Mountain View Voice

News - March 2, 2012

District dumps plan to move preschool

After outcry from parents and neighbors, officials withdraw threat of closure

by Nick Veronin

The local high school district has decided not to relocate students from the Terra Bella Community School to a building which currently houses a popular preschool program next door to Mountain View High School.

After substantial community backlash at a Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District board meeting last month, Superintendent Barry Groves announced that district staff is no longer recommending the closure of the Parent Observation Parent Education Preschool to make room for students from the Terra Bella County School.

Parents of children who attend the preschool and residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Mountain View High School packed the MVLA board of trustees meeting on Feb. 13 to oppose the district's initial plan to terminate the preschool's lease and bring the 20 or so students from the MVLA district who attend Terra Bella to the site. Those who spoke at the meeting expressed opposition to closing the preschool and to bringing more "at-risk" students into the area.

Groves noted that the board of directors had reservations about the plan before the meeting was even held, and afterward board members instructed him to search for more options.

Terra Bella, which educates about 20 MVLA students (most of them high school freshmen and sophomores) — along with a handful of other students from two other Bay Area school districts — had recently requested that MVLA contribute an additional $250,000 to $300,000 to the program or else find a new place to educate the students attending Terra Bella.

Initially, the district administration decided that it would be more cost effective to educate its Terra Bella students on its own, and proposed terminating the preschool's lease to make room for the students.

However, Groves said, the district will now look at a variety of other options, including calculating an acceptable cost-sharing arrangement with the county, finding another site within the district — away from the Mountain View High School campus — or busing the students to another site.

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