Board Vote Falls Short on New Location for East Bay Arts H.S.

Oct. 18, 2023 -- Updated Oct. 19, 2023 (see editor's note below)

At its Oct. 17 meeting, the San Lorenzo Unified School District Board of Education did not approve a proposed relocation of East Bay Arts High School to the current site of the San Lorenzo Adult School.

The vote was 2-2-1, with trustees Penny Peck and Juan Campos voting yes, trustees Alicia Gonzalez and Samuel Medina voting no, and Board President Kyla Sinegal voting to abstain. Based on that outcome, EBA will remain on the campus of San Lorenzo High School, where it has been co-located since 2021-22. Following its establishment in 2005, EBA was originally co-located on the campus of Royal Sunset High School, an alternative high school program.

Presentations, public comments and discussion about the location of East Bay Arts lasted three and a half hours. Many speakers from the audience and via Zoom focused on possible benefits of relocating EBA to its own site, such as strengthening its distinct school identity and gaining greater control over facilities for student rehearsals and performances.

Other speakers warned of an adverse impact on about 500 adult students if their school became the new home for EBA because many live near the current location, next to Bohannon Middle School at 820 Bockman Road. A decision had yet to be made about a new location for the adult school, although one site under consideration was the district’s Lewelling Campus at 750 Fargo Ave., now home to a variety of academic and community programs.

Another option, making EBA a grade 6-12 program at Edendale Middle School, did not receive a vote because of concerns that it would require families not interested in an arts-centered option like EBA to attend either Bohannon or Washington Manor middle schools, located on the opposite side of the district. Board members also expressed appreciation for Edendale's vitality under new administrative leadership.

All five elected board members expressed a strong belief in the value of EBA, which currently has about 130 students, and a commitment to maintaining it as an arts-focused magnet program. In addition to its classes in visual and performing arts, the high school is dedicated to being an especially inclusive and welcoming home for students of all identities and a forceful champion for social justice.

Superintendent Dr. Daryl Camp said EBA will remain a unique and attractive choice for students within SLZUSD and also in surrounding communities.

“This process of considering the location and future of EBA – and the board’s decision – gives us a clear direction to pursue for this amazing school, its dedicated staff and talented students,” Dr. Camp said. “We look forward to continually strengthening EBA’s identity as a distinct high school and sharing its story both within and outside our district.”

The board initiated a process to review EBA’s location in fall of 2022 and received a series of three informational presentations from district administrators last winter and spring. On Sept. 21 and 26, the district held public town hall events at Edendale Middle School and the adult school to share information and gather input. The board held a study session on Oct. 4 to review pros and cons of various alternatives and then continued those deliberations during Tuesday’s meeting.


Editor's note from Scott Faust, SLZUSD director of communications and community engagement:

Since its original distribution and online publication, this article has been revised in the following places to reflect helpful feedback:

  • The headline and first paragraph were changed on Oct. 18 from the version  emailed to all SLZUSD employees in order to more precisely state that the motion to relocate East Bay Arts High School failed to receive a majority of board votes, rather than the board having voted NOT to relocate East Bay Arts (emphasis added).
  • The second paragraph also was changed to describe the board vote as 2-2-1. The version emailed to employees noted a fifth vote to abstain, but it listed the numerical vote tally as 2-2.
  • The time spent on the East Bay Arts agenda item during the board's Oct. 17 meeting was changed to 3.5 hours, rather than 2.5, to reflect the total time from start to finish. 
  • Explanation of the board's lack of a vote on an option to incorporate East Bay Arts as a grade 6-12 school at what is now Edendale Middle School was expanded to note that board members also cited Edendale's vitality under new school leadership.
  • A description of East Bay Arts was changed to reflect the school's culture as being especially welcoming and inclusive for students of ALL identities (emphasis added).
Requests for these changes is appreciated, and their significance is acknowledged.