MVLA won't evict Parent Observation preschool

Local high school district decides against moving Terra Bella students to site of popular program

The local high school district has decided not to relocate students from the Terra Bella Community School to a building which currently houses a popular preschool program next door to Mountain View High School.

After substantial community backlash at a Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District board meeting earlier this month, Superintendent Barry Groves has announced that the district is no longer recommending the closure of the Parent Observation Parent Education Preschool to make room for students from the Terra Bella County School.

Parents of children who attend the preschool and residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Mountain View High School packed the MVLA board of trustees meeting on Feb. 13 to oppose the district's initial plan to terminate the preschool's lease and bring the 20 or so students from the MVLA district who attend Terra Bella to the site. Those who spoke at the meeting expressed opposition to closing the preschool and to bringing more "at-risk" students into the area.

Groves noted that the board of directors had reservations about the plan before the meeting was even held, and afterward instructed him to search for more options to deal with the situation.

Terra Bella, which educates about 20 MVLA students (most of them high school freshmen and sophomores) -- along with a handful of other students from two other Bay Area school districts -- had recently requested that MVLA contribute an additional $250,000 to $300,000 to the program or else find a new place to educate the students attending Terra Bella.

Initially, the district administration decided that it would be more cost effective to educate its Terra Bella students on its own, and proposed terminating the preschool's lease to make room for the students.

However, Groves said, the district will now look at a variety of other options, including figuring out an acceptable cost-sharing arrangement with the county, finding another site within the district (away from the Mountain View High School campus), or busing the students to another site.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 24, 2012 at 7:54 am

Political connections and money always win the day! The affluent neighborhoods always get their way!

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Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 2:21 pm

@Robert: Oh please! You are just whining without proof. Tell a bunch of parents that their neighborhood pre-school is going away to be replaced by at-risk kids and the backlash is pretty predictable, not matter where you are located.

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Posted by Dr. Collateral
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Dr. Collateral is a registered user.

@Robert: Seeing as it's a DISTRICT-WIDE program, and not a neighborhood pre-school, I think your comments are well off-base. Even more so considering that the last time I looked, Blossom Valley was hardly the slum of Mountain View.

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Posted by Cuesta Park Mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

This is a victory for the Alta Vista kids, who would have been put at risk from proximity to the Terra Bella kids, and a victory for Parent Observation, which has made excellence use of the space for many years. It did not make sense to remodel a well-run preschool to suit the Terra Bella kids, when those kids tend to move sites fairly often. I hope that a solution can be found to share the support of those kids' education among the county and our district, as well as with neighboring districts who might create a program with us.

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Posted by Cuesta Park Mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Sorry I meant to type "excellent" use.

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Posted by Does it really mattet
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Ok enough of finger pointing and naming calling these are minors you are talking about. Give me a break the way some of you are talking and acting you are worse then these students. You call yourselves educated then act like it. Maybe if prople lime you treated them with a little respect they would not have problems as some do. Most of the studrnts that are Terra Bella are because of their grades not because they ate dangerous. I have gone to visit the site and was treated with respect by the studtnts. So in closing give them a chance.

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Posted by Does it really mattet
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Sorry about the mistakes on my comment but I didn't have my glasses on. Corrections (maybe if people like you) (most of the students that are at Terra Bella)

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Posted by david
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 24, 2012 at 10:48 pm

close it down

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Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Wow. Just wow. I know that I told you all to sleep easy because this would be ruled in your favor, I just didn't expect the district to cave so quickly. I underestimated the "power" that you all yield. My bad. Exactly one week from the last article, and your precious preschool is saved and you can sleep comfy cozy at night knowing that you'll be safe from those "hooligans" and that your property taxes are intact. Well done. You must be so happy and proud that your efforts didn't go unnoticed. Of course, I told you this would be the outcome, but you all had a "sky is falling" mentality on this site, and were going to fight to the finish to be sure that you were heard.A gain I must say, well done. And once again I've shown my family how accurate my predictions are. Maybe I should start telling fortunes.....

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Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 24, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Oh, and as an aside, I'll be curious to find out what Mr. Groves decides to do with the kids. My guess is that since he wants to move them "away from the Mountain View High School campus", he'll come up with something that will be done quietly (as was done before) to eliminate another scene such as he had just over a week ago. He will either decide that coughing up that huge sum of money to keep them where they are will be the "prudent" thing to do - even if it's not necessarily the "fiscal" thing to do, or, he will locate another building near a less vocal and prominent neighborhood, and plop them down with nary a word to the neighbors (as was done before). Either way, I strongly believe that the district will not listen to anything the future neighbors have to say for the very reasons that I spoke of in my earlier posts. You may have given Robert grief over his post, but he is correct. I have seen it over and over, ad nauseum, and it will only continue, IMHO. Well, sleep tight all you Waverly Park residents, once again - job well done!

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Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 25, 2012 at 2:42 am

Correction to first post: it should have read "property values are in tact".

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Posted by Reason
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

It is unfortunate that two excellent programs for our children got pitted against each other in this situation. I don't think it is wise to look at this as "good guys" and "bad guys". The students at Terra Bella need a place to grow and learn in a supported environment, as do the preschoolers, who are in an excellent school. Let's look at this in terms of ways to find what's best for all children, large or small. Time to be kind, folks, not put our frustrations on the backs of our (yes, they are all ours) kids.

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Posted by @Frustrated
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2012 at 9:03 am

I think Mr Groves would like to leave the decision where it always has been and where it should be...with the County.

The County has run this program all these years, but, due to budget (I guess), is trying to push this onto the High School District - even those only a percentage are actually Mtn View kids.

All this backlash SHOULD be going to the County - to tell them to find an appropriate place for these kids who need extra support. Tell them to stop trying to shirk their responsibility.

Let's see some emails about that!

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

Superintendent Grooves is a pretty Great guy IMO. I ran a 'public policy' debate against him in his last school bond election, and yet he will still take my calls and answer my emails personally (BTW, he works in his office over the school breaks - is that in his contract?). He has over 3 decades being a Superintendent - he knew the Parent Observation network, and those concerned with our own Alta Vista 'at risk' students would turn up in DROVES! So now he has the cover of massive community input. TO THE COUNTY BoE, 'find another way' to accommodate this program involving MV and other cities 'more at risk' students.
If a public issue can get my wife to turn out and address a public meeting - you know it has 'some feet'.
- Good reporting Nick! -
@Frustrated correct! The CBE will be starting to get money from the closed down Redevelopment Districts (Castro not Shoreline). This money might be allocated or made available to lease a property in a 'distressed' RDA area.

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Posted by County Duties
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Feb 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

@@Frustrated/@Steve Nelson
Full agreement, we need a better explanation as to why the County wants to close down Terra Bella in the first place. If for budget reasons, how was Terra Bella chosen?

MVLA is currently represented by two County trustees: Grace Mah (Trustee Area 1) and Michael Chang (Trustee Area 2); MV Voice, let's hear from them.

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Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Feb 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Mr. Nelson,
I'd like to know your idea of a "distressed" RDA area. I'm getting the distinct impression that as long as the school isn't located "near Mountain View High School", or any "neighborhood", that it would meet with the approval of those of you over there. I am also getting the impression that just leaving the school where it is would be all of your first choice. However, it is a poor location with no area for a P.E. class to take place - and, GASP! - it's near a neighborhood. But not the type of neighborhood that you all live in, so I guess it doesn't matter. Perhaps a better location should be found, for the sake of the students as well as the children and families who cannot make use of the park two times a day. Why not a high school that already has room? Oh, that's right, too much public outcry. Maybe just busing them out of our town is the answer that so many of you are craving. And while they're at it, let's just add the Alta Vista kids to the group. No sense having anyone except the high school kids and the precious preschool children anywhere near a "neighborhood".
There are so many justifications on here as to why things are better the way they are. And they are better, for Waverly Park residents and the preschool families. Hence, the decision which I saw coming a mile away. Glad you all got the opportunity to mobilize and get things done. I doubt that we will be given the same courtesy - after all, the school isn't "near a neighborhood", so it's the perfect location.
Oh, and just in case you didn't see the post from the Terra Bella Academy parent - they weren't even notified that they lost their lease, they read about it in the MV Voice. Nice, huh? They should have been the FIRST ones informed. Seems like those parents and the neighbors rate about the same - a notch below those of you near MVHS.

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