News


School board mulls relocating hundreds of students

Task force stripped of its role for new grandfathering policies

Big changes in school attendance boundaries and transfer policies could mean that as many as 800 students -- one-fourth of all elementary school-age kids in the Mountain View Whisman School District -- may be forcibly moved from their schools in fall 2019.

That's according to a new demographic report, released by the district last week, that shows new boundaries and enrollment policies could uproot 637 students currently enrolled in the district's six neighborhood elementary schools. Add the incoming kindergarten class, which would also be subject to forced moves in the 2019-20 school year, and that number jumps to about 800.

It's a prickly issue that the district's Enrollment Priorities Task Force has chewed on since October of last year. On the one hand, three of the district's elementary schools are more than packed, struggling to house students even with temporary portable classrooms clogging up play areas. A new school on North Whisman Road is also set to open in the 2019-20 school year, and a successful opening means it needs a full complement of students attending on day one.

The school district adopted new attendance boundaries last year to help balance out enrollment between its campuses and fill up the new school, which are supposed to take effect in fall 2019. But how hard to enforce those boundaries right out the gate has turned into a political football, with parents from affected neighborhoods advocating for a grandfathering policy and demanding carve-outs and exceptions whenever possible.

Parent Lindsay Phillips encouraged trustees at the May 3 board meeting to take a lenient approach to enforcing the new boundaries and minimize the number of children who will have to relocate to a new school next year. Students from certain schools -- particularly Bubb, Huff and Landels elementary schools -- would have to weather the brunt of the changes, with 127 students currently attending Bubb who would potentially have to move to Landels for the 2019-20 school year.

"I'm doing what any parent and educator would do, which is advocating for minimal disruption for my kids' and all kids' education," Phillips told board members.

Shoreline West parent Jason Taylor, who lives in a community that would be subject to forced transfers from Bubb to Landels, said the district's data may not capture just how disruptive it is for kids and families to switch gears and attend a different school. Students build relationships with one another and have friends, which would magnify the effects of boundary changes, he said, and which isn't represented in demographic charts and maps.

But there's pressure to move students sooner rather than later. Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph said portable classrooms -- which were meant to be temporary -- will continue to crowd out play space at Bubb, Huff and Landels until the boundaries take effect. The district is at a "breaking point," he said, and ancillary services and programs that require flexible space will have to fall to the wayside to accommodate more classrooms.

"We have three schools that are currently reaching capacity," he said. "We can no longer afford to keep putting kids into the schools without adjusting something. Landels is now officially at capacity, and we could not add another class even if we wanted to."

Task force takes a back seat

The Enrollment Priorities Task Force was supposed to tackle the grandfathering issue and consider changes to the district's intradistrict transfer policies, which allow families to transfer their children to another district school outside of their own neighborhood. But in an unexpected move, district officials decided last month to remove grandfathering from the task force's scope of work.

In an email to task force members on April 27, three days after the last meeting, Rudolph wrote that grandfathering had turned into a time sink that was "dominating" discussion, and that he and Assistant Superintendent Carmen Ghysels decided to "remove this issue from the task force and send it to the board."

District spokeswoman Shelly Hausman contested the idea that grandfathering was revoked from the scope of the task force, saying that the task force spent plenty of time on the topic and will be handing off its "work and data related to grandfathering" to the board for further consideration in order to focus on intradistrict transfer policies.

"The (task force's) work on enrollment priorities is moving along well," she said in an email. "The last piece -- grandfathering -- needs deeper consideration by the board."

At previous meetings, task force members had reached a rough consensus that grandfathering of fifth-grade students in the 2019-20 school year would suffice as the only exception to the new boundaries. But the issue took a renewed focus at the April 24 meeting after members of the community were invited to weigh in. They largely advocated for more lax grandfathering policies, input that took up the whole meeting and threw the task force's prior stance into question, said Bill Lambert, a task force member and former district trustee.

Parents who spoke at the meeting, many of whom had children who would bear the brunt of grandfathering policy decisions, felt they weren't being heard and wanted to weigh in on the task force's discussion. But in reality, Lambert said, it was parents insisting on policies that best suit their children rather than any larger constituency.

"It was ostensibly representatives from these interest groups, but what it devolved into was individuals advocating for their own personal interests and own personal needs," he said.

Board members did not take a vote at the May 3 meeting, but did suggest softening the approach to grandfathering. Trustees suggested that families zoned for Slater could be subject to harsher restrictions because they are benefiting from a brand new neighborhood school, or that kids attending schools with plenty of room -- like Theuerkauf, Monta Loma and Castro elementary schools -- could be allowed to stay for an extended period without putting pressure on facilities space.

Lambert said the district needs to be fair with everyone, and said making exceptions for one group or one region of the city means exceptions for everyone -- perpetuating the uneven enrollment problem for years to come. Leaving the existing portable classrooms at Bubb, Huff and Landels will cost the district about $9,600 per portable, totaling $225,000 each year, according to recent district estimates.

Although the task force had made significant progress, Lambert said the April 24 meeting was counterproductive, and that he's not surprised that Rudolph decided to pull the plug on grandfathering and hand the political hot potato directly to the board.

"We were definitely getting there until this last meeting, until you had the individuals come in and advocate," he said. "It undermined the objectivity of the task force."

Although 637 currently enrolled students may be moved due to the boundary changes, that number represents the high mark for how many children would be affected. If the school board decides to allow families to freely send their children to any campus where space is available, similar to the open enrollment process in place today, the free-flow of students out of neighborhoods could bring the number of forced moves way down. If the board ends or severely limits intradistrict transfers, then it's possible that one-fourth of the elementary school-age students in the district will face displacement.

The school board is expected to make a final decision on grandfathering and transfer policies on June 14.

Comments

44 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 13, 2018 at 11:59 am

ST parent is a registered user.

I speak only for myself, not the EPTF as a whole.

My take on the problem was the complete lack of consensus among the parents asking for grandfathering. The parents we heard from were the ones who were most involved and informed parents and yet they had not come up with any sort of plan or recommendation for the EPTF to consider.

As far as I heard from the focus group parents and those who spoke at Board meetings, each parent wanted the grandfathering to extend just as long as it takes so that their own family would never have to change schools. This may be why none of the parents could come up with any sort of consensus and thus why the EPTF carefully considered ideas were thrown up in the air.

In my opinion, Dr. Rudolph did the only thing he could, throw this purely political decision to the Board.

To the parents who want grandfathering, I strongly suggest you get together ASAP and figure out a solid plan and come to a clear and reasonable position to offer the Board on grandfathering.

Lacking any meaningful consensus, the yearly costs of grandfathering, the resulting loss to our budget and educational programs for all of the students in the MVWSD, the yearly disruption to teachers getting moved around to compensate, the stalling of the full opening of the New Slater, etc. may well prevail over the uncoordinated emotional (as valid as they are) desires of the parents who cannot even come to an agreement among themselves.

I understand the parents who want to stay in their current schools, but a decision must be made and the Board must make it. If you can't even agree among yourselves on what you want, then on what basis is the Board supposed to do it for you?

If you come up with a real plan, I would love to hear it and I expect so would the Board.


32 people like this
Posted by Cleave Frink
a resident of Willowgate
on May 13, 2018 at 9:14 pm

Cleave Frink is a registered user.

The fact is that reducing grandfathering to only one year of students saves the district money and is the most financially responsible thing. The Task Force was nearly unanimous on the decision for an approach for grandfathering. This is not an issue we can allow to be controlled by emotional people. This idea that "kids will be traumatized" is pure rubbish for all but the most sensitive cases (as in special ed kids who aren't even in the discussion). The kids will be fine. This debate is really about parents who feel they'll be inconvenienced. I hope that the district Trustees ultimately make the right decision on grandfathering and put this issue to bed. It's gone on far too long and has dominated the decisions on how to best manage our schools. If the issue only affects some 600-800 students and we have 5000+ students in the district, the choice is clear. This change is only going to effect a small group of students for the course of a year. No one else coming behind will notice any difference in their educational paths. I appreciate the Trustrees and their perseverance on this issue and I trust they will do what's best for all.


40 people like this
Posted by Bubb Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2018 at 6:31 am

Ironic that Board Member Gutierrez who once pushed hard to get his children into Bubb Elementary before settling for Mistral, rather than his neighborhood school Castro Elementary, is now pushing hard for changing the boundaries while he rants about segregation. Hypocrisy at its worst.

But don't worry. Wheeler while flip and vote to forestall any immediate decision on the grandfathering issue until the next election is out of the way. She'll carry Blakley and Wilson with her leaving Gutierrez and Coldonato flapping in the wind.

Lastly, does anyone else find it weird that "Rudolph wrote that grandfathering had turned into a time sink that was "dominating" discussion, and that he and Assistant Superintendent Carmen Ghysels decided to "remove this issue from the task force and send it to the board." Who is actually in charge at the district? Increasingly Rudolph defers to Ghysels on issues, to include staffing and getting rid of the independent study program. We could save the equivalent cost of portables by eliminating Rudolph's position and just making Ghysels the superintendent.

Cue Cleave...


31 people like this
Posted by Evidence based practice parent
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 14, 2018 at 6:50 am

@ Cleave- “This idea that ‘kids will be traumatized’ is pure rubbish for all but the most sensitive cases.” Please take a moment to review Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which theorizes that humans require a sense of belonging before they can reach self actualization. Uprooting children from their schools, a place where they have that sense of belonging, severely impacts their ability to climb that ladder to self actualization.
For what it’s worth, my children are not impacted by their new boundaries. I’m simply a person of integrity advocating for our youth.


25 people like this
Posted by lonely new classroom
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 14, 2018 at 8:55 am

oh poor me
oh poor me
empty new classroom
built to just "be"
not for children
no not for me
at least I'll have
a dozen
just like me!

Why did a school board majority build 18 new neighborhood classrooms at Castro and 18 new classrooms at Slater, and yet not plan to fill them with students?


29 people like this
Posted by lonely new classroom
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 14, 2018 at 9:38 am

@Evidence based practice parent - Maslow's theory does not just involve "place". West Shoreline neighborhood. If 127 kids have been well prepared for a move together to 'a great new school' over the course of a year, and socially supported at their 'new school' for the year after their move? Ah, maybe it is their parents that need the social-emotional support! Landels is not the enemy, these are welcoming and accepting kids and teachers. Everybody moving-as-one can actually help children realize that a sense of place, is not the only part of "a sense of belonging."

I don't think the district runs it's operations just based on Maslow's theories. I don't think it should.


23 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 14, 2018 at 10:06 am

Here's a modest proposal: let's randomly take half of the kids in Huff and Bubb and reassign them to the lower-performing schools in the district, and vice-versa. I've heard over and over from the parents that the schools don't matter, it's about the kids, so certainly there shall be no objections. Surely, Cleave will step in and laud my plan for being so rational and free from emotion, although I must admit, I haven't been paying enough attention to see if someone has proposed this plan before.


23 people like this
Posted by @Bubb Parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Unfortunately, this district can't even count without a consultant. They really don't seem to look for real solutions, just for solutions that would minimize impact to them and less work for them. Maybe if they hired more talent within the district, they could handle more complex situations.
I'm sure the Board will provide the politically popular decision so that, in spite of their currently extreme unpopularity and inability to make solid community-based decisions they can come out on top and get themselves re-elected. Basically, a win-win for the Board and the District. Ayinde and Ghysels don't have to be the bad guys and take it off their hands and the Board can get back into the good graces of the voters. Smooth politic-ing! VOTERS- Don't let them fool you.


21 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on May 14, 2018 at 3:38 pm

psr is a registered user.

Wow. Moving as many as 800 children - just to make the administration happy. I am so glad that such people are in charge of their education. I much prefer emotionless drones who are only concerned with numbers rather than people with some consideration for the children entrusted to their care. We wouldn't want the administration to be inconvenienced in any way - especially since they have such a great track record of making good decisions.

The parents are the people who should decide where their children attend school - period. Their input should be the first consideration when making this decision. Not one of the administrators has proposed leaving children where they are if that is where they want to be.

It is complete nonsense that such a solution is untenable. When my school district did the same, ALL the children were allowed to remain where they were - UNLESS they wanted to move. New children were placed according to the new boundaries and in a few years, it was done. No misery and no fuss. The only thing required was good planning.

But I guess that is the real problem. This district can't plan its way out of a paper bag. Glad my child didn't have to attend any of the schools in this district. I feel sorry for those who have no other choice. It is unfair and inequitable. This school board is a joke. A pack of toddlers could do better.




8 people like this
Posted by MyOpinion
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 14, 2018 at 3:45 pm

MyOpinion is a registered user.

How do the new high density high-end rental complexes going up all over Mountain View impact schools? Seems like high density rental projects are rubber stamped by our council despite impact on the community, schools, traffic, environment etc.


26 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 14, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Fortunately with "children" now almost and over thirty, I don't have someone who will be affected by whatever decision is made. But I do have personal experience as the victim of school shuffles and as the grateful parent of one who did not have to move to Huff when it opened. @ Cleave- I don't think of myself as special needs, but to call the effect of moving a child from one school to another "rubbish" is rude, and not informed. My own experience was to be moved back and forth among three schools from Kindergarten through 6th grade, all while never moving from the same home. By the time I got to Junior High I no longer bothered to try to make friends. I didn't really know how -- and that's who I am today.

When my shy, introverted youngest was in fourth grade facing a move to Huff, she was grandfathered for her last year at Bubb, which was the exactly right choice for her. She made the transition to Graham as a transition she had been expecting for years, with friends moving to Graham with her.

There has to be a middle ground that considers the emotional health of the students as well as the needs of the district. Keep looking for it!


25 people like this
Posted by Tired parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 14, 2018 at 4:26 pm

I have a hunch that the parents who complain about their kids being "traumatized" by a school switch would be happy to "traumatize" their kids if the move was from a low preforming school to a high performing school? How many kids have been moved from a lower performing school to Huff, Bubb, or a private school?


34 people like this
Posted by Longtime in the district
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Please don’t talk about Ghysels being superintendent. She has been angling for that job for years and years and bullies anyone who gets in her way with threats or the sugar of false promises And overselling. She will do just about anything to keep her power and her old girls network in play, including throwing Rudolph under the bus. He defers to her because she controls things way too much already. We need new talent to solve these problems, not solidify the current power structure by putting her where she’s wanted to be for a decade.


29 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of The Crossings
on May 14, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Voters, we have two board members up for re-election this year, Ellen Wheeler and Greg Colodonato. We cannot let them defer this decision in order to not have to suffer the consequences of their vote in the election. Both of these Trustees want to keep their board seats. Ellen Wheeler has been on this board for 16 years. 16 YEARS!!! That is a really really really long time to have the same board member. We need some new thinking on this board, and we need to move past the dysfunction that Steve Nelson created when he was on the board. Does anyone know who is planning on running in the election?


19 people like this
Posted by Concerned Resident 2
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 14, 2018 at 5:44 pm

It's been a while, but the Los Altos School District had to deal with this issue. Increasing enrollment necessitated building a new school (Covington). Students populated that school from Almond and Springer. For Springer School it resulted in around 50% of the students moving to Covington. They had a big picnic and everyone was able to contribute to the creation of a mosaic that stayed at Springer (primarily for the students' who were leaving... to leave a bit of themselves behind). It's been a while, but they did other things to help with the emotional part of the big schism. You might want to ask the LASD to provide input regarding how the schools handled the situation...


26 people like this
Posted by Blue
a resident of Castro City
on May 14, 2018 at 5:46 pm

***Please note that the Superintendent evaluation is an agenda item for Thursday board meeting***

The community can ask to add their input beforehand.


14 people like this
Posted by SWAN Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 14, 2018 at 8:23 pm

My older child completed Bubb and my younger child is currently in a lower grade at Bubb. My preference is for her to complete 3rd through 5th grade at Bubb because she’s attached and has sentimental associations with Bubb traditions from her and her older older sibling’s time. It’s nice for them to have a shared experience. However, if required to move to Landels will make the best of it.

Clive: I find your dismissiveness of others’ objections entirely offensive. You should not tell others what they are entitled to feel about this.


14 people like this
Posted by Hey...
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2018 at 8:59 pm

What those who support grandfathering seem to forget is that the reason for the boundary changes is that neighborhood kids are being displaced from their neighborhood schools by kids that live nowhere near the school (ie the Shoreline West kids bumping the Cuesta Park kids from Bubb, Moffett kids bumping Waverly Park kids from Huff). The “true” Bubb /Huff kids are being temporarily shuffled off to lower performing schools until spaces open for them at their neighborhood schools at which time they too will have to move. So you’re just trading one set of kids for another. Neighborhood schools were designed for neighborhood kids and those neighborhood kids should have first priority for their schools. With the exception of 5th graders, the kids should move when the boundaries change with no grandfathering. Anything short of that pleases one family at the expense of another.


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 14, 2018 at 9:11 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Hey...

"What those who support grandfathering seem to forget is that the reason for the boundary changes is that neighborhood kids are being displaced from their neighborhood schools"

Sorry, Hey, but those of us who have been paying attention already know that this is not true.

Granted, in some past years, there were a tiny number, like single digits or low double digits of kids who got shifted, but none recently.

By plopping down these expensive portables the district has been able to place all "neighborhood" kids into their "neighborhood" schools.

"by kids that live nowhere near the school"

I suggest you look at the map of the district, the ONLY kids that came from far away (a relative term in this case) to one of the perceived "better" schools were the kids of the "Wagonwheel" area of north Whisman. A whole 80 kids at most. All the other transplanted kids lived only slightly farther from their transfer school than from their neighborhood school.

"(ie the Shoreline West kids bumping the Cuesta Park kids from Bubb, Moffett kids bumping Waverly Park kids from Huff)."

When that happened in the past, it was very few kids, but in the past few years, the number was ZERO.

The cost of doing this has been added portables and subtracted playground space for Huff, Bubb & Landels.


9 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 14, 2018 at 9:17 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@SWAN Mom

"My older child completed Bubb and my younger child is currently in a lower grade at Bubb. My preference is for her to complete 3rd through 5th grade at Bubb..."

As I have suggested for the past year, the parents who want some form of grandfathering need to get together and come up with a compromise plan that all of you (or the bulk of you anyway) can agree on and bring your plan to the Board and explain it.

Having every parent advocating for only the grandfathering that helps their own family, or worse yet, proposes grandfathering go on and on for several years, just wont cut it.

Come to a good well-thought out agreement and then present it.
Anything less is just random efforts and complaints accomplishing nothing.


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Susan

"There has to be a middle ground that considers the emotional health of the students as well as the needs of the district. Keep looking for it!"

If there is one, you should not trust that the district or the Board will come up with one. If there is a good idea out there, it must come from the parents and they must agree on it and push it as a united front.

As yet, I have seen zero evidence that any of the parents are even trying to do more than advocating personal interest and complaining.

That wont work.


8 people like this
Posted by Hey...
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2018 at 9:41 pm

@ST Parent:
The Shoreline West kids live nowhere near Bubb but right next to Castro School so clearly that is their neighborhood school and politics obviously played a part in them being assigned to Bubb School in the first place (they have to cross El Camino to get there for goodness sake and then travel pretty far up Grant/Castro/Miramonte to get to Bubb). Now it appears that politics are still playing a part because instead of being assigned to Castro they’re being moved to Landels, across busy Shoreline and again, not near their homes and not a neighborhood school.

Likewise the kids living east of Middlefield certainly do not live near Huff. Kids HAVE been assigned to schools outside their neighborhood and many have been accommodated at their neighborhood school at the last minute after they’d already made alternative education plans for their kids. If you call the district today and ask about availability at Bubb, Huff and Landels you will be told which classes are “closed” which leads to huge uncertainties for those trying to buy homes in the area because they have no idea where their kids will be assigned to school. It’s a mess! The boundaries need to change to make room for the neighborhood kids and grandfathering is just a delay tactic for a remedy that’s long overdue.


16 people like this
Posted by Hey...
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2018 at 9:54 pm

Btw has anybody thought of the logistical problems of grandfathering? If the Landels kids “choose” to stay there rather than moving to Slater how will there be room for the Shoreline West kids that are supposed to move in? Likewise the Huff kids that are slated to move to Slater. Will Slater be empty while you’re waiting for everybody to graduate from their elementary schools? How would that impact the new students, staffing, etc.? The boundary change isn’t going to work unless everybody moves. Anything short of that will be a mess.


10 people like this
Posted by Yeah right
a resident of Castro City
on May 14, 2018 at 10:13 pm

Maybe Board Member Gutierrez and the substitute teacher expert could both weigh in on these issues over coffee?

Any chance of that happening?


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 14, 2018 at 10:28 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@@ST Parent:
"The Shoreline West kids live nowhere near Bubb but right next to Castro School"

Only if you assume "neighborhood" is defined by linear miles from the school.

And Bubb is closer than Landels, as the crow flies, but the "neighborhoods" are not defined that way, they are defined by the people and culture of each neighborhood and often by major streets dividing one neighborhood from another.

After all, the neighborhood names come from the people of each area.

The only way to fit SWAN kids into Castro would be to build Castro into 3-story buildings able to house 650 kids on top of the 450 size school that will become the new Mistral on the Castro site. So figure putting 1100 kids onto that site.

"Likewise the kids living east of Middlefield certainly do not live near Huff. "

I think you mean "north of Middlefield" since Middlefield runs East-West.

For your education, the Wagonwheel neighborhood of north Whisman was assigned to Huff as a futile effort at social engineering. Back in 2005 that neighborhood had lots of poor Spanish-speaking people with low incomes. The MVWSD Board thought they could "help" these poor people out by sending their kids to the "best" school in the district, Huff.

What really happened is that as soon as the Wagonwheel neighborhood got assigned to Huff, the house prices and rents went through the roof and all the poor people moved away and wealthier people replaced them. Lots of the old run-down homes and apartments got renovated and filled with higher income people.

And the Wagonwheel kids only displace a tiny number of Huff neighborhood kids during a few specific years, but not in recent years.

" If you call the district today and ask about availability at Bubb, Huff and Landels you will be told which classes are “closed” "

Of COURSE they are "closed", it's way too late in the year for expecting Huff or Bubb or Landels to have "open" seats. Enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year is long since done. Families moving into the MVWSD now and expecting to put their kids into Huff, Bubb or Landels this fall, should have started the process many months ago.

For unexpected moves, well, pretty much any school district will tell you that there is no assurance your kid will get into the perceived "best" school if they start this late.

If you are looking forwards to 2019-2020, then we wont know until the Board decides on grandfathering.


12 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 14, 2018 at 10:40 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Hey...
"The boundaries need to change to make room for the neighborhood kids "

Clearly, you have no idea what has been going on over the past 5 years!

The MVWSD was allowed less than half the money it needed to build out all schools to the level they wanted to. As a result, we needed 9 elementary schools and could only build them out to 450 enrollment size.

Once the money was figured out, many serious citizens spent countless hours over months and years working their way through all the data and finally were able to develop a map of neighborhoods that allowed all the kids within an assigned area to attend their "neighborhood" school.

This was not an easy process and it was worked on through 3 different superintendents and 2 CBO's and several different Board members and worked on my dozens of serious minded residents of Mountain View.

The reason why people live varying distances from their assigned "neighborhood" school is simply because housing densities vary so widely and major streets are not moveable to suit the desires of parents.

A "neighborhood" has no specific number of square miles, but the map developed by the SAATF has a fairly well balanced number of students expected in each defined attendance area specified for each school.

The people complaining are the people who never got involved and never bothered to learn the facts, which would of course make it much more difficult to complain.


12 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 14, 2018 at 10:55 pm

It's so strange how it's the same refrain over and over again from the clique that runs MVWSD. Dismiss every criticism as "not being involved" or "not paying attention." Care to explain why the new boundaries are even more segregated than the existing ones?


12 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 14, 2018 at 11:01 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@lonely new classroom

"Why did a school board majority build 18 new neighborhood classrooms at Castro"

To provide newly built facilities for the kids of the high-density housing Castro area while refurbishing the old Castro buildings for the Mistral school. These would each support at least 450 kids.

"and 18 new classrooms at Slater,"

For the 465 K-5 students who live in the Whisman/Slater area neighborhoods.
These kids have been split up across 5 different elementary schools since Slater was closed in 2006. This area is very isolated with few ways in or out, so it's a really good place to have an elementary school so we don't need to transport 465 kids elsewhere.

"and yet not plan to fill them with students?"

The Board had a plan.
To fully implement the SAATF boundaries map as of the 2019-2020 school year.

The problem is that even though this process has been going on for 5 years and well covered in the Mountain View Voice and well covered by MVWSD communications, many parents did not get involved nor stay informed and thus only now are they "shocked" by the news that we need to reshuffle hundreds of kids to fit into the 9 elementary schools without over crowding.

As far as I can tell from my research into the past of the MVWSD, this is the first time in decades that the school districts of Mountain View conducted a serious study and carefully considered enrollment in a whole-district manner. In the past boundary changes were haphazard and political and not well considered. This is a reset that has been needed for decades.

What most parents seem to want is for Huff and Bubb to be built to hold 1500 kids each and the rest of the kids will go to Stevenson or Mistral and then all the other schools would be closed and rented out to more private schools. At least that's the most logical outcome of what parents are asking for regarding grandfathering.

Well, I'm pretty sure the bulk of the families of the Castro neighborhood school love their school and it's close location and would not move in bulk to a high-rise Huff/Bubb complex.


5 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 14, 2018 at 11:03 pm

ST parent, which elementary school did your kids go to?


9 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 1:18 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Weird
It's all about the education, the parents education, that is the root of the issue.

Criticizing things you know nothing about is easy, thinking of real solutions is the part that requires effort and brains.

Complaints about "segregation" in the MVWSD are just inflammatory and dishonest accusations of malevolent actions by the MVWSD.
I'm sure some school districts across the USA are guilty of intentional evil deeds, but not the MVWSD.

Because of our high-tech history, Mountain View has a massive percentage of parents with university degrees and another good sized group of parents with no college or H.S. diploma and an unusually small group of people in-between.

Educational differences between the parents causes the vast income spread and the so-called student "achievement gap" in our schools.

The only way to "integrate" our elementary schools to match city diversity would be to buss thousands of kids to farther away schools and to outlaw private schools within the district.
Mass busing has it's own negative side-effects.

"It's so strange how it's the same refrain over and over again from the clique that runs MVWSD. Dismiss every criticism as "not being involved" or "not paying attention.""

Not "strange" at all, when people who know the facts and history keep telling you the same thing, maybe you could try to learn something?

"Care to explain why the new boundaries are even more segregated than the existing ones?"

Our 8 (soon to be 9) public elementary schools do not and cannot come close to matching the ethnic or economic diversity of the general population because housing costs are not evenly spread around.

Thousands of kids are in local private schools.
This also makes it impossible for our public schools to match city-wide diversity. Private schools attract the bulk of higher-income families and also tend to attract specific ethnic groups to specific private schools.

If "diversity" is so important to you, then advocate for closing all private schools and then petition the city counsel to buy up lots of land evenly spread across the city and build exclusive low-income high-density housing that requires people to prove a low income to live there.


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 1:23 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Weird of Monta Loma

"ST parent, which elementary school did your kids go to?"

Explain why you asked and why you think it matters?


11 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 2:03 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@psr

"The parents are the people who should decide where their children attend school - period."

OK, then we know exactly what you would have us do!

You want us to build Huff and Bubb to 3 story buildings to support at least 1500 kids each and the rest all go to either Stevenson or Mistral.
Then we close all the other elementary schools and rent them out to more private schools.

That way, Mountain View will only have "top rated" public schools, no neighborhood schools and a large number of private schools to choose from.
A huge win for parental power over elected officials!

It's not like any other school district in the nation has neighborhood schools, right?
Only the heartless MVWSD allows it's elected officials to set enrollment rules, right?

And as we all know, the parents have nothing to do with the educational achievement of their kids, it's all down to which school they attend, right?


19 people like this
Posted by Bubb Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 15, 2018 at 6:11 am

@ST parent

"Complaints about "segregation" in the MVWSD are just inflammatory and dishonest accusations of malevolent actions by the MVWSD."

Uh... check the board meeting videos... Board Member Gutierrez and the substitute teacher expert are the ones firmly on the record fanning "inflammatory and dishonest accusations of malevolent actions by the MVWSD." They have been beating that drum for years now.

Or did you not know this?


16 people like this
Posted by ex-Hooli person
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 7:26 am

I boggle at the spectacle of public officials lambasting parents for being "selfish" in seeking the best outcomes for their own children. I'm glad my parents were "selfish", and nagged district officials to move me out of the gang-infested school to a magnet school many miles away. I rode the city bus for three hours a day so that I could learn something in school beyond the experience of bullies, beatings, and futile capitulation.

Trigger warning to younger and progressive readers: do not read the rest of this paragraph. If you are unfamiliar with the historical term "magnet school", it was an educational institution where high-achieving students were voluntarily concentrated to learn advanced materials at an accelerate rate. Shocking! A grave offense against inclusivity! I speculate that such anti-proletarian practices are now illegal in the Democratic People's Republic of California.

The great social architects of our local school system would surely castigate my parents for failing to sacrifice their child to the service of egalitarianism. What is more important, for one child to succeed and thrive, or for everyone to fail together in glorious "fraternite"?


17 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 15, 2018 at 8:32 am

It's so interesting that the very same people who complain about there not being enough space in Mountain View to build enough housing for everyone will in a different breath say that Mountain View is just too big for a Castro student to go to Bubb.

The fact that Castro has 80% Hispanic students while Huff has only 10% should shock us. There's a word for that: segregation. Don't bury your head in the sand.

ST parent might want to talk to ex-Hooli; they think bussing is a great solution.


9 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on May 15, 2018 at 9:08 am

psr is a registered user.

@ST Parent

When did I say that any school should be built out to 1500 students? When did I advocate for closing any of the schools or raising enrollment numbers? Did you even bother to read what I wrote, or did you just feel the need to rant at someone who has a solution not in line with your approach?

It is absolute nonsense to claim that, by grandfathering ALL he kids until they complete their time at whatever school they are currently attending, that you would ever have that number of children at any school. There may be some crowding in places and, if that is a priority to a particular parent, then they can be given the option to move elsewhere. I doubt that many would take you up on it though. A parent would care more about their child's emotional state than the amount of space they have.

What I SAID was that NO child should be moved to the school they would attend under the new boundaries unless they WANT to move. If they have been attending a particular school, they should be allowed to finish there. Moving them is cruel and disruptive and can cause far more damage than sitting in a portable. As kids move in, they go where they would under the new boundaries. Will that cause some crowding? Yes, for a while, but that would take less than 5 years to correct itself, which is sounding like it will be far less time than will be spent fighting about it. This is exactly why there are such things as portable classrooms.

I attended a district that did exactly that when they redrew boundaries and NOBODY had to move unless they wanted to go. My brother did choose to transfer, but he didn't have to. I'd like to add that mine was a unified district, so it wasn't just elementary grades but ALL grades, K-12, that were affected. The difference was that the school board PLANNED AHEAD instead of waiting until they were in the middle of a crisis to start thinking about what to do.

The price in pain to be paid during this process should not be born by the children. It is the school board that is responsible and they are the ones who need to figure out a solution that doesn't disrupt the children. Moving the kids around like chessmen is NOT a solution for anyone but the board..


25 people like this
Posted by @Bubb Parent
a resident of Castro City
on May 15, 2018 at 9:34 am

@ psr
wait! if the board needs to make this decision, then what is the Supr getting paid all this money and extended contract? Can't he think through complex solutions? I thought the board hired him for his leadership and now he isn't showing up. Is he busy looking at his phone?
This is not a political decision. It sounds like the district cannot handle complexities and they give it up to the board who also cannot handle complexities.
MV, let's vote for Board members who are for the people and children of this town and not to advance their own agendas.


15 people like this
Posted by psr hypocrisy
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2018 at 10:25 am

I find it amusing that LASD parent "psr" was complaining last week about non-LASD parents commenting on the LASD article. Now here is psr, a non-MVWSD parent commenting on the MVWSD article and acting like she knows everything.


3 people like this
Posted by Avenger
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2018 at 2:10 pm

@Weird

OK, Thanos


8 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm

@Avenger, glad you caught the reference. How about the "modest proposal" one?


3 people like this
Posted by SukwinderDixit
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm

SukwinderDixit is a registered user.

Rock, paper, scissors?


7 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 7:15 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Bubb Parent @ST parent

"Uh... check the board meeting videos..."

No need to, I've been at those meetings many times as far back as when the Supt. was Goldman and have many times seen the politicians, especially Nelson, throwing around that inflammatory term.

"Or did you not know this?"

I do, I just disagree.

That term has a specific historical context and magnitude of malicious behavior associated with it.

Use of that term for Mountain View is like comparing someone or some act of today with Nazi Germany. Such misuse of the term cheapens the real historical examples of the severe suffering of the people at the time the term is attached to.

It implies intentional evil deeds to accomplish an evil goal.
This may still be true in some district in the USA, but no here.


9 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@psr

"When did I say that any school should be built out to 1500 students?"

It is the only logical out come of your "plan" and I quote you:
"The parents are the people who should decide where their children attend school - period. "

With that as your "plan", the only logical outcome would be as I described.
The vast majority of MVWSD parent would choose Huff or Bubb, if there was room. Thus, to allow the parents to decide you would need Huff & Bubb to support about 3,000 total kids.

"When did I advocate for closing any of the schools"

I quote you:
"The parents are the people who should decide where their children attend school - period."

Given the choice of moving to Huff or Bubb, the rest of the schools would be drained of kids to the closing point.

"Did you even bother to read what I wrote,"

I did, did you?

"...someone who has a solution not in line with your approach?"

Your "solution" was to punt. To allow all parents to pick any school they want. That hardly seems like a "plan" at all.

"It is absolute nonsense to claim that, by grandfathering ALL he kids until they complete their time at whatever school they are currently attending,"

That was NOT what you wrote as your "plan" before.

I quote you:
"The parents are the people who should decide where their children attend school - period."

Your new plan allows for never ending grandfathering so all families can remain attached to their current school as long as they still have kids of K-5 age.

That's very different and it was one of the plans that the EPTF discussed and a plan advocated by many parents in the focus groups and by speakers at the Board meetings.

The side-effects of long-term grandfathering are complex, but one side-effect is clear, millions of dollars will be required to pay for it out of the MVWSD operating budget. Which means program cuts to ALL the K-8 kids across the district.


15 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 15, 2018 at 8:08 pm

Weird is a registered user.

ST Parent, earlier:
"Well, I'm pretty sure the bulk of the families of the Castro neighborhood school love their school and it's close location and would not move in bulk to a high-rise Huff/Bubb complex."

ST parent, now:
"The vast majority of MVWSD parent would choose Huff or Bubb, if there was room."

Which is it?

Finally, what do you call it when Castro has enrollment of 80% Hispanic students, while Huff has 10%, if not segregation?


13 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on May 15, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Juan is a registered user.

Kicking kids out of their own school is an absolute disgrace, who is running this school district? And for each kid that gets kicked out, who is taking their place? Parents need to hold the board and superintendent accountable, it is NOT in the best interest of education to kick a kid out of a school he has been attending for years, in order for a millionaire family to take their spot. It's disgraceful.


20 people like this
Posted by Helping the Transition
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 15, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Helping the Transition is a registered user.

Maybe there can be something done to mitigate the impact of the move for the kids e.g. grouping the kids moving to Slater (or whatever they are calling it) into the same class when possible. Would like to know what the schools will do to ease the transition for these kids. Is the district thinking about these things and properly communicating these efforts to the parents?

Sorry, guess I have not been paying attention...


12 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 16, 2018 at 12:59 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Weird

segregation: The enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment. Like: "an official policy of racial segregation"

Just the fact that individual people, for many good reasons, choose to gather in communities of similar people does NOT mean some evil government intentionally forced people to do so.

A community of common language & heritage is of great value to families with limited English. Who are you to decide they made a bad choice?

"ST Parent, earlier:
"...bulk of the families of the Castro neighborhood school ... would not move in bulk to a high-rise Huff/Bubb complex.""
"ST parent, now:
"The vast majority of MVWSD parent would choose Huff or Bubb, if there was room.""
"Which is it?"

Both are true under different circumstances.
There is a difference between "bulk of MVWSD" versus "bulk of Castro" and that I was presenting the logical outcome of the "plan" psr came up with.

If even a minority of Castro families chose Huff/Bubb, Castro would close just as Slater did in 2006 for falling enrollment.

"Finally, what do you call it when Castro has enrollment of 80% Hispanic students, while Huff has 10%, if not segregation?"

I seem to recall Huff is already down to single digits, I'll check.

The Huff/Bubb area has mostly single-family detached homes with good sized yards built in recent decades. Even the rental apartments are high-end.
The Castro area has mostly high-density housing built decades ago, or subsidized or specifically built for low-income.

The school district did not execute some evil plan to choose where each type of housing would be built, nor did the city.

If you were a low-income Spanish-speaking family with little English and little education. You have a job (or two or three) in the area, you got kids of school age you want to have a better life than you.

There is an area with a very high percentage of people similar to your family, Spanish-speaking stores/services, Spanish-speaking school, housing in your budget, public transportation is close, etc.

So, would that not be attractive to you?

I call the uneven spread of low-income families a natural result of housing costs being highly lumpy in Mountain View.

The term "segregation" has a meaning and a history about serious abuse. Trying to apply this term to Mountain View is an insult to all those who suffered under actual evil policies of government officials and some people who still do.


15 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 16, 2018 at 1:06 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@ Helping the Transition

"Is the district thinking about these things and properly communicating these efforts to the parents?"

There was a plan and it was being communicated, but all that got derailed by the fact that even the most informed and engaged parents could not come up with any plan most of them would support. Lack of consensus among the parents who want grandfathering doomed the attempt to make the decision in a carefully thought out manner.

"Sorry, guess I have not been paying attention..."

Well, they say: The Beginning of Wisdom Starts by Saying I Don't Know.
It's not what you don't know that holds you back, it's what you "know" that is not actually true.


21 people like this
Posted by Weird
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 16, 2018 at 8:29 am

Weird is a registered user.

You didn't really explain how "the vast majority of MVWSD would choose Huff/Bubble" yet the "bulk of families" at Castro wouldn't. Is the answer thst every other school would choose Huff/Bubble, but for some reason only Castro families would stay? I can use Theuerkauf as an example instead, if you'd prefer, where the enrollment is 65% Hispanic.

You'll find that the city does choose where each type of housing is built: it's called zoning. If we choose to build single-family houses with large lot sizes in one area and low-income subsidized housing in another area, and these split along racial lines, how is that not segregation? We're making policy choices with disparate racial impact, and no amount of pretending we're not changes that. Not using the tools we have available to alleviate that is wrong.


6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2018 at 9:58 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

As a former MVWSD Trustee who served with Mr. Lambert, I commend his comments and opinions quoted in the article to the wider community to deeply consider. This is also a highly "political" item, the Board majority needs to make political Public Policy, not a hired administrator! The Board needs to consider the deliberations of the Task Force, as the single most informed bunch in the District. (Lambert, Clive and ST Parent as examples)


To ST Parent, I'm glad you mentioned that I had brought up "the S word" in public comments during my term in office! Please look up the wider definition of "de facto segregation."

I applaud Trustee Gutierrez, for continuing to bring up this "loaded" word. For it persisted in California education, past WW II (de jura school segregation of Hispanic children), and it persists in a different form by housing economic class segregation, due to the way residential/apartment zoning works.

Multi-family lower income Waverly Park apartments? Over some dead home-owner bodies!

Laura Blakely, publicly toyed with this 'de jura' topic at a public comment at the Board meeting before she assumed office. Gemello single-family district seems 'so close to Castro' elementary, why not move it to by far the closest elementary, that had obvious classroom space avaliable? [ walk 1.7 mi 33 min / 0.6 mi 13 min ] (BTW, In the past, that is exactly where Gemello neighborhood was assigned)

I am absolutely sure "economic segregationists" exist in our community - they continue to speak out, sometimes like the Stevenson mom at the BATF meeting who's opinion was respectfully refuted by the honorable past Principal of that school. Tyler Gaff was clear in expressing his views. I wish Laura Blakely, as Board President, was not so mushy.


11 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on May 16, 2018 at 10:30 am

psr is a registered user.

@ ST Parent

Your response outlines in big red letters why your district has the problem it does. Rather than try to find a solution that focuses on what is best for the kids, they focus on what is easiest for the administration. The only reason you like the answer is because it doesn't affect you.

I'm thankful I don't have to deal with this personally. Pardon me for making a rational suggestion that is demonstrably better than yours. Have fun eating each other alive. I feel sorry for the kids whose lives you will be making miserable in the process.


21 people like this
Posted by Bill H
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 16, 2018 at 11:43 am

Bill H is a registered user.

I don't care where my kids go to school as long as they are surrounded by other kids from upper income white and Asian families. I'm not racist, I just care about my property values.

Of course, my comments are satire, but it is impossible to ignore the roll race and social class play in school zoning decisions.


27 people like this
Posted by CA Native
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 17, 2018 at 9:10 pm

CA Native is a registered user.

I changed schools every 2 to 3 years. Lots of Military Dependents do it more often than that! They are able to go on to college and everything else people do when they get a good education. Draw the lines, everyone goes to the school, with their neighbors, within those lines. Simple.
If you must “grandfather”, those in the fifth grade can stay one more year to the sixth. Period. Everyone else goes to their Local school.
Kids are resilient, by the end of the first year of the change they will consider where they are as “their school”!
Those that don’t, most likely will be reflecting their angry parent’s view, not their own.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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