Preschool families to protest at tonight's school board meeting Schools & Kids, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Mar 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm
Fifty local families plan to hold a protest at the elementary school district board meeting tonight, demanding new classroom space after the district ended a 20-year lease with the affordable preschool program their children attend.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 5, 2009, 11:35 AM
Posted by Joan Daniels, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Mar 5, 2009 at 4:19 pm
I would suggest to the Mountain/Whisman School District that they should look at moving the preschool to Theuerkauf School and Slater School. Google is no longer using Theuerkauf's building for a preschool. The building is now empty. There could also be room at Slater's preschool school. They are both set up for preschools. There is a solution for district to help these preschoolers and their parents if they are just willing to be creative. The Mountian View/Whisman District Office Personnel should have never closed Slater. There were some teachers and some parents at Slater who tried very hard to pointout to the district personnel that they were going to have over crowding in the schools. I believe that the preschool parents should band together and demand a real solution from MV/WH district office. These are hardtimes we are going through as a nation. We each have to do our part to pull the nation out of these times of crises. Making it so that the low income families can not hold a job because they now have to deal with where are they going to put their preschoolers is really not okay.
Posted by Concerned parent, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 2:45 pm
If only more people came to the school board meetings, perhaps the comments out here would be slightly more informed!!
The board has backed itself into a corner - they closed Slater (right or wrong, not the issue here) due to budget cuts and lower enrollment district wide back in 2006. A few years later, enrollment increased much quicker than the board expected. In 2009 most of the elementary schools are at or above capacity. Castro School is way over capacity, to the point where there are safety issues having that many children on one campus. The only way to fix the problem was to ask one of the Choice programs (both at Castro) to move. Based on the local neighborhood and existing student body it really wasn't feasible for Dual Immersion to move, so PACT has to move. This is a royal pain for them, and the students and family. Any suggestion otherwise is just ignorant.
Many scenarios were considered on where to move PACT to, but the best FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT (from an economic and logistical point of view) is to take back Stevenson. And I want to point out when I say "school district" I mean: students, families, administrators, and taxpayers. And if anyone reading this were to bother to show up to a board meeting, you'd find out the administrators were very conflicted - they LIKE the $120k or so that the Y pays in rent a year, but also realized that no other scenario worked as well.
And let us not forget: The MVWSD school board has an OBLIGATION to meet the needs of SCHOOL AGE children in Mountain View. NOT PRESCHOOL AGED CHILDREN, regardless of economic status.
I agree that this is like sending a puppy to the pound, but times are tough everywhere and the board has to meet their responsibilities to Mountain View children in K-8 FIRST. Many Mountain View parents (who also happen to be taxpayers and voters) are adamant that Dual Immersion and PACT be funded, so the Board must look out and plan for their constituents’ wants and needs accordingly.
I for one would be furious at an elementary school board that put the needs of preschool children not in their jurisdiction above the needs of the children they have been voted into office to look after. As it is, I read in today's PA Daily News that the MVWSD school district will try to see if they can help find space for the Y. That is a good gesture, but not their first priority.
But really, this is the Y's responsibility first and foremost. In very simple terms, it's the landlord coming back to live in the house they have been renting out for some time. This happens all the time!! It just happens to be during a tough economic time, and it's happening to low income families.
Hopefully there will be a happy ending and the Y can find another space close by so current families can continue to attend (there is so much available out there, and perhaps Google could help out - but unlikely given their waiting list) As a parent I feel for the families affected by the preschool closure, and I feel sorry for PACT who yet again is the scapegoat here.
For the record, my children do not attend Castro, PACT, DI or the Y (so I think my comments are rather unbiased).
Posted by another parent, a resident of another community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:30 pm
Some questions to which the district has not provided clear answers....
1. During school closure deliberations, the question was posed "what if your enrollment projections are wrong?" This scenario and a "Plan B" was never considered.
2. How can school administrators talk about "closing the achievement gap" (between upper class whites and lower class Latinos) in one breath and then close a preschool that helps close the "achievement gap" in the next?
3. The district cited the $550,000 that would be saved by closing Slater, which served 400+ students. Now it will cost $350,000 to re-open a school that will serve just 200 students, 50 of whom are from outside the district? Why did the DO choose the most costly of all options considered?
I understand that the district had to make a difficult choice, and would appreciate an explanation to the above to help me understand the rationale behind these decisions.
Posted by eric, a resident of another community, on Mar 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm
Concerned parent, well thought out, rational commentary have no place in any discussion involving the school district ;-)
another parent, the 'plan B' was to look at when the rental agreement for the Whisman school site comes up, and stagger that with the agreement for Slater. The money saved closing Slater is an ANNUAL figure; the renovation costs for Stephenson are a one time, and, I believe, paid for out of restricted funds that must be used for capital improvements (I could be wrong on that last part, but I believe that is accurate).
I can understand the anger at the district-- I really can. They, I think, made the only choices available to them, though. The state of Californias budget has been a joke for a long, long time-- dont be fooled-- the current trouble in Sacramento is only partially due to the recession. Until Californians get a clue, stop passing endless bonds, vote movie stars into office on the promise of ill-conceived tax cuts (anyone still think repealing the car tax was smart?), then our schools will be forced to do things out of neccessity that may look shortsighted, but really are just responding to a bad deal from the capital.
Posted by Carolyn, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:59 pm
Why is there so much hatred directed at the choice programs, especially PACT? Wasn't it the move at the direction of the district, and not the school? Would DI be getting the hate mail if they had been chosen to move?
And since when does the needs of the East Bay YMCA trump the needs of K-8 students that the district is supposed to serve? Yeah, it sucks that a preschool is getting kicked out but the district has no obligation to offer out their very limited space for cheap. I really and truly hope the YMCA can find another space, but I don't think the outrage is justified. I just don't.
Posted by It's a Private Preschool, a resident of the Castro City neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2009 at 7:29 am
No matter if it is subsidized or not, this is still a private preschool and the District is under NO obligation to provide space for it, when it can't even provide space for it's own students due to the closure of Slater.