http://mv-voice.com/print/story/print/2007/06/01/boundary-options-whittled-down


Mountain View Voice

News - June 1, 2007

Boundary options whittled down

Two school groups vie over differing proposals for LASD

by Alexa Tondreau

A committee formed by the Los Altos School District to analyze various scenarios for boundary changes made some headway Tuesday evening, when it narrowed the district's choices to three, down from over 10 different possibilities.

Superintendent Tim Justus told the committee, which is composed of teachers, parents and several board members, "There is absolutely no way to make every single neighborhood happy," and he urged the group to make a decision that is best for the district as a whole.

Two of the three scenarios to be considered by the district board were created by Mountain View residents living in neighborhoods potentially affected by district boundary adjustments.

One, dubbed "Scenario Fair," was created by the North of El Camino Neighborhood Coalition to address boundary adjustments in the Crossings, Showers Drive, Monroe Park and Del Medio neighborhoods that fall in the northernmost sector of the district.

Scenario Fair would keep the mostly Mountain View students who live north of El Camino Real at their current schools, Santa Rita and Almond, and would require about 100 students who live south of Santa Rita and Almond to attend Bullis-Purissima and Covington elementary schools.

The other scenario created by Mountain View residents, "Scenario M," will also be considered by the board. It was created by residents who live between Hollingsworth Drive and Gilmore Street, made up of approximately 68 students, all of whom attend Almond Elementary which is less than a half mile from their homes.

The Scenario M proposal makes most of its adjustments in the neighborhoods north of El Camino, sending 100 students to Bullis and 135 to Covington.

Elizabeth Gardner, who helped draw up Scenario M, said the primary idea behind it is to move the smallest number of students to new schools.

"We clearly sympathize with any family that is forced to change schools and any student who lives far away from their school," Gardner said, "but we think the best attendance area boundary plan for the district as a whole is to minimize disruption, move the least possible number of kids and impact the fewest schools."

Scenario M, drawn up after Scenario Fair was presented to the district, is appealing to many because it also keeps Springer Elementary, located in the city of Mountain View, intact with an equal mix of students coming from both Los Altos and Mountain View.

"There is quite a contingent of people who want to retain that mix," district demographer Jeanne Gobalet said.

But for Mountain View resident Tanya Raschke, a member of the North of El Camino Neighborhood Coalition, the scenario — which she deemed her "least favorite" — unfavorably singles out those who live in her neighborhood.

"It basically is saying the majority of the movement district-wide will be borne solely by north-of-El Camino," Raschke said. "They really are trying to push the solution north of El Camino."

Gardner thinks part of the solution will be for the district to provide additional resources to affected families.

"The district should be paying more attention to the possibility of providing bus services," Gardener said, adding, "but other creative ideas may also be worth considering."

Scenario Fair, which seeks to distribute the impact of boundary adjustments equally throughout the district, moves students in the Hollingsworth and Gilmore neighborhoods out of Almond Elementary, which is a half mile away, to Springer Elementary, which is nearly three times that distance and would require more parents to drive.

During closing comments, Tom Campbell, a member of the district's finance committee who is also sitting on the attendance advisory committee, said that "Scenario M suffers from the defect of sending people north of El Camino to Bullis."

The district board commented at its last meeting that it was moving away from sending students north of El Camino to Bullis, and would rather see them move to Covington or Springer.

The third scenario the board will consider takes 122 students north of El Camino and assigns them to Covington. It also moves the students between Hollingsworth and Gilmore out of Almond and into Springer.

After nearly three hours of debate Tuesday night, Superintendent Justus urged the committee to stop weighing the pros and cons of each scenario, and to leave it to the board.

"Three [scenarios] seem to rise to the surface," he said. "Let the board have the opportunity to debate at their level."

The board will discuss the scenarios at a meeting June 4, and will vote sometime later in the month.

E-mail Alexa Tondreau at atondreau@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by Roo, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2007 at 7:26 pm

This comment is purely based upon my understanding of the situation and what I have been told and read. If anyone has a correction or comment for me please feel free to do so. Anyone including the schoolboard must agree with the fact that sending children, whom are already traveling from the Del Medio/ Monroe neighborhoods to Santa Rita and Almond are traveling far enough. To even propose to send them to Bullis is unfair. The only reason to ask them to go to such lenghts is because the Los Altos/ Hills families are unwilling to support their own neighborhood school. Myself, personally knowing the teachers at Santa Rita, (including my mother), and the families that go to Santa Rita, know that many of these families have their children walk, bike, scooter, and transport themselves to Santa Rita. There is even a crossing guard posted on El Camino for these students. The reason they have to transport themselves is their parents physically cannot full fill this need. These parents either work night shifts and cannot transport their child, they are already working at this time, or do not have a car to transport their child with. In all three of these cases changing the school would create more stress for the families, a longer commute for these children, and overall less convenience for all. All except those Los Altos/ Hills families who will not be sympathetic to these children. One proposed solution to this is to provide school bus transportation. I am curious if this is asking these children to be up earlier. Using a school bus to go from this neighbor hood to Bullis uses more gas and time than if the surrounding neighborhoods would be provided with a bus or if none was used at all. Now, these schools may be coming upon maximum capacity, and with that being the case, then why not rezone so that every family is having their children sent the the school CLOSEST to them. So with rezoning in question, the school board and all of the families and parties taking action in this debate need to take into consideration the children and convinience placed upon the families whose neighborhoods are in question. I for one firmly believe that convinience to students is the number 1 priority in this. It shouldn't even be such a large deal, I will give you an equation do do this math with. Households X distance from school 1 should be sent to school 1, Households with the same X distance from school 2 should be sent to school 2 and so on. This is saying that people in neighborhood with X distance from school 1 should travel the same distance as people the same distance from school 2 and so on. For the school district zoning here is the pdf website Web Link
I agree with the current school zoning, and if anything is to be changed it should be a shift instead of one or two zones being affected because of the lack of convenience a whole shift would be. Though a whole shift may be more convenient to more people in the end. The schoolboard is there to make the Best decisions for the schools and students. Sending children a further distance is not the best decision. When taking this into consideration also take into consideration the students (whom i see walk, bike, rollerblade, skate, scooter, and even run sometimes) who have to commute to these schools, with their backpacks, musical instruments, and whatever else them must carry. Think about the distance they should be traveling (which shouldnt be as far as some of them already travel). Think about the fact that their parents are doing all they can to keep a roof over their childrens heads, food in their stomachs, and they are sending them to school to give them a future. We need to do all that we can to keep these children in the best environments as possible because giving them the best is giving the best to our community. In the words of Zig ZiglerThis comment is purely based upon my understanding of the situation and what I have been told and read. If anyone has a correction or comment for me please feel free to do so. Anyone including the schoolboard must agree with the fact that sending children, whom are already traveling from the Del Medio/ Monroe neighborhoods to Santa Rita and Almond are traveling far enough. To even propose to send them to Bullis is unfair. The only reason to ask them to go to such lenghts is because the Los Altos/ Hills families are unwilling to support their own neighborhood school. Myself, personally knowing the teachers at Santa Rita, (including my mother), and the families that go to Santa Rita, know that many of these families have their children walk, bike, scooter, and transport themselves to Santa Rita. There is even a crossing guard posted on El Camino for these students. The reason they have to transport themselves is their parents physically cannot full fill this need. These parents either work night shifts and cannot transport their child, they are already working at this time, or do not have a car to transport their child with. In all three of these cases changing the school would create more stress for the families, a longer commute for these children, and overall less convenience for all. All except those Los Altos/ Hills families who will not be sympathetic to these children. One proposed solution to this is to provide school bus transportation. I am curious if this is asking these children to be up earlier. Using a school bus to go from this neighbor hood to Bullis uses more gas and time than if the surrounding neighborhoods would be provided with a bus or if none was used at all. Now, these schools may be coming upon maximum capacity, and with that being the case, then why not rezone so that every family is having their children sent the the school CLOSEST to them. So with rezoning in question, the school board and all of the families and parties taking action in this debate need to take into consideration the children and convinience placed upon the families whose neighborhoods are in question. I for one firmly believe that convinience to students is the number 1 priority in this. It shouldn't even be such a large deal, I will give you an equation do do this math with. Households X distance from school 1 should be sent to school 1, Households with the same X distance from school 2 should be sent to school 2 and so on. This is saying that people in neighborhood with X distance from school 1 should travel the same distance as people the same distance from school 2 and so on. For the school district zoning here is the pdf website Web Link
I agree with the current school zoning, and if anything is to be changed it should be a shift instead of one or two zones being affected because of the lack of convenience a whole shift would be. Though a whole shift may be more convenient to more people in the end. The schoolboard is there to make the Best decisions for the schools and students. Sending children a further distance is not the best decision. When taking this into consideration also take into consideration the students (whom i see walk, bike, rollerblade, skate, scooter, and even run sometimes) who have to commute to these schools, with their backpacks, musical instruments, and whatever else them must carry. Think about the distance they should be traveling (which shouldnt be as far as some of them already travel). Think about the fact that their parents are doing all they can to keep a roof over their childrens heads, food in their stomachs, and they are sending them to school to give them a future. We need to do all that we can to keep these children in the best environments as possible because giving them the best is giving the best to our community. This comment is purely based upon my understanding of the situation and what I have been told and read. If anyone has a correction or comment for me please feel free to do so. Anyone including the schoolboard must agree with the fact that sending children, whom are already traveling from the Del Medio/ Monroe neighborhoods to Santa Rita and Almond are traveling far enough. To even propose to send them to Bullis is unfair. The only reason to ask them to go to such lenghts is because the Los Altos/ Hills families are unwilling to support their own neighborhood school. Myself, personally knowing the teachers at Santa Rita, (including my mother), and the families that go to Santa Rita, know that many of these families have their children walk, bike, scooter, and transport themselves to Santa Rita. There is even a crossing guard posted on El Camino for these students. The reason they have to transport themselves is their parents physically cannot full fill this need. These parents either work night shifts and cannot transport their child, they are already working at this time, or do not have a car to transport their child with. In all three of these cases changing the school would create more stress for the families, a longer commute for these children, and overall less convenience for all. All except those Los Altos/ Hills families who will not be sympathetic to these children. One proposed solution to this is to provide school bus transportation. I am curious if this is asking these children to be up earlier. Using a school bus to go from this neighbor hood to Bullis uses more gas and time than if the surrounding neighborhoods would be provided with a bus or if none was used at all. Now, these schools may be coming upon maximum capacity, and with that being the case, then why not rezone so that every family is having their children sent the the school CLOSEST to them. So with rezoning in question, the school board and all of the families and parties taking action in this debate need to take into consideration the children and convinience placed upon the families whose neighborhoods are in question. I for one firmly believe that convinience to students is the number 1 priority in this. It shouldn't even be such a large deal, I will give you an equation do do this math with. Households X distance from school 1 should be sent to school 1, Households with the same X distance from school 2 should be sent to school 2 and so on. This is saying that people in neighborhood with X distance from school 1 should travel the same distance as people the same distance from school 2 and so on. For the school district zoning here is the pdf website Web Link
I agree with the current school zoning, and if anything is to be changed it should be a shift instead of one or two zones being affected because of the lack of convenience a whole shift would be. Though a whole shift may be more convenient to more people in the end. The schoolboard is there to make the Best decisions for the schools and students. Sending children a further distance is not the best decision. When taking this into consideration also take into consideration the students (whom i see walk, bike, rollerblade, skate, scooter, and even run sometimes) who have to commute to these schools, with their backpacks, musical instruments, and whatever else them must carry. Think about the distance they should be traveling (which shouldnt be as far as some of them already travel). Think about the fact that their parents are doing all they can to keep a roof over their childrens heads, food in their stomachs, and they are sending them to school to give them a future. We need to do all that we can to keep these children in the best environments as possible because giving them the best is giving the best to our community.
In the words of Zig Zigler "Our children are our only hope for the future, but WE are their ONLY hope for their present and their future."

Please make sure these children get what's fairest, please keep our schoolboards doing the job they were placed there to do, and please don't turn a blind eye to this issue.

Your local student. -Richard Hutchison


Posted by Roo, a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Pardon I made a copy error in my comment, but that if anything that should place an emphasis upon my words.


Posted by Amanda, a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 4, 2007 at 9:36 am

Richard,

Thank you for your comments. :-)


Posted by Karen Rudolph, a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2007 at 10:44 pm

I live three blocks from Almond but my sons go to Covington because they are in Special Education classes. We have had a great experience being part of the Covington community. Several of their friends live in apartments north of El Camino. These students are from some of the lowest income families in our district. Several of them are being raised by their grandmothers or single mothers. I understand that they have little political power in our district. I feel that it is very wrong to ask them to drive their children to Los Altos Hills, just so wealthier families can have their children walk to school. These school lines should not be gerrymandered to the detriment of those families with the least political and financial clout. The north El Camino students should not be expected to leapfrog over several closer schools to make the long commute to Los Altos Hills. I think that we will all be judged by how we treat the least powerful members of our community.