Officials at the Mountain View Whisman School District, who set up a plan to bus Moffett kids to Bubb three and a half years ago, are now suggesting that they instead be sent to Monta Loma Elementary School, which is closer to the base. There are currently 23 students bused from the base to Bubb, but administrators say there are more Moffett students at Bubb who do not use the district's transportation.
If the plan is approved by school trustees at a meeting next Thursday, Monta Loma will receive the bulk of these incoming kindergarteners in the 2009-10 school year. The district notified parents this week about the potential changes, which are likely to mean that families whose children now attend Bubb School will stay there, while military students, who live north of U.S. Highway 101, will be bused to Monta Loma.
"We had a situation this year that we didn't know would happen," director of administrative services Stephanie Totter said of the overcrowding.
Trustees were scheduled to vote on the policies last week, but delayed their decision to allow time to inform families from both schools and the base. However, the trustees agreed the board needed to approve new enrollment policies that would guarantee students who live in the Bubb neighborhood a seat at their local school.
"When people buy houses across from a school, they expect to go to the school," trustee Ellen Wheeler said. "I think we should give property rights."
The board has been talking about ways to reduce overcrowding for the last couple months, ever since the district reached 4,400 students, a number it did not expect to see until 2011. Overcrowding is especially a problem at Bubb, which waitlisted 32 students living within the school's neighborhood boundaries this school year.
The district hired a consultant to perform a new demographic study, but until then, administrators say these new enrollment boundaries would at least alleviate overcrowding at Bubb.
Board trustees originally discussed hiring a private investigator to assure that all students are attending the appropriate schools, but administrators now say the additional families living on Moffett Field help to explain the overcrowding at Bubb.
"Are we going to fix it all? No," Totter said. "I don't know if it will totally do what we want, but it is an attempt."
When board members decided to send military students to Bubb, "we had no kids coming off of the base," Totter said.
The military is currently building a new training and command center for Army Reserves at Moffett Field, and all 190 houses on the base are now occupied. These families want their students to attend the same school, according to a government official who wished to remain anonymous.
According to Craig Goldman, the district's chief financial officer, there are 85 students bused from the base to Mountain View elementary schools. Administrators and trustees have not yet decided if these new policies will also affect students living in military housing south of highway 101.
Superintendent Maurice Ghysels said the boundary change would only temporarily fix the overcrowding, and the district would "wait until the demographic study comes out before making any bigger decisions."