Military kids alter district's plans | November 14, 2008 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - November 14, 2008

Military kids alter district's plans

MV Whisman may send Moffett students to Monta Loma instead of Bubb School

by Casey Weiss

Now that many families with young children have moved into the 190 units of military housing at Moffett Field, their presence is being felt in local schools — so much so, in fact, that at Bubb Elementary, overcrowded kindergarten classes have forced some students out of what would have been their neighborhood school.

Officials at the Mountain View Whisman School District, who set up a plan to bus Moffett kids to Bubb three and a half years ago, are now suggesting that they instead be sent to Monta Loma Elementary School, which is closer to the base. There are currently 23 students bused from the base to Bubb, but administrators say there are more Moffett students at Bubb who do not use the district's transportation.

If the plan is approved by school trustees at a meeting next Thursday, Monta Loma will receive the bulk of these incoming kindergarteners in the 2009-10 school year. The district notified parents this week about the potential changes, which are likely to mean that families whose children now attend Bubb School will stay there, while military students, who live north of U.S. Highway 101, will be bused to Monta Loma.

"We had a situation this year that we didn't know would happen," director of administrative services Stephanie Totter said of the overcrowding.

Trustees were scheduled to vote on the policies last week, but delayed their decision to allow time to inform families from both schools and the base. However, the trustees agreed the board needed to approve new enrollment policies that would guarantee students who live in the Bubb neighborhood a seat at their local school.

"When people buy houses across from a school, they expect to go to the school," trustee Ellen Wheeler said. "I think we should give property rights."

The board has been talking about ways to reduce overcrowding for the last couple months, ever since the district reached 4,400 students, a number it did not expect to see until 2011. Overcrowding is especially a problem at Bubb, which waitlisted 32 students living within the school's neighborhood boundaries this school year.

The district hired a consultant to perform a new demographic study, but until then, administrators say these new enrollment boundaries would at least alleviate overcrowding at Bubb.

Board trustees originally discussed hiring a private investigator to assure that all students are attending the appropriate schools, but administrators now say the additional families living on Moffett Field help to explain the overcrowding at Bubb.

"Are we going to fix it all? No," Totter said. "I don't know if it will totally do what we want, but it is an attempt."

When board members decided to send military students to Bubb, "we had no kids coming off of the base," Totter said.

The military is currently building a new training and command center for Army Reserves at Moffett Field, and all 190 houses on the base are now occupied. These families want their students to attend the same school, according to a government official who wished to remain anonymous.

According to Craig Goldman, the district's chief financial officer, there are 85 students bused from the base to Mountain View elementary schools. Administrators and trustees have not yet decided if these new policies will also affect students living in military housing south of highway 101.

Superintendent Maurice Ghysels said the boundary change would only temporarily fix the overcrowding, and the district would "wait until the demographic study comes out before making any bigger decisions."

E-mail Casey Weiss at


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 14, 2008 at 8:35 am

Is it me, or is this district always in reaction mode? The children of our military should be given first pick at any school, to include Huff, ahead even of neighborhood families. And these kids come with extra federal dollars per head to be spent specifically on them, a fact that isn't even mentioned in this article!

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Posted by this side of the tracks
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 14, 2008 at 8:56 am

I agree Steve!! What the heck?? Property rights for Bubb-yeah and Huff too, right... but the rest of us, well we should just put up with being moved around this district aimlessly so that people who buy houses across from "these" schools can get in. I believe we did have word of the military families coming back, and Slater would have welcomed these families with open arms. Hopefully the district will have some consideration of them and all the families that will probably move back into the Summerhill apartments, when they have a chance to re-open Whisman in 2011. Our neighborhood will welcome the military families.

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Posted by Mike K.
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2008 at 10:39 am

Perhaps they should be looking at re-opening Whisman. The bulk of the military kids used to go there when it was part of the Whisman district.

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Posted by came back to bite them
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:39 am

Well, if they hadn't closed Slater this wouldn't have been an issue, would it?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2008 at 1:45 pm

When they closed Slater the military was moving families OUT of Moffett, not in, and no one was saying they were coming back. Whisman school was mostly military families, but when the Navy started moving people out of Moffett back in the 90's there wasn't enough enrollment to keep it open. Now I guess they're moving them back in, but I don't think the Navy bothers to consult with the local school districts before making these kids of decisions.

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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 16, 2008 at 9:19 am

I think the point here was that military families should have greater input and options, like sending their kids to Huff, and not that their problems are actualy tied to the services to which they belong.