News

Monta Loma military kids can stay together

Students in military housing allowed to attend same school following boundary mix-up

Families of military service members will be able to send their children to Monta Loma Elementary next year, despite a recent letter sent by the Mountain View Whisman School District stating that new boundaries would divert them to another school.

Last year, the school district revamped its school attendance boundaries to reduce overcrowding and create "neighborhood schools," which often meant ditching non-contiguous areas that went over major thoroughfares and cleaning up the patchwork of legacy school boundaries caused by school closures.

From the start, district officials and school board members agreed that no matter what, children of military personnel serving at Moffett Field ought to stick together, and that the de facto school for those families -- Monta Loma -- should always be open them. But due to some kind of confusion or oversight, some military families received notices in October stating that their children would have to attend Theuerkauf Elementary.

Glenn Bates, a parent and member of Monta Loma's school site council, alerted board members to the problem earlier this month. He said the military families attending Monta Loma were blindsided by letters about an impending move to Theuerkauf, and that the district was out of touch by failing to understand the effects of splitting up military families.

"Their understanding was that the military community was staying together at Monta Loma -- a site which we have specifically built to support them as part of our family," Bates said. "And now we're being fractured without really clear communication from the district."

The comments were met with confusion from members of the school board, who said they were under the impression that they gave clear direction to allow active military service members the opportunity to keep their children at Monta Loma. The district's leadership has long felt that the military community is best served together, and that the families -- who frequently face having to move -- feel more connected at Monta Loma while they're here in Mountain View.

District spokeswoman Shelly Hausman confirmed that eight military families in the district had received letters stating they were being assigned to Theuerkauf, which runs contrary to the district's goals. Subsequent letters clarifying their child's placement at Monta Loma will be sent to the affected families, she said.

The mix-up likely has to do with the split between service members residing at the base north of Highway 101 and at Shenandoah Square, a small carve-out of federal land at the corner of Middlefield Road and Moffett Boulevard. The old Monta Loma attendance boundary used to curl south along Moffett to include Shenandoah, but the school board approved boundary changes that rezoned the neighborhood for Theuerkauf.

Between the two locations, the district has roughly 125 students from military families, 88 of whom attend Monta Loma. The district provides busing service for the families at two stops -- one at Shenandoah and one at the base north of Highway 101 -- to transport children to Monta Loma and Crittenden Middle School. All eight families who received the erroneous letters live at Shenandoah, Hausman said.

While it may seem sensible to just leave Shenandoah within Monta Loma's attendance boundary, Shenandoah Square's 126 apartments aren't exclusive to military personnel. Lacking enough enlisted residents, the eligibility requirements were expanded to civilian federal employees, including NASA Ames employees. The guarantee to stay at Monta Loma does not extend to these non-military families, and their children are assigned to Theuerkauf.

Comments

20 people like this
Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 30, 2018 at 4:55 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

"district officials and school board members agreed that no matter what, children of military personnel serving at Moffett Field ought to stick together, and that the de facto school for those families -- Monta Loma -- should always be open [to] them." I say "Well Said."

Military families, including their children, make great personal, social and financial sacrifices for the USA. They have their own unique cultural needs that we should both respect and support in return for their sacrifices to protect the rest of us. Allowing all of their children to be together in school to support and encourage each other is one of the ways we can thank them.


19 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 1, 2018 at 6:42 am

Well done Glenn, and thank you for your service on the School Site Council!

Our family isn’t military but we have enjoyed getting to know many military families over our years at Monta Loma. As they come and go on their tours it’s also been a teaching opportunity for us to talk with our own kids about the sacrifices these families make, and about why supporting them is so important.


Like this comment
Posted by Mondo
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 1, 2018 at 8:27 am

It's a mile away from each other, relax and get over it!


4 people like this
Posted by Maher
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 1, 2018 at 10:07 am

Mondo... re your comment: ARE YOU REALLY THAT DENSE by nature or do you strive for that result?


11 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 2, 2018 at 11:01 am

Cfrink is a registered user.

Neither the district, the Board, nor any of the boundaries task forces ever had any confusion over this issue. This issue was literally put to bed at the start of the conversation on each of the committees that worked on boundaries and there was never any question about keeping military families together at one school. It literally took minutes to decide they would remain at Monta Loma as this site has spent years developing infrastructure and community for the support of military families and their children. Absolutely no one had any interest in upsetting this support structure for these families.

This was simply a clerical error that probably should have been handled with a phone call.


19 people like this
Posted by @cfrink
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm

Actually I see it as yet another example of district incompetence.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 3, 2018 at 8:43 am

@@cfrink

First, PLEASE learn how to properly use the name field.

"Actually I see it as yet another example of district incompetence."

Second, given that the district sent out several thousands of these letters to the families of the district and ONLY got those 8 letters wrong, shows some pretty excellent management of this letter.

Personally, I would have only sent out letters to the families who were going to be effected by the boundary changes, but the district chose to over-communicate to make absolutely sure that any confusion would come to light, which is exactly what happened in this case.

And yes, I agree with Mr Frink, there was never a moments doubt in the minds of the Board, the District Office or any of the members of the various task forces, we all agreed from the start and any time it was mentioned by anyone, that all the military families, no matter where they lived in the district would be kept together at Monta Loma.

It was simply the oddity of these 8 families who lived so far from any of the other military families that resulted in this momentary issue.

Frankly, it never should have been a story for the paper to waste e-ink on.


14 people like this
Posted by @ST parent
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Dec 3, 2018 at 1:05 pm

If you were one of the military families who received one of those incorrect letters you wouldn't be so cavalier about it!


I'm responding to you so I'll use @ST parent. Makes it easy for others to see who I am responding to and I really don't care whether you like it or not.




Like this comment
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 5, 2018 at 5:03 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@@ST parent

See the name problem? You just keep building up @@@@@@@@@@@@...

There is also a funny side-problem that can occur because the name box will remember the last name you used and so you could easily write a post intended for one person, but the name field still says the name of the prior person you had posted at before. I've seen people make this mistake several times.

If someone is using your method of adding @ in the name field, you have no idea who is speaking, which is the POINT of the name field, to identify the SPEAKER by name or handle.

You could end up with 10 different speakers all using "@ST parent" in their reply.

Name is for the name or handle of the SPEAKER, NOT the target of the speech.

"I'm responding to you so I'll use @ST parent. Makes it easy for others to see who I am responding to"

The first line of text is where you state who you are talking to, that's pretty easy for everyone else but you to understand.

Look, all you have to do is use the ctrl-C to copy the relevant text or even just the name of the person you're speaking to and paste it into your text box. Then add the @ in front of the name.

"and I really don't care whether you like it or not."
Nor do you care about standing by your own words since nobody can tell which poster handle is having which conversation with whom.


Like this comment
Posted by @ST parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 5, 2018 at 7:54 pm

Yep. I did it. And I’m a different poster. I’m directing my comment to you, hence the @.

Anyway, it’s not a big deal. Deep breath.

If I were a military family who thought for a few weeks that my children would be split up from their support system you better believe I’d be upset and sad! Glad it got fixed but what an incompetent error.


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