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Rallying support to reopen schools

Original post made on Apr 15, 2014

Neighborhood representatives in northeast Mountain View are prepared to lay out several proposals at Thursday's Mountain View Whisman School Board meeting, requesting that trustees consider reopening the Whisman and Slater elementary schools, which were closed several years ago.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 1:27 PM

Comments (21)

Posted by Greg Coladonato, a resident of Slater
on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

Important note on timing: If you want to be there for all of the school board meeting, you can get there at 5:30 PM for the closed session, or 6:00 PM for the regular session.

If you are only interested in the Whisman/Slater neighborhoods presentation, that item starts at 7:50 PM.

The whole agenda can be found here: Web Link

And the agenda packet, with 150+ pages of materials for all the business of the evening, can be found here: Web Link

I hope all the people who think that keeping hundreds of extra cars off the road each day during the morning rush hour would be good for their neighborhood will come to the meeting on Thursday and express their support for opening a school in the Whisman/Slater Triangle.

Greg


Posted by linda, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

What is wrong with Landels? It is walking distance from the Whisman station....
Or is there another issue?


Posted by Robert, a resident of Slater
on Apr 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Robert is a registered user.

The School Board meeting begins at 6:00 PM but the Whisman/Slater neighborhood presentation is scheduled for 7:50 PM. The neighborhood asks that all who wish to come and support our efforts and hear our proposals, arrive by 7:40 and fill out the yellow card provided by the district. Thursday's neighborhood presentation is the product of a years work by neighborhood leaders. We have met with School Board members, the District Superintendent, representatives from the German International School of Silicon Valley and our neighborhood groups, asking questions and getting their input. What we will be presenting will open your eyes to new concepts and fresh ideas for the Whisman/Slater neighborhood and the Mountain View/Whisman Elementary School District. Please remember to arrive by 7:40 for the 7:50 presentation. You will be impressed


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Hi Linda, Landels may be "within walking distance" but not if you are along Fairchild Drive or on Whisman near 101. It also is not near enough to let children walk over two overpasses unattended. The point of a neighborhood school is that children can walk to school - When Slater was open many many families walked to and from school. Many people do not have two vehicles or even one vehicle, so with no local school people with children move away. A healthy neighborhood supports families and children with a neighborhood school, and does not force families to drive 5 miles several times a day or to walk that distance.

When Slater was shut down children were sent to Castro, Landels, Huff, Monta Loma.... all over the place. Families have to get up significantly earlier to transport kids across town especially if they have to walk. Neighborhood means neighborhood, not shuffling children around like game pieces.


Posted by Old Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2014 at 10:08 am

The closure of each school was implemented by a different school district. In both cases, families with children within the attendance area were not sending kids to the schools. The opening of Whisman Station should have increased local attendance enough that keeping Slater open would have been easy. Those kids never enrolled in the district. I'll bet the MVWSD enrollment figures still don't show enough TK-5 kids in the Northeast area to support a 400 student K-5 school. We get all of the rhetoric about walking to school and such, but as I have previously posted, we raised our kids across the street from Theuerkauf and still found we usually had to drop them off on the way to work.


Posted by Christina, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

Old Steve, it's true that many residents weren't sending their kids to Slater at the time of the school closure. However, I believe one major factor was that Slater was not as high-performing a school as *all* the MVW elementary schools have become today. When Slater closed its doors, the school's API score was 732 (out of 1000). Today, the elementary schools average an API of 879.5, with individual schools ranging from 805 to 960. (data from Web Link)

It is my belief that a new school opened by the district would very likely fall into the range of API scores of our currently open schools, making it a much more attractive option for parents than Slater was a decade ago.


Posted by Old Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Christina,

You might be correct on attractiveness. The new scoring system will be different, and will not match up well with API. It won't be available this year or next. All of the current LCFF and LCAP work that is going on could likely suffer if the District is directed to do a great deal of "research" in the same time frame. Besides, API has always really only stood for "affluent Parent Index", because that is all it truly correlates to.

I wonder why folks interested in a walkable school chose an area without one in which to live. If the new state funding formula actually holds, this may all work out. I prefer to be skeptical with $500K/yr, currently spent on all district students that a new school will cost to operate.


Posted by UhIh, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Isn't Whisman full of TCE? Why would anyone raise a family there? Certainly wouldn't want a school there either....


Posted by Christina, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 16, 2014 at 7:08 pm

Old Steve, you're absolutely right that API corresponds to wealth more than anything else, so I went and looked up how our elementary schools fared with socioeconomically disadvantaged students. According to api.cde.ca.gov, which also gives stats broken down by various criteria (race, socioeconomic status, English learners, etc.) the lowest API that any of our schools received in the "socioeconomically disadvantaged" category from 2012 or 2013 was 767, still significantly higher than the overall API Slater had in 2006 (732).

So, I really and truly believe that Mountain View schools have improved tremendously over the past decade, and not just because the community has become more affluent. Obviously, the affluent students do well in schools. However, the leadership and faculty of the Mountain View Whisman district have been able to take advantage of the larger budget made available to them by increases in overall affluence to really improve learning for *all* students.


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 16, 2014 at 7:53 pm

UhIh,Good question about the TCE - the answer is that both schools and playgrounds have been tested for TCE. Neither school is over a plume and their air tested non-detect.
Old Steve: Having watched children walk to school for decades and sending my children to school walking or bike riding, I disagree that this is "all of the rhetoric about walking to school and such." You obviously were not in the Slater/Whisman neighborhood and can't speak for us.


Posted by Jessica, a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Just a comment on Old Steve's question about why people would buy in a neighborhood without a school. When I bought my home here in the Whisman area in 1999, both Whisman and Slater schools were open, so your question does not apply to all.


Posted by UhIh, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 16, 2014 at 11:31 pm

I read that the tce gases can pass along sewer and water mains to move to other areas. What tests ok one day may not another day. I just dont think it is safe for kids to live or go to school there. Why take the risk with your kids life??


Posted by UhHuh, a resident of Slater
on Apr 17, 2014 at 12:21 am

UhIh, I read that the tce gases can pass along sewer and water mains to move to other areas, like Cuesta Park. What tests ok one day may not another day. I just dont think it is safe for kids to live or go to school there. Why take the risk with your kids life??


Posted by Erin, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 17, 2014 at 11:18 am

An important aspect of this debate is how much extra and unnecessary traffic is created when kids can't go to their neighborhood schools. We should ALL support opening a school in each neighborhood. The current boundary lines for schools are crazy, and when people have to drive all over the city to drop off and pick up kids, twice a day or even more, it compounds our already severe traffic problems in MV.

I don't live in the affected area, but I AM affected by the traffic problems here and support this movement to reopen neighborhood schools for that reason alone.


Posted by Old Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

But if we put a school in each "neighborhood" when attendance lags again in the future we'll bring back the old arguments over which schools get closed and who gets to go to the "best" schools. When ever we start the wheels in motion, we are committing $500K for 10 years at least, $5Million total. Show me the 400 kids and the 10 year projections and I am certainly open. No work the MVWSD has recently done shows that growth. If we populate the new school with other neighborhoods' kids we just reverse the traffic but do not improve it. Make sure our Board of Trustees listens tonight rather than speechifying!


Posted by Greg Coladonato, a resident of Slater
on Apr 17, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

Old Steve, I hope you can attend the meeting tonight.

Have you read the district's 2013 demographic study? Here's the link: Web Link

On page 41, you can see the district's various attendance areas. There are 7 that are contained within the NE quadrant, i.e. the area east of Shoreline and north of Central Expressway.

On page 70, you can see the actual district attendance by area for 2012-13, followed by 5 years of projections.

When you add up the 2012-13 actual numbers, you get 611 for the NE quadrant.

When you add up the 2017-18 projected numbers, you get 723 for the NE quadrant.

Does that sound like enough students for a school? I hope we have your support. :)

Keep in mind, all 611 of those students, in the year 2012-13, attended a MVWSD elementary school outside the NE quadrant. And under the status quo, all 723 of the 2017-18 students will also attend a MVWSD elementary school outside the NE quadrant. The vast majority of these students must be driven to school because of the distances involved.


Posted by Conflicted, a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm

As sympathetic as I am to the Northeast residents for not having an neighborhood elementary school, there are only 150 k-5 mvwsd students forecast from now until 2017. That just doesn't seem to justify opening a whole new school. Our neighborhood school Bubb has declined in enrollment over the last two years and lost a teacher per year for the last two years.


Posted by Greg Coladonato, a resident of Slater
on Apr 17, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

I want to extend a big thank you to the many neighbors and supporters who came out tonight! We had a great turnout, and I think the board listened and really heard a lot of our concerns.

For anyone who missed it, here are links to the different parts of the meeting:

The presentation: Web Link
Clarifying questions: Web Link
Public comments: Web Link
Board deliberation: Web Link


Posted by Steven Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 19, 2014 at 10:03 pm

.. is a MVWSD Trustee. Dear Conflicted, I live next to Bubb and have had three kids go through there since 1996. Bubb has slightly contracted? Great! That was the plan when some Bubb attendance area students, near Castro, were moved in the last boundary shifts, to Castro. Castro increased (no surprise).
There are 21% of the District elementary students living in the North East Quadrant. (2013 Demographics Report). There are 0 neighborhood elementary schools. In my own influential area (SE) - 31% of the District's elementary students have 3 neighborhood elementary schools. Does this strike you as an inequality in local government services? As an elected local government legislator, it does strike me as an obvious inequality in local services!
The 611 enrolled elementary students in NE Quadrant, is projected to increase (by the demographers) by 112. 611 + 112 = 723 (estimate by demographers for 2017-18). [Coladonado is a 'quant' MBA]
The appropriate time seems sooner - rather than later.


Posted by WasteOfMoney, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 20, 2014 at 10:10 am

Let's get the parents to sign binding commitments to enroll their kids at Slater with $15,000 penalties if they fail to come through. THEN, let's see what the real interest is.

We don't need another building..that's not what education is about. They are being educated now...throwing money in the garbage is not going to improve that.

Also, who wants their kids to be sucking in all that whisman tce?!


Posted by I hear the charter schools, a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 21, 2014 at 11:51 am

Need school space, what a wonderful idea to let them handle these sites.


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