Mountain View Voice

News - December 16, 2011

School boundaries shift in MV Whisman

by Nick Veronin

It's official. Attendance boundaries are shifting within the Mountain View Whisman School District.

On Dec. 8, the district's board of trustees unanimously approved the new boundaries, which will shift future students among three local elementary schools — Bubb, Castro and Monta Loma. A current Bubb neighborhood will now be a Castro neighborhood, and a current Castro neighborhood will now be a Monta Loma neighborhood. The changes will go into effect for the new school year.

The shift will ease overcrowding, make it safer and easier for more students to walk to school and reduce the demand for busing within the district, according to Superintendent Craig Goldman. He said he was pleased with the approval of the boundary changes.

In a previous interview with the Voice, Goldman said, "By shifting some of the students from the Castro area to Monta Loma, it frees up space for kids who live closer to Castro to attend their neighborhood school. We think, for the most part, parents will prefer to send their children to a neighborhood school, rather than putting their children on a bus."

The proposal met little resistance from the community, a sign the superintendent took as evidence that locals approved of the vote, or at least did not strongly disapprove. The district publicized the proposal in emails, direct mail, on the district website and in school newsletters; it was also written about in the Voice and other local papers.

However, there were some who voiced concerns about the change.

Bridget Harrison lives in a Bubb attendance area. She does not have children currently, but when she does, she said, she wants them to attend a diverse school. "I feel that redefining the boundaries as they have proposed is going to decrease diversity and increase segregation along socioeconomic and ethnic lines," she said.

Local parent Steve Nelson — a regular and vocal attendant of school board meetings in Mountain View who recently announced he plans to run for the Mountain View Whisman board in 2012 — echoed Harrison's concerns about segregation, though he said he ultimately is OK with the boundary changes.

Children currently attending one of the affected schools will not be asked to change schools, nor will their younger siblings, even if they have yet to reach elementary school age, as long as the older sibling is still attending the school in question, Goldman explained.

The areas that will undergo a change next year are:

-Area No.1: homes bounded by Latham Street, Escuela Avenue, El Camino Real and South Rengstorff Avenue that are currently in the Bubb attendance area will switch to Castro.

-Area No. 2: homes bounded by Central Expressway, Chiquita Avenue, California Street and Escuela Avenue, currently a Bubb attendance area, will switch to a Castro attendance area.

-Area No. 3: homes bounded by Central Expressway, South Rengstorff Avenue, California Street and Ortega Avenue that are currently in the Castro attendance area will switch to a Monta Loma attendance area.

The new boundaries will make it much easier and safer for children in Area No. 1 to walk to school, Goldman said. Before, students living in this area would have had to cross El Camino Real and walk close to 2 miles to get to Bubb; the new walk will be cut down to a little more than a block at most, and students will no longer have to cross El Camino Real.

"From the beginning," Goldman said, "we believed that the adjustments were ones that made sense for the families being affected."

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