For more than 20 years there have been efforts to rebuild Bessie Carmichael School. Bessie Carmichael opened as a temporary school in 1954.
In 1996 an MOU signed by Mayor Willie Brown and former Superintendent Waldemar Rojas executed a land exchange between SFUSD and Park & Rec.
Park & Rec now owns the land that Bessie Carmichael occupied between Sherman, Folsom, Columbia, and Harrison (future open space park). SFUSD owns the land across Sherman Street from Bessie between Cleveland, 7th and Digital Think.
At the time of the land exchange, the plan was to open the new school in 1999.
Supt. Rojas left in June 1999. New Supt. Arlene began August 2000.
In November 1999 SFUSD representatives said: new school construction will be complete by Jan 2003, then would work on including parking, 8 of $16 million was available, $3 million more expected from the state. There was no detailed plan, method of acquiring funds, or MOU with Park & Rec for play area. In February 2000 SFUSD had $8 million (Prop A) and 3 more coming from the state.
Healthy Start summary from 1/98 states $11 million set aside, not Prop A money.
In fall 1999, Park & Rec held community input meetings for the open space park. In February 2000 a park plan was presented to the Rec and Park Commission. This plan was approved. SFUSD needed this approval to continue planning.
In March 2000, parents, children, staff, and community urged Tom Ammiano and Leland Yee to address the lack of progress (no solution for parking, funding, or MOU, and one floor less) at Speak Up For Kids. April 2000, Mayor Willie Brown assigned two Special Assistants to Bessie.
August 2000, SFUSD presentation: not money, plans to apply for $9-10 million in state funds, detailed plans are almost ready, some progress with Rec & Park MOU.
August 2000, SFUSD School Board approved a resolution prioritizing Bessie.
November 17 2000, John Croswhite reported plans submitted to state for $8-12 million.
January 2001, Board of Supervisors passed a resolution prioritizing Bessie.
March 28 2001, SFUSD, Park & Rec, and Redevelopment presented at a lively NBC/PTA meeting, co-hosted by Supervisor Chris Daly. All departments report no funding for the project, nor new developments in plans. SFUSD reports plans not yet submitted to the state. Adjusted timeline shows June 2000 groundbreaking plan is no longer valid. School will be built with bond money from the next bond measure, bond date is not set.
February 26 2002, SFUSD School Board voted unanimously to give Tony Irons, Chief Operating Officer approval to fund the new Bessie Carmichael immediately without using bond money (by using Prop B funds, sale of land, or loans).
April 11 2002, SFUSD held an auction of storage items in the warehouses to be demolished on the new Bessie property.
May 1 2002, Community organizations in SOMA decide to form a community coalition to support the work of parents in the New Bessie Carmichael working group.
The New Bessie Carmichael working group formed in November 1999
to hold the School District and elected officials accountable, document the process,
and build community capacity in order to get a school that best serves SOMA neighborhood.