On Tuesday Night, the Antioch City Council unanimously approved a project that would allow for a new elementary school to be built on Cavallo Road near E 18th Street.
Rocketship Elementary School was granted a charter from the Antioch Unified School District in December of 206 and is proposing using the site 1.7 acre project site is located at 1700 Cavallo Road which is currently the site of a vacant office building.
The $14 million project includes a two-story school would serve up to 600 students between Pre-K and 5th grade with 34-full-time staff which includes 20 classrooms, office space, two learning labs and a parent work room, conference room and warming kitchen. The project would also have 49-parking spaces. There is also 35,856 square feet of open space for a play structure, soccer turf, tree grove, lunch shelter, and garden boxes for students.
Safety was also a concern where the Antioch Police Department reported a total of 431 calls for service occurred during the quarter mile area surrounding the project site during 2016. In response, Rocketship has proposed providing a security guard during student AM drop-off and PM pick-up hours. A full Security Plan was provided in the staff report.
Rocketship School is reporting more than 500 family’s have signed up.
During the meeting, several members of the community spoke out in favor of the project, including the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, parents who had pulled their kids out of the school district and taking them as far as private school in Walnut creek.
Also speaking was Antioch Unified School Board Trustee Debra Vinson who stated she voted “no” on the Charter because she wanted a clear understanding and wanted an MOU—she spoke on the integrity of Rocketship.
Vinson explained after the vote, Rocketship had worked with the District on creating an MOU which she called “unheard of” and called the integrity of Rocketship “refreshing.”
Antioch Chamber of Commerce President Richard Pagano spoke on how the Cavallo and E18th needed the $14 million project to assist with the revitalization of the area.
“Understand a no vote is not just a no for Rocketship, other businesses and organizations are watching us right now, there perception of a no vote on this zoning issue may be the deciding factor on whether or not they come to Antioch to open their business or go to a different community, one that is more welcoming,” explained Pagano. “Your vote tonight will set a precedence for more businesses coming to Antioch… this part of the community needs an economic win that will revitalize the area and encourage additional opportunities in the area.”
Antioch Mayor Pro Tem Lamar Thorpe stated if he did not support the project he would be a “hypocrite” for not giving other parents the opportunity to find a better education for their children like his mother did for him. Meanwhile, Councilmman Tony Tiscareno stated his vote was for the building, not the public school vs. charter school debate.
The council then voted 5-0 in support of the project.