There were no commitments to share or underwrite costs by either side. Instead, the two bodies pledged to continue meeting at the staff level to explore cost sharing and joint use of school facilities.
City Recreation Director Paul Flores asked for a commitment from the school district to continue the agreement for joint use of district facilities and playgrounds. "We would like to continue that agreement and want to honor the priorities of the district," he said. "Our city is growing faster than we can build buildings and play fields."
The city got a commitment from school officials to meet and discuss maintenance costs with the idea of possibly contracting out building and grounds maintenance to one agent. It might be cheaper that way, the two sides agreed.
Superintendent Joe McLaughlin said the district has experienced an enrollment decline but appears to be coming out of it. "Why it was down we're not sure. But it's going back up."
Pittsburg is not experiencing this phenomenon alone. East Contra Costa and Central Contra Costa are also experiencing declining enrollment but officials are puzzled, school officials said.
Discussion also centered on a pending district policy to include a community service requirement for graduation, with school officials urging participation by the various city departments and community service organizations.
But the mention of city assistance for school crossing guard funding drew a retort from council member Nancy Parent, who suggested the district use fewer guards directed at younger students. "I find it incomprehensible than an 18-year-old can't cross a street without assistance. How can you not know not to walk in front of a car?" she asked.
One trustee replied that heavy volumes of traffic pose a risk to all students, and the district and the city could be liable if a student of any age is hit by a car and sues because there were no crossing guards.
Police Capt. Nick Baker discussed the school resources officers and the gang and drug awareness officer, claiming that they helped keep students safe, prevented minor problems from escalating and provided a positive role model for students.
On truants, Baker reported that of the 150 truants contacted by the department so far this school year, only five of them were repeat offenders. First-time offenders are taken back to the school and a letter from the police department is sent to their parents informing them and asking them to acknowledge they received the letter. Repeat offenders are cited into juvenile court.
Baker agreed with trustees that a disaster response exercise involving more than just the school would be beneficial. Trustee Laura Canciamilla asked if were possible to expand such an exercise to involve schools and the city.
"Those are very powerful programs. We do participate when the programs are available to use. We have one involving a fatal car accident where we require juniors and seniors to attend," Baker said, pledging to follow up with district officials about how such an expansion could occur.
On fencing at Harbor and School streets, district officials asked the city not to install wrought-iron fences as was originally proposed. "We're looking at an opportunity to fold those in with the others we're putting up along Railroad Avenue," City Engineer Joe Sbranti said.
But trustees said they weren't ready to make a decision yet.
Sbranti asked the school board to consider granting development credits to builders who tear down old buildings to set up new offices or residences in the city, much as the city offers credits toward park dedication and open space fees. Mayor Ben Johnson said the district still would earn more fees than it would credit and it would be a financial incentive for the developer to clear unwanted structures out of the city.
McLaughlin asked the city to send a letter so the board could consider the proposal.