Rocketship Might Build Tamien Campus After All

Despite vocal opposition from some community members, Rocketship Education could receive approval to start building another charter school in the Washington/Tamien neighborhood. The City Council this week will consider selling the nonprofit educational company an $850,000 parcel of land to develop the new campus.

Rocketship, run by Launchpad Development Company, already won approval from the Santa Clara County Board of Education to build 20 campuses in the region. Only plans for the Tamien branch have run into a series of roadblocks.

The county Board of Ed granted a zoning exemption for Rocketship to build at the Tamien site, prompting the San Jose Unified School District to sue for skirting local land-use rules. A judge in October ruled in favor of SJUSD, arguing that the company didn’t go through the due process of asking for permission from the local school district. An opposition website also recently launched.

But Rocketship anticipated the loss and preemptively went to the city for permission to build on the 3.5-acre site near the Tamien light-rail station.

Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, Mayor Chuck Reed and Councilmember Rose Herrera submitted a memo in support of the land sale, saying the city could use more education options. Plus, the city would get a joint-use playground, parking lot and shade structures.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for November 19, 2013:

• San Jose needs $50,000 to host a gun buyback next month. So far, the city has raised $30,000, but needs the council to OK the rest from a federal drug forfeiture fund before the Dec. 14 event. The public can sell their handguns for $100 a pop; $200 for assault rifles. The idea is to give people a safe way to get rid of their unwanted weapons before they fall into the wrong hands.

• New City Manager Ed Shikida’s poised to land a $250,000 annual compensation package.

• San Jose gets a $983,000 federal grant to fight terrorism, $418,000 of which will go to police and the rest to firefighters.

• The city reached an agreement with the electricians union to grant the 74 budgeted full-timers a 2-percent pay increase.

• The city should grant its Retirement Boards more authority to administer their own retirement systems, says an audit going before the council. It should also appoint more qualified people to serve on the commissions.

“Increasing the independence and qualifications of the Retirement Boards, as recommended above, should provide the city the confidence necessary to grant the Retirement Boards full authority to administer the systems,” the report states. “The fact that, under Measure B, plan members will share in the funding risk of the Retirement Systems provides further support for true joint trusteeship of the systems.”

• An urban village plan originally drawn up by San Jose State University students as a community project will be used as a template for the city to develop a community around a future BART station. The Five Wounds Urban Village will be centered on the eponymous Portuguese Catholic church, a focal point in the neighborhood. The council on Tuesday will consider general plan amendments and a strategy to implement the development.

Softball fields and where to put them will once again take up some of the conversation this week.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. If it were not so serous I would have to laugh at our council of clowns.  We are again reaching a record high of murders, mostly gang related and the city is coming up 20K short to support a gun buy back.

    We do not have enough officers to even patrol our streets so I guess we will force them to work overtime to supervise this event.

    But Chuck can give the new city manager a 50K raise so he can make 250K a year to run this city mess.  Well done Chuck, well done.

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