Residents Against Raising Taxes For Schools Schools & Kids, posted by Enough!, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 29, 2008 at 5:36 pm
Not another cent should go to the schools in the form of a parcel tax until the board addresses the questions of gangs and drugs in schools on one hand, and how it is going to increase student performance in science and math on the other.
Posted by Katie, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Mar 1, 2008 at 8:24 pm
A charter school would be one way to focus on math and science and would be relatively easy to set up if we had enough interested families. There was an attempt to get one going here several years ago and I'm not sure what happened to it.
Posted by Eddie, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Mar 2, 2008 at 3:08 pm
quoted from the palo alto paper
May 13, 2007
Residents seek gang solutions
Mountain View citizens ask for youth center
By Banks Albach / Daily News Staff Writer
A rise in gang-related crimes in Mountain View over the past five years has some residents calling for action beyond law enforcement: They want city officials to take preemptive measures such as providing a youth center and an array of educational and recreational services for at-risk children.
From 2002 to 2005, the number of gang-related crimes in the city almost tripled, from 25 to 71. Although the number dropped to 67 in 2006 and looks to be dropping this year, police say the numbers - the highest since the mid-1990s - are a serious problem.
Robberies, auto thefts, weapon assaults and drug possessions make up the bulk of the crimes, according to Mountain View police. One man was shot to death in 2004 and there have been several stabbings since, said Capt. Bruce Barsi, who oversees a gang response team with nine officers.
"We have Surenos and Nortenos," Barsi said, referring to the rival Hispanic gangs that have multiplied throughout the state. "We don't know what the trend is yet in 2007, but we have had some significant activity in the last few years."
He said it is unclear why gang activity is on the rise.
Posted by Lives downtown, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2008 at 6:32 pm
Maybe someone out there knows the answer to this but when have "youth centers and an array of educational and recreational services for at-risk children. " Ever solved a gang problem or lowered gang-related crime or crime in general?
How about this: If your kid is arrested and the parents are here illegally, deport the family.
I think that would have the right impact on the problem.
Posted by Robin Iwai, a resident of the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, on Mar 8, 2008 at 2:05 pm
In response to the comment by
1. Zoe - "it would be nice if they could offer more pre algebra and geometry..."
Pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry ARE taught at Graham and Crittenden middle schools. In fact, the district would like every student to complete Algebra by 8th grade, as studies show that students who take Algebra are more likely to graduate from college.
2. Ted - "it would be worth our tax dollars if the schools offered basics like biology, chemistry and physics..."
Biology, Chemistry and Physics are taught at the high schools, which are part of the high school district (Mountain View-Los Altos School District). The elementary and middle schools make up the Mountain View Whisman School District). The high school district and the elementary school district are funded by different funding formulas that are far too complicated for me to even attempt to explain here. The bottom line is the high school district has a lot of money, and the elementary district does not. The parcel tax benefits the elementary school district.
3. Resident - "I'm fine with a parcel tax as along as the money it raises goes to improving teacher salaries and to science supplies in the classroon."
The parcel tax language specifies that one use of the funds is to "attract and retain" teachers. Salaries are the largest portion of every public school budget. The trustees of the MVWSD appreciate the outstanding teachers in our district. Is there anyone who would NOT like to pay teachers more? The district pays teachers as much as they can with the money that they have.
4. Katie - "A charter school would be one way to focus on math and science and would be relatively easy to set up..."
If you open another school, what would you like to cut at our existing schools to pay for the charter school? Shall we eliminate PE, music, art, field trips, science supplies, or after-school sports to pay for a charter school? Bubb, Castro, Huff, Landels, Monta Loma, Theuerkauf, Crittenden, and Graham are all outstanding schools and to open a charter school would siphon funding away from the high quality schools that we already have.
5. no name - "demand accountability"
Students spend nearly 2 weeks of the school year taking standardized tests as required by the state. Test scores and extensive "annual report cards" for each school are available at www.mvwsd.org
6. Enough! - "Not another cent should go to the schools in the form of a parcel tax until the board addresses the questions of gangs and drugs in schools on one hand, and how it is going to increase student performance in science and math on the other."
Gangs originate on "the streets" and are NOT a product of public or private schools. Drug use is minimal at the two middle schools and likely non-existent at the elementary schools.
I invite you to visit our school district website, www.mvwsd.org, to attend PTA, School Site Council, and School Board meetings, and to visit our schools during Open House or by appointment with a school principal. Instead of basing your opinions on rumor and hearsay, I invite you to come see for yourself, firsthand, the outstanding teaching, dedicated parents, and eager hardworking students that we have in the Mountain View Whisman School District.
Posted by Enough!, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 7:15 pm
As I originally stated, "Not another cent should go to the schools in the form of a parcel tax until the board addresses the questions of gangs and drugs in the schools on one hand, and how it is going to increase student performance in science and math on the other." Gangs and drugs are in the middle schools. Just read past articles where the police are quoted. To think they are not, is really naive and irresponsible. Why the campaign to deny it anyway? And... put again, increase student performance in science and math (this time with emphasis). I never said these subjects were never offered, however, this state and nation are falling behind in these areas. Any serious study on the subject will tell you this.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Mar 10, 2008 at 8:34 pm
We got a 1% bonus for a raise. Technically it's not a raise. It comes to about $300 per teacher this year and next. Doesn't even begin to cover runaway gas prices. The district threatened the union with cutting into our benefits if we didn't accept it.
I suggest you try quoting some more facts on teacher raises since you're so good at towing the party line. Tell us all how teacher raises have kept up with the cost of living and inflation rate for this area. Go ahead. Research the last 5 years. Do your homework and you'll find out our salaries are being whittled away and our purchasing power has declined. Then research administrators salaries for the same period. What? Cat got your tongue?
Posted by Another Parent, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Apr 3, 2008 at 2:33 pm
My husband and I haven't received raises -- not even 1% raises -- in several years--neither of us are teachers. Our health care costs keep increasing (probably more than teachers' out-of-pocket costs, since neither of us is in a union and are at the whim of our employers' choice of healthcare plans). I wish teachers could be paid more, but the reality is that teachers do not, never have, and sadly never will, make as much money as other professions. Surely you understood this before you entered the profession. I work for a nonprofit--I know I will never make much money (I don't make even as much as a first-year teacher--far from it, and I work almost a 40-hour week, with only 15 days off a year) but I do the work I do because I believe in it. I think the district is very fair in its compensation, and when they have the funds, they can give larger raises; but they have no control over their revenue stream. They cannot guarantee raises every year. Besides, is it not true that teachers still get their other raises--are they called "step and column"?-- even if they don't get cost of living raises? Many of us get NOTHING extra year after year.
The district spends almost 85% of its total budget on salaries. They could spend a larger percentage--but as a parent, I think I'd object to what they would have to cut from my kid's education to do so.
To Enough! The articles recently have, indeed, said that kids of middle school age and even as young as elementary school age are being recruited by gangs. They have also described the role the schools have played to try and keep kids from joining the gangs. But your interpretation that the police have said there are gang and drug activities AT THE SCHOOLS is taking another leap of logic. We had MV School Resource Officers come to a PTA meeting at Graham last year. Parents asked specifically about how much we had to worry about drugs on campus. They (the police officers, who are at school on a regular basis) said that drugs have not been a problem on the middle school campuses; but they are on the high school campuses. Not to say it's never happened; but you make it sound like it's rampant. My kids have never been exposed to drugs or to gang activity or even witnessed a fist fight after several years at Graham. A woman I know whose kid is at Blach told me the other day that she was trying to figure out how to ask her daughter about an incident where this woman was sure one of her daughter's 7th-grade friends was high on something before an event at school. I haven't had a Graham parent express that particular concern to me. So, does this make Blach a "bad" or "dangerous" school? Of course not, it just means that drugs, alcohol, gangs, etc. are a dangerous part of our culture and all schools and families need to be working hard at keeping kids safe from the various dangers that are out there.
At that PTA meeting I mentioned earlier, the cops said pretty much the same thing about gangs they had about drugs; the kids are exposed to this in the neighborhoods, but the schools, police, CHAC, etc. work at interventions in the schools to at least make school a gang-free place--as much as is in their control. You can't be the thought police and monitor every bathroom and schoolyard conversation--but you can ban gang signs, colors, etc., and dole out appropriate discipline for fighting or other inappropriate behavior on campus, as well as having someone like Mr. Garcia working actively to try and figure out which kids are getting involved in gangs and try to work with them to get them on the right track.