San Francsico Day School's Expansion Site

The San Francisco Day School’s current Master Plan includes the demolition of two residential buildings and a parking lot adjacent to its campus at 350 Masonic Avenue, clearing the way for a 23,000 square foot addition with new classrooms and office space over a basement performance space for the students.

Owned by the school, one of the two buildings that’s proposed to be razed (2130 Golden Gate) is currently being used by the school as a storage unit, a use which hasn’t been permitted, while the other building (2120-2122 Golden Gate) is a two-unit rental.

While a number of neighbors have already submitted letters of support for the school’s proposed new wing, a project which would cost an estimated $11 million to complete, San Francisco’s Planning Department “has serious concerns regarding the current project’s consistency with the criteria to be considered by the Planning Commission in the review of residential demolition.”

And as such, the Department is “strongly encouraging” the Day School to revise its proposal to preserve the existing dwelling units and has given notice that Planning “must prioritize the preservation of existing rental housing stock per the Mayor’s Executive Directive 13-01 issued on December 18, 2013.”

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Ham

    Allowing the city to go more vertical would not put us in these awkward situations, no? If they could build the space by going up instead of out then the residential units could be preserved.. and a few even added.

  2. Posted by Joel

    The original plans submitted in 2005 only called for demolition of the single family house, so it appears as though the plans have been expanded. At that time the CEQA exemption was appealed, so expect more pushback from the neighbors.

  3. Posted by Amewsed

    Oh noes, what a bind! The City wants to keep more middle class and families (with children) and now that there are more children, as evidenced by need for school to expand, there is this competing interest to preserve housing. How many ways can the City paint itself into a corner?

    • Posted by Chazza

      This expensive private school is definitely not geared towards the middle class.

      • Posted by San FronziScheme

        It all depends on what you call the Middle Class in SF.
        – Rent controlled dwellers making 70K will claim to be the middle class that is being kicked out
        – Families with 200K incomes will claim to be the middle class because they’re barely able to afford anything market rate AND have kids in the city
        – Then there are the 400K professionals who see themselves as the middle class per their own view

        Each is being pushed around by market forces…

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          my definition of middle class in SF for salaries, although assets need to play into the equation.

          1. 75-150K (per household) lower middle class
          2. 150-300K middle class
          3. 300k-500K: upper middle class

          of course if you have >$5M in assets and are under 65, then you get bumped up over middle class

  4. Posted by Joshua

    Obviously, elementary schools can only expand near existing facilities, ideally directly adjacent, as in this case.

    Rental units can be built in literally 10,000s of locations in SF.

    Ed Lee’s Directive makes no sense.

  5. Posted by eddy

    The school should hold out; but the 2120-2122 units there on GGA look pretty nice and serviceable and I guess at what point do you stop them from buying all the homes on the block and seeking permits to increasingly expand. Maybe let them build higher. 2120-22 GGA was bought in 2012 for $1.5M so this was clearly bought with the intent of expanding their master plan. Again, at what point does it stop? At $28k a kid per year at these schools they are well funded and well positioned to buy up the land and expand.

    • Posted by Joshua

      Tuition does not cover the full cost of educating students. The budget for 2015­-16 is $14.7 million, which is a cost of approximately $36,800 per student. The new gap between the actual cost per student and tuition for 2015-16 is $7,073. To bridge the gap, the School relies on the generosity of our community to contribute to the Annual Fund and endowment income.”

      • Posted by Dan

        And yet San Francisco public elementary schools have some of the top test scores in the state and provide a much more multicultural, multi-class experience at less than a third of this cost per pupil. So much for the efficiency of private enterprise. But I guess it’s worth it if you want to keep your kids away from the poors at any cost.

        • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

          Well, that’s not true at all. SF public school student scores are generally higher than those of the other large cities. But they pale in comparison to those of lots of good school districts or private schools. Let’s not confuse “not as bad as the worst” with “the top.”

          • Posted by Joshua

            Actual data: “While 40 percent (41/102) of SFUSD schools were among the highest ranked in the state (7 to 10), another 44 percent (45/102) of the schools ranked in the below average category, the lowest 40 percent of the state, with a statewide ranking of 1 through 4. There were 19 schools in the bottom 10 percent of the statewide ranking system with a rank of 1.”

        • Posted by Blue Panther

          The private schools also offer a “multicultural” and even a “multi-class” (through scholarships) experience. And the money you pay is used more efficiently than the public funds squandered in the SF public schools. For example:

          “While President Barack Obama earns a salary of $400,000 a year, the head of San Francisco’s public schools will earn more than $300,000 a year, after getting a significant raise.

          The school board voted unanimously to approve a 25 percent raise over three years for Superintendent Richard Carranza, a move drawing criticism from teachers.

          Carranza’s $65,000 salary increase is what the average San Francisco teacher makes in a year.” (Source)

          So yes, please feel free to indulge in your sanctimonious grandstanding about the “poors.”

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            not a single city worker should be making over $200K/yr. I thought the motive was to work for your community. paying $300K to head of public schools in asinine. and so many police and firefighters get over $200K as well. Its insane

  6. Posted by BobN

    Not that there’s likely to be an empty lot in the ‘hood, but at least the utilities in that area are underground, so easier to move a house.

  7. Posted by iknowsnow

    Funny the unintended consequences one encounters when an entire region underbuilds its housing supply for 30 plus years. You wind up not being able to build a school because…two units.

  8. Posted by R

    The city wants to fast track housing and allow greater density, but won’t let you tear down old housing to do so. This is literally around 3,000 square feet of residential space that would stop 23,000 feet of space replacing it. It is nonsensical.

  9. Posted by youknowwhatImean?

    The school should be allowed to expand, period.

  10. Posted by soccermom

    Basically, just buy a house in the city anywhere and it will go up in value.

    Schools can’t expand, little houses can’t be replaced by bigger houses, nothing changes. The NIMBYs win. The politicians hold out hope for affordable housing leprechauns. Things won’t change.

    I think it’s been about 30 months since the median price in the Sunset moved from $600K to $800K. What, 48 months to go until we hit $1mm for a 1500 sf 2/1 with a one car garage and carpets that smell like old people?

    Buy, Hold, Never Sell.

    (Psst… Have you heard about Vallejo?)

  11. Posted by bprudence

    Where was the planning dept when the Academy of Art bought and converted thousands of housing units into student only rentals? No one lives there all summer and a ton of people were displaced. Day School should be allowed to expand.

  12. Posted by JS

    I was just about to comment on the Academy of Arts’ troll through the city, turning everything from historical buildings, to motels, to apartment buildings, to housing units of all kinds into buildings to meet their needs. A savvy lawyer on the side of SF Day School could have a field day with the Mayor and the Planning Dept on this one – what a joke! I am shocked at what Academy of Art has been able to get away with and the school is a sham. They obviously have a nice back door connection with someone in Planning.

  13. Posted by Jim

    “While 40 percent (41/102) of SFUSD schools were among the highest ranked in the state (7 to 10), another 44 percent (45/102) of the schools ranked in the below average category, the lowest 40 percent of the state, with a statewide ranking of 1 through 4. There were 19 schools in the bottom 10 percent of the statewide ranking system with a rank of 1.”

    How true. The 40% of the schools that are doing well has a strong correlation with the Chinese student population in those schools. The SFUSD is fundamentally dishonest in taking credit for the strong performance of a group of students who would do well in any school or any school district.

  14. Posted by neighbor

    Jim: “The SFUSD is fundamentally dishonest in taking credit for the strong performance of a group of students who would do well in any school or any school district.”

    Isn’t that exactly what private schools do? Even the poors that they let in are tested and chosen because of their chance of success alone. SFUSD takes all comers, and that’s a challenge that private schools simply aren’t up to. Good luck having a child with any kind of learning difference in a private school — you will be asked to leave in short order. There is simply no accurate comparison to be made between private and public education.

  15. Posted by JD

    Trying to preserve 2 rental housing units at the expense of classroom space for hundreds of students is missing the forest for the trees. Classroom space would be a much “denser” use of the space. Agreed with comment about allowing more vertical buildouts.

    Planning Department seems to be slavishly following directives without doing any thinking of its own.

  16. Posted by Mark

    I hope SF Day (great school) can find a way to expand without demolishing those two great old homes.

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