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New school could close down Stevenson PACT

Original post made on Feb 27, 2015

Drawing new lines for school attendance boundaries can be a tricky task that always leaves someone dissatisfied, and that proved true Tuesday night when the Mountain View Whisman School District laid out likely scenarios for new boundaries that could trigger the closure of the district's parent-participation school.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 27, 2015, 10:35 AM

Comments (178)

20 people like this
Posted by Andy
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 27, 2015 at 11:36 am

As a parent from Whisman District, we are looking forward to the new school. It is weird we don't have a neighborhood school but other areas in Mt.View have choice programs as alternatives. This has been in discussion for few years and I was hoping the new board would resolve this rather than going into political discussions again.


3 people like this
Posted by Slater
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Another factor is that the district has a special education center already operating at Slater alongside of Google Daycare. That uses a lot of space and has a separate entrance from North Whisman Road. Funny the story doesn't mention that.

It's also funny that the district doesn't consider operating the PACT school as a separate program with the same principal alongside a neighborhood program. This is what they did at Castro school for years with Dual Immersion. That saves the added site salary of an additional principal. They must be afraid of having too many kids if both a traditional school and PACT operate somewhere. This must have something to do with losing those "600" kids in the North Whisman area if they are forced to uproot from their various currently assigned schools, reducing the population at each. The hope must be that the discontinued Stevenson kids would scatter back around the various schools and fill the spots used by the North Whisman area kids.


3 people like this
Posted by tommygee54
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Stevenson has been opened since the 1966-67 school year


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm

The Board had nothing to do with this discussion, it was "staff", the administration, that developed the specifics presented in the meeting Packets. Stevenson/PACT was only reopened as a district-wide Choice school in 2009. code 43-69591-6049464 (check Ed-data.k12.ca.us)
Part of the discussion confusion (Slater site) is that the $30M administration proposal is the same new buildings as the 2014 proposed DI@Slater on the back playing field. (Jan 31 Voice)
SN is a Trustee of the MVWSD


5 people like this
Posted by Former Trustee
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

Where is the institutional memory? When the PACT Program was founded, it operated on the Slater campus WITH the neighborhood school program under one Principal.

Whisman: Whisman School has one of the largest physical campus spaces/grounds that are part of a lush community park – plenty large enough for 600 students or more. But, the existing facilities/buildings are small, originally for a campus of less than 400 students. And, those facilities were never improved with bond monies from either district, Whisman or Mountain View, before the merger, so they would require significant spending to be enlarged, remodeled, and brought to code/energy efficiency.

Slater: There’s no information in the article about whether the intent would be to take back the facilities at Slater that are currently used, and vastly improved, by Google under a lease agreement. If not, the few remaining buildings and the small playground don’t make sense for a campus of 600 students.

It’s time to honor the growing number of students in the Northeast quadrant by re-establishing their own neighborhood school. There’s no information in the article about how many students are currently attending Stevenson PACT or how many would be generated from the Whisman/Slater area. Is it more than 600-700 combined?

Depending on the total number of students served, a second program could be added to the campus, under one Principal, as it was in the mid-1990s when the PACT program was created. Or, it could operate as two separate programs on the same campus, recognizing that would cost more. But, if the total number of students served, for the foreseeable future, is more than 600-700, then you need two campuses.


39 people like this
Posted by Lisa Whitfield
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm

As one of the Stevenson parents noted in the article, we have outstanding teachers at every school but parents often CAN make a positive impact as well. In light of that fact, nothing is stopping a parent from volunteering at his or her child's assigned school as I did for many years as a Theuerkauf parent. You do not have to attend PACT to make a contribution--it's what YOU MAKE of your neighborhood school. I think that Whisman/Slater families deserve a place where they can build strong neighborhood networks and a sense of community. I hope that the task force will work to facilitate that goal by reopening a school in this underserved region.


7 people like this
Posted by An interested parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Stevenson has 360 students. Theurkauf has around 400. I believe Theurkauf has seen a decrease in enrollment in the last several years. And I believe Stevenson now is about 2x the size of what the PACT program at Castro was.


27 people like this
Posted by Gator parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 27, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Close the PACT!! They didn't care about the slater kids and their families back when they were the PPP program.
They purposely segregated themselves at a public school! A PUBLIC SCHOOL. They managed to make children feel excluded at a PUBLIC school. What's your arguments for not closing it? Less opportunities for your kids that the MAJORITY are missing out on? Waste of tax money. There is so much wrong with this program.


18 people like this
Posted by Cleave Frink
a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm

There are several realities about the proposals currently being considered. First, none of them are any where near final stages. Second, there are only about 3600 students in the district. We do not currently need another school for the current number of students we have. We simply need to do a better job at spreading this number of students among the available schools. I think it's a good idea to get a school back in Whisman/Slater. But unless someone is hiding something, there doesn't seem to be the money to do this without reducing the resources available to the other schools, or closing a school in another neighborhood just to open one there. That's not a good choice. Putting PACT at another school to share one campus isn't really that great an idea either. Even at Castro, it's questionable. Having as many as 900 students at one school is probably an option we should be looking to avoid, if possible.

I would offer that PACT doesn't need to move anywhere. It doesn't need to grow or take up a new site. It's good where it is. It needs a new facility that suits it's needs where it is and that's something that should be considered and could be accomplished at it's current site. If it does go to Slater or Whisman, those properties could be shared with the current residents after some work. I think there should definitely be plans to bring a neighborhood school back to the Whisman/Slater neighborhood should at some point in the future when it makes sense both financially as well as with population. Certainly not at the expense of other schools in other neighborhoods.

And to be perfectly honest, it doesn't have to be Landels or Theuerkauf? We could just as easily put PACT at Huff or Bubb. There are a lot of good, bold ideas to consider in this process. We have still, much more work to do and I look forward to finding some of the answers we need in the very near future.

Cleave Frink,
Member of the BATF


11 people like this
Posted by Bean Counter
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2015 at 1:39 am

In 2013-2104 Theuerkauf had 471 students and Stevenson 357. Huff had 579 and Bubb 537, Landels 527, Castro 675 and Monta Loma 485. The population is supposed to be growing from year to year, with increases projected of varying numbers over time depending on assumptions. These are just the K-5 numbers. If there are 500 kids K-5 living in the unserved area who wish to attend a school located there, then it will mean cutting numbers at all the other schools except Bubb and Castro. The area primarily is split housed at Landels but also Huff and Theuerkauf at present, but many students currently attending Monta Loma actually live closer to Theuerkauf.

So, put the PACT program at Monta Loma and stop padding it with students who should attend Theuerkauf. Or put it at Landels because it will lose the most students to a new school in the unserved area. There will clearly be room for more kids at Theuerfauf if it loses the PACT program and Stevenson. If you aren't anal about keeping all the schools equal in size, this problem is solvable without dropping PACT as a separate program. It's one thing to relocate it but quite another to kill it entirely.


49 people like this
Posted by Cut the drama
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 28, 2015 at 6:28 am

Bravo Principal Graff. He was responding to an overly dramatic Stevenson parent who said that PACT parents care more about their children than other schools in the district, listing off a few including Therakauff and Huff. Irrespective of ability to volunteer in class, let's acknowledge that all parents across Mountain View care about their children's education. As a community we need to have the same broad glasses on.


24 people like this
Posted by Let's get real
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 28, 2015 at 6:43 am

Throwing PACT around to Bubb or Huff sounds like a grand idea, if you want to increase congestion along Grant Rd. The monies required to expand these facilities, including parking and safe drop off areas for children - would take away from the valid Whisman neighborhood needs.

Never mind that all the district schools will completely be robbed of much needed improvements and modernization at the expense of the Castro school split that were not the intention of the measure bond that tax payers faithfully voted for.

Let's not just throw programs around. Let's not create more problems around child safety, traffic congestion, carbon footprints, and forcing children all over the city to attend schools. Hopefully task force members are educated on the city's history and have a realistic outlook on the future, to be able to make educated and thoughtful decisions.

There are many population projections that ironically the contracted demographers have overlooked. Growth and change is another debate, but let's plan for what is going to happen:

We have El Camino Women's Hospital expanding, primarily because the "high-tech workforce drawn to the area are defying population projections."

Web Link

We have Google expanding their campus and bringing more jobs:

Web Link

And potential for much needed housing along North Bayshore:

Web Link


20 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 28, 2015 at 9:08 am

I think if we review the history of PACT it is clear that the program is unique and simply does not lend itself to sharing a campus with a 'neighborhood program' unless the set-up is similar to the 2-castro model where there are separate administrations and separate programs. The success of PACT since moving to their own site is clear.

The program had difficulty sharing a campus at both Slater and Castro so why would it seem a good idea to try and share/merge the program with Theuerkauf, Landels or anywhere else?

In addition, would families who may be unable to participate or contribute financially be bussed out to a different school if PACT were to merge with an existing school? I do not believe that is the intent of the boundary task force in fact I was under the impression that the objective was to have more students attend the school where they live.

PACT is a popular program, if it has enough interest to become a 450-600 student school then it should have its own facility. Does the district still own the cooper site on Eunice Avenue? I have heard no mention of this property in any discussion forum to date.


32 people like this
Posted by why PACT?
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 28, 2015 at 11:06 am

I don't understand the PACT program. From talking to parents who ended up sending their children to the school, it seems they do so not so much for the substance of the program, but because they don't want to send their children to their neighborhood schools. This program provides them with a out to segregate their children from the lower performing kids at their neighborhood schools. I understand they add the whole parent education part to the program, but really, what are they going to say? That's it's a publicly-funded segregation program? Attend your neighborhood schools and volunteer to help the schools improve, PACT parents.

Thank you @Let's get real for bringing up "the intention of the measure bond that tax payers faithfully voted for". If the district intend to use the bond money for projects outside of those intentions, voters will remember that the next time a bond measure is put on the ballot.


22 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 28, 2015 at 11:54 am

Roughly 3600 K-5 students is the demographic projection & the District is saying 450-600 students per school is the target to have a healthy school. So that means 8 450-student schools... and it leaves 30%+ headroom for unforseen growth before hitting 600 students across all schools.

The Board already made a decision to add a school at the Castro campus, and I don't think the cascading impact of this decision was made clear to either Stevenson families, or the residents of the Whisman/Slater neighborhood... it's not like the above numbers weren't already known at the time.

Personally, I think PACT has proven out a number of very positive approaches to education, and MVWSD should consider how to share this goodness with other schools in the District. I hope the BATF is looking closely at Therekauf as a central location for choice programs, and considering the role that Monta Loma and a new school in the Whisman/Slater area could play in handling neighborhood school needs in that area.


14 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I agree with other posters that PACT has strayed from it's original mission. I believe choice programs like this are critical in respecting the fact that children learn differently. "Regular" neighborhood schools struggle to accommodate different learning styles. Let's say they can accommodate 80% of the kids, but there's still 20% that struggle in regular classrooms.

Alternative programs remove this 20% from the traditional classrooms, making it easier for the teachers (and other students), which makes those classrooms more efficient while also helping the struggling kids find an environment that's right for them.

Unfortunately, PACT has now become the place for parents to go who don't want their neighborhood schools (or instead of paying private school). This is unfortunate for all of us. But it's also a problem the district has created by restricting entrance to that school.

A better approach may be to expand the school (or open a new school with a similar mission in place of an existing "neighborhood" school). If this is truly a style of learning that more parents want, then lets give it to them. Maybe it can even be accomplished with no parent participation requirement, thus enabling a more diverse group of students to benefit.


10 people like this
Posted by Not My Fight
a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 28, 2015 at 1:47 pm

This is not my issue, but looking at it from an LASD perspective, I'd say the PACT program could have a strong case for becoming an independent charter school like Bullis Charter School. Then MVWSD would have to give it equivalent facilities anyway. Closing PACT would probably not be a wise decision. Just my $0.02.


11 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Magnet schools like the PACT were created as a way to fend off charters, once a charter law is passed, it lets the district and more importantly the union exercise control. Charters are actually a better way to operate. If the PACT is threatened with closure they should form a charter and hopefully the district will approve it.


13 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 28, 2015 at 3:44 pm

The title of this article is misleading and unnecessarily sensational. Not one of the five proposals being considered by the district Boundary Advisory Task Force is proposing the closure of PACT. They are only discussing the movement of PACT among their ideas.

Every family in our district seeks the best education for their children and their unique learning needs. No parent should ever feel shame or contempt for that.

Christopher Chiang
MVWSD School Board Trustee
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the school board.


15 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2015 at 4:02 pm

@ Why PACT and Canela

I think that you both have the wrong idea. Neighborhood schools are an interesting concept. What defines a neighborhood? What makes a neighborhood school? Are there better alternatives? Are the current neighborhood schools actually true neighborhood schools?

When most people think of this they might picture a school that everyone walks to. Maybe some older kids ride their bikes. There are few if any busy streets to cross. The neighborhood may or may not be economically or ethnically diverse, but almost all the students could get their on foot. At least that is the way it was when I was growing up.

My elementary school was somewhat ethically diverse, but had little diversity otherwise. About half of my friends had parents with a college degree, some had parents that were in grad school. We all lived in the same three or four bedroom small houses with modern designs. No one was rich, very few were poor. Everyone walked or road bikes to school. We also ran around the neighborhood from house to house bare foot after school. Nobody crossed a busy street to get to school. There were many other schools in town and room to build more, but the town I lived in started closing down the schools - the baby boom was over and there wasn't enough students to fill every school. It was also true that as people in our neighborhood earned more they tended to move away - usually across town to the more affluent area, and away from the problems at the middle school.


Would it surprise you to learn that I went to Monta Loma?


19 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 28, 2015 at 8:47 pm

Kids don't need mommy and daddy in the classroom.
It's a distraction.


3 people like this
Posted by Bean Counter
a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2015 at 1:08 pm

There are 8 schools total only if you count the 2 middle schools. Eliminating PACT as a separate principal would even out for putting 2 principals in charge of 2 programs at Castro. There would still then be 6 elementary school principles. Add 1 for opening a new school in the Whisman area.

There are over 5000 kids already. Graham is over 800 and Crittenden is 600. So the 1400 Middle school kids are along with 3600 current elementary school kids. In 6 programs the average size is 600 kids NOW. But at Castro, they aren't going to have 2 each of 600 student schools. Going to 7 programs is really at best going to 6.5 since Castro's 2 will only ever equal 1.5 the size of the other schools. So, there' not much room for growth with that model of sizes. Average size would already be 550 for regular schools and 825 for the double (1.5) homing at Castro.

Really with all the property tax growth (the North Bayshore area with the special district is not the only place new expensive office construction is happening) it seems like there should be room for more programs.


23 people like this
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 2, 2015 at 10:08 am

One, this should not be an argument of Neighborhood school vs. PACT. Every public school in a district should be a neighborhood school regardless of the programs offered at the school (i.e. Choice-program or regular). Neighborhood schools are designed to allow for easy transportation for students and their families. Schools should also reflect their neighborhood. The Stevenson PACT and Theuerkauf schools should represent the community/neighborhood their school is located in and should thus serve. For the statistics:

Ethnic Group Stevenson Theuerkauf
- White 61% 10%
- Latino 14% 64%
- Asian 10% 5%

The numbers never lie! It is clear that their is an obvious discrepancy in how two schools in the same neighborhood serve completely different populations. This was never an argument about boundary lines, however it does make us start to think what the District thinks the definition of a "neighborhood school" is.

Two, I say we create more neighborhood schools! Allow our students, children, and tomorrow's leaders attend school with their neighbors, close-by friends, and build relationships in the neighborhood. Lets offer our Whisman neighbors a school they can call 'home," and diminish choice schools that segregate our neighborhoods. Private schools were created for families that want to feel like they are some how more involved in their child's live than their counterparts. All parents are great parents! All parents care! Our "neighborhood" should be our home, the place we care about, and the place our children continue to preserve, protect, and make their own.

I vote for the "true neighborhood school"!


17 people like this
Posted by I wonder
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 2, 2015 at 10:39 am

What would happen if we eliminated the idea of "neighborhood" schools. We could reimagine all of the schools so that they are more like magnet schools that have different focuses or specialities. PACT, Dual Immersion, creative/performing Arts focus, STEM focus, Project Based Learning, Blended learning, Sports/physical activity focus, or a traditional school.

It seems from the comments and observations I have made, Many kids aren't actually walking/biking to school any rate. Likewise, in giving kids and parents interests based schooling, students can make connections that extend beyond what home your parents could or couldn't afford.


10 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood Schools
a resident of another community
on Mar 2, 2015 at 1:33 pm

I'm sure the neighborhood over by Huff would be much affected if you kicked out all the non-neighborhood kids from their school. The school would be so much smaller. Monta Loma also would be very much smaller if only nearby neighborhoods as close as those around Castro were assigned to it.

The problem with this fascination with neighborhood schools is that neighborhoods change over time, and where there were once plenty of kids at some point down the road yields a very lightly filled school site. And of course the reverse is true too.


28 people like this
Posted by Cart before the horse
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 2, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Why are we making all of these decisions just a short while before we hire a permanent superintendent? Why?

If you were a high quality superintendent candidate, would you rather:
1) Accept a job at a district with a set of interesting challenges and lots of accurate research waiting for you to review?
2) Accept a job at a district where a committee members motivated by their own agendas and self interest have made rash decisions and limited the superintendent's chance to succeed?

I understand the desire for Whisman neighborhood to have a neighborhood school.

I don't believe that proper research has been done in any of these areas: Castro, Theuerkauf, Stevenson, Whisman.

I believe that the trustees are bending to the wishes of the loud and annoying and self-serving. Two of the board members ran on the platform of opening a school in Whisman neighborhood. They are personally invested in that succeeding so that they can be re-elected. The board member with children who are school-aged won't even deign to send his own children to a neighborhood Whisman school. He doesn't send his children to any neighborhood schools. His neighborhood middle school isn't up to snuff either. Neighborhood schools are not something he believes in apparently, but re-election is. And election to other offices, using MVWSD as a springboard.

I believe that any deadlines that the board has set up have no basis. Again, why does any of this have to be decided before the superintendent is hired and participates in solving this? Why? How to solve this problem should be part of the interview process.

The board should stop the crazy-action taking, and be logical and rational here. Otherwise we will be wasting loads of time and energy.


28 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 2, 2015 at 9:03 pm

People should really know PACT before passing judgements upon it.
Our family chose PACT because we took the time to learn all about it. We still had plenty of concerns, but we decided it was the best place for our child. We also felt we could full fill the parental involvement requirements. It has certainly NOT been easy, in fact it has meant many sacrifices to make it work.
NOBODY claimed the parents of traditional school kids don't "care" just as deeply about their kids education as PACT parents do. The difference is how the parents and school work together to improve parental involvement to improve student performance. PACT is an experiment in a different way to educate children. Since moving to Stevenson, PACT has shown great results.
PACT is no more about segregation than the "dual Immersion" school is. Such claims are from people who just don't know PACT or PACT parents. PACT draws kids from all across the entire school district, just as any "choice program" would.
Some people who have NOT been in classrooms claim that parents should not be so involved. As a parent who helps teach in class each week, I can assure you that this is of great benefit to all the students and teachers. You simply have no idea how over-worked teachers are all by themselves in a classroom of 25 or more kids. Parents provide teachers and students with the help they need at no extra cost to the school. Parents are told from the first day that when they are at school they are for the entire class, not just their own kid. I have not seen this to be a distraction and most kids get this idea right away. PACT parental involvement is like having 3 teachers per classroom most of the time for the price of one.
The Stevenson PACT school performs well for it's students, why tear-down or drastically disrupt something that works well?
Why not focus on trying to improving traditional style schools which are not performing as well?
The Stevenson PACT School is a valuable alternative to traditional schools and something our city and district should be proud of, NOT something people should desire to rip-up, again. By the way, the PACT school has already been thrown across the district twice before. Only now at Stevenson has it really been allowed to show what the PACT methods can really achieve.
Let's NOT make this about pitting one successful school against other schools, but rather about how we can best improve all our schools.
Don't condemn the successful Stevenson PACT School to a third massive disruption just because you don't really understand it.


17 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 2, 2015 at 10:29 pm

@PACT Parent

Maybe if more kids were "allowed" in the program, you would not see the animosity towards PACT you are currently seeing on this board. Lucky for you your kid got in, but many of us did not. I wonder how you would feel to be sitting on the other side of the fence, seeing a great school that your child can't attend.

I can volunteer 40 hours a week, every week in my child's neighborhood school and it will never become Stevenson. It's crazy that the district puts families against each other, neighbors against each other, trying to "win" a spot at a public school. Any child who wants to attend Stevenson (or a school with the same teaching philosophy) should be allowed to do so.


17 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 2, 2015 at 11:56 pm

@ Canela,
That suggests the issue is "sour grapes" from the people who don't get a slot in the yearly lottery. I seriously doubt that. The "trash-talk" is full of mis-information. It's clear they don't know much about PACT.

Enrollment limits is one of the issues I have been making suggestions about.
First, the Stevenson PACT School site could in theory support more students,
but that would require either a full re-build of the campus to make it more space-efficient, or we would need to move the MVWSD offices off of the Stevenson campus and make use of those buildings to expand the PACT school. If the MVWSD school offices moved, then PACT could support far more kids.

Second, the PACT method is very different for teachers. It's tough to find teachers who can just drop-in to a new teaching slot at PACT. Training takes time.

Third, some people "assume" the choice of PACT is based exclusively on the school "ratings". The PACT method is so much more than it's statistics. If that were the issue, we would go to a private school. PACT can adjust for the individual needs of individual kids far better than traditional schools and even better than private schools. Just to name one reason we chose PACT.

Fourth, most parents could not meet the involvement requirements. Most would not feel comfortable with the fact their kids are going to be taught and watched-over by other parents. PACT makes "it takes a village to raise a child" into a reality. When parents are in class or watching kids at recess or during "baby-sitting" for meetings duties, we "parent" other PACT parents kids. ALL parents take part in various ways to support the needs of the PACT school.

There is nothing easy about what we do to keep our kids in PACT.

How many kids would go to PACT if we had unlimited enrollment?
Hard to say, but no matter how you draw the lines, lots of people will always wish they were on the other side. Certainly no excuse to trash-talk the people who are where they want to be, don't you agree?

Again, my message is the same, don't pass judgement on something until you really know what you are talking about.


7 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:34 am

FYI: State Superintendent Jan 20 '15 letter discussion on 'required' parent hours.
In response to a Public Advocate letter - the State Superintendent's Office has issued a public letter reminding all charter (and magnet/choice) schools, of no mandatory parent contract requirements. Expect this to be strongly enforced in the comming several years.
Web Link

Fiscal Management Advisory 15-0
Web Link

"Making Rights Real" ?
Does this change some baselines?

Steven Nelson, Trustee MVWSD


28 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 3, 2015 at 8:44 am

There is already enough sensational attention of our school district that glosses over the nuances, that I hope Trustee Nelson won't add to it.

The Stevenson PACT principal has been working on conveying that parent participation is optional for three years now, and the policy Trustee Nelson highlights as new was already sent to district and school site PACT parent leadership, and they are all working on the issue.

I would encourage Trustee Nelson work with the people who are already trying to address the issue, rather than contribute to the vilifying of any part of our school community or making veiled threats of enforcement, which he does not have the power alone to follow through. Thankfully no board member can enact policy alone.

Anyone who has ideas to improve our schools, get involved with the district, not just here on message boards. Join committees, contribute to the superintendent search, come to board meetings, and please hold your school board accountable at all times.
Christopher Chiang
MVWSD School Board Trustee
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the school board.


24 people like this
Posted by Who says we are not?
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 3, 2015 at 9:54 am

@ Chris, does the board really care what the community thinks?

Making decisions without transparency (Goldman's departure, Castro's 2 site- plan) and conning the public into a measure bond that is being used for needs outside of what was promised - could be leaving the community feeling hopeless.

Trustees, sort your issues with one another privately, rather than airing those. Make decisions on the community's behalf openly. Be public servants - that's what we voted you in for.


7 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:53 am

@ Who Says,

Caring what the community thinks and doing what the loudest part of the community wants are not always the same thing.

Goldman resignation seems to be now a lawyers argument since both the media and the MVWSD got legal advice.

The Castro split reacted to an extensive outreach program.

When you have a $450 million facilities plan and a $198 million bond issue, you can't always get what you want. Measure G's oversight committee would be the place to air any issues about the pending school facilities.

As to issues among board members, I'd agree with you that we may have been subjected to TMI since the 2012 election. That can be corrected in November 2016.


32 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 3, 2015 at 7:55 pm

Instead of putting the Dual Immersion Program (DI) at Castro with the Neighborhood Program, why not put DI with PACT at the Stevenson site? The Stevenson site and District Office need a major overhaul so why not use the space and the bond money well by putting both Choice Programs there? The DI program can draw families from both the Theuekauf and Castro neighborhoods. We can work with the City of Mountain View and maybe Google since Google expressed a desire for a world class bicycle transportation plan, to put a bridge over the train and Central Expressway at Escuela so that families do not have to cross at Rengstorff. This would allow Castro to be a neighborhood program, allow Whisman to have a neighborhood school and co-locate the two choice programs.


7 people like this
Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm

@parent - good thinking. The "splitting" of Castro into "two" schools on one same campus doesn't make sense. Your suggestion is much better.


12 people like this
Posted by Dollars Don't Add Up
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 3, 2015 at 11:54 pm

For transparency sake, I don't have kids, so some may see my opinion as irrelevant. However, as a person that is not invested emotionally, I feel my thoughts on this topic are more even-keeled. I understand that the Whisman/Slater neighborhoods are fighting for a "neighborhood" school; however, how can a school district appease one part of an entire district at the expense of each other school? According to the article, the German and Chinese schools that both rent the Whisman campus pay between $850,000 -$950,000 per year in rent. It's my understanding this rent money is unrestricted. That means the district can use it for ANYTHING it wants, versus other monies which are tied to specific bond and restricted spending accounts. Is it worth kicking out a paying tenant that provides close to 1Million dollars annually to the district to open a "neighborhood" school for Whisman/Slater residents? Sounds like a no brainer here; keep the money!


3 people like this
Posted by Tax Revenue
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:36 am

Keep in mind that Mountain View Whisman taxable land values overall are raising on the order of 8-10% per year. This district is getting more and more revenue for operations. The need is far less for rental income than it once was. Also, the rents are way below market. The deals were negotiated before the recent explosion in rent costs and they probably escalate just by the cost of living, not specifically by rent values.


33 people like this
Posted by @ Old Steve
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 4, 2015 at 8:06 am

Regarding your comment that issues among Board member can be corrected in 2016 - perhaps Mr. Nelson could realize how destructive and harmful his behavior is to the district and resign before 2016? That would allow the Board to appoint someone who truly has the best interests of ALL of the students of this district at the core of their beliefs.


7 people like this
Posted by Dollars Don't Add Up
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 4, 2015 at 9:55 am

Regarding overall taxable land values going up, so too do operating costs each year just to maintain what the district has. Any business owner knows that operating costs increase each year. After the district renegotiated with the teacher's union and gave a substantial pay increase to teachers last year, presumably, much of that taxable revenue is being used to support salaries and benefits. Unrestricted rental income at close to 1 million per year equates to $125,000 extra for each of the 8 campuses to use annually, or for any other renovation or upgrade the district sees will benefit the most students district wide. That's not chump change for a campus.

@ Tax Revenue has a good point about the low rent relative to land value. Perhaps the district needs to renegotiate the rental agreement when the lease is up for renewal? All I'm saying is that UNRESTRICTED revenue sources help ALL of the students in the district, and it isn't something that should be taken lightly to make residents of two neighborhoods happy. As a public district, they need to support as many kids as possible maintaining fiduciary responsibility to the tax payers. Although I don't have kids, I still pay taxes, and I think they need to think long and hard before throwing away 1M per year. Just another of many, many opinions on the matter totally made to take with a grain of salt :)


16 people like this
Posted by Priceless
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm

You really can't put a price on how important it is to have a neighborhood school. North Whisman has NO school at all, let alone a choice program. These children and their families deserve a school, within walking/riding distance that they can call their own. This neighborhood HAD a school. This neighborhood had TWO schools! The decision to close Slater was made despite a tremendous effort from this neighborhood to save it. It was a David vs Goliath situation and Goliath won. It was B*(($H!T. We still need a school.


13 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm

How many people arguing today were paying attention when first Whisman and then Slater were closed by different School Boards acting in the best interests of different School Districts? I was, that's how I know I am "Old". The chicken and egg, is you can't guarantee a new school will be "high performing". If it is not, you can't be certain parents will walk their kids there rather than driving all over town. If we can get contracts from ALL parents in a Whisman/Slater attendance area that they WILL send their kids to a new school, I'd support it in a minute. Since that approach would be illegal, we need to have a demonstrated excess of demand before planning to open the school. Yes it is hard on people who moved in knowing the school situation. To foolishly correct it due to noise is taking away from all children of the district.


8 people like this
Posted by Old Dan
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Closing Whisman and Slater were both the right things at the time. Times have definitely changed. There are a lot more pupils in the district now than there were at that time. Even specifically in the area previously served by Whisman and Slater there are now more pupils than there were then. Also, property tax revenue is WAY UP since that time too. Finally, the schools do need some work, and at that time there was no bond money at hand to do required maintenance let alone upgrades.

Remember, closing Whisman and Slater were prompted by the departure of the families who once lived up at Moffett Field in base housing. The closure of the base also made vacancies in rental housing in the area where single enlisted staff had resided. Everything is related.


3 people like this
Posted by Tax Revenue
a resident of another community
on Mar 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Note that the added revenue has not been consumed entirely by increased expenses. There has been an annual surplus for several years now. Signs are the rate of growth of that surplus will continue increasing.

I'd like to see the teachers get an 8% per year raise. Yeah, that would keep place with the revenue growth, and still allow for 8% increases in all the district's other expenses as well.


13 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 4, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Military families did drop off after base closing, but Officer families were already going to Landels. Slater closed after families had already moved into Whisman Station, but had decided not to send their kids to Slater. At the time it was all about program and test scores, since PACT was only part of the school (which is why it was moved to Castro). Sure, conditions have changed, but what if we open the school for only 10 years before we close another one after spending bond money on both of them. Everybody with K-5 kids in the neighborhood now moved to the neighborhood knowing there is not presently a neighborhood school. We should do it when capacity makes it necessary to improve everybody's education. Pass a big new Parcel tax for K-3 class size reduction (back to 20 per classroom) and we would certainly need enough extra elementary classrooms to support a new school. That Parcel Tax would be permanent and in addition to the one that might be renewed in 2016. Property tax revenue was discussed extensively at Board Study Session last night.


13 people like this
Posted by Objects Too Much
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 4, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Christopher Chiang seems to be saying "Everything is fine. Nothing to see here. Move along."

He is even denying what is in writing in his own agenda packet to the board meeting.

Why does he object to every complaint raised by a parent? Has the washing machine reached the Spin Cycle soo early?

Glad to see we have a politician at the board.

Good work!


8 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 5, 2015 at 7:26 am

Has anyone seen the latest proposals for the new boundaries. There are five scenarios and all of them have our neighborhood going to Castro instead of Bubb. Needless to say, if this is gong to happen, our property values have just taken a nose dive.
I had a feeling this was coming as soon as DI separated from Castro. Now they need to get more families w/ higher SES who can bring up their numbers. Why not just work on the kids who are there and use programs that work rather than subjecting the rest of us to send our kids there? Has anyone ever sat through a traditional class at Castro? The behavior issues they have to deal with are real there. How can a student learn when the teacher is constantly being interrupted? Do they honestly think that people will send their kids to a failing school?
So, elsewhere in the district, the people what they wanted...money talks. Reduced class sizes at Huff, DI and PACT got their own private settings, etc., etc. The next move will be to get DI out of the Castro campus...yeah, maybe in their own school with PACT.
Weill, our neighborhood is going to put up a fight with these new proposals...we are not going to sit by and watch our property values tank because someone who would never put their kids in a "neighborhood" school has decided that they need to bring up the scores at a failing school. Any one who is on the board who is advocating neighborhood schools and sends their kid to a choice program... [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


6 people like this
Posted by I wonder
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

@Lisa,

"Has anyone seen the latest proposals for the new boundaries. There are five scenarios and all of them have our neighborhood going to Castro instead of Bubb. Needless to say, if this is gong to happen, our property values have just taken a nose dive. I had a feeling this was coming as soon as DI separated from Castro. Now they need to get more families w/ higher SES who can bring up their numbers. Why not just work on the kids who are there and use programs that work rather than subjecting the rest of us to send our kids there? Has anyone ever sat through a traditional class at Castro? The behavior issues they have to deal with are real there. How can a student learn when the teacher is constantly being interrupted? Do they honestly think that people will send their kids to a failing school?"

Have you sat through a traditional class at Castro? Better yet, have you been able to sit in on classrooms at both Castro and Bubb to compare the teaching pedagogies in both of those classrooms? I am only asking in that what is considered a "good" school (Read API) has more to do with SES and parents education than it does with teaching strategies. That is not to dismiss or discount the effect any teacher in our district has on student performance, only to provide a context for looking at decisions.

It is really sad that many in community are looking to pit schools and teachers against each other. Dual Immersion and primary language instruction is research base pedagogy that has been shown to help ELL's, and is recommended by the Santa Clara County office of education. PACT is a wonderful program for those who choose to send their kids and want that for their students. Those programs have a place in our school ALONG with our traditional neighborhood schools.

It seems to be that there should be an actual survey to find hard numbers of how many kids would actually send their kids to Slater/Whisman if it were to open in let's say 2016-2017. Likewise, those families who would leave their current school be it Thueurkauf, Castro Bubb, Huff, Landels, Monta Loma, or Stevenson, would be subtracted from those numbers. This gives a realistic picture of what we ACTUALLY need.


3 people like this
Posted by I wonder
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 5, 2015 at 10:21 am

Theuerkauf*** I apologize


9 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:08 am

@ I wonder-
Yes, I have done more than "sit through" a traditional class at Castro and every other school in the district.

I have nothing bad to say about the teachers. SES plays a bigger role than you think. Kids who come to school hungry and stressed from difficult home lives cannot do well in school. Have you been in a classroom at Castro?

Do you know how hard it is to teach kids who have given up and don't care about school at grade 3&4? There are behavior issues already in grades 1&2.

Until they implement a program that deals with the behavior issues and with the lack of interest ( on the part of the students & parents) Castro will continue to lag behind. They need to look at schools who have a track record of teaching this population, and I'm not talking about throwing money at ELL programs either.

If the district thinks parents will all of a sudden start sending their kids to a school that is struggling, they have their blinders on tighter than I thought they did. If they want to go on about neighborhoods schools then I challenge them to send their own kids there and stop segregating the have's from the have nots.


7 people like this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

Hi Everyone,

If you'd like to share your opinions or respond to the proposed district boundaries and scenarios, feel free to reach out to us at kforestieri@mv-voice.com or editor@mv-voice.com. You can also attend the next BATF meeting is scheduled for next week (March 10)

Thanks,
Kevin


10 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Please correct me if I am wrong:
None of the plans in the boundary committee are to close PACT.
None of the plans in the boundary committee shift the Shoreline West neighborhood to Castro. Link to the committee documents and videos:
Web Link

That’s not a statement for or against such plans, nor is implying that there aren't tough issues being explored by the committees. If criticism should be made, it should be made on things that are being done, and I would encourage it be made directly with the committees or school board.

Be part of developing solutions by joining meetings or following them online, except when there’s technical problems, our district, per board request two years ago, streams each of its main meetings to Youtube: Web Link

I am eager to meet with anyone who has concerns about our school district, and welcome corrections if my statement above is incorrect.
Christopher Chiang
cchiang@mvwsd.org
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the school board.


8 people like this
Posted by Another concerned parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm

First of all, the map that is included in the packet is a joke. Can anyone even read that thing? Why isn't there a more clear picture of the boundaries.

Don't worry, we'll be at the meetings.


14 people like this
Posted by Things that make you go hmmm...
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Thank you, Mr. Chiang, for linking the Agenda Packet to your most recent post. I most appreciate the slides referencing the district's operating budget, the capacity of the schools, and the current/projected populations.

Of note:
2015/16 Operating Budget: $51,525,745
2015/16 Revenue: $52,214,505
2015/16 Surplus: $688,760 (roughly 1.3% of the budget; not too much wiggle room there... only $130 per student in the district)

Rental Income from Google Daycare: $848,102 annually
Rental Income from German/Chinese Schools: $908,910 annually

Simple math... if you terminate either of the tenants in order to give Whisman neighborhood residents what they want, then the district will be in the hole at least $159,342-$220,150 annually. I say "at least" because operating budgets increase each year, and this budget is for next year only. Terminate both of these renters, and the district is in the red at least $379,492.

Does this make sense when the BATF committee also gives these numbers (keep in mind the goal is to have each school with 450-600 students)?

School Current Enrollment Projected Enrollment
Bubb 560 524
Castro DI 388 398
Castro Traditional 333 450
Huff 574 580
Landels 536 426
Monta Loma 480 400
Stevenson 368 360
Theuerkauf 411 400

Elementary math would say, "No"; 5 of the above schools are still UNDER the 450-600 number the district is shooting for regarding school size.

At this point, it looks like the Whisman/Slater neighborhood is most vocal because they want their own school while the masses are content, but once the rest of the MVWSD neighborhoods see the proposals, they are going to put up a fight, most markedly because giving Whisman/Slater a school means shuffling kids around at most of the other schools with redrawing boundary lines, negatively impacting children around the school district. The board will never be able to please everyone all the time; however, it does need to protect the finances of the district for all families, regardless of who it upsets.



4 people like this
Posted by Chris Read Please
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 5, 2015 at 5:31 pm

If Christopher Chiang would only read his own linked doc he would clearly see that all 5 scenarios force SWAN into Castro. This is the 2nd time he has tried to deny this fact.

Please read the agenda packet and tell me how I am wrong.


5 people like this
Posted by Bean Counter
a resident of another community
on Mar 5, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Speaking of things that make you go hmmm...

Contrast:
2015/16 Operating Budget: $51,525,745
2015/16 Revenue: $52,214,505

With:
2012/13 Operating Budget: $42,385,679
2012/13 Revenue: $48,262,462

Very similar enrollment in both years, but somehow over 3 years, revenue is forecast to increase 8.1% (across 3 years, not per year) and expenses for roughly the same enrollment go up 21.5% We know teacher salaries won't be 21.5% greater in 2015/16 than they were in 2012/13. No way no how. I suppose they have lowballed the property tax revenue growth and also exaggerated the potential need to pay way more into teacher retirement funds, which may not materialize to the extent forecast. It's all a game for them in the budgeting process.


5 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 5, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Regarding the concern with Shoreline West, I understand what the charts show, but the charts in the packet do not reflect the district's current discussions.

Come out to a future committee meeting or come to the 3/19 board meeting where facilities will be discussed, or watch either online Web Link when they happen.

I am not advocating for or against Shoreline West or any neighborhood. Nor am I saying Shoreline West should or should not be discussed. I am pledging that if any neighborhood like Shoreline West is facing dramatic change, it would not be something done clandestinely. I myself would be part of an effort to vigorously contact that community to invite them to be part of the process.

If anyone ever has concerns of what's going on in the school district, get involved, contact the district, contact the board, and if you don't get a response, then air them here, rather than start here first.

Respectfully,
Christopher Chiang
MVWSD School Board Trustee
cchiang@mvwsd.org
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the school board.


8 people like this
Posted by Another concerned parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:26 am

Why would you post maps that have nothing to do with what you are discussing? And then you have the audacity to mention the word "clandestinely"???? That's insane.

Don't tell me that it wasn't the plan all along when the decision was made to remove DI from Castro. You need to bump up the scores at that school, so how else would you do it?

Maybe we should think about making Castro a charter school that has a proven record of working with that particular demographic...they'll know how to work with the kids if you don't.


10 people like this
Posted by Start Here
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 6, 2015 at 9:08 am


Those 5 scenario maps clearly show that SWAN is destined to go to Castro. There was not one single scenario that had SWAN staying in Bubb. Not One!

But Christopher Chiang tells us not to worry; that a documented 5 out of 5 scenarios means nothing. Really. Nothing.

I'd like to give Christopher Chiang the benefit of the doubt. But when 5 out of 5 scenarios say SWAN is going to Castro it stretches credibility to the extreme to say otherwise. Maybe it was a clerical error? Maybe the staff who designed the 5 scenarios were not qualified to do so. If that is the case, why put them into a meeting agenda?

Until such time that a written legal document says SWAN is staying in Bubb, we have no other choice but to believe the 5 documented scenarios.

So, concerned parents, please do not relax, do not take Christopher Chiang's word for it. Go to the meeting. Voice your concerns. And then come back here and hold him and the other board members accountable.

But never stop speaking out in public like Christopher Chiang wishes. This is 2015, and public forums like the MV Voice are here to stay.



9 people like this
Posted by I wonder
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 9:40 am

@ Lisa,

I have been to TP programs at Castro and my main point is that using API and other measures are one dimensional. If we are talking about growth( where did students start vs where do they end up, I think you will find that Castro classrooms actually make significant growth.

Like you have mentioned there are significant home/life factors that make learning difficult for those students? NONE have to do with capacity for learning, but more about the stress that you mentioned earlier. I don't think the teachers and families in the Castro community necessarily want more "high" kids to raise scores. Wasn't that the impetus to separate the DI/TP programs to address the needs of the students that are in the TP program. Likewise, the district is applying for title I funding for Theuerkauf and Castro, increasing the population of non low SES students would eventually remove their eligibility.

I do have another question which I don't necessarily need/want an answer to but. your statement:

"Why not just work on the kids who are there and use programs that work rather than subjecting the rest of us to send our kids there?"


Doesn't this sounds a great deal like "separate but equal?" What's good for those kids, is not what is good for my kids.

Again, I believe the teachers and district are working internally to figure out how best to serve the needs of the kids by looking at different program models. I don't think adding higher SES students is one of the turnaround principles.


3 people like this
Posted by Shoreline West
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:34 am

Is Shoreline West one of the areas that was shifted FROM Castro TO Bubb about 6-8 years ago? (If so, that many in the neighborhood moved there while the area was in the Castro boundary).

I could be mistaken. Maybe someone remembers.


6 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 6, 2015 at 10:58 am

I am looking at this purely as a homeowner now, not as a parent. If I'm trying to sell my house and and young family is taking a look at schools my children would be going to...and they see that Castro is the one they should be going and see the API score...they will not be looking at all the factors that go into a good school. Why would they spend close to and of a million dollars on a home and have to also pay for private school? The first and most of the time, only factor they will see is the API score and Castro will and has had the lowest in the district.

Not everyone is as enlightened as some as to what makes up a good school. I have met many of the teachers at Castro and they all work very hard. What I would not subject my child to is the behavior issues that go on, and the constant battles the teachers have with some of the students (it only takes one or two "bad seeds" in the class to set off the rest of the kids). What kind of learning would happen in that scenario...well, I guess we'll see when the API scores fit the school. If they find a way to manage the classrooms (and I believe the current administrators are not doing a good job with this), then you will see the scores going up for all the kids and we will truly have a school where everyone will be happy to attend.


5 people like this
Posted by i wonder
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

@ Lisa,

API scores have been suspended. The last scores are for the 2012-2013 school year. Likewise, Castro TP will no longer carry the weight of the a low API score because they will be starting fresh.

Classroom behavior issues happen at ALL the schools. Again, I know that there are huge challenges to work with at Castro, but i truly believe all students can learn with strong teachers.

Again, I challenge you to question your not good enough my children philosophy. If it isn't for your children, then why would you be ok with sending other people's kids there?


7 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm

API Scores will not be used again. Common Core comes with a new testing regime. One of the reasons API has been discontinued is that research has shown that it does not correlate to teaching skill or learning ambition, or even directly to SES. The only thing it directly correlates to is "Mother's Educational Attainment". Thus, before it's demise it earned the nickname "Affluent Parent Index".


5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Mar 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Maybe the problem is having assigned attendance area schools. They really are not neighborhood schools. It causes all sorts of problems. Many districts let parents choose. Funds are attached to a student - special program students get more funds attached to them. Schools in a district design there own programs. Works well in San Francisco. It could work here as well.


5 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm

@ I Wonder-
Not sure how you know what my philosophy is since you don't know me.

I would want every kid in the district to have the same benefits. That includes using some of the strategies they use in the "choice" programs.


5 people like this
Posted by Shoreline West
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm

@Parent - "Works well in San Francisco."

Are you kidding? People avoid public schools like the plague, largely because they need to route their kids to schools far from their homes. And young elementary students, though more public transit-savvy than kids in the suburbs, are often not safe transferring around SF on buses and muni.


5 people like this
Posted by Jill Rakestraw
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Mr. Things that make you go hmmm...,

Currently, if board chooses the option that includes opening Whisman, the new school would co-locate with both the German school and Yew Chung. The district would not be losing the rental income.


3 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 6, 2015 at 8:17 pm

Linked here is the Boundary Advisory Task Force plan that reflects the current state of discussions:
Web Link

The next Boundary Advisory Task Force meeting is this Tuesday 3/10 Web Link and the next board meeting where boundaries are discussed is 3/19. No one is trying to make decisions without the public. Attend meetings and contribute, but attend or not, this district's staff and volunteers are working hard in this process to do right by everyone's children. As always, videos of past meetings can be found at the district website: Web Link

Christopher Chiang
MVWSD School Board Trustee
cchiang@mvwsd.org
The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the school board.


12 people like this
Posted by Dollars Don't Add Up
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 7, 2015 at 11:45 am

@Jill
Having three schools on the same site? Anyone who lives in the area knows the horrendous parking situation with two schools at the Whisman campus. There is no way to accommodate additional cars in this saturated area. Where would said third school go? I hope the district isn't planning on building on top of the much utilized and loved soccer and baseball fields. This green space is needed by our community, and any further carbon footprints at the expense of park space should be discouraged.


13 people like this
Posted by Slater Parent
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm

I know first hand how the pact program works. My child's class, while at slater, was converted to pact. They wanted to move my child out because we weren't pact. We stood our ground. I saw first hand how parents in a class room
dominated the class. Disrupting the flow, ultimately confusing a young mind. Parents wake up! Give your kids space, separation is key in development.
Not to say volunteering at an appropriate event isnt important, just be included and not intrusive!


21 people like this
Posted by concerned Theuerkauf parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 9, 2015 at 10:48 am

This isn’t a Pro PACT or against PACT issue. What concerns me are the proposals, specifically # 5a, 5b & 5c. I don’t understand how it is legal to close a neighborhood school & put in a choice school in its place. The district can sugar coat this any way they want, the bottom line is if 5a, B or C are chosen then the choice school will take over the neighborhood school and if you don’t agree w/the choice school philosophy then you can go to another school that is not in your neighborhood.

I know many don’t understand the stand some of us have against this so I will break it down this way. What if the district decided to take over your neighborhood school and put in the duel immersion choice program. If you do not wish to have your child participate in the duel immersion program well then sorry but you will have to go to another school that is on the other side of town. It’s simple, if I wanted my child to go to a choice school regardless of PACT, DI, etc. I would have enrolled them for a choice program. I chose to live where I live for the neighborhood public schools that it provides.

Theuerkauf is my neighborhood school and has been my choice for my children and will continue to be so. Why is the district forcing us to either choose to go along w/the choice program or get out? Not to mention all of our teachers and staff @ Theuerkauf. The fact that the district is even considering this leads me to believe that they do not hold our communities interest to heart. Who’s interest are you truly looking out for?


17 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 9, 2015 at 2:31 pm

@ Concerned TH parent

I think most people in our neighborhood tend to sent their kids to other schools - either DI, Stevenson, other MV schools or private schools (none of my neighbors I know have selected TH this year). Because of this Theuerkauf suffers from under-enrollment and is the smallest of all the schools (besides Stevenson).

You may not agree with the other parents decision, but if the district is having trouble enticing enough students to fill that school, they have a problem and must think of creative ways to use that site effectively.

I'm not necessarily for or against closing TH, but I do think it's a reasonable option looking at the numbers. No matter what the district does at this point, some people will be upset, that's just a given.

With Stevenson now having an incredibly long waitlist (clearly there is demand), it does make sense to expand that school somehow.





23 people like this
Posted by Old MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2015 at 4:55 pm

I grew up in California and walked to my elementary school, I definitely get the appeal of this concept. But I do wonder whether the concept is more theoretical in our modern times of two car families where driving to school is the new normal even when school is close by.

Before we disrupt thriving schools and barely thriving schools in other areas of the city, do we really know how many kids in Slater/Whisman will actually attend a school there? There's a sheet in the BATF meeting materials from Feb. 10, showing that only 45-65% of kids in an area are attending their neighborhood school, with the exceptions of Huff and Bubb which are at a whopping 72% and 74%. Should we really rush into a decision that has a massive impact on many families just to satisfy the passionate cries of some other families?

It seems when all is said and done with the decision here, there will be unhappy families somewhere in the district. The board should consider first the financial feasibility of the scenarios then next the reality of how many families are disrupted and how many are satisfied. Sometimes the loudest is not the most.


7 people like this
Posted by Ania
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 10, 2015 at 4:12 am

I'm concerned about how much community input is being taken into account here. Meeting have been going on since January; but we learned about the process only this month, from an online forum we joined for the Shoreline West neighborhood. We've lived in the same house for nearly 7 years; we attended an info night at Bubb (our local school) last year; we attended again this year and registered our oldest son with the district a few weeks ago. The school district has sent us NOTHING to indicate that redistricting was being considered, including that OUR school assignment might change.

If neighborhood residents and newly registered students were not notified, have schools or the district at least informed families of attending students that big changes are under consideration?


8 people like this
Posted by Ania
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 10, 2015 at 4:15 am

Regarding walking to school, there is certainly data showing that far fewer kids walk to school today than 30 or 40 years ago. We would like our kids to walk to school but are concerned about traffic issues. As adults we've had drivers nearly hit us in cross walks, and some bicycle lanes get downright treacherous right at intersections. How successful Mountain View is in improving pedestrian and bicycle routes in general is a big key to whether more children walk to school.


3 people like this
Posted by MariposaStreet
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 10, 2015 at 8:56 am

If you look at the file that Chris posted on 3/6, it doesn't look like any of the current Scenarios include redistricting the Shoreline West Area that is currently districted in Bubb to another school (Castro). I know that was previously considered and definitely discussed in these comments. Is that now off the table? Hopefully our voices are being heard - Shoreline West Bubb area wants to stay at Bubb!


10 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 10, 2015 at 4:09 pm

@Slater Parent
I would point out that you are talking about the very early days of the PACT method in Mountain View and it was many years ago. As with anything new, there are problems getting things figured out. I don't know if they had "Parent Education" seminars back then, but the issues you refer to are certainly dealt with very effectively these days. The people I have spoken with and heard from who were involved with PACT then and today say a great many things have drastically improved over the years. Especially since moving to Stevenson.

Consider the teachers. When PACT began, the available teachers had not been taught in college how to manage the PACT concept, let alone how to manage parent-assistants in class, or even any sort of parental involvement. Over the years at Stevenson, the teaching staff has become well-versed in how to manage the PACT methods and how to gain the greatest benefits from all forms of parental involvement.

The simple fact that PACT has been allowed to find a real home for the last 6 years here at Stevenson, where PACT is valued and with a dedicated principal has made a world of difference. The kids and parents here are now all here by choice and have all been fully informed of what they are getting in to.

It is simply unfair and illogical to condemn a style of education today based on the start-up glitches from a decade ago.

Given the fact that on top of the 363 kids in the Stevenson PACT School today and that there is a waiting-list of 170 kids wanting to get in, I think any decade-old perceptions need to be put in historical perspective rather than assuming those old perceptions are still relevant today.

I assure you, the Stevenson PACT teachers and parents and kids have very productive relationships and are well-managed. For one example, when there is a substitute (which routinely happens in all schools), it is the parents who keep things going well and help the substitutes manage all the kids they don't personally know. The parents know what's been going on and what the routines are and that is a huge help to making the most of substitutes.

Parents also get to know the kids and know which kids need something different to be able to get the most out of their class time. Parents know which kids need to be kept focused and how to help them, etc.

I have said in a prior post, it's like having 3 teachers per classroom.

People who have not spent time in a classroom have no clue how much work teachers do every day. Properly prepared parents working with a properly trained teacher makes a huge difference.

So, to put a finer point on what I have said before, it's best not to trash-talk the Stevenson PACT School if you don't actually know it TODAY!
What may have been true 10 years ago, is no longer a valid complaint today.


9 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 10, 2015 at 5:00 pm

@Lisa,
API issues aside (I'm not sure they really ever meant anything relevant anyway), the issue of teachers not being able to cope with child behavior in modern classrooms is certainly a valid point.

Child behavior in class, by any measure, has deteriorated decade after decade and is indeed a huge difficulty for teachers. Teachers these days are forced to waste a great deal of time/effort dealing with behavioral problems and parents in denial about their kids behavior. I have heard many former K-12 teachers complain that this problem is a major reason why they are now "former" K-12 teachers.

Many fingers can point in many directions to place blame for this, all of which are probably valid, but unless someone has a workable solution for this, the blame-game is pointless (ironic).

Other than making huge social changes to restore the type of respect of children and parents for the teachers from decades gone by, the only thing I have seen that has been helpful has been at PACT. We have parents in the classroom. What this does is not only about having more eyes on the kids, meaning more adult supervision, but also, it changes the basic parent/child/teacher relationship.

When parents get to see the behavior of their own kids in the classroom, the parents understand and take corrective action with their own kids as needed. You don't have teachers telling parents their kids are disruptive and the parents just feeling insulted and assuming the problem is the teacher not liking their kid, or assuming it's some "other kid" causing the problem. Parents know the truth because they see it first-hand. Even for those parents not actually in the classroom, they usually will know another parent who is in the classroom and thus have another point of view available.

Kids also understand that if they mis-behave, then the parents in the class will do something to support the teachers and help provide corrective action. Parents have a vested interest in supporting the teachers and maintaining proper control of student behavior within acceptable limits.

While this sort of parental involvement in the classroom is an important part of the over-all PACT method, I don't see any reason why other schools can't find a way to incorporate some level of parental classroom involvement to improve the behavior of students in class. It certainly is not a quick/easy fix, but I think there is potential to make a huge step towards restoring the proper respect towards our teachers and towards making the classroom more manageable.

I just don't think teachers are going to be able to solve this problem all by themselves.

It's funny, how, in some ways, we need to make "progress" to make our schools better by making them more like they were decades ago. Sometimes you go forwards by bringing something back from the past that worked, respect for teachers.


12 people like this
Posted by Slater Parent
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 10, 2015 at 8:12 pm

@pact parent/rex manor
Yes, many years ago they we're figuring things out at the cost of the children.
Your post only proves how self-serving the pact program is. With 363 kids in the pack and 170 kids waiting to get in. Your program is exclusive at the tax payers dime. If parents want to be in the class spread yourself in all the schools. if it's about getting to know the kids.
Seriously parents really need to see the behavior of their kids in the classroom to understand. No thanks


10 people like this
Posted by Deniece Smith
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 10, 2015 at 11:02 pm

As of this evening, the BATF committee has chosen to delay recommendation to the Board until we can feel like we have been properly educated enough to make that recommendation. I commend Cleave Fink for this suggestion tonight.

Please email boundaries@mvwsd.org with all of your concerns. That is the official email that shares your input with every committee member. Please be cordial and constructive with your opinions. We are listening.

As well, you can follow updates on the Mountain View Neighborhood Associations Facebook page Web Link

Your concerns are valid. We appreciate them very much!


12 people like this
Posted by neighborhood schools first
a resident of Slater
on Mar 11, 2015 at 9:40 am

Seems to me that it is only logical that in a public school system, every neighborhood should have a school before entire school sites are started up for choice programs. It would be nice to have some extra choices at each site....STEM, language, music and art, life skills(such as money management, credit, investing, budgeting, job searching, career building etc) outdoor and environmental education and the list goes on....but a program designed around including parents?? Those kids and parents should be scattered around the district, to maximize AND minimize their effect.


14 people like this
Posted by concerned Theuerkauf parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:28 am

Theuerkauf has a an afterschool STEM club as well as a Tech club, Chess club, Science club, etc. I think many people have misconceptions about neighborhood schools and what they offer.

Many people think that because it is not a choice program school that you can't be as involved as you would in a choice program, but that is farm from the truth. There are several clubs at Theuerkauf including those developed by other kids, for example the neighborhood middle school (Crittenden) had kids from the Destination Imagination program design an afterschool program for the students at Theuerkauf where they participated in instant challenges, etc. There was also a rock and mineral club developed by a 3rd grade student @ Theuerkauf. Theuerkauf has always encouraged me as a parent to participate and volunteer as much or as little as I chose too as well as encouraged my children to explore their interests with a lot of available choices.

I don’t think that the mentality of having a neighborhood schools is quant, outdated, or just cute. My children have had the benefit of attending the same school as the neighborhood kids, they have the benefit of choice activities in the neighborhood school and I can volunteer as much or as little as I like.

The point is anyone can make a difference in their child’s neighborhood school and anyone can introduce choice programs like the ones mentioned above into their neighborhood school.


7 people like this
Posted by concerned Theuerkauf parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:29 am

*far not farm


5 people like this
Posted by Deniece Smith
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

Please use the email address boundaries@mvwsd.org to voice all of your opinions and concerns. It will guarantee that the entire BATF committee hears your voice.


17 people like this
Posted by neighborhood schools first
a resident of Slater
on Mar 11, 2015 at 12:27 pm

@concerned Theuerkauf parent

Well said, that sounds like a great school. It should be kept. And the Whisman neighborhood should be given back their neighborhood school because they deserve those same benefits.


18 people like this
Posted by Old MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I would like to continue the sentence began by 'neighborhood schools first':

"the Whisman neighborhood should be given back their neighborhood school because they deserve those same benefits ..." ... but only if the district can afford to open a school in the Whisman neighborhood.

If the district cannot afford to open a new school then the district should close a school in order to afford opening a new school. If the district determines that there is a greater negative impact on the community by closing a school than there is by not opening a new school, then the district should not open a new school.

We are enjoying a moment of financial stability in the school district but no one remembers how we got here. Financial prudence got us here. Let's not drive the district to financial ruin to get what "we" want.


7 people like this
Posted by Judy B.
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 11, 2015 at 6:54 pm

Question any PACT parent. Is there a tuition and if so how much. a


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm

@Judy,
PACT does NOT have any "tuition", that would be illegal for a public school. PACT does make requests for donations and does various other fund-raising activities.

This has been re-clarified recently in an email to all PACT parents.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 11, 2015 at 9:53 pm

@Slater Parent,
Again, your assertions is born of old self-serving perceptions NOT based on current reality.

The 170 child waiting-list is only proof of the demand that exists all over the district for kids to be taught in the PACT methods. PACT does NOT "exclude" people. PACT has made every effort to place as many kids onto the Stevenson campus as physically possible. Stevenson is the size it is, we only have so many rooms. Many of the PACT classrooms are remnants from the years my wife attended school and many are portables. Every effort has been made to increase the available seats in the PACT school.

The parents who apply to PACT get put into a RANDOM LOTTERY, there is NO "exclusion" based on any factors.

As has been clearly stated by the PACT school a number of times recently, the PACT school does NOT refuse a kid based on income or donations or level of parental involvement. Such things would be illegal for a public school, as one of the trustees has pointed out in a prior post.

PACT also raises a great deal of it's own operating budget by a variety of fund-raising events where parents and friends/relatives come together to donate money to the PACT school. The in-class parental involvement adds to the ability of the school and teachers to do their jobs better.

Again, it's trash-talking about something you have no current knowledge of is counter-productive and unfair to everyone, especially the people you are mis-informing.


10 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Regarding Theuerkauf,
I have always heard 2 seemingly conflicting stories about the Theuerkauf School, since long before I had a child of my own.

For the most part, the parents who actually send their kids to Theuerkauf say they are satisfied, even happy with the school and teachers and various extra activities at the school.

On the other-hand I hear and can see that Theuerkauf has plenty of "extra" capacity which could be filled with neighborhood kids IF their parents wanted to send them there. Many people I have talked to in the near-by neighborhood over the years had a poor perception of Theuerkauf and thus would prefer to send their kids elsewhere.

Since I have not spent class-time inside a Theuerkauf classroom to see the kids behavior and how well the teachers have productive control of the class, I cannot speak to that issue, nor do I make any assumptions on it. I don't even know if Theuerkauf allows such direct parental involvement.

I don't know how to reconcile these seemingly divergent views.

I do know some parents at Theuerkauf who have said they wanted to get in to PACT, but the random lottery put them too far down on the list at the time they first tried. And yet, these parents now say they are satisfied.

I know parents in the local neighborhood who have said they ONLY want to send their kids to a "traditional" school and would travel much farther to get to one if the closest school happened to be something other than traditional.

I'm NOT trash-talking, I'm simply saying that there is a long-standing perception issue about Theuerkauf which has always been confusing to me.

Based on what the current parents I know tell me about Theuerkauf, the school should be full to maximum capacity, (including the portables) rather than having excess rooms and renting-out some.

It helps to learn when you know what you don't know.


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 11, 2015 at 10:48 pm

@Old MV Parent,
The premise of your suggested decision-making process sounds fairly proper. However, you are assuming that the priorities of those who will be making the final decisions are actually based on just those factors which are made visible and are thus seemingly obvious to the community.

It has been pointed out, especially by the majority of the BATF members, that the district has not exactly gone out of it's way to communicate out to the parents, let alone the general public. I would bet that this article in the MV-Voice was far more effective in spreading the word about what is going on than the sum-total of all efforts by the district to communicate.

The majority of the BATF members were also disturbed by a wide variety of issues relating to the whole process of how these decisions are being made. Most of these could be described as a serious lack of transparency, if one wanted to put a fine point on these issues.

What we know for SURE is that when/(if) Stevenson is closed, there will be hundreds of families spread across the entire district who will be seriously impacted in order to satisfy, as you put it, the loud who want to gain something they have managed without just fine for a decade.

I am all fine with the desire to give Whisman a traditional neighborhood-centric school, but before we drag-race to the finish-line of a final decision, lets at least all be sure we understand the real reasons why the decisions are getting made and what the true impact will be for the hundreds of families who will have their school taken away as a result.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:40 pm

@neighborhood schools first,
I suppose it depends on how you choose to define the term "neighborhood".

This exact issue of how you define neighborhood came up at the BATF meeting.

Many people imagine that every child should have a public school so close to where they live that they can walk or bike to/from school each day and do so without the need to cross dangerous major streets.

I attended a different school every year of my childhood until high school, so I have a rare perspective on the idea of a "neighborhood school". I lived close enough to my designated "neighborhood school" to either walk or ride a bike only in 2nd and 5th grades. And I want to be clear, that when I went to school there was no such thing as a "choice" school, and the only private schools in the area were religion-based schools.

The depressing fact for some is that it's simply impossible to have so many schools built so that kids wont need to be driven to schools. Not to mention the little problem of how population centers move around over time.

Keep in-mind that the MVWSD school district only owns a very specific set of properties where it can have public schools. Several, perhaps most, of these sites are actually being used by private schools taking up some or all of the site capacity.

I would love it if there was a way to give every area where kids live a walking-distance public school, but that's just not possible.

As far as the 2 existing "choice schools" are concerned, it's clear that there is a very high level of demand for these schools from parents all across the district. They both serve a good purpose and both benefit the rest of the district by their existence.

Many kids will do far better at one or the other of these "choice schools" than they would in a traditional school setting. It's easier to explain to people why this is the case for the Dual-Immersion model, but it's also true for the PACT model. By providing choice schools for theses kids, the traditional schools can function better. By allowing the choice methods which are in-demand the kids who are a better fit for the choice schools also do better.

Diversity of choice is something we should be proud of, not tear-down out of personal spite, as some posters would prefer.


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 11, 2015 at 11:42 pm

@neighborhood schools first,
By the way, what "entire sites" do you think were "started-up" for which "choice schools"????????

PACT was started-up at an existing school at Slater. Then after a couple years it was tossed clear across the district to the existing Castro site. Then after a couple years PACT was tossed over to the existing Stevenson site. There PACT was finally able to thrive and be next-door to another existing school Theuerkauf. Now they want to bounce PACT yet again across to the existing Whisman school site.

The Dual-Immersion choice school was "started-up" at the existing Castro school site and will remain at that site.

So, what school sites do you assume were "started-up" to serve a "choice school"?????


8 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 12, 2015 at 9:40 am

Before DI was moved to Castro, it was originally housed at Landels.


3 people like this
Posted by 3 schools
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm

It's no more questionable that 3 schools should be located at Whisman than it is that 2 should be located at Castro. The number of students involved is apparently about the same, since the private schools are smaller than the district schools by quite a bit.

What they may be after in shutting down PACT is in NOT giving the parents in the area that will be assigned to the reopened Whisman any OUT to go to another location. They need to force them all into the new option for it to work numbers wise. Obviously there are going to be a lot of folks up there wanting to continue at the school they have been assigned to for 10 years (and their kids may have gone to K-2 at, or K-3 or K-4 with just 1 2 or 3 years left in elementary.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

@3 schools,
A couple of points...
First, they wont "require" parents to send their kids to a specific school, especially either of the "choice schools" against their will. The parents, who feel strongly about what they don't want, do have options.

Secondly, the vast majority of Whisman/Slater area parents seem to want specifically a traditional neighborhood-priority school. The attitude seems to be that they are only "willing to accept" PACT because it's the only way to get a school.

PACT produces such good results because it has a huge amount of direct parental involvement and donations. The more parents going to PACT who have little/no interest in parental involvement or donations places a bigger burden on the parents who do give their time/effort/money to PACT. OR WORSE, a lowering of the quality of the PACT education.

Where PACT is currently, Theuerkauf traditional school is next-door. At Whisman or Slater there would not be any such traditional school available for those parents.

The balance of PACT-friendly parents versus traditional-friendly parents will shift depending on how many PACT-friendly parents can cope with the added commute times caused by the move of PACT from the centrally located Stevenson campus over to the right-hand-corner of the district.

If too many non-involvement parents come in right away, things could get difficult fast.

Moving PACT to Whisman has some very problematic effects on the commute for everyone NOT located in the Whisman/Slater neighborhood. It forces most parents to cross highway 85 and many to cross Shoreline as well. If you look at Google maps, you will see that crossing 85 puts people into very few intersections. And of course, this is in addition to whatever major roads that the PACT parents already need to cross to get to the centrally located Stevenson.

With too many non-participation parents at a Whisman PACT the PACT model will lose quality. PACT would once again, for the fourth time, get kicked-out and the school-board will just turn Whisman back to an ordinary traditional school. Nice for Whisman, but really bad for PACT families.

PACT is a concept, an idea, and sure, somehow, someplace some kids will probably get to experience PACT methods no matter what else happens, but how many and where and what quality, that is what is at stake in the decisions being debated now.


17 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 13, 2015 at 8:12 am

@PACT parent

"PACT parental involvement is like having 3 teachers per classroom most of the time for the price of one."
You've made a couple of these comments yet also say things about how teachers deserve respect. Moving forward, let's not equate parents in the classroom (i.e. those without teaching credentials, professional training and obligations) to teachers and instead liken them to teacher aides - unpaid at that. Put in the corrected context, everyone might agree that if we could add two unpaid teacher's aides to every classroom across the district student performance likely would increase.

"The 170 child waiting-list is only proof of the demand that exists all over the district for kids to be taught in the PACT methods."
That isn't the only reason, and you know it. Demographics and the nature of the program provide clues to other reasons.

"The parents who apply to PACT get put into a RANDOM LOTTERY, there is NO "exclusion" based on any factors."
Except for those who have self-excluded by not applying because they feel they cannot afford to participate in the ways the program requests/suggests, or don't feel comfortable in those demographic groups.

"PACT also raises a great deal of it's own operating budget by a variety of fund-raising events where parents and friends/relatives come together to donate money to the PACT school."
So ... there *is* some pressure to participate financially as well.

"PACT produces such good results because it has a huge amount of direct parental involvement and donations. The more parents going to PACT who have little/no interest in parental involvement or donations places a bigger burden on the parents who do give their time/effort/money to PACT. OR WORSE, a lowering of the quality of the PACT education."
Very telling.

"The Stevenson PACT school performs well for it's students, why tear-down or drastically disrupt something that works well?"
Answer this: Is it equitable for all students (families) across the district?

"PACT is a concept, an idea, and sure, somehow, someplace some kids will probably get to experience PACT methods no matter what else happens, but how many and where and what quality, that is what is at stake in the decisions being debated now."
If you are so pleased with the PACT "experiment", why not spend the majority of your efforts to try and convince all schools to adopt/integrate PACT methods instead of so vigorously trying to protect a single site program?


15 people like this
Posted by Slater patent
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 9:16 am

@Mr_B
Your last paragraph says it all.
If you are so pleased with the PACT "experiment", why not spend the majority of your efforts to try and convince all schools to adopt/integrate PACT methods instead of so vigorously trying to protect a single site program?

YOU'll never see this happen. This program wants to be exclusive. Be s parent participate in your children's class but. Just reading there language used here on there comments only proves my point they want to be exclusive. If it was about the kids they'd parent, period. It's about control. The PACT has caused so much displacement across the whole district for years. Kids shuffled, teachers dealing with parents. Pact you want to make a difference help unite all the children not just A single program.
So fundraiser across the board PTA. Your program divides. It's a district for all,a waiting list of over a hundred children to get into a public school?!?! It's insane. Let's get back to basics parents!!



16 people like this
Posted by Concerned Theuerkauf Parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 10:35 am

@ Pact Parent

My question is why would you consider it ok for our neighborhood children to be displaced and have to cross Rengstorff (for myself shoreline & Renstorff) and/or increase our commute times to get to a NON neighborhood school but not ok for choice school parents to increase their commute time as per your quote below.

Moving PACT to Whisman has some very problematic effects on the commute for everyone NOT located in the Whisman/Slater neighborhood. It forces most parents to cross highway 85 and many to cross Shoreline as well.

We chose to live where we live for the schools they provide and we are now being forced out in order for those choosing a choice school to have the convenience of a shorter commute. This is so flabbergasting, I truly do not understand this mentality. I believe in community, in fairness for the majority so to say it’s problematic because the commute would increase for a smaller group of people that chose a nontraditional school knowing it was not restricted to a specific neighborhood boundary is just beyond selfish.


7 people like this
Posted by Judy B.
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm

How many pact parents are on decision-making committees, school board members. As I recall the mayor was a pact parent.
This could be considered a conflict of interest.


6 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Who is "they," that are making 'decisions'? As a Board member, I know it was former Superintendent Goldman who formed the Boundary Adjustment Task Force to advise the Superintendent. It was Dr. Skelly (Interim Superintendent) who then formed the District Facilities Committee, and the Castro Facilities group. All these - were formed by the Superintendent's office, to inform the Superintendent.

When the Board gives 'direction' it may or may not be followed. But the Board did not set up any of this. This formation information was published by the MVWSD administration, in public notices, in The Voice.
SN, MVWSD Trustee


13 people like this
Posted by Herman
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 13, 2015 at 4:56 pm

All this comes across as being nuts!

My recommendation: keep everything as it is!


14 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 14, 2015 at 7:49 am

How do we reign in some of the board members that seem to be running amok? Are they aware of their fiduciary duties? Are they aware of the damage, the loss of trust, the hurt they are causing in our communities? What mechanisms do we have to hold them accountable?


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:15 pm

@member of Whisman Station,
You asked:
"How do we reign in some of the board members that seem to be running amok? Are they aware of their fiduciary duties? Are they aware of the damage, the loss of trust, the hurt they are causing in our communities? What mechanisms do we have to hold them accountable?"

It's called an "election" and unfortunately it's next year.
Which explains the huge rush to get everything done and carved in stone ASAP so that all of this wont matter in next election. The damage will be done by then and the election results wont be able to change the plan. IF they can rush the process fast enough.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

@Judy B. of Shoreline West,
You asked:
"How many pact parents are on decision-making committees, school board members. As I recall the mayor was a pact parent.
This could be considered a conflict of interest."

That is a VERY interesting point, thanks for mentioning it.
Don't political ethical rules require a person with an identifiable conflict of interest have to recuse themselves from a vote?
I know that politicians are often compelled to recuse themselves for even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Casting a vote which results in NOT changing things (NOT closing a school, NOT moving a school) is probably one thing, but casting a vote which provides direct benefit to the family of a trustee who currently has a child in a school they wish to move closer to their own home?
That sounds like a clear conflict of interest.

So, if people on the BATF committee or among the trustees or even on the district advising staff have kids in PACT now, then it seems very self-serving to vote to move PACT into their own neighborhood.
The same may be said for Theuerkauf.

I wonder if the MV Voice reporters have done any due-diligence investigating these issues recently???????


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:31 pm

@Judy B. of Shoreline West,
You asked:
"How many pact parents are on decision-making committees, school board members. As I recall the mayor was a pact parent.
This could be considered a conflict of interest."

That is a VERY interesting point, thanks for mentioning it.
Don't political ethical rules require a person with an identifiable conflict of interest have to recuse themselves from a vote?
I know that politicians are often compelled to recuse themselves for even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Casting a vote which results in NOT changing things (NOT closing a school, NOT moving a school) is probably one thing, but casting a vote which provides direct benefit to the family of a trustee who currently has a child in a school they wish to move closer to their own home?
That sounds like a clear conflict of interest.

So, if people on the BATF committee or among the trustees or even on the district advising staff have kids in PACT now, then it seems very self-serving to vote to move PACT into their own neighborhood.
The same may be said for Theuerkauf.

I wonder if the MV Voice reporters have done any due-diligence investigating these issues recently???????


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Concerned Theuerkauf Parent
You asked:
"My question is why would you consider it ok for our neighborhood children to be displaced and have to cross Rengstorff (for myself shoreline & Renstorff) and/or increase our commute times to get to a NON neighborhood school but not ok for choice school parents to increase their commute time..."

First, as I have said before, PACT parents WANT Theuerkauf AND Stevenson to STAY right where they are. BOTH schools benefit from being next door to each other. Every meeting where the idea has been floated by the politicians to close Theuerkauf has been met with vast majority opposition from the PACT parents.

The issue I was trying to point out is that the impact of moving PACT effects hundreds of parents all over the district who would then be funneled through a rather limited set of crossing points to get across 85 into the Whisman campus. Only 20% of the PACT families live in the local area. So, 80% of families have found it workable for them to commute to PACT from all over the district to the current centrally located Stevenson.

IF PACT were moved to Whisman, then ONLY the small percentage of locals to the Whisman school will bebefit form the move and all the rest of the families will suffer additional commute time and major streets.

You wrote:
"we are now being forced out in order for those choosing a choice school to have the convenience of a shorter commute. This is so flabbergasting, I truly do not understand this mentality."

That may be because it's a PHONEY impression created specifically to drive a wedge between the good neighbors of Theuerkauf and PACT for political purposes.

You wrote:
" I believe in community, in fairness for the majority so to say it's problematic because the commute would increase for a smaller group of people that chose a nontraditional school..."

Uh, "majority"?????
Stevenson PACT has 363 kids, Theuerkauf has 400-ish and Stevenson has a waiting-list 170 kids long. IF the Stevenson campus were allowed to acquire the land of the District Offices and then upgrade the campus, then Stevenson would be able to get well over 500 kids in seats.

Also, keep in-mind that many parents who would want to get into PACT don't bother because they know the odds are very small that they will be able to get their kids intothe very limited space currently possible at Stevenson. If Stevenson suddenly could take 600 kids, then I would not be surprised if we would be able to fill those 600 seats with little effort.

On the other-hand, from what I have been told (and I certainly don't know directly, is that Theuerkauf can't fill the spaces they have available because not enough parents want Theuerkauf, which I think is probably due to badly mistaken public perceptions of Theuerkauf.

I have always supported the idea of finding out why this perception exists and do what is practical to reverse that perception so that Theuerkauf can draw more kids to that school. A win-win for both schools!

Which is my greatest hope here, BOTH schools remain where they are and get the money and whatever else would be helpful to improve things at both schools.

PACT works best as a good neighbor to a traditional school and located centrally in the district.


7 people like this
Posted by Vote Your Conscience
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm

Here's how to recall a local officer in California ...

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm

@Slater patent AND @Mr_B
Wrote:
"Your last paragraph says it all.
"If you are so pleased with the PACT "experiment", why not spend the majority of your efforts to try and convince all schools to adopt/integrate PACT methods instead of so vigorously trying to protect a single site program?""

The reply to you both is the same.
"one size" education does NOT "fit all".

PACT is NOT for everyone, nor is DI, nor is traditional school, nor is home-schooling, nor is any specific style of education.

In our school district we have the benefit of choice.

All kids are unique and many kids would not do as well in a traditional setting as they will in a choice setting. It should be obvious to everyone that the Dual-Immersion "choice" school is a major benefit for kids who don't speak English well. For those who actually understand PACT methods, they provide great benefits to some types of kids, but not as much to others.

PACT does contain one thing that we do suggest traditional schools consider. Find ways of improving parental involvement in their kids education and in their school. I would guess that if the traditional schools provided a workable structure to encourage more parental involvement, then perhaps many more parents would find it possible and valuable to put in the hours where possible for them.

Parents are always the biggest variable in the equation that determines student performance and it has always been so.


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 10:30 pm

@mr_b,
You wrote:
"Except for those who have self-excluded by not applying because they feel they cannot afford to participate in the ways the program requests/suggests,..."

First, as has been re-clarified quite a lot recently, participation and donations are optional, not mandatory. My family has chosen NOT to participate in many activities. NOBODY ever gave us a hard time about this.

You want to somehow blame the PACT concept for the fact that certain people choose NOT to even apply when they actually want PACT??????????

OK, by that logic you would need to blame the DI concept itself for the families who already speak English well for NOT applying to the Dual-Immersion school to learn Spanish as well. What????

Your argument is illogical on it's face.

Just because an English-speaking family does NOT want to send their kids to learn Spanish at DI does NOT mean the DI school is somehow intentionally exclusionary.

Should English-speaking families somehow "feel" sooooo "guilty" because they don't also speak Spanish that they should apply to DI as well?

You wrote:
"or don't feel comfortable in those demographic groups."

What?
Now the people who DON'T apply to PACT are somehow racist because they feel that they wont like the kids at PACT?????

PACT does not have a full Dual-Immersion program, but we do have support classes specifically for "English-Language-Learners" ELL to help bring kids up to speed on English they need to do well in their classes. I have seen a kid who only spoke an uncommon language for our city and our ELL program has brought him along very well.

How does that fit with your "exclusionary" theory?

You wrote:
"So ... there *is* some pressure to participate financially as well."

EVERY parent in the entire district is ASKED for donations by the MVEF.
The MVEF asks for $500 from EVERY family in the district.
ALL the schools in the district get extra money from all sorts of sources like fund-raisers and do try to encourage their families to donate.

NOTHING "exclusionary" about that.

You asked:
"Answer this: Is it equitable for all students (families) across the district?"

Answer:
Is it equitable for all students (families) across the district to be treated as just another identical widget popping out of a monolithic education machine?

Is education about just blindly turning a crank and spitting out nice little boxes all identical all thinking alike all potential "equalized"?

Is it really "equal" to force all kids into the same exact mold regardless of weather they fit into it or not?


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 11:16 pm

@Cart before the horse of Willowgate,
You asked a critically important question:
"Why are we making all of these decisions just a short while before we hire a permanent superintendent? Why?"

WHY indeed????
If I were to put my belief in one word, that word would be "TEFLON".

By rushing this process to a rapid conclusion the politicians in-charge are buying themselves a Teflon suit to wear and one for whomever gets chosen for the permanent long-term Superintendent to wear when that person takes office.

The rush to a decision prevents this issue from becoming the central issue in the next election and in the selection of the permanent long-term Superintendent.

You wrote:
"If you were a high quality superintendent candidate, would you rather:
1) Accept a job at a district with a set of interesting challenges and lots of accurate research waiting for you to review?
2) Accept a job at a district where a committee members motivated by their own agendas and self interest have made rash decisions and limited the superintendent's chance to succeed?"

I would have said:
2) Accept a position where you are saddled with a plan which you did not lead the development process of and now must manage the execution to completion. A position where nothing good that happens will ever be credited to your leadership because the plan was developed by the previous Super.

Personally, (and I HOPE most families would agree) I want a permanent long-term Superintendent who would insist on leading the entire development process plan his/herself AND be 100% committed to stick around for the entire execution phase and for the long-term consequences phase too.

I want a Superintendent to stand up in front of the entire district and say:
"This is MY PLAN, here is my name and signature right on the front page. I am responsible for this plan and I expect everyone to hold me accountable.
I led the development process of this plan, I will now lead the execution to the best of my abilities and I will remain here to be held accountable for any consequences and long-term results."

I don't want a Super who can get away with passing any blame for any bad results off onto the previous guy and say something like:
"It's not my fault, it was not my plan, it's the previous guy's plan."

You wrote:
"How to solve this problem should be part of the interview process."

YES INDEED!!!!!
STOP the railroading of these decisions and frame it as an opportunity for a quality Super to take on this challenge. The Super candidate who is qualified to take on leading the process to develop a plan for the future of the district is EXACTLY the person we should ALL want!

WHY saddle the school district with a long-term Super who would be content being handed somebody else' plan to manage?


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:55 am

I just spotted a very interesting quote from a different MV Voice story.
I hope the MV Voice wont object to my re-posted excerpt?
It's relevant here because it refers to the Trustee who has been the main driving force for some years behind giving a neighborhood school to Whisman at the cost of closing another school.

This guy will be voting to close one of our existing schools to give one to his own neighborhood! Conflict of interest much?

MV Voice excerpt:
"...the conduct of board member Steve Nelson, who in late 2013 was censured by his board colleages for his actions on the board and his interaction with district staff, including Goldman. Nelson had yelled profanities at Goldman and verbally disrespected, threatened and intimidated district staff members, according to the resolution to censure Nelson."

I have personally seen trustee Nelson in action and I can see how the behavior I have seen would tend to wear most people down to the bone after awhile. Many people would just give him exactly what he wants just to get him to stop.

Is that how we want critical decisions made?


5 people like this
Posted by Steve Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2015 at 8:27 am

Flashback - March 2012 - should the Facilities Plan be made specific BEFORE electorate is asked for more taxes - or AFTER? At that time, I vigorously and publicly asked for a priority ranking of Guiding Principals. (Whisman was not on Goldman/Walter SFIP plan). Although Walter was happy to not answer that, and run the Bond election campaign - I persisted in asking the public to really value a version of "transparency". I opposed the Bond in a campaign asking for clarity, openness, and that mythical "transparency" before $$$,$$$,$$$ of taxpayer money was legally committed.
The electorate does get what it votes for. I believe that the electorate will reelect me in 2016, probably not 1st, but easily 2nd or 3rd, because I do not try to weasel out of the principals and promises I make in an election campaign.
SN is an elected Trustee of the MVWSD
He enjoys seeing a vigorous public discussion of Public Policy!


17 people like this
Posted by Gloria
a resident of Slater
on Mar 16, 2015 at 10:57 am

Dear Trustee Nelson,

What is this assertion of high standards for others for transparency as you stand on an imaginary high horse of integrity? Please address the concerns of the public that your behavior is literally robbing the children of funds for their education. Do you deny your behavior is abusive? Do you believe your manner of conducting business is appropriate? Are you regretful about your actions and seeking help to change your ways? Please talk about the very real concerns of the public.

From a tax paying and extremely concerned parent in Mountain View.


3 people like this
Posted by Gloria who?
a resident of Slater
on Mar 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

Gloria who?


9 people like this
Posted by Huff Parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2015 at 1:03 pm

The sad commentary is that this is a political nightmare. Unfortunately, there are currently 3 members of our elected board that will most likely vote in favor of opening a Whisman school, even if it means closing/moving other established schools and programs. It is quite clear that Steve Nelson and Greg Coladonato have opening a Whisman school as their top priority, no matter the costs and negative impacts to children across the city.

What I'm surprised most people haven't commented on is that Ellen Wheeler, who has served on the board for so long, is also of the opinion that Whisman needs to open. See her position paper on this topic here: Web Link


With a 5 member board, it looks like the writing is already on the wall to close or move other schools in favor of opening Whisman (Slater is not an option due to higher remodeling costs). Or is it? I urge all families who do NOT want to see another school open at the cost of closing/moving another school to email Mrs. Wheeler and share their concerns. She is likely to be the swing vote that can save the impending train wreck. Her trustee email is here:
ewheeler@mvwsd.org

Also, please contact the BATF to voice your concerns. Their recommendation to the board is valuable, and your input is priceless. Here is their email: boundaries@mvwsd.org


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Steve Nelson, Wrote:
"March 2012 - should the Facilities Plan be made specific BEFORE electorate is asked for more taxes - or AFTER?"

Sounds like asking that the cart be designed BEFORE we know how much horse-power is going to be available to pull it.

("Transparency" is not looking into a crystal ball, so I will address that below the bond issue.)

The tax-payers are all over the district. Bond measures should be about how much money the tax-payers in general are willing to pay to improve the school district in general. The district figures out, in VERY broad terms, what amount of money makes sense to ask for given the economy, the condition of the schools and child population.

I have seen accounting that shows that the district could reasonably spend up to $400 million to fully upgrade all the district facilities to modern standards. The tax-payers only approved less than $200 million.

You need to know how much money you have to work with BEFORE you can make any sort of specific plans on how to spend it in the most effective ways.

You wrote:
"... At that time, I vigorously and publicly asked for a priority ranking of Guiding Principals. (Whisman was not on Goldman/Walter SFIP plan)...."

Yes, everybody has heard of your obsession with that specific campaign promise you made. Adding any specific political agenda into the mix while asking the general district-wide tax-payers for more money is simply going to make any such request most likely to be voted down by the majority and supported only by the minority obsessed with a specific goal.

If the people who want a new school in Whisman/Slater (so badly they don't care about the consequences to existing schools) want to come up with a way to PAY for the long-term operations of this new school, WITHOUT closing ANY existing schools, GREAT, WONDERFUL, we PACT parents are all for that!

We PACT parents have had such discussions off and on for a year now. But nobody at the district seems to want any such discussion of how to run 9 schools.

Nor does the district want to discuss moving the district offices to allow more room at Stevenson to support the existing demand for over 530 seats.

You wrote:
"...Although Walter was happy to not answer that, and run the Bond election campaign - I persisted in asking the public to really value a version of "transparency"...."

Meaning, YOUR "version" of "transparency". You decide what the public should know and what they should not and when to suit your agenda?

Actual transparency would have required, among other things, the FULL DISCLOSURE IN ADVANCE of the true mission of the BATF committee. The district should have made a huge effort to make SURE that ALL parents were made fully aware of the intended mission for the BATF (school closings/opening) before the call for membership went out. Had the public been properly informed what the BATF as going to be doing, a great many more people would have applied. The parents would have been far more engaged all along had we been informed what was really going on.

Any and all conflicts of interests should have been fully vetted for the trustees and potential BATF members so the public would know who they were talking to and what their biases were.

It must be so nice for people in a position of POWER who get to rail against any rules when they get in the way of a specific agenda, but then to turn into a letter-of-the-law stickler when they feel the rules are on their side OR when they think it will distract people from the real work that needs doing.

It must be so nice to get away with abusing POWER and being vulgar and abusive to people and knowing there is nothing anybody can do to stop it.


15 people like this
Posted by @ Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2015 at 1:59 pm

Last time I checked it was guiding principles not "Guiding Principals." You might want to get that right since you like to complain all the time about errors that the District makes.

I dearly hope that the electorate you not reelect you - in fact, I sincerely hope that the recall election that has been mentioned many times on these Town Square board does happen. You have already done so much damage to the district, both fiscally and the reputation of the District. How can we possibly expect to attract a great superintendent when that person has to try to work with you and the rest of the Board?


6 people like this
Posted by please explain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Could someone please explain exactly why the district does not have enough money to open/add another elementary school? How did the talk of closing a school come about?


6 people like this
Posted by Open another School
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

The district has already committed to opening another school. It's going to be school #2 on the Castro Site. Both will be >400 students, growing to perhaps 500. Opening another school up at Whisman will be new school #2. That's where the cost issues surface. Another set of principle, special ed resource specialist, school clerk, janitor, etc.


6 people like this
Posted by Principal Principle Prince Sipal
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm

I meant principal up there. You get my point. Oh, and I guess library staff and psychologist and nurse time too. These are the principle costs of adding a new school, apart from facilities.


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2015 at 3:14 pm

@please explain asked:

"Could someone please explain exactly why the district does not have enough money to open/add another elementary school?"

Excellent question, funny thing is that one of the trustees has commented on the MV Voice comments section about how the district has TOO MUCH money it the "reserves" and they plan to draw-down the excess over time. As I recall, they plan to REDUCE the reserves by something like $12million. If the district feels it has too much money in the bank, more "reserves" than is reasonable, then why not use that excess to operate a 9th school?

$12 million @ $1 million per year to operate a 9th school equals 12 years.

Or, how about just getting together an OPEN committee to actually work on a way to improve the available operations budget so a 9th elementary school can be opened and run WITHOUT closing another existing school?

What is wrong with making a serious and PUBLIC effort to find the money?

You asked:
"...How did the talk of closing a school come about?"

At least a year ago the district formed a plan to close Stevenson and rent the Stevenson site out to a private school and then use that money to give a newly-built school to Whisman/Slater. Closing Stevenson was ALWAYS at the core of the district' plans.

When the parents found out about this plan a year ago, there was a massive back-lash against it. The district claimed that they would make NO MOVES on this plan until the public would be fully informed and a whole lengthy series of public meetings would be held to explore the idea and get public input.

We were told that there would many meetings on this over a long period of time with full public notice and full transparency.

Instead what we got was a STEALTH committee with the innocuous and mis-leading title of "BATF" Boundary Area Task Force. We got ZERO notice of what they would be working on. And they conducted a few meetings before one parent leaked the word out about what was going on.

I would think it a fair guess that far more people found out about all of this from the MV Voice articles than from anything that the district did to notify the public.

I hope this answers the excellent questions you asked.


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 16, 2015 at 3:23 pm

( we like our Principals like Mr. Graff to suggest 'moral principles' :)? The discussion I saw recorded, by the Superintendent search firm principal (check the last Special Meeting video), was that there were already about 75 inquiries about our District's position, and that 3/4 of the current (in-process) superintendent searches have some measure of significant board disagreement. 'Everyone just loves everything equally' boards are the rarity across the nation, not the norm.
The Board did not (again again) form the BATF! That was formed and publicly announced by the past ADMINISTRATION in Dec. last year. MV Voice, Dec 12, pg. 8 "Public Notice". The Board had absolutely no say or prior notification of who applied or was going to be on ANY of the 3 Administration groups. Web Link

Cost of separate PACT school (7th K-5)- Stanford study 2009 - Web Link


10 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm

"Significant Board Disagreement" is not what I have observed since December of 2012. I have observed individual board members deciding that the information they seek needs to be of the highest priority in the workday of District Leadership, under the guise of the "public's right to know". Even if the "public" really cares about all of the additional questions and information we have discussed over the last two years -- I doubt many voters understood that these discussions would involve the levels of public and private anger and confrontation that has actually been involved. While one party or individual can never been held fully responsible in separation negotiations of any kind, I certainly understand whose was necessary, if not entirely sufficient for things to go the way they did.


15 people like this
Posted by FACT MAN
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm

Can someone help me reconcile the FACTs and why we are even having discussions?

1) Total district TK-5 numbers are projected to DECREASE over the next 10 years! DECREASE! From 3611 (14/15) to 3498 (24/25). Recent demographic study link here - Web Link

2) An increase in expenses will REQUIRE district CUTS that could potentially affect every single student - Per the March 19th District Committees Update, "Based on current projections, the District is operating with a deficit and would need to make cuts to either program or staff to support additional operating expenses."

3) GROWTH - The housing "expansion" are for homes that do not typically bring families with children (also in the demographic study).

4) A large number of students DO NOT currently go their "neighborhood” school, and changing boundaries will not change that. The idea of a neighborhood school sounds nice, but if you think about it, only a small population can actually walk to their designated school anyways - Also, these are K-5 schools. At what age would you feel that you would let your child walk 15-30 minutes to school? Many families are also choosing choice schools.

5) If the district is stretched thin and investing money in order to satisfy political ambitions, the probability that something negative happening seems more likely than something positive - meaning we'll open a low performing school (this is an opinion). Instead why not.....

6)...INVEST in our CURRENT schools! Why not take the money to make our existing schools a little bigger if needed and a TON better!!! Save the money to actually achieve the MVWSD BOARD Strategic Goals!!! Please remember what those goals are. How far could an extra 20 or 30 Million go? Think about it!!! We have 148M bond money to spend - do you want to risk 15 - 20% of this money so a board member or two could have a resume builder?

There are a few self serving individuals that are seeing what they want to see, and they have the potential to make decisions that will negatively impact many, many families.

Go to your board meetings, spread the word, and make your voice heard.


12 people like this
Posted by Local parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 16, 2015 at 8:41 pm

Please explain how a program that causes so much shuffling and anxiety to our kids, school staff and everyone in its path can be good. Save everyone money and get on board with saving our neighborhoods schools.


13 people like this
Posted by Huff Parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2015 at 11:26 pm

@ Steve Nelson

Please read the report you cite. It states overcrowding could be solved with the opening of a 7th school, as the report says many times over that the district had 6 elementary schools at the time of the study. Read again: overcrowding can be solved by opening a 7th school. At last count, the district currently has 8, the 6 traditional schools and the 2 choice schools! If opening a 7th school could overcome the numbers issue then, surely you aren't advocating for the opening of a 9th school now?!?!?!?! Are you saying that our district has grown so much in six years that we need 3 more schools than we had in 2009? Stop pushing for an agenda that will simply be a complete waste of our hard-earned paychecks!


20 people like this
Posted by Gloria
a resident of Slater
on Mar 17, 2015 at 7:10 am

Dear Trustee Nelson and/or Nelson Supporter,

I asked you to talk about the very real concerns of the public which is your behavior while conducing school district business. Your response is to ask my last name.

Let's try this again.

Dear Trustee Nelson, please address the concerns of the public that your behavior is literally robbing the children of funds for their education. Do you deny your behavior is abusive? Do you believe your manner of conducting business is appropriate? Are you regretful about your actions and seeking help to change your ways?

From a tax paying and extremely concerned parent in Mountain View whose last name is irrelevant to answer the questions


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:57 am

@Gloria, who are you?
As an anonymous poster, NO! Sorry, the debate is public.
SN is an elected Trustee of the MVWSD, these opinions are his own


23 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2015 at 12:19 pm

The only reason why a politician is sooooo obsessed in finding out the name of any poster he does not like is so he can target them for abuse, just as he does the people in the district office.

IT does NOT matter WHO may be asking a question, deal with the question on it's face regardless of who may have asked it.

This is why we have secret ballots for elections, to prevent politicians from abusing their power by abusing people who didn't vote for them.


24 people like this
Posted by Gloria
a resident of Slater
on Mar 17, 2015 at 12:41 pm

Dear Trustee Nelson,

Please address the concerns of the public that your behavior is literally robbing the children of funds for their education. Do you deny your behavior is abusive? Do you believe your manner of conducting business is appropriate? Are you regretful about your actions and seeking help to change your ways?

From a tax paying, extremely concerned and now intimidated parent in Mountain View who fears retribution from her elected official if she provides her last name


24 people like this
Posted by @ Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2015 at 1:50 pm

You state above that "these opinions are his own." There is the problem. You no longer represent the vast majority of voters with those opinions. You are tearing MVWSD down little by little with your abusive attitudes toward staff. How many more employees need to file hostile work environment complaints/lawsuits before you get the message? By the end of your term, the district will be forced to pay many more hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements to employees. Any you think that you will easily be elected to a second term? That shows just how out of touch you are with residents of Mountain View.


13 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:48 pm

@Steven Nelson obsessed,

"@FACT MAN (anonymous poster)"
"@Gloria, who are you?"

Gathering a new "hit-list" are you?

NOBODY who is not already in "Trust"ee Nelson' cross-hairs (and is aware of his behavior) would ever voluntarily place themselves there. (Trustee? sheeeesh, will the irony never end?)

The issue is "Trust" (which clearly Mr. Nelson does not inspire) in those reading the particular forum.

Those whom I trust know who I am, even some who are on the opposite side of the issue, those whom I don't trust don't and I would prefer to keep it that way.

Based on my own observations of Mr. Nelson (let alone the stories of others), I would not trust his actions enough to want to find him pounding on my door some night, or to allow him the opportunity to abuse his powers personally.

Even beyond concerns about the potential actions of those in-power, are the more common unpredictable actions of some random person who has even less self-control than Mr. Nelson (I assume there must be somebody in Mountain View who falls into that category).

If you happen to be a public figure, someone who has CHOSEN to become a public figure and who is thus prepared and comfortable with those risks and who's family/friends are equally comfortable... that's their choice and their risk to accept.

Public figures who demand that people publicly identify themselves as the "price" of "allowing" them to express themselves in any forum are simply attempting to intimidate people they don't agree with. To try to squash any views but their own.

Like the entitled Trustee Nelson tries to do and uses as an excuse not to answer legitimate questions.


26 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 18, 2015 at 6:21 pm

@PACT Parent

You need to learn the difference between equal and equitable. Please don't use them interchangeably, they don’t mean the same thing - especially in education.

Equal is close to what your concern about identical treatment is about. Equitable is closer to your example of the ELL student, students of need getting more of the limited pool of resources the district has to help them cope and perform alongside other students.

And no, I'm not going to give your site a trophy for simply following the rules and assisting an ELL student. It doesn’t matter that a student's native language is uncommon; schools have the responsibility to identify and track every ELL student's progress and offer assistance.

Since we're on ELL, of all of MVWSD elementary schools for 2013-14, PACT, a "choice" school, had the lowest percentage of enrolled students needing ELL assistance at 18%. PACT's next door neighbor Theuerkauf, has over half of its students enrolled as ELL at 55%.

For enrolled Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students for 2013-14, Theuerkauf is at 72.6% – the highest in the district, whilst PACT scrapes out the second lowest at 10.4% which is less than one percent above Huff, the *only* neighborhood school close to PACT percentage-wise, with the next school being Bubb at close to triple PACT’s amount at 27.7%. In plain student numbers, PACT has 37 of the 2148 students in the district compared to Theuerkauf's 342 students.

Furthermore, the numbers provided by BATF point that PACT draws a majority of its students from areas served by Theuerkauf, Monta Loma, and Landels all neighborhoods higher in socioeconomically disadvantaged and ELL students (eclipsed only by Castro neighborhood which sends 23.6% of their students to Castro’s DI choice).

What you are looking at is numbers pointing to a choice program that is designed to favor the affluent or less needy in the district. I think that bears some discussion when we are examining the limited resources and educational goals for the district.

You've also jumped to playing a race card but you should be reminded that even though you may share racial demographics, being less affluent doesn’t mean you're never made to feel uncomfortable around those with more means.

I've been satisfied to leave race out, but we can complicate the discussion with that and as with the ELL and socioeconomic disadvantaged numbers, I'm not so sure PACT fares well. You may want to check with the official, non-anonymous PACT representatives before going there.

Back to a more recent reply:
"First, as has been re-clarified quite a lot recently, participation and donations are optional, not mandatory. My family has chosen NOT to participate in many activities. NOBODY ever gave us a hard time about this."

Of course, this would be contrary to your prior statement:

"PACT produces such good results because it has a huge amount of direct parental involvement and donations. The more parents going to PACT who have little/no interest in parental involvement or donations places a bigger burden on the parents who do give their time/effort/money to PACT. OR WORSE, a lowering of the quality of the PACT education."

And what a tone-deaf and insulting use of the phrase "little/no interest in parental involvement or donations". Is "interest" the same as means? I think we could agree at least that most parents want to give their kids as much as they can. Some are in a position to do that, some aren't. Just because you aren't doesn't mean you don't want to.

Closing Theuerkauf as a neighborhood school would look bad as it's clear that the board would have to explain why the loud, affluent parents are getting to take over the school of the humble, and quiet parents next door. This, coupled with a complete lack of an option that simply closes PACT and redistributes its students, is why the option to merge with Theuerkauf also comes with priority enrollment for what would normally be Theuerkauf's neighborhood residents.

Your concern is clear, you wouldn't want a Stevenson-PACT-Theuerkauf merger because of the burden you (by your own admission) and others would place on the PACT program because the program only succeeds with parents interested… scratch that… who are both willing AND ABLE to give time & money.
Can you clarify for us why the PACT students NEED this program in order to be successful? What you've offered before is explanations involving things like having parents around and avoiding classroom management issues. Seemingly, you are blaming other students or teachers and instead of volunteering to help those teachers. You pull your kids out of neighborhood schools and then claim that PACT parents want to maintain those other kids as they are next door. It doesn't sound very community minded.

"OK, by that logic you would need to blame the DI concept itself for the families who already speak English well for NOT applying to the Dual-Immersion school to learn Spanish as well. What????
Your argument is illogical on it's face."

Actually, you made up that argument, not me. Those two programs aren't much alike other than being choice programs. Apples and oranges. DI is a choice program that makes perfect sense for the district; it's like a district-wide educational intervention program. It's SOOOoooo different from PACT, the two aren't really even comparable, but, I guess, if you want PACT to look even worse, we can go down that path too.

"EVERY parent in the entire district is ASKED for donations by the MVEF.
The MVEF asks for $500 from EVERY family in the district.
ALL the schools in the district get extra money from all sorts of sources like fund-raisers and do try to encourage their families to donate."

Yes all schools do some sort of fundraising but there is an obvious difference between simply being a resident of a district and being asked by a district-wide organization for funds and choosing to go to PACT where above and beyond fundraising is advertised and encouraged. Why would you offer such a ridiculous comparison?

If the district intends to open another site, it is completely unclear as to why the district should NOT include the consideration of simply closing PACT, a choice school that overwhelmingly favors the affluent, in favor of providing neighborhood schools and protecting those at risk first. If the voters are to be asked for more money, perhaps it should be to keep PACT instead.


9 people like this
Posted by Slater mom
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 18, 2015 at 10:18 pm

@ BRAVO Mr. B.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm

@mr_b

Nice try, I honestly appreciate the time/effort, now then...part 1

You seem to be under the impression that PACT parents roam around school wearing $10,000 suits and all drive brand-new Mercedes, BMW, or Tesla and go wandering around tossing $100 dollar-bills in the air like confetti and then pointing fingers and laughing and throwing stones at anyone not doing the same.

My CAR cost $10k back in 1986 (it looks it's age) when I bought it new. The only new car either myself or my wife has ever bought. I wear very cheap clothes and NOBODY has ever made me feel uncomfortable as a result of how I look or my car or ever treated me as anything less than an equal parent to themselves. I've NEVER felt that ANYONE at PACT was turning their noses up to me or ANYONE ELSE. INCLUDING ELL and SED families. We are certainly NOT remotely "affluent".

The ONLY people who have made me feel uncomfortable and been disrespectful of me as an equal person or parent are a few certain specific people who work in the district offices.

You also seem to assume that PACT is inherently and deliberately evil designed to exclude. You assume that nobody should have choice unless it's specifically designed to benefit those deemed to be "at risk".

Then, why not just outlaw all private schools, magnet schools, charter schools, religious schools and require every child to attend ONLY the closest neighborhood public school?

Freedom of choice is the American way and is community minded.

"...a student's native language is uncommon;..."

You over-interpreted me there. I was simply citing a specific case I know well. A good friend of my daughter. I didn't cite the language to avoid accidentally identifying them.

"...PACT, a "choice" school, had the lowest percentage of enrolled students needing ELL assistance...Socioeconomically Disadvantaged..."

Not due to the fundamental methods or philosophy of PACT, nor at all intentional. Your assertion is that anything that does not appeal to 100% of the people should be abolished because it's "clearly" exclusionary by design.

Or that everything should be carefully molded to result in a perfect reflection of the demographics of the district and that anything less than a demographic match is proof of exclusion by design.

PACT was designed from a philosophy that there is another way, perhaps better way, to educate kids than the traditional methods. NOT to attain some political or demographic results.

By the way, I was under the impression that the Dual-Immersion choice program is NOT ONLY for those who "need" English language development, but also for those parents who WANT their kids to learn Spanish or some other language alongside native speakers of those languages. Am I mis-informed?

When we finally chose PACT it was after a great deal of time/effort and studying all other options. We talked to many PACT parents. Toured the school classrooms. Still, we were NOT 100% convinced that PACT was anything other than "touchy-feely-hippy-school" or "experimental" or "heavily-left-liberal" or "tree-huggers given their own school to play with" or etc...

Public perception is driven by snap judgements on minimal information and are extremely hard to correct.

Some people make up their minds based on rumors without bothering to find out for themselves.

We decided that PACT might be what the literature and the PACT parents were telling us it was. In-spite of our lingering concerns, we decided that we could risk one year of Kindergarten to find out. It seemed like PACT was the best fit for our child, but if we were wrong, we knew we could change schools before 1st grade.

Some people cannot handle the added commute to get to any "choice" program.
Some people believe in traditional schools as a given for various reasons. Some people are easily put-off by faulty public perceptions. Some people are risk-averse. Some people don't like the idea of other parents working with their kids. Some people choose the same school as their friends/neighbors attend.

And, yes, some people are so personally uncomfortable with being involved and/or are unable to be involved that they will avoid even the chance that the PACT methods may be better for their kids.

PACT cannot be held responsible for people who choose not to apply.

PACT works hard to attract ELL and SED families. It's been on the agenda for quite a few meetings and is a serious goal of the school.

"What you are looking at is numbers pointing to a choice program that is designed to favor..."

You are asserting a one-sided deliberate evil intention based on a numerical result. The numbers are a result of parental decisions NOT some sinister plan of the people who originally developed the PACT style of teaching.

If a vegetarian avoids restaurants with the words "Steak House" on the front window, that's NOT the fault of the restaurant, NOR some deliberate attempt to scare away a specific portion of the public.

The customer makes their own decisions for their own reasons.
End of part 1


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:04 pm

@mr_b
Part 2
"...being less affluent doesn't mean you're never made to feel uncomfortable around those with more means."

A personal insecurity should NOT dissuade you from making the best choice for your child. Even IF a parent "feels" less comfortable around around wealthier people, for any reason, that is not a good reason to avoid exploring any option.

It would never stop me from making all efforts to explore all options and choose what we felt was best for our kid.

""... participation and donations are optional, not mandatory...""

"Of course, this would be contrary to your prior statement:"

""PACT produces such good results because it has a huge amount of direct parental involvement and donations...""

No contradiction at all. The risk was the plan to move PACT into a neighborhood which does NOT want PACT and then giving neighborhood priority for enrollment. Whisman wants a traditional school, this has been made clear. Many, perhaps most, Whisman parents will choose PACT ONLY for the location, NOT for the philosophy NOR for the parental involvement. REGARDLESS of the Demographics or ELL or SED, if too few parents choose to be involved, that's a big problem.

"...Is "interest" the same as means?..."

Interest is a much broader term than "means" or "desire". Parents may "desire" something but have no interest because they know they don't have the "means". Parents may have the "means" to be fully engaged in the entire package of PACT methods, but may have no desire to do so. It could be they "feel" uncomfortable interacting with other parents or kids for any personal reason. That's their personal choice and is fine.

The issue is if ENOUGH of the parents can provide enough total support for the system to work.

"I think we could agree at least that most parents want to give their kids as much as they can."

Sure, but not all parents think alike about how to do that. Some people think that public school is always "best" regardless of the performance of the local traditional school. Some people will "feel" guilty sending their kids to anything but the local traditional school, even if they have other choices.

"Closing Theuerkauf as a neighborhood school would look bad..."

Would be BAD for everyone, which is why PACT parents don't want any school closed.

"...who are both willing AND ABLE to give time & money..."

NOT "both", EITHER will do and NEITHER is fine for an individual as long as the combination of the total for all parents is enough.

I have had to work jobs far from home before. If that were to happen again, we would not be able to participate in the parental-involvement. That would not cause PACT to fall down or cause us to change schools.

"...why the PACT students NEED this program in order to be successful?...

I assume you mean the parental-involvement portion of PACT?
I would NOT say "NEED", I would say it enhances the entire program.

I would ask the people who originated PACT for the best explanation. I see many benefits from my experience.

"You pull your kids out of neighborhood schools..."

No, we chose PACT first and we were prepared to pull out of PACT if it did not live up to it's claims.

"...It doesn't sound very community minded."

Providing a choice is very community minded, everyone is unique and freedom of choice is best for everyone.

".Those two programs aren't much alike other than being choice programs.."

Choice IS the point.

"DI is a choice program that makes perfect sense for the district;"

To you and me, but others object strongly to DI.
PACT makes just as much sense to me and many others.

"...all schools do some sort of fundraising but there is an obvious difference between...PACT where above and beyond fundraising is advertised and encouraged..."

There is nothing PACT does in the way of fundraising that all other schools couldn't or don't already do. I've seen advertisements for other schools fundraisers for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, it was commonly "bake sales". ALL parents were strongly encouraged to supply baked goods for sale to benefit the neighborhood school.

"in favor of providing neighborhood schools and protecting those at risk first."

You mean to the absolute exclusion of anyone other than those deemed "at risk". Eliminate any choices for anyone until nobody even appears to be less-well-off than anyone else.

" If the voters are to be asked for more money, perhaps it should be to keep PACT instead."

FINALLY! A win-win idea!
But the powers-that-be have their own agenda and wont allow any alternative discussions.


7 people like this
Posted by Mama
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Again @mr. _B..Bravo.

PACT uses the word 'choice, ts not about choice it's about control. MVSD should be sued.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 20, 2015 at 4:34 am

@Steven Nelson,

I am forced to call it like I see it, even when I don't actually want to.

I never thought I'd say this, rather shocked in fact, but I actually found many (not all, but many) of the things you said tonight to be surprisingly insightful, informative and not as overly-confrontational as I had come accustomed to seeing from you and with only a few instances of wild...remarks from left-field, I'll call them.

You normal level of disruptive behavior was not as evident.
Even your old charts were trotted-out without obnoxious effect.

I now find that some of the things you are capable of saying, I am forced to agree with and even learned from.

Basically, your demeanor in last nights meeting befuddled expectations and made the meeting one of the best I have yet seen.

We may still be far apart on certain issues, and I still have my concerns about past behavior coming back, but for the moment, I wish to sincerely thank you for you efforts and thoughtful remarks in this meeting.

I'm still not your buddy, but I'm less hostile.

We'll see what comes in the next meeting?


13 people like this
Posted by OLD MV
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 6:52 pm

Recently came back to Mountain View graduated and attended 2 elementary school in MV.. Not only did our schools look alike for the most part, but we had the same curriculum played sports together hung out in each others neighborhood we new each other playing softball playing in our school play grounds. We all hung out. We all studied the same meterial. This program you all are talking about here PACT seems to break up the community. Parents unit get back to basics every neighnorhoods needs an elementy school.
I've seen my humble town become a monster. Give back to all the kids. Why divide, what do you parents have to really gain. How about high school, will you attend classes there too. Do you parents follow them in middle school at Crittendem or Graham. Hiow many of you live here in Mountain Viiew. Never heard of s waiting list. Seems to me there should be enough room to keep kids in "there school.
Sad to say Mountain Views charm is disappearing, give the schools back to our educators and kids. Grow up parents.


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:42 am

@OLD MV of Old Mountain View
You wrote:
"Recently came back to Mountain View graduated and attended 2 elementary school in MV.."

My wife attended 4 MV schools and LAHS.

We researched every possible choice for our child and decided to choose PACT. Before we did this, we had no idea that PACT existed and much less about what it was or offered or why it was valuable.

PACT has "seemed" to be divisive because most people have not bothered to LEARN about PACT before speaking an ill-informed opinion AND because some people want a school in their specific area and see PACT as the "east-target" for a school to attack in order get what they want.

The public ignorance of PACT has made PACT vulnerable to all sorts of lies.

"Not only did our schools look alike for the most part, but we had the same curriculum"

Ah, yes, because all children are exact little copies of each other all produced by the same kid-machine and thus all kids should get exactly the same educational experience. Just one big "educational machine" cranking out identical "products". Every kid thinking the same, dressing the same, acting the same, with all exactlty the same interests, right?

No "choices" at all, right?

"We all studied the same meterial."

Sure, one-size-fits-all for all kids, right?

"This program you all are talking about here PACT seems to break up the community."

The program you know NOTHING about?

No, PACT draws TOGETHER people from ALL OVER the ENTIRE district to form a community of families, most of whom would mostly NEVER even meet otherwise.

Stevenson PACT also draws together the kids of PACT with the kids of Theuerkauf who share the playgrounds all the time and even share after-school programs.

The YMCA after-school program has about an equal number of Stevenson kids and Theuerkauf kids in the same classroom for the second half of each day.

NO, PACT has been the scapegoat and easy political target for those who take advantage of public ignorance to attain their political goals.
And many people fall for that tactic.


16 people like this
Posted by Illegal
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 22, 2015 at 1:45 am

PACT should be shut down and that funding be used to ensure that there are sufficient neighborhood schools to meet the demand.

PACT is breaking the law by mandating volunteer hours from the parents. Public schools are not allowed to require this. Therefore, it is actually a private school sucking money from taxpayers and denying lots of kids access to a neighborhood school.

Close PACT at the end of the school year. It's the right thing to do.


9 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm

@Illegal of Whisman Station

Ignorance is the real enemy here.

Whisman's own main advocate has widely publicized the fact that ANY hours of parents are DONATED voluntarily by PACT parents, just like ANY money donations or material donations are ALL VOLUNTARY.

At a meeting of Stevenson PACT parents the Principal, the Superintendent, BOTH have made it crystal CLEAR that contributions of hours or money have NEVER excluded anyone from entering the lottery NOR been any part of the results of the random lottery.

It's always been known that some parents don't participate and some don't give money and some do neither. Their kids don't get kicked out NOR do they get "shunned" in some way by anyone.

Your mis-informed self-serving opinion:
"PACT should be shut down and that funding be used to ensure that there are sufficient neighborhood schools to meet the demand."

We DO have enough existing public school seats available for ALL the K-5 kids in the district. Some open schools even have EXTRA capacity which is NOT filled now.

PACT serves 363 K-5 kids now and 170 kids are on the waiting-list.
That's 533 kids whose parents WANT PACT badly enough to get onto the waiting list. If the Stevenson campus was expanded to support 600 K-5 kids, I would certainly expect we could fill all those seats because of the district-wide demand for PACT. We have so much extra capacity in the district we rent-out quite a bit of it already to wealthier private-schools.

Perhaps if we had MORE PACT capacity, we would draw more kids OUT of private school and back into the public school system.

That 533 kids is VASTLY MORE demand for PACT than for Whisman!

"PACT is breaking the law by mandating volunteer hours from the parents."

It has been made quite clear and NOBODY is refused a spot in the random lottery because they wont or don't contribute hours or money. NOBODY has been tossed-out due to failure to contribute.

Your self-serving opinion:
"Close PACT at the end of the school year. It's the right thing to do. "

The ONLY reason certain people want to squash the demand from 500+ parents to keep Stevenson PACT open is because they want to steal away those resources for their own much smaller community in the Whisman/Slater area and are only too happy to say anything to attack PACT because most people are so ignorant about what PACT is and does. That makes PACT the "easy target" for politically motivated attacks.

Stevenson PACT families are united in wanting the win-win-win solution and have been for over a year. Whisman advocates like "Illegal of Whisman Station" are single-minded and just want to trash anything that gets in their way of getting what they want with no regards to the damage they will do to get it.

PACT wants Whishman to get what they really want, an exclusive neighborhood-centric traditional school of their very own. So they wont get "invaded" by hundreds of families from other areas into their enclave.

That's fine by Stevenson PACT, just don't steal away the resources of ANY other school to get what your little area desires.

PACT families CARE about finding a way to give Whisman what they want. PACT families CARE about Theurkauf keeping what they have. PACT families CARE about the ENTIRE district.

Which makes perfect sense, since PACT families come from all over the district. Every PACT family knows and are friends with other non-PACT families in their own specific community. PACT has powerful incentives to want EVERYONE to be happy.

Many Whisman advocates are only out for themselves, like "Illegal" is.


5 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2015 at 5:55 pm

Who pays the janitors wages, office assistance, school nurse, lunch staff, meterials, class supplies landscaping, maintenance, transportation for field trips, teachers wages for the PACT?


10 people like this
Posted by @PACT Parent
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Well, once again the PACT people give us either ignorance or lies. You be the judge.

This "PACT Parent" claims that "volunteering" is not mandatory. Well, let's look at PACT's own website:
Web Link

The question in the FAQ: "What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?"

is answered with:

"The following are the parent commitments for the current year, and these are subject to change as the school’s needs change year over year:

Work in the classroom two hours per week, per child
One classroom "job" (coordinator, calendar, pet care, etc.)
Chaperone or support two offsite learning excursions (field trips) per year, per child
Serve on one committee (Publicity, Arts Focus, etc.)
Work in support of the school (library, yard duty, etc.)
Attend a 10-hour course on aiding in the classroom (new parents only)
Submit updated TB test result per district requirement"

Wow! That's a lot of work to pay to this so-called "public school". It is very clear, "What kind of participation is required in Stevenson PACT?"
REQUIRED! Not "requested", but REQUIRED.
Nowhere in the answer does it say that these activities are voluntary.
Now that we know that the "PACT Parent" is a liar, can we please shut the school down? They can setup a private school for themselves and do what they want.

Public schools aren't supposed to charge tuition, yet PACT "asks" for $300/year for each child.

"Does Stevenson PACT charge tuition?"

No. Stevenson PACT is a public school, so it does not charge tuition. However, each year Stevenson PACT families are asked to make a lump sum tax-deductible donation. For school year 2011-2012, the amount asked is $300 per child. We aim at 100% participation, so any amount that you are comfortable with is welcome.

Next time you see this PACT Parent walking down the sidewalk, why not stop them and say, "I am technically not supposed to require you to pay me money for walking down this sidewalk, but I'm asking you to pay me $50 anyway. I'm aiming to get money from you, so if you do not have $50 to give me, then you can give me less."

Of course PACT Parent would call the police. Who wouldn't? We can't call the police on the PACT school, but certainly we can prioritize the needs of our truly public schools over this private-taking-public-money one.

Shut it down.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:31 pm

@Whisman Station,

As has already been covered in prior posts, this regrettable mis-information was corrected by Nelson himself and the Principal and Superintendent. Wording changes are underway.

Sorry for the confusion.


10 people like this
Posted by Ann
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Thank you for the web link.
This program operates as a cult. How could the Board of Education allow the program to exist. Parents have a duty of help In the childrens education, but to this degree
unbelievable. Double dipping taxpayers and tuition combined with fundraising . Frightening that in a public school the wool can be pulled over so many and
Unchallenged.


16 people like this
Posted by Local parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 22, 2015 at 11:05 pm

I didn't apply my kids to PACT because i cant afford the time off work to work at the school. now you tell me i didnt have to but it was clear that i did when i looked at it. who can i sue? they broke the law.


8 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 23, 2015 at 11:39 am

@PACT Parent

"Nice try..."
Way to start off ... with condescension ... endearing. Telling?

"Even IF a parent "feels" less comfortable around around [sic] wealthier people, for any reason, that is not a good reason to avoid exploring any option."

That may be true for you. That the world is so black and white for you is interesting here. I wonder if you have been exposed to those truly living in poverty, especially in upscale Mountain View. It's possible you think you have, but I'd be surprised considering the lack of empathy you express. Case in point:

"My CAR cost $10k back in 1986 … when I bought it new …"

So, you have a car. Must be nice. Many struggle to have cars or to maintain them, have NEVER bought new, or in some cases, just don't have a car. Or a car is only used to get to work and therefore isn't available for others...

I'm guessing, with about a 90% certainty, that your student isn't signed up for the free lunch (and breakfast) program.

"We [PACT] are certainly NOT remotely "affluent"."

The data doesn't agree with you but that's just one point of view isn't it? If I don't have a car, don't speak English as a primary language, and qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, you'd certainly begin to look affluent to me.
I'm not demonizing the parents or students of PACT; just because you "have" doesn't make you a bad person. But I am calling attention to the fact that they are participating in a program designed to serve them disproportionately.

"You also seem to assume that PACT is inherently and deliberately evil designed to exclude."

You keep using the inflammatory "evil" to re-characterize my statements. I haven't used that word. The design of the program's participation requirements/committments are in question. Although the intent could be benign, the results are certainly raise flags for suspicion (if it walks like a duck, swims like a duck, etc.).

"You assume that nobody should have choice unless it's specifically designed to benefit those deemed to be "at risk".

No. I have been arguing that a providing basic access to a neighborhood school should be a priority over a choice program; that of the choice programs, DI benefits the district more; that PACT is not designed to be successful if it includes those who are not as affluent as others (something you helped put forth) and it likely discourages lottery applications in part because of that.

Huff seems to have *very* similar performance (and affluence) to PACT, and yet it is a neighborhood school. What secret sauce do you think Huff has that we could constructively use to improve other school sites? I would hate to see Huff closed as much as I would hate to see Theuerkauf closed.

"Then, why not just outlaw all private schools, magnet schools, charter schools, religious schools and require every child to attend ONLY the closest neighborhood public school?
Freedom of choice is the American way and is community minded."

You must have worked previously as a farmer because you really know how to construct straw men.


I think it's curious that you are including other school formats like magnet schools which encourage diversity and private schools which, quite frankly, have no place in the discussion other than to say anyone can pull their children out of the public system for any reason and go private. Your defensiveness is either clouding your understanding or you are doing this intentionally to divert attention from the real problem being discussed.

"You over-interpreted me there. I was simply citing a specific case I know well."

Your point about ELL didn't prove anything before and still doesn't earn a gold star. Just drop it. Next you'll be asking for praise for PACT teaching state standards. Irrelevant.

"Not due to the fundamental methods or philosophy of PACT, nor at all intentional."

Simply put, it doesn't have to be intentional to be wrong. You also don't seem to be the slightest bit interested in the disparity between district demographics and PACT. Even if I had a student attending PACT, and we had considered it, I'd be concerned about that.

"Your assertion is that anything that does not appeal to 100% of the people should be abolished because it's "clearly" exclusionary by design."

Creating your own version of an argument and inserting part of a quote by me doesn't make it my assertion. I believe I've already discussed my approval of DI choice and will acknowledge that everyone may not agree, so…

"Or that everything should be carefully molded to result in a perfect reflection of the demographics of the district and that anything less than a demographic match is proof of exclusion by design."

See, there you go again. "Carefully molded" and "perfect reflection" are terms that I haven't used nor hinted at. I have shown how PACT is not of the mean and most definitely an outlier. I guess it's difficult for you to argue with the data?

"PACT was designed from a philosophy that there is another way, perhaps better way, to educate kids than the traditional methods. NOT to attain some political or demographic results."

To that, you can add: as long as you can afford it in a taxpayer-funded public (not private) school.

"By the way, I was under the impression that the Dual-Immersion choice program is NOT ONLY for those who "need" English language development, but also for those parents who WANT their kids to learn Spanish or some other language alongside native speakers of those languages. Am I mis-informed?"

That's right, it goes both ways. Although, DI's far more valuable for the kids learning English than those learning Spanish. Unless the Spanish learners find ways to keep supplementing their secondary language development, that program doesn't have the same academic legs as it does for the kids learning English and using English exclusively in junior high, high school, and eventually college environments.

"When we finally chose PACT it was after a great deal of time/effort and studying all other options. … Some people make up their minds based on rumors without bothering to find out for themselves."

That's wonderful. At least, for you and your situation. And for the sake of disclosure, your neighborhood school that you researched was…? And what about those who make up their minds differently than you after finding out more?

"Public perception is driven by snap judgements on minimal information and are extremely hard to correct."

I agree - some of your arguments are exhausting.

"Some people make up their minds based on rumors without bothering to find out for themselves."

Some people can see data and information provided by educational organizations' web sites too.

"PACT cannot be held responsible for people who choose not to apply."

Correct. It would be the district that would be held accountable/liable for instituting the program. That is, of course, unless individual PACT members/administrators took specific actions then they could be included.

"PACT works hard to attract ELL and SED families. It's been on the agenda for quite a few meetings and is a serious goal of the school."

It's clear from the data that PACT's not been successful at this and now, finally, your admission that PACT is aware of this issue as well.

I'm glad that it has become a goal. I hope that there isn't discussion of how to limit numbers of those groups as that would be ‘bad'. And in the spirit of transparency, those agendas are published publicly where? I'm sure the minutes would be even more enlightening and could potentially build trust with those of us that have reason to be skeptical. It would be helpful to know if the plan is to include structural changes to participation strategies that would be applicable for all families in PACT and not just to pad demographics.

"You are asserting a one-sided deliberate evil intention based on a numerical result. The numbers are a result of parental decisions NOT some sinister plan of the people who originally developed the PACT style of teaching."

There you go ringing the inflammatory "evil" bell again. I didn't assert intent – a "snap judgement [sic]" on your part? Intentions could be benign but also have adverse effects. It's responsible to examine systems for problems. Even in neighborhood schools.

"If a vegetarian avoids restaurants with the words "Steak House" on the front window, that's NOT the fault of the restaurant, NOR some deliberate attempt to scare away a specific portion of the public.
The customer makes their own decisions for their own reasons."

Unless it's a publically-funded drive-through only veggie joint and they don't accept walk-ups.

Yes, people can make choices (within their means), but the rules are a little different when we're talking about taxpayer-funded public services.

"A personal insecurity should NOT dissuade you from making the best choice for your child. Even IF a parent "feels" less comfortable around around wealthier people, for any reason, that is not a good reason to avoid exploring any option.

It would never stop me from making all efforts to explore all options and choose what we felt was best for our kid."

I'm glad you are working so hard to give the best to your child. There are a lot of people with different experiences than you who want the best for their children as well and have real obstacles in affording those choices. Exposure breeds empathy.

"…participation and donations are optional…"
"The more parents going to PACT who have little/no interest in parental involvement or donations places a bigger burden on the parents who do give their time/effort/money to PACT. OR WORSE, a lowering of the quality of the PACT education."
"No contradiction at all. … if too few parents choose to be involved, that's a big problem."

So, an optional necessity isn't a contradiction. Umm…

To go back a little:

"PACT produces such good results because it has a huge amount of direct parental involvement and donations."

I'm sure you believe that. But how can you measure this? Huff's demographics and scores are very similar without the parental involvement commitments or participation suggestions of $300/child. They seem to foster a lot of involvement as a neighborhood school.

"Sure, but not all parents think alike about how to do that."

And if PACT can fix its problems and equitably attract more ELL and SED students, then it would be less problematic, less controversial (less <> not).

"Closing Theuerkauf as a neighborhood school would look bad..."
"Would be BAD for everyone , which is why PACT parents don't want any school closed."

Interesting how you cut my quote short. There are different "BAD"s at work. The "BAD" of Theuerkauf students losing a neighborhood school is different than the overtaking program, PACT, looking "BAD".

"...who are both willing AND ABLE to give time & money..."
"NOT "both", EITHER will do and NEITHER is fine…"

Look where the both is in the sentence please. Willing-and-not-able doesn't get the school anything, and able-but-not-willing gives the same result: zero. The point is still that the school, by your definition, suffers in quality without those two things.

"...[clarify for us] why the PACT students NEED this program in order to be successful?..."
"I assume you mean the parental-involvement portion of PACT?"

No, I mean: describe what need PACT fills for students, what detriment is being addressed.

"I would ask the people who originated PACT for the best explanation. I see many benefits from my experience."

So you researched this program, put your child in, have made yourself an unofficial spokesperson for the program, and, given the opportunity, are balking at describing the needs you are filling for your child via the PACT program? I don't get it. Are you fulfilling their needs or yours?

"You pull your kids out of neighborhood schools..."
"No, we chose PACT first ..."

You took action to opt out of the neighborhood school to which you would be assigned by default. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.

"[DI and PACT] aren't much alike other than being choice programs."
"Choice IS the point."

Choice IF the district can afford to offer it. If it can't, choice needs to step aside for neighborhood service or find specific choice funding.

"There is nothing PACT does in the way of fundraising that all other schools couldn't or don't already do..."

PACT is a lot more forward about it and it isn't like a bake sale for $5 pies, it's as close to a $300/child non-tuition tuition request as you can get, hence the reasonable confusion about it and the scrambling to revise the presentation.

"You mean to the absolute exclusion of anyone other than those deemed "at risk". Eliminate any choices for anyone until nobody even appears to be less-well-off than anyone else."

Did you read what I wrote or something else? I'm prioritizing: neighborhood schools, at risk students, then choice. It's not an elimination, just a prioritization. If there should be any elimination it would be from the lowest priority first.

"Ah, yes, because all children are exact little copies of each other all produced by the same kid-machine and thus all kids should get exactly the same educational experience. Just one big "educational machine" cranking out identical "products". Every kid thinking the same, dressing the same, acting the same, with all exactlty the same interests, right?"

You offend so many in education with those comments. It's the kind of sweeping generalization you don't like made about PACT yet you are perfectly happy to dole it out. There are so many different programs at different neighborhood schools, even in different classrooms within the same site, that your comment comes off as just as uninformed as you claim others are about PACT.

"Stevenson PACT also draws together the kids of PACT with the kids of Theuerkauf who share the playgrounds all the time and even share after-school programs."

I'm not sure I'm seeing as much of that blending as you're saying there is …

"Perhaps if we had MORE PACT capacity, we would draw more kids OUT of private school and back into the public school system."

So instead of making it more available for the public school kids, you would want private school kids? Kinda shooting yourself in the foot there while you're scrambling to increase interest for ELL/SED kids.

"…NOBODY is refused a spot in the random lottery because they wont or don't contribute hours or money."

Well, you don't have to contribute hours or money for a spot in the lottery, you fill out paperwork. The "commitments" are things you are agreeing to if and after you are selected by the lottery.

"NOBODY has been tossed-out due to failure to contribute."

You mean with the "commitments" by PACT's web site terminology? So far, enough people can afford to.

Moving to a couple of your comments to others concerned:

"Your self-serving opinion:"

Many opinions--yours included--are. Most just haven't pointed it out that way.

"PACT families CARE about finding a way to give Whisman what they want. PACT families CARE about Theurkauf keeping what they have. PACT families CARE about the ENTIRE district."

It's EASY to SAY that you want EVERYONE to get EVERYTHING they want. It's strange that THERE ISN'T some related MOVEMENT by PACT to BACK UP statements like THESE with organized FUNDING efforts to HELP Whisman get what they want.


17 people like this
Posted by enough already!
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

How did this turn into a giant conflict pitting Stevenson/PACT against Whisman/Slater families? This is so destructive. What we should be looking at is what choices can we offer to all the children and families in our district. I'm not convinced that MVWSD does not have money for another school and only essential renovations at existing schools.

I'm also wondering why did the district form this boundary advisory task force in the first place, with all the current turmoil and unrest in the district. There's no better way to upset parents than to start talking about switching their child's school.

Everything needs to be put on hold and just take on one specific project (in this case, replacing a superintendent) at a time. This is similar to the City of Mountain View wanting to make massive changes to North Shoreline, San Antonio, and El Camino all simultaneously. I'm not opposed to change but are we really in a hurry to make major decisions that affect so many people? Can we slow it down a bit and take the time to thoughtfully and carefully make decisions?


18 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 23, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I think people are missing the main idea of PACT. PACT is a way of teaching children differently. They use lots of hands-on activities, project-based learning and inquiry-based learning methods far more than most schools, creating a classroom environment that is very different than traditional neighborhood schools.

I have children who have struggled in traditional classroom environments, but once put in a program more like PACT (but not PACT exactly, we like many others are still on the waitlist) they do much better. This is great for children like mine, who instead of being the "problem child" in a regular classroom are able to finally enjoy school. It is also good for children in traditional neighborhood schools to not have my children around. :)

Teaching in this method is also hard on the teachers as it requires a lot more work. Private schools charge crazy expensive tuition, but then are able to have small class sizes (some as small as 18 kids per class with 2 teachers). Public schools obviously don't have money for that. This is where the parent participation becomes valuable. It is a way to accomplish what is needed in the classroom to stay true to the teaching philosophy without large sums of money.

I think it's wonderful that MVWSD offers this much needed choice program. I say that even though we have not managed to get in. I think the answer is to expand the program, so that it is not so exclusive and more students can benefit from this learning style. Anyone who wants to have their children taught this way should be able to do so. That is true choice!

No public school can require parent participation or a financial donation. People seem confused about that, but if you've ever actually attended a PACT info session the school has been clear about that, so I'm not sure where that complaint (or the threat to sue) is coming from.

I understand the desire for neighborhood schools, but there are also many of us who would prefer to select a school not just by where we live, but by the style of education that suits our family and child best. I think we could use more choice programs, not less. At any rate, tearing apart a school that achieves great results across all their demographics (PACT does well even with their few SED kids) does not make sense. Maybe our neighborhood schools should be looking to PACT as a model and trying to decide how to implement what they are doing. Clearly it is working.

I would rather find ways to make PACT more diverse, then to simply get rid of it.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm

@mr_b wrote:
"I wonder if you have been exposed to those truly living in poverty,"
How exactly is that relevant?

PACT does NOT want ANY schools closed, not Theurkauf, nor DI, nor Stevenson nor...we want a 9th school opened for Whisman/Slater to have a traditional neighborhood school. We want the district to figure out how to do that. We have been saying that for over a year now!

I'm extremely liberal on most items, but you're suggesting nobody deserves to have anything they worked for, no matter how hard they worked, as long as there is anyone with less.

I qualified for the free-lunch program from 7th to 12th grade (I don't actually know if such a program existed before then, I certainly don't recall kids in my elementary schools mentioning a free-lunch program then.).

My wife qualified for free-lunch for her entire grade-school life. My mother raised 3 boys by herself by a job in a wood mill, midnight-shift to support us from 1970 on. We only had the one old VW beetle then.

We never lived in an inner-city slum, nor in a country shack either.
But I did live in an actual 2-room log-cabin for 2 separate years.
And my wife spent a few years in a single-wide.

Again, how is that relevant?

" especially in upscale Mountain View."

I didn't grow up in Mountain View, nor did we inherit our home here.

My family qualified for public assistance for several years when I was a kid, we made ends meet by working part-time on friends family farms/ranches and hunting/fishing, my mother made money by selling Amway and Avon products. My wife's family was no better off. We never had a new car when I was growing up.

Again, how is that relevant?

My wife and I both worked hard in college, which we paid for ourselves by student loans we paid back over many years by ourselves. We worked for decades and got really lucky to be able to buy a fixer-upper in Mountain View with every penny we could scrape together.

Again, relevance?

Mr_b lied by altering my words:
""We [PACT] are certainly NOT remotely "affluent".""

WE as in MY FAMILY, don't lie by altering my words.
My family has worked our tails off for decades to get what we have, we didn't inherit it.

"The design of the program's participation requirements/committments are in question."

As has been mentioned before, that has been clarified by various authorities recently.

"I have been arguing that a providing basic access to a neighborhood school should be a priority over a choice program"

I have been arguing that the district should focus on finding a way to improve the operating budget so Whisman/Slater can have a traditional neighborhood school WITHOUT closing ANY existing schools to do that.

PACT does NOT want to deny Whisman a school, we just don't want ANYONE to lose for them to gain.

PACT wants to build, others only want to tear-down.

"And for the sake of disclosure, your neighborhood school that you researched was…?"

Theuerkauf is our neighborhood school, as is Crittenden.
Both fine choices, but we felt PACT may be a better fit for our kid. As I have said, we were prepared to be wrong and switch for 1st grade.

"your admission that PACT is aware of this issue as well."

I never claimed otherwise. I said those statistical results are not the fault of the PACT philosophy, nor intentional.

It's like in a high school cafeteria where groups of similar interests all choose to sit together at lunchtime. Or like how people of different religions pick which church to attend. It's not the fault of the school or the idea of a church which causes people to congregate by interest groups.

"The "BAD" of Theuerkauf students losing a neighborhood school is different than the overtaking program, PACT, looking "BAD"."

Losing Theuerkauf would be bad for PACT directly, not only PR, but in practical ways too.

As PACT parents have said all along, we don't want ANY school to close
and we do want Whisman to get a traditional neighborhood school.

"describe what need PACT fills for students,"

Educational. The specific methods are suited better to some kids than traditional school is.

"It's strange that THERE ISN'T some related MOVEMENT by PACT to BACK UP statements like THESE with organized FUNDING efforts to HELP Whisman get what they want."

Last year and this year PACT families asked the district to address this issue and until the last board meeting we have never gotten any positive response from the board. Any continuing funding of a school must come from the district and be managed by them. PACT families have made various suggestions how to do this, but only the district has the authority to act.


19 people like this
Posted by Parent at another school
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Every school in the district, and every school in the neighboring districts, has an "ask" of all parents. The $300 ask at Stevenson does not make them special. Theuerkauf also asks for volunteer hours. It's unreal that people are getting so up in arms over Stevenson when there are parents in the classroom at other MVWSD schools too! Comparing Stevenson to a cult? Seriously?

Someone needs to work on Stevenson PR stat.


7 people like this
Posted by Slater
a resident of Slater
on Mar 23, 2015 at 7:56 pm

@waverly park
How revealing "someone needs to work on PR stat"
That's why no one likes you. it's about image and posturing get over yourselfs . PACT is paid by taxpayers.
PACT would never get away with what they do in a private school. I hope the district gets sued.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 23, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Hypothetical Gates...

Suppose, just to illustrate, that some mega-wealthy person, like Gates, were to come down to the MVWSD with his checkbook out and make them an offer and they didn't refuse?

Suppose Bill were to go to the Whisman/Slater area, find perhaps 10 acres of land in a perfect location for a new school. Perhaps somewhere the locals would find most useful to the whole area. He buys up the land, even paying companies to move as needed. He would then have a new school designed to be the best K-5 school ever seen. Then have it built up, including a wonderful huge play field, bike trails, parking lots, etc.

No current rent-payers on MVWSD lands would be disturbed at all.

This school would be able to serve the needs of the whole Whisman/Slater area with room for after school programs and etc...

He would then stock it with all furniture and materials for opening day. He would hand the ownership over to the MVWSD with the provisos that it must only be a public school and traditional and locals first for enrollment.

(And whatever else the Whisman/Slater people may wish for to make them happy.)

Now, this would make a lot of families happy, including Stevenson and Theuerkauf, the school board would suddenly have more Measure G funds to spend on other schools.

HOWEVER, we would still have the same basic problems which can only be solved by the MVWSD board & Super before the new school could open.

Hire and pay for a staff and pay the yearly operating costs. I seem to recall the district has had a substantial surplus for years now?

So, the key to making everyone happy is again, get the MVWSD to be creative and carefully examine ways to improve the operating budget so a 9th school can be opened.

That's been the thing Stevenson families have suggested from the start a year ago. Oddly, others don't seem to be interested in that, why not?

WHY is it that Stevenson families are the ones trying to find ways to make everyone happy and it's the Whisman people who want to tear-down what others have?


10 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 23, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Speaking personally and not on behalf of the board, as adults, our actions more than our intentions teach our children how to act and speak. Do many of the comments above reflect what we want our children to learn?

As a board member, I ponder that far too often.

Every parent makes what they believe is the best decision for their child.
There is nothing more personal than a parent’s decision on how to raise their child. What our opinion is of those decisions is immaterial, unless it’s causing gross harm to that child or others, and neither can be reasonably be claimed of PACT. No PACT parent needs to justify their choices, no parent of any of our schools needs to justify why they care for their school.

This year, 149 Mountain View families applied for PACT’s 70 or so kindergarten spaces. Rather than expend negative energy attacking one program, why not ask: how can we support spreading aspects of PACT that make it so popular among new parents?

Why not also use our energy to share great things happening at all our schools that should also cross over to other schools?

Perhaps we can’t change how some adults act, but for the rest of us, there’s a lot of good and innovative work ahead to make all our schools even more wonderful places of learning. We cannot lose focus or get disheartened.

Christopher Chiang
President of the Mountain View Whisman School Board


9 people like this
Posted by Theuerkauf parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 23, 2015 at 9:03 pm

I find the Pact parents bring disingenuous about there program. On more than one occasion I've been approached to join the pact. Recruiting, that my family would be a perfect match.


7 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 23, 2015 at 10:15 pm

@Canela

“PACT is a way of teaching children…”
“I have children who have struggled…”
“Teaching in this method is also hard…”

Thank you for stepping forward and explaining the benefits and challenges as you see them. It’s been a struggle to get someone to speak to this. Your explanation is very refreshing and valuable.

“I think it's wonderful that MVWSD offers this much needed choice program. I say that even though we have not managed to get in. I think the answer is to expand the program, so that it is not so exclusive and more students can benefit from this learning style. Anyone who wants to have their children taught this way should be able to do so. That is true choice!”

Given more funding was available, I would agree. There is a real limit to how many choices can be provided.

Also, as a choice program, it is a commuter-type school and so could enjoy the option of moving, something neighborhood schools cannot do. The PACT community could decide that moving to a larger site would allow it to serve more people but, even as shown at the recent board meeting, they have been very resistant to this. Preserving the existing commute seems to be more important than serving more students.

“No public school can require parent participation or a financial donation. People seem confused about that, but if you've ever actually attended a PACT info session the school has been clear about that, so I'm not sure where that complaint (or the threat to sue) is coming from.”

I’m not sure about the suing either, at least as others have described, but I do think PACT could certainly do a better job of describing their requests/commitments in the materials. It’s clear some don’t understand it can’t be enforced and you shouldn’t have to attend a meeting to ‘get’ it.

The problem is, in highlighting that fact of enforceability, PACT would also be highlighting its biggest weakness/vulnerability: its dependency on participation and extraordinary funding. Without enough of either, as PACT Parent has pointed out, the program would suffer. I’m sure PACT is grappling with that reality as a part of their effort to clarify the program to potential lottery applicants (and voters they could depend upon for funding) and as they figure out how to reach out to SED families and ELL groups.

“Maybe our neighborhood schools should be looking to PACT as a model and trying to decide how to implement what they are doing. Clearly it is working.”

PACT students scored well on the now-extinct STAR tests, and I’m guessing will score well going forward with SBAC under Common Core. It’s unclear how PACT students would have performed on the exams in a neighborhood school environment, much depends on the belief of the parents (which is very important but not reliable). The next best data for showing growth would be following individual student gains year-to-year. Absent the unlikely demographic changes at PACT, I’d especially like to see how Huff students compare going forward. PACT may have something Huff does not with such a different exam style. That would need to be studied as well.

If, in a traditional neighborhood school, you were to provide an extra $300 per student you could cover the cost of an aide for every classroom and if you could encourage increased parent participation (even with lower levels than at PACT) you would almost certainly see gains – again, in a traditional, neighborhood school. However, that level of participation is politically tricky and highly unlikely, especially with SED families who are already struggling.
As someone who has familiarity with both and a voice, what would you like to see move over and how? I’m not being rhetorical; I’m really interested.

“I would rather find ways to make PACT more diverse, then to simply get rid of it.”

Bless you. I wish this attitude were more prevalent in the discussions here, at PACT, in the district offices, and at the board level.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 23, 2015 at 10:47 pm

@Mr_b wrote:

"The PACT community could decide that moving to a larger site would allow it to serve more people but, even as shown at the recent board meeting, they have been very resistant to this."

Stevenson and Theuerkauf combined with the play-field are already on the largest site in the district. 16+ acres or so.

Stevenson was sort of patch-worked over the years and could be re-built into a much more efficient use of the space it now sits on. Much of it is in portables.

If the district offices were moved away (perhaps to Cooper or Sylvan) Stevenson would be able to expand enrollment at minimal cost to a certain point.

If the D.O. were moved AND the site were fully re-built, then Stevenson could support a great many more kids, perhaps the entire waiting-list could be supported then.

All without the need to encroach on the existing playing field Stevenson shares with Theuerkauf and the community as a whole.

The existing field also supports 3 baseball diamonds, often used by the community, and lots of space for things like kite flying and soccer and all sorts of other stuff.

Stevenson can have expanded enrollment right where it is. It just depends on how much money the district wants to spend to do that. Moving anywhere wont improve the site size.


5 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 24, 2015 at 12:18 am

@PACT Parent
Please repost your last comment/proposal and include numbers.

Specifically: cost to upgrade Stevenson, costs to move administration (one-time or ongoing), and student capacity changes along with sources.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 24, 2015 at 1:13 am

@mr_b of Monta Loma,

Always such a pleasure conversing with you.
Such a wonderful effort at proper understanding too.

"Please repost your last comment/proposal and include numbers."
You couldn't read it yourself?

It's difficult to get answers from the district, all I can go by are the documents by the staff and the comments I hear from the Trustees and Super.
Oh and from my own direct observations.

I have asked in-person, along with many others over the last year that the Trustees & Super and staff get together a full and complete list of all properties the MVWD board may have some sort of rights of use for. And provide that list to the public. On that list they should include as much info as is practical. Name, Location, size, what's on it now, size of that, what renters may be on it and how much they are paying, how much each site is costing us. What relevant provisions of the rental agreements might be useful to know and the cost of fully renovating the lot, potential rent, etc...

We got a lot of papers at the last meeting, so perhaps some of that is in those papers I have not read yet.

Specifically: cost to upgrade Stevenson, costs to move administration (one-time or ongoing), and student capacity changes along with sources.

The only numbers I have that came from the MVWSD staff was a number based on old assumptions was $22milion for a full re-build of Stevenson to support 600 kids on the same site as now.

I would guess that we could do quite a lot towards that 600 goal with far less money.

Theuerkauf needs the least upgrades since it was already upgraded not long ago. Perhaps under $10 million or way less, according to the talk between Trustees. Theuerkauf could fit the 450 capacity, perhaps higher with little effort.

The Trustees stated that the site holding Theuerkauf and Stevenson and the heavily used multi-use playing field is at least 16 acres. Some have said 17 acres.

Whisman will cost about $13million plus need an additional $1 million in operating costs each year. I think they said a one-time transfer cost of $700k to steal the works from one existing school and transfer the booty over to Whisman.

Also, a fully built Whishan would require booting out the German/Chinese school and thus lose that rental of $900k/yr.

The current footprint of Stevenson plus the district offices should be able to accept 450-600 kids, depending on the exact design and the money spent.

We could move the District offices to Cooper or Sylvan or various other sites to build a better D.O. and give that space to Stevenson for more classrooms and an indoor lunchroom

Most PACT kids eat their bad lunches on the ground blacktop because the outdoor aluminum tables are often too hot, too cold, too wet to use.


10 people like this
Posted by slow and steady wins the race
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm

Related to the last two postings, how much will any of the ideas being tossed around these days cost? The really disturbing reality is that no one really knows! Yet decisions with far reaching and permanent effects are being made on these wildly varying numbers. Can we please listen to those voices that are pleading for the process to slow down so we can make decisions that are a little more considered?

I know Whisman/Slater school supporters have never felt closer to having their dream realized, and it should be realized, but hasty actions carry a risk of a poor outcome. Please, everyone, breathe deeply. We ask our kids to think about what they really want and to spend their money carefully, can we demonstrate the same to the kids?


3 people like this
Posted by csea member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 25, 2015 at 7:43 am

Why not get rid of all the special programs and go back to the 3 r's. It was good enough for people like Steve Jobs.

Opening a new site does not have to be as costly. You don't have to have a principal if you start with one or two kindergarten classes and and the next grade each year like private schools sometimes start.

Just heard another administrator resigned? ??


13 people like this
Posted by Educator
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 25, 2015 at 8:51 am

The "3 Rs" have not been successful for most students that we are educating for most of the time we've had k-12 system.

Operating cost include more than just a principal. You will need to supply the energy to run an ENTIRE school for 50-100 kids. Similarly maintenance/custodial staff are needed. You will need to hire a part time librarian, a speech therapist, RSP support, school nurse, food services. ELD needs to provided for ELL's and if there is not a high enough number, special teachers need to be provided. "Extra" programs like CSMA/ PE need to be supplied as well. Having such a small beginning population creates a situation where you may need to have combination classes.

While one COULD operate with a principal, asks Stevenson how well that went over when they only had a part time principal. Someone has to take care of the administrative tasks, teachers are already pulled thin as is.


8 people like this
Posted by My kids mom
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Can we get back to basics and make the PACT blend with the schools. We don't need a PACT what we need is equality for ALL our children enough already. Surveys and time consuming research. All unnecessary waste of time and money. If the district can't see that then vote them out. Wheeler's been there to long never met anyone that goes on and on like she does.


9 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 25, 2015 at 8:59 pm

@ My Kids Mom

"We don't need a PACT what we need is equality for ALL our children enough already."

If we really want equality for all in the district, then get rid of the individual school PTA's. That's the largest source of inequality in this district. Some schools raise lots of money and provide all the extras for their kids, some schools just can't do that.

In Cuesta Park I'm guessing you're a Bubb parent. Be careful what you wish for.


12 people like this
Posted by Educator
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 26, 2015 at 8:52 am

PACT is not something one can just blend. It is a different way of teaching students that a cohesive education program. It can't be done with a few teachers here and there, it is a all or nothing type deal. That is why it wasn't as successful when it was with Castro. I think we can certainly take elements that PACT uses such as PBL, but PACT is a way of being, that doesn't gel will with many parents and teachers philosophies.


12 people like this
Posted by schools
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 26, 2015 at 11:03 am

Neighborhood schools is also an all-or-nothing deal. It can't be done by having to commute to other areas of the city. If push comes to shove, we should close the PACT school and simply open up smaller PACT-like programs in a few schools if that is deemed necessary. Whisman residents pay tax dollars for schools and they should get them too!

Dual Immersion is different. That is trying to address a serious fundamental obstacle to learning--language.

PACT is simply a different flavor of education. Looking at performance is also difficult, since the attendees at PACT are self-selecting. The families are more education focused, since it requires extra effort to get in (plus all the pressure about volunteering and tuition!).


5 people like this
Posted by neighborhood
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 26, 2015 at 11:50 am

@schools
Yes, exactly.


9 people like this
Posted by Educator
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 26, 2015 at 12:14 pm

"Whisman residents pay tax dollars for schools and they should get them too!"


Whisman residents currently have schools that they attend in the MVWSD.

I understand that in a perfect world, every neighborhood has a walkable school, but our district can't financially support 9 schools. Something has to go.(The board and the powers that be really need to establish their priorities and stick to them). Quality should be first priority. Proximity of school is a good idea, but if we can provide quality education at the schools, whats the point?

Community can be built outside of the neighborhood you live.


17 people like this
Posted by Go ahead.
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 26, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Does this PACT addict even read what they write?

"Quality should be first priority. Proximity of school is a good idea, but if we can provide quality education at the schools, whats the point?"

In that case, there should be no objection to moving the PACT school anywhere. Apparently that is not acceptable at all to the PACT parents, so I guess location IS important after all.

"Whisman residents currently have schools that they attend in the MVWSD. "

And PACT students will have schools they can go to if it is closed. So, no problem right??

I don't know, but it sure seems that PACT is a way for parents to segregate their kids from others without paying expensive private school tuition.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

@Go ahead. of Whisman Station,
You wrote:
"...there should be no objection to moving the PACT school anywhere. Apparently that is not acceptable at all to the PACT parents, so I guess location IS important after all."

In fact, "location" matters, it does change the decisions most parents make.

By the way, Whisman/Slater families do NOT get what they really want by moving PACT into Whisman/Slater. More on why further down.

There are 2 main aspects of the Stevenson location which provide critically important benefits to the PACT school and which are NOT available in Whisman/Slater (or other sites). Without these aspects of the Stevenson location, PACT suffers and will corrode.

First...
With PACT located next-door to an existing traditional school (Theuerkauf) the local parents have a true "choice". Choice ONLY exists if there are at least 2 options. Most parents will choose the closest school available regardless of what sort philosophy or methods the school may be operating under.

This whole thing is specifically driven by the desire of a community to have a close-by school, but what "style" it may be is irrelevant towards that desire and irrelevant to the decision most parents will make.

This means that when any type of "choice" school is placed into any community with no traditional school next-door it will rapidly fill-up with families who have essentially been "coerced" into that school for no other reason than proximity. They have NOT CHOSEN ->PACT<-, they have chosen ->close<-. They are not in PACT because they agree with the educational model or philosophy/methods, nor because they have any desire to support those methods.

Without a traditional school next-door, ANY style of "choice" school will flounder AND the local community will be forced into a choice they don't actually want.

Second...
The Stevenson location provides a special geographic location in the district which allows the easiest and quickest commutes from all around our entire district into the site. Anywhere else in the district makes the over-all access to the rest of the district more more difficult for the parents who want PACT. The Stevenson site makes the "choice" more available to more families than any other location.

Now, why would PACT@Whisman be bad for Whisman/Slater???
Whisman/Slater parents have been very clear that they desire a community traditional school as the "glue" to bring together their community together. Whisman families want a school to UNITE their community, NOT to divide it further.

If PACT were dropped into the Whisman/Slater area, the resulting school would be deeply divided between one group who would resent the hundreds of "outsiders" flowing into their community from other parts of the district and resent being forced into the PACT model against their will VERSUS the other group who would resent the fact they lost their beloved school and are now forced to have longer commutes just to get into a new school where they are not wanted and their philosophy is not supported by the other half of the families.

The 2 sides would be at odds from the start and this divide and resentment would never end until PACT got moved back to a central location next-door to a traditional school. Not exactly a good way to unite the community!

Rather than attacking PACT, why not focus on finding a real solution to the operating budget so Whisman/Slater can get what they desire WITHOUT destroying something that hundreds of other families love.

"why can't we all just get along?"


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

@schools of Rengstorff Park

First, public schools do NOT have "tuition", but ALL our public schools work hard on many styles of fundraising. Nothing special about PACT fundraising.

You wrote:
"Neighborhood schools is also an all-or-nothing deal. It can't be done by having to commute to other areas of the city."

I assume you've seen a school buss?
They exist for a reason.
We see lots of them, even in this county.

Kids all over the nation commute by cars or buss to their schools. I spent much of my school life riding a bus at least 30min and up to 90min each way. When I was a kid, parents were fine with the idea of their K-5th kids walking several blocks ALONE to school, not so much anymore.

Even if ALL school sites in our district were opened and all had plenty of capacity, we would still have kids who would not be able to walk or bike to their school. That does not mean it's reasonable to open them all or open even more schools for total coverage.

"walking distance" is good, but not essential.

"all or nothing"?

Look, there are families who live within sight of Huff and, even with the great API scores of Huff, they chose to come to PACT instead.

There are families who live within sight of the Whisman campus who have clearly said they would continue to go to Stevenson PACT if Whisman were to open a traditional school.

The majority of families will choose "close", but clearly, as the past 10-15 years has proven, as Monta Loma, Huff, Landels, have proven they don't NEED walking distance.

Do I wish that the district figures out how to satisfy the desire of the Whisman/Slater community?

Sure, but NOT at the cost of destroying the existing schools to do it.


3 people like this
Posted by Pro PTA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2015 at 4:26 pm

@Canela

I think you should really look @ everything PTA’s provide for the schools before suggesting schools get rid of them.

If it was not for PTA’s there would not be any student agendas, folders, picnic tables, chorus, chess club, tech club, opera assemblies, field trips, hooks for the backpacks, library supplemental, teacher supplemental, etc. etc. etc. nor would there be any school wide community events.

PTA’s work very hard for ALL of the children of that school, not for individual families or students but for ALL.

I don’t even know why you would even bring up getting rid of PTA’s on a discussion about school boundaries. The PTA’s have nothing to do w/this topic.


20 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm

@Pro PTA

Relax, I'm not really suggesting we get rid of the PTA's. I think you missed my point in responding to another poster. They were suggesting to get rid of PACT in order to have true school equality. I was merely pointing out that even the neighborhood schools are not truly equal and will never be, especially when some PTA's raise money to provide all the wonderful things you've listed above, and some raise nothing (thus those students don't get any of the wonderful things you've listed above). The biggest inequality in our district is not PACT, it's zip code.


15 people like this
Posted by Eye wide open
a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2015 at 8:33 am

The MVWSD is going to do what they want period all the input here is just lip service. For example,when the district wanted to close Slater and hand it over to Google it was a done deal same with the PACT, done deal. The boards made up there minds period. Both which in fact fragmented every child, parent, school, teacher even principles in its path.


9 people like this
Posted by Educator
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 27, 2015 at 8:54 am

@ Go ahead,

Did you even read what I wrote? I have no objection to moving PACT. Moving PACT, however does not provide a traditional neighborhood school. Maybe my thinking is less myopic. I'm considering how the entire district is affected, not just one neighborhood area. As stated before, the strength of the choice school comes from parents making informed decisions and a belief in the system. The same would be true of any choice program. If we turned Whisman into a Mandarin immersion school, there are parents who would send their kids their solely because it is the closest school.

Again, I don't object to moving PACT, but I don't see how this solves the neighborhood school in Whisman issue.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 1, 2015 at 5:28 am

Nelson wont resign now, he and Coladonato have already taken $30million from the district and locked it away for the exclusive use of building a new Slater School no mater what damage it will do.

Slater gets $30million lock-box funding, Stevenson is NOT on any list to get any Measure-G money. ZERO.

Stevenson is NOT even on the list of schools to get ANY of the Measure-G money for critical repairs or any upgrades at all!

And yet the Slater Advocates on the Board (Nelson and Coladonato) have taken $30million out of the general fund and tied it up in a reserve fund for the exclusive purpose of building a new district standard 450-600 school in Whisman/Slater.

Slater gets well over $30million, Stevenson gets ZERO, yeah those "greedy"...wait, WHO is being greedy?

Slater already has $30million and Stevenson gets NOTHING and who is greedy?

Slater assured $30million budget already and Stevenson ZERO, yeah, see, that proves how "greedy" the Stevenson families are we want NOTHING from Measure-G and would be happy with NO construction MONEY at all. See, there is the proof of how greedy the Stevenson families are....uh,,huh? Did I read that right?

The $30million the Board voted to be specifically set aside in a special reserve account for the Slater School at the above Board meeting didn't even get mentioned in this article. (That $30million number is rounding down.)

That seems very odd, since this huge Slater set-aside also takes away from district funds which could be spent on other things.

The Slater School now has a $30million budget (which is 3/4 the budget of the whole Castro 2-school project) and yet still Stevenson is NOT even on the LIST of schools getting construction money.

Well, I guess if that's the price the Board decides we must pay to stay at Stevenson, we'll find a way to make due with what we have. As long as we can stay where we are, we will find a way to survive until the next bond measure, whatever year that may come in


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