Answer: Stanford has offered nothing concrete over 18 months of discussions. No funds to educate the new students and no new school. They recently wrote they “intend to offer additional support” without explaining what form that support might take.

  1. How many new PAUSD students will be added in the Stanford GUP?

Answer: 275 to 1,445 new students

  • 275 students: Stanford proposes 275 new PAUSD students to live in 550 rental family units on Quarry Road
  • 1,445 students: Stanford may be required to mitigate the environmental burdens on our community (increased congestion and traffic) of its application to develop 2.275 million square feet of academic facilities. The county predicts a new workforce of 9600 in those facilities. To mitigate the impacts of its application, Stanford may be required to build more homes, housing up to 1,445 children (per County EIR estimate).
  1. How is PAUSD funded?

Answer: PAUSD is a “community funded” school district. PAUSD receives the vast majority of its operating budget from local property taxes. PAUSD collects residential property tax dollars from Stanford leaseholder families and Palo Alto home owners. Stanford,  however, is exempt by state law from paying property tax dollars on its rental properties. All K-12 students living in Stanford owned rental properties come with little or no property tax revenues for PAUSD.

  1. What is the PAUSD cost to educate a student?

Answer: PAUSD spends about $20,000 per student – per year

  1. Is PAUSD enrollment increasing or decreasing?

Answer: The last few years have seen slight enrollment declines, after 25 years of steady growth.  The future picture is murky – the top priority of the State, County, and City government is to increase housing, which will increase PAUSD enrollment. Whether enrollment increases or decreases, PAUSD asks Stanford to share the costs of educating students it adds to our schools.

  1. How much commercial property tax does Stanford contribute to PAUSD?

Answer: Stanford pays about $2 million in property taxes to PAUSD each year, covering less than 10% the cost of educating PAUSD K-12 students living in Stanford tax-exempt rental housing. The vast majority of commercial property taxes Stanford claims credit for are paid by the companies owning the buildings built on land leased from Stanford.

  • Stanford Shopping Center is owned by Simon Properties, who pays all taxes on the mall.
  • 90% of the buildings in the Research Park are also owned by others – either by their occupants or property investors. The owners pay the taxes, not Stanford.
  • The campus faculty homes are leased by their residents, who pay their taxes.ihs
  1. Is there a neighborhood school for hundreds of additional students on Stanford campus?

Answer: No. The nearest school to the proposed Quarry Road housing is more than two miles away.

Almost 300 elementary students currently live along the Sand Hill corridor, primarily at the Stanford West community. With the proposed Quarry Road homes, that number may grow by an estimated 200 additional elementary students. 500 elementary-aged students is more than enough for a neighborhood school. In addition, there may be about 75 middle- and high-school students.

PAUSD’s long standing policy is neighborhood schools for all students. PAUSD may have capacity for these new students elsewhere in the district, but the issue is proximity, not capacity. It is not clear how these students would get to and from the existing schools every day.

Stanford is the only landowner in the Sand Hill corridor. PAUSD identified more than 42 parcels of undeveloped land large enough for a new school.

THURS. MARCH 14, 5:30 p.m. 
Palo Alto City Hall Plaza. FREE PIZZA
Stay for Supervisor Simitian Town Hall Meeting on the Stanford GUP at 6:30 p.m.