This FAQ comes from the Berkeley Unified School District. For more information, visit the Jefferson Project page on BUSD's website.
Why was Jefferson selected for expansion?
The north zone currently has too many students for its population. In the 2009-10 school year, BUSD hired Davis Demographics, a professional demographic firm, to help predict the student population for Berkeley. While the study did not address yearly fluctuation, it did predict the population by zone.
The District currently has capacity for approximately 1,180 students in the north zone. Davis Demographics suggested that we needed space for 1,264 students. The Admissions Office has stated that we currently have approximately 250 more elementary students who leave the north zone to attend Berkeley schools in the other zones than there are students who attend north zone schools from the other elementary zones. Our current population numbers demonstrate that the Davis estimates were low for the north zone.
The district either needs to expand its capacity in the north zone or modify its zones and increase the enrollment at other schools, most notably . The Board has chosen to keep the zones as configured. currently has 420 students, currently has 430 students, currently has 330 students. Expanding Jefferson helps equalize the population within the zone and helps minimize the number of students being forced out of the zone, but it does not completely solve the problem.
How much will the project cost?
See the project summary document under "PDFs" in the media box to the right for a breakdown of costs. The grand total currently stands at $6 million for construction.
Is this expansion going to significantly increase the population beyond its historic size and will that require significant changes to the support spaces?
In the mid-1990s, Jefferson housed 390 students. The playground was impacted by additional portables. The impact to the site of potentially an additional 30-40 students above its recent history is not a significant change.
The library and office areas are being expanded to recognize changes in the educational needs.
Is the project designed to minimize the impact to the play yard?
Minimizing the impact to the play yard was a driving force of the design. The final design reduces the play yard by only 5 percent.
How will the play yard of the completed project compare to other Berkeley schools?
When completed, Jefferson will fall in the middle group of Berkeley elementary schools in square feet per child (, and are smaller; , , and will be similar, and , , and will have more square feet per child).
Will the school be safe during construction?
During construction, all construction activities will be clearly separated from active school areas in order to maintain the safety of the children, staff and community. Site fencing and barricades will be used to designate construction areas and specified material drop off zones. Special consideration will be placed on making sure that adequate space is provided for the students activities inthe play yard.
Will there be additional staff after construction to accommodate the increased population?
Yard supervisors are funded by the BUSD and are based on enrollment numbers. Additional noon supervisors will be funded for Jefferson school as enrollment increases.
Do you have a question or opinion about the Jefferson project? Share it in the comments.