Boundary change's possible fallout | June 29, 2007 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - June 29, 2007

Boundary change's possible fallout

Demographer says high school district may need to rethink its own boundaries

by Alexa Tondreau

With the decision for Los Altos School District boundary changes now final, the district's hired demographer, Jeanne Gobalet, said she thinks the Mountain View-Los Altos High School District might have to follow suit and make changes of its own.

It's an idea to which MVLA Superintendent Barry Groves remains noncommittal, saying there are no current plans to alter district boundaries for Mountain View and Los Altos high schools.

"I'm going to look at the [LASD] boundaries and see what they've done. I'll look at the numbers and see if anything needs to happen," he said, adding that "possibly nothing needs to happen."

In a 3-2 vote last week, the Los Altos School District board moved to accept Scenario 2.3, which makes changes to boundary lines for Bullis, Almond, Santa Rita, Covington and Springer elementary schools.

Gobalet reasons that as a result of those changes, the junior high schools in the Los Altos School District, Egan and Blach, may not feed into the high schools in a balanced way.

The Byzantine structure guiding the districts' "student streaming" is a complicated one at best, but Gobalet says it comes down to too many students going to Mountain View High School.

About one third of students in the Los Altos High School District go to Mountain View High School, and nearly all of the students in the Mountain View Whisman School District go to Mountain View High as well.

"Mountain View High School has more students, and they need to remedy that," Gobalet said.

Traditionally, Covington Elementary went to Los Altos High School. Now, being split between the two junior high schools, it will also be split between the high schools.

Adding to that, the MVLA district also regularly accepts intra-district transfers, and in recent years has seen a majority of students asking to be transferred to Mountain View. This year alone, the district had to deny 30 students a transfer to Mountain View, a first in the district's history. It accepted about 30.

"It seems to be the more popular school, for some reason," Gobalet said.

Gobalet admits the interplay between the districts, enrollment counts and boundary lines make for a complicated situation, and thinks the next best step is to ensure open communication at the high school and elementary level. Recently she e-mailed the high school district a map of Scenario 2.3, and said she will be available to answer their questions and provide advice.

"The two districts need to work together," Gobalet said. She still thinks there are ways to make the attendance area for Los Altos High School better, in order to ensure overcrowding doesn't occur at Mountain View High, and that Los Altos High gets a more even draw of students.

"I think there's potential for improvement," she said. She couldn't offer specifics, saying she would need information from MVLA on the geographic distribution of students to generate ideas.

Groves did say that if the high school was to make any boundary adjustments, protocol would have the district follow the same process as LASD went through.

"There would be significant time for public input," Groves said.

E-mail Alexa Tondreau at


Posted by Serge Bonte, H2G Resident, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 7, 2007 at 12:32 am

This is unbelievable.

Our growth-neutral neighborhood got shoved to a more distant school on the premise that it was needed to overcome potential (in 4-5 years based on worst demographic projections) overcrowding at Almond. Now it looks like in the process we will become the source of overcrowding at MVHS (3 miles away by car) while LAHS is walking distance.

Thankfully, the same demographer will help solve this new looming High School attendance "crisis". If history is any guide, the solution will entail opening a new high school on the Bullis Pussima site and move our growth-neutral neighborhood as an overflow to a Cupertino High School.

If opening that new high school is not enough to fill up the Bullis Purissima campus, plans could be explored to move portions of FootHill College there.

When will this nonsense stop?

Posted by Parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 20, 2007 at 8:33 am

Not sure why attendance lines in the elementary districts would have any impact on high school. The high school boundaries are probably based on balancing the number of kids per school, and have never had anything to do with which elementary/middle schools the kids go to. Mountain View Whisman used to assign kids to middle school based on their elementary school; but now they are assigned based on residence--one side of Central goes to Graham, the other side to Crittenden, no matter what elementary school you attended. Graham kids have always gone on to different High Schools-probably the majority to Mountain View, but a large percentage to Los Altos--based on residence. I think the same is true for Crittenden, though I think most of them have gone to Los Altos. So I really don't see that LASD's attendance boundaries have anything at all to do with MVLA's boundaries.

Posted by Serge Bonte, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 21, 2007 at 9:34 pm

I don't know why either.
But neither do I understand all the nonsensical decisions by the LASD. Attendance to High School in that district gets decided (mostly) by attendance to middle school. LASD in its recent redistricting, shoved over our neighborhood to Blake which will lead to MVHS vs. LAHS (which is down the street on Almond for us).

Posted by Amanda, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 22, 2007 at 3:49 pm

I think this isn't quite right. The MVLA high school district's decision is independent of the LASD borders. MV High has become more crowded, not less, and if anything, the attendance line will be drawn closer to that school. The high school line has never been related to Blach attendance, except that many of the kids who go to Blach live close enough to MV High to attend there.

I cannot imagine that the H2G neighbourhood would end up at MV high school... But then, I wouldn't really be surprised by anything these days, as we get to pass three schools to go three miles just to elementary school.

Posted by Serge Bonte, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 22, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Possibly, but my initial comment was directed at the article mentionning possible boundadry fallout and since it's the same demographer offering some help ....

Posted by Amanda, a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 23, 2007 at 8:38 am

Right, understood.

Your original note stated "Now it looks like in the process we will become the source of overcrowding at MVHS (3 miles away by car) while LAHS is walking distance."

The article didn't imply anything of the sort. I caught the sarcasm in the latter part of your note, but somehow missed that it was intended in the beginning as well. Mea culpa.