News

LASD boundary options whittled down

Two groups vie over differing proposals for school district

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.

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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.

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"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.

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LASD boundary options whittled down

Two groups vie over differing proposals for school district

by Alexa Tondreau / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, May 31, 2007, 1:43 pm

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.

Comments

Amanda
The Crossings
on May 31, 2007 at 8:52 pm
Amanda, The Crossings
on May 31, 2007 at 8:52 pm

For what it's worth, to clarify, Scenario Fair, while it keeps the N of El Camino neighbourhoods in two schools, Almond and Santa Rita, it doesn't necessarily keep us at the SAME school. It isn't a fight just to simply not move, it's a fight to move within reason.


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