Creek erosion at Woodside Elementary could cost millions of dollars | March 17, 2023 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - March 17, 2023

Creek erosion at Woodside Elementary could cost millions of dollars

The district may seek a bond to help pay for repairs

by Angela Swartz

Winter storms have had a devastating impact on the Woodside Elementary School campus, which faces millions of dollars in repairs caused by downed trees and erosion in a nearby creek. At risk of losing part of the property, the district is now considering going out for a bond measure in 2024 to help pay for fixes, according to Superintendent Steve Frank.

About a month ago, 10-12 feet of the hillside in between the garden and the outdoor amphitheater washed away at back of the TK-8 school, located at 3195 Woodside Road in Woodside, he said. The damage started after the big storm on New Years Eve.

"Water was just raging so high," Frank said. "It took out so many trees and washed away a section of hillside."

Erosion work the district completed a decade ago ("stitch piers" were drilled into the ground next to creek banks to prevent further erosion) has been compromised to the point where the district had to install fencing on Thursday, March 9, for student safety. It would cost about $1 million to install new stitch piers, Woodside Elementary School District board President Jenny Hayden during a Feb. 14 board meeting.

"The ground is really unsafe," Frank said.

Trees are down all over the creek, he said, and flooding came up to within a couple of feet of the permanent fence by the amphitheater and trees there are "hanging on by a thread." It's expected to take months before the dirt dries out.

"A lot of people are suffering this kind of damage," he said. "I know our neighbors along the creek are. How do we expedite this?"

Frank said the district has received very little response in regards to federal disaster relief and "from all indications it's an extreme long shot."

District officials are in early conversations with the town of Woodside and San Mateo County about the damage.

District bonds

The district last passed a $13.5 million facilities bond measure, Measure D, in 2014.

Hayden said the board would likely try to put a bond measure on the ballot during a general election, like in November 2024.

In the meantime, the district may have to borrow money by taking out certificates of participation (COPs) to pay for the work, school board members said at the February meeting.

The board's facilities committee planned to update the board during a meeting on Tuesday, March 14.

Email Staff Writer Angela Swartz at [email protected]


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