Dozens picket district, ask trustees to find new home for Child Development Center

Nearly a hundred protesters converged on the Mountain View Whisman Elementary School District last Thursday, March 5, waving signs and shouting "Save our school" in an effort to find a new home for the Child Development Center, an affordable preschool for low-income families.

The families began demonstrating about an hour before the district's regular board meeting was scheduled to begin, marching, chanting and demanding that trustees help find a new space for the preschool. After the meeting began, four speakers made their case to the board.

Trustees responded by saying they were already moving in that direction, having planned a meeting with city officials and YMCA executives to address the issue.

For 21 years the Mountain View Child Development Center, a state-funded program run by YMCA of the East Bay, has been providing low-cost or free preschool and child care services from the district-owned Stevenson campus on San Pierre Way. In January, trustees voted to end the district's lease with YMCA and move the district's parent participation program, PACT, onto the campus. The preschool must be out of the Stevenson campus by June 30.

The move left some low-income families fearing they would be without affordable child care, prompting them to go to the board for help. They immediately began organizing the demonstration, and parents, siblings and former students visited the school earlier this week to make signs and plan the event.

"This is the beginning of the children's education," parent Victor Reyes told board members during a public comments session at Thursday's meeting. "No one knows, maybe they are the future presidents, doctors, lawyers. Please listen to us."

"We need your help," parent and protest organizer Fernanda Brant told trustees. "We cannot afford to lose this school."

Craig Goldman, the district's chief financial officer, said administrators not only were working with city officials and YMCA representatives, but were looking into the idea of making the preschool a district program. Mountain View Whisman currently has preschools on some of its school sites, including Castro Elementary.

"We are going to explore alternative facilities," Goldman said. "We want to be open to different possibilities."

Goldman said the joint meeting between the district, city and YMCA is scheduled for Friday, March 13 and will be a closed meeting.


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Posted by Larry
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Now the Pact will retreat back into there hole. Its what they do give them what they want and they shut up.

Like this comment
Posted by It's a Private Preschool
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 7, 2009 at 7:28 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.

Like this comment
Posted by Jim
a resident of another community
on Mar 7, 2009 at 10:50 am

They should be educating low-income people on how expensive it is to raise children. They obviously can't afford it, so it would be nice if they could be making better decisions in the future.

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Posted by Diana
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 10, 2009 at 9:52 pm

"They should be educating low-income people on how expensive it is to raise children."

Jim, I'm glad you're a resident of "another community" because I would be ashamed if you were a Mountain View Resident. Our city should be all about diversity, but we're in danger of becoming a bunch of jerks. First we don't want teens in the senior center because they're "wild". Now we can't seem to make room for parents who work in Mountain View and need affordable, safe, quality childcare.

To make room for the kids, let's boot the administrators out of their own building and tell 'em to work from home.

Like this comment
Posted by Jenna Gretsky
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 12, 2009 at 10:06 pm

DIANA is so right, sure some parents are not the best parents one could ask for...BUT is this not the problem with ALL people? We cannot tolerate Racist undertones here, and people like jim secretly hide their racism. I have met one of these mothers from the center...she too says not all parents there are perfect, some are demanding because they are stressed and worries since they are LOW-INCOME and need HELP. This woman i met works TWO jobs daily all so she can just feed her kids and send them to school.

As long as we keep oppressing the low-income....they will never bloom and Always struggle. We must try our best to help them and yes, also means to warn the teens about pregnancy but we do not want to use fearmongering or racism to get the message across. We can be civil and gentle trying to help our neighbors. IN CASE OF AN EARTHQUAKE WE ALL MUST UNITE TO SURVIVE AND HELP EACH OTHER, no matter what social status or skin color. When a disaster strikes...we must ALL be UNITED here in Mountain View ready to help one another. Sincerely - Mrs. Gretsky

Like this comment
Posted by A PARENT
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Mrs. Grstsky thank you for your kind words. I wouldn't count on the pact to unite or help during an earthquake. Do you?

Like this comment
Posted by hm
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Hi Jim, it's interesting that you are so willing to cast judgment on people who are evidently less well off then you. I know from experience that a lot of these parents who rely on child care do so because they need to work, to support their child, which in my opinion is the most responsible thing they could be doing. Situations are different for everyone and your inability to relate with people different backgrounds from you leads me to believe that YOU need to be educated on a few things yourself.

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