MOUNTAIN HOUSE — A telephone survey asks people in Mountain House and Tracy where the next local high school should go, even though Tracy Unified School District already has chosen to build its next high school in Tracy.
An Idaho-based survey company is asking people how well they would like a campus in Mountain House in comparison to the John C. Kimball High School campus on Lammers Road.
The survey, by Mountain West Research Center, asks mostly about local government. On one question, the surveyor first mentions that there are two possibilities for a new high school campus and asks respondents to rate each campus.
The surveyor then claims that 80 percent of the new students attending this high school would be from Mountain House and then asks the respondents to rate each campus again.
So far, no one has said who asked for the survey or why. A man who picked up the phone at Mountain West Research Center said nobody at the company would provide any information about the center’s work.
Kevin Peters, senior vice president and managing director for Shea Mountain House LLC, the developer for most of the northern part of the new town, said the company is not releasing any information about the new town’s high school at this time, nor would he say if the company is gauging public sentiment about the planned campus.
Tracy Unified School District Superintendent Jim Franco said he knew nothing about the survey or who would sponsor it. He said that the district certainly had no input into the questions, which sounded misleading since TUSD is considering only the Lammers Road campus for its next high school.
“We certainly think it would have been appropriate if they had talked to us about this,” Franco said.
By nearly all accounts, groundbreaking for a Mountain House campus is several years away. TUSD officials say they have only about 150 students from the new town attending West High School, and Lammersville School District Superintendent Bill Lebo said there would be about 90 more when the district’s eighth-graders move up.
Tracy Unified’s Denise Wakefield said this week that schools typically should be at least two-thirds full when they open. That would require at least 1,600 students for a new school. Today’s student population of about 2,800 at Tracy and 3,200 at West high schools is about 1,200 more than those schools would ideally have.
District officials have spoken to Shea Homes representatives about future high schools, usually with the focus on the district’s plans for Kimball High School.
“I can’t imagine they (Mountain House) would be ready for a high school now, and Kimball we’re ready for now,” said trustee Joan Feller, who added that the only way a Mountain House campus would work for TUSD is if students were bused there.
“From a board perspective, that isn’t how we’d do it. We’d build where the need is.”
A Mountain House campus could be built under the guidance of the Lammersville District, but Lebo said that district, which plans to open its second Mountain House elementary school in August, would need to open at least two more elementary schools before it considers opening a high school.
“That’s really what the Lammersville School District is waiting for,” he said.
Tracy Press Associate Editor Jack Eddy contributed to this report.
To reach reporter Bob Brownne, call 830-4227 or e-mail email@example.com.