On Monday, Redwood City’s City Council will vote whether to approve a permanent school facility for Rocketship Redwood City Prep, a new public school. At stake is the low-income community’s future in Redwood City.
While Silicon Valley’s boom pushes low-income families out of their homes, Rocketship offers a path to college for their children and a chance for the next generation to share in the Bay Area’s growth. Without the world-class education their children need to compete for jobs in science and technology, low-income families will struggle to survive another generation of rising rents.
The facility at 860 Charter St. is located in North Fair Oaks, an area where most Rocketship Redwood City Prep families already live. The school serves primarily low-income and Latino families, preparing hundreds of students each year to be the first in their families to attend college.
Rocketship Redwood City Prep opened in 2015, answering the call of hundreds of organized parents who volunteered thousands of hours over two years to bring a high-quality school to their community. A permanent facility for Rocketship would fulfill the dreams of North Fair Oaks families who want a better future for their children.
The Redwood City Planning Commission voted to approve the project in June, but a small group of local business owners appealed their decision citing concerns about traffic, parking and safety. The City Council will now assess whether their appointed planning commissioners did their job, and whether the City’s planning staff were correct in recommending that the project be approved.
The Redwood City School District also supports approval of the project: Superintendent John Baker wrote, they are “excited by the prospect of the 860 Charter site coming to fruition: it locates Rocketship closer to [the] North Fair Oaks community that the schools seeks to serve and simultaneously frees up needed space in District facilities.”
Hundreds of families already send their kids safely to school in this neighborhood every day – Hoover Elementary School is located fewer than 200 yards from the Rocketship site. Parents know how to keep their kids safe.
North Fair Oaks families deserve a fair consideration from the City Council, who in 2013 unanimously approved Stanford University’s development project just blocks away. That site is 31-times larger than Rocketship’s proposed site and will include a child care facility when it is completed. Children of North Fair Oaks deserve the same chance to be prepared for college as the children who will use Stanford’s day care center.
The City Council has an opportunity to give low-income students a world-class school in their neighborhood. The council can approve their path to college. They should take it.
North Fair Oaks families are fighting for better lives for their children. On Monday evening, the City Council should vote to approve their dreams.