Town Square

Post a New Topic

Task force balks on school facilities issue

Original post made on Mar 12, 2015

Calling the entire process rushed and saying they lacked critical information, members of the Mountain View Whisman School District's Boundary Advisory Task Force told district officials Tuesday night that they would not prioritize a list of new school options unless they were given more time.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 12, 2015, 10:39 AM

Comments (142)

24 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 12, 2015 at 3:24 pm

From what I understand this entire process was initially started to decide whether or not to open up a Whisman school. Now it is all about PACT and their taking over Theuerkauf Elementary School. How did this end up being about PACT? How did this article end up being about Huff? I didn't hear anything about taking Theuerkauf off of the list, that would be great. It is not okay to think that because Theuerkauf families are mostly hispanic, they can be driven out and replaced with a choice school. It is not right. Theuerkauf families love their school and teachers. Theuerkauf families volunteer and support each other just as much as any other school in Mountain View. They have a voice too. They want to live, work and get a good education in Mountain View too. New scenarios other than pushing out Theuerkauf families need to be put on the table. I was at that meeting and even heard a lady ask about a scenario giving the District Office to PACT so PACT can expand and remain in the same location. Is that feasible? Was that ever brought up to the PACT parents? Is is something they would be happy with? And then maybe we could go back to talking about Whisman and school boundaries, the real reason for all of this. Or was it?


40 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 12, 2015 at 3:32 pm

I just want to commend the task force for keeping it real and not bowing down to the pressure of making an instant decision. That gave me faith in you. Thank you for volunteering to be on this task force, I know it's not easy.


9 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Mar 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

Anyone who would like to share their ideas or concerns with the members of the Boundaries Advisory Task Force is encouraged to email that group at boundaries@mvwsd.org.


13 people like this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Mar 12, 2015 at 3:39 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@Greg

I added a link to the email in the story.


70 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 12, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I would like to say that…

since the long term projections never show that there is a sufficient population to support a Whisman school, and
since opening a Whisman school would drain other schools' populations, forcing a closure for the 16-17 year, and
since it would cost $20M to open a Whisman school, and
since most people are reasonably happy with their current schools, and
since we could invest less money (<$20M) in existing schools to make them function well, and
since each existing school has its valued community of students, and
since each existing school has its valued community of families, and
since each existing school has its valued community of teachers and staff…

Why not just clean up the existing boundaries and leave all existing schools intact?

I'll tell you why I think this is happening.

Two board members (Nelson and Coladonado) appear determined to open a Whisman school no matter what the dollar cost is and no matter what negative impact there is to the community of Mountain View. They told their voters that they would open a school in Whisman, and no matter how little sense it makes, they will push for it. We have a 5 person board, so that leaves exactly one more needed vote.

There has not been enough time, attention, and thought put into this at all. There is a false/faulty timeframe that the task force is working under, set by the board. I believe that the goal is to have a decision in mid April. While it would be nice to snap fingers and come up with a magical answer to boundaries issues before the next superintendent is here, it is actually foolish to try to do it in that timeframe.

The MVWSD talks about educating critical thinkers and problem solvers, using 21st century skills. Are we seeing thoughtful problem solving on the part of the adults? No, we're seeing adults cramming for a test and doing a sloppy and destructive job.

Also, I would like to note that it was outrageous for there to have been no Spanish language translator at the last meeting, and no Spanish translation of any of the documents. It may also have been illegal. How in the world is our large Spanish speaking population supposed to access the materials and make their opinion known? How? There was a large group of Spanish speakers at the meeting and they had no way to address the board, or to hear what was being discussed in Spanish.

The "obvious" choice for the ax is Theuerkauf. My strong belief is this: the existing school communities need to band together on the side of reason. There is no need to spend incredible amounts of money destroying whole communities, and pitting one population against another. My children do not go to Theuerkauf school. I have two of them, and they attend their neighborhood schools. I stand with Theuerkauf and all of the existing schools on the side of reason, and against the goals of the board members with personal ambitions.

We can open a Whisman/Slater school when there are enough students in that neighborhood to support it without destroying another school.

Who is with me?




18 people like this
Posted by Theuerkauf Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

@Parent from Willowgate - Wow, well said! Thank you for breaking it down for us! I am with you! Can't we all just get along?


21 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 12, 2015 at 5:50 pm

We kind of need to get over the "Huff is the best school in Mountain View" thinking and replace it with some "Mountain View has the best schools in Silicon Valley" thinking. Or at least talk about how we get there.

Or else, us north-of-El-Camino folks might have to start some excessive and totally inappropriate bragging about the size of the Monta Loma library, the nice natural landscaping at Therekauf, and our bike-friendly proximity to Google, just to even things out, y'know... ;)


14 people like this
Posted by Deniece Smith
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Thank you to everyone for your participation in the discussion and your input to the committee.

I am the Realtor who made those comments about Huff. This does not mean that is my personal opinion that Huff is the only school that is fantastic in Mountain View. It just means that the input I receive, at an overwhelming rate, from interested would-be residents of Mountain View expresses the majority interest in Huff, followed by Bubb, and most recently Monta Loma. It is said we now house the nations' most educated population in Silicon Valley. I see people who buy sight-unseen in Palo Alto and Los Altos, just for the schools.

We have an enormous influx of people from out of the country who understand that the investment they make in our area has a very direct correlation to the level at which a school performs. The only tangible measurement of schools has traditionally been school scores. The general public weighs very very heavily upon those scores.

I am also an ex-fourth grade teacher. What I know first-hand is that a child succeeds more when their parents put more emphasis on education, meaning they participate in the education of their child, they encourage their child lovingly, they dedicate time to helping their child with their school work and other activities at their school. I am not a fan of using school scores as the only way to judge a school. But just like commission in one of the only ways the public knows how to talk about something tangible with a real estate agent, there must be something to use to begin conversation.

I definitely believe in making our schools more equitable. Let's do so by finding out what Huff is doing and trying to mimic that so that all schools can be schools everyone wants to get into.

So please, DO add how much you love your schools. DO tell us what is so fantastic about where you live and why you choose to go to public school. DO tell us why you may not choose to go to public school.

Every bit of public input helps our committee understand more of what the public needs and wants.

Mountain View is a great city! It is changing very rapidly. We must have enough time to understand those changes, consider the needs of families and especially children, and never be recklessly rushed into making a decision before its time.


31 people like this
Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 12, 2015 at 7:48 pm

@Deniece Smith

I just want to put the idea out there that families that statistically have no economic hardship and a parent at home explicitly to enrich a student's learning experience at school contributes to a school's high test scores. So does enrolling students in academic after school programs until 5:00 or 6:00 at night.

The point that I am making is that it isn't the case that Huff is doing something different from the other schools. All of MVWSD's teachers go through the same hiring process, use the same curriculum pieces, get the same training, etc. The difference is the resources available through the families, and you can't move that to other schools until you have real estate agents on board with the notion that MVWSD on a district level offers a quality education period. It is the idea that Huff is doing some "magic" that keeps alive the discrimination against our lower scoring schools.

All of our schools offer equivalent quality education to the students. Whether they have obstacles blocking their ability to score highly is another matter.


16 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Mar 12, 2015 at 8:25 pm


I learned long ago that an effective criticism offers solutions. With that in mind, please consider placing all the cards back on the table by including the Castro neighborhood and DI program into the current school options for the BATF to consider. Castro should not be excluded from the current district wide plan, as it represents an incomplete vision, an anachronism inherited from the previous Superintendent and Board. With a new Superintendent and Board there exists an opportunity for a fresh new beginning. Re-examine the District’s priorities as to how it serves all of its students. This would be supported by stating that we need to create a walkable school in each neighborhood, and then figure out where the choice programs need to reside. For example, if the Castro DI school or PACT effectively defunds a Whisman/Slater school, then we have missed the mark of providing every neighborhood with a walkable school. The District first needs to return to its fundamental core purpose and support neighborhood schools. Cake first, then frosting.

In the spirit of working with the Board, this solution is offered. It is limited to the Whisman/Slater neighborhood and avoids entanglements with other District schools and neighborhoods.

Scenario #6—The Whisman/Slater solution.

Begin by mapping out a suitable area for a new school campus in the vacant District-owned land next to Whisman School. Negotiate a ground lease with the GISSV for a suitable period of time, making it attractive for them to invest the required sum needed for them to construct a new campus. Decide who gets to build the new campus and who gets to remodel the Whisman campus. The campus designs should be coordinated so that the two schools would share certain common areas such as MUR, cafeteria, library, etc. In addition to the District gaining a new campus asset, the District would also retain income from a ground lease which would be structured to equal or exceed the current lease revenue. The GISSV would fund its own project, which would be in strict accordance with the Division of the State Architect’s (DSA) office, so it would transition smoothly back into the District should the GISSV leave. Slater appears to have compliance issues in this area.

It is generally understood that this new cooperative campus could become possible by simply applying to the State for a waiver. This bold concept effectively addresses concerns from the neighborhood and the District. The Whisman/Slater neighborhood will once again have a neighborhood school. It allows GISSV to have a semi-permanent home with long term guarantees, and the neighborhood keeps a valued neighbor. The District gets two new campuses for the price of one. Synergetic opportunities appear, such as language integration with German and Chinese schools or offering the district’s first STEM-based curriculum for example. Our new school could easily become the District’s most desirable, and a model for other Districts. As a result of the retention of revenue from the GISSV, the funding for other District choice options is still possible, keeping PACT at Stevenson and DI at Castro.

For two years now, the Whisman/Slater neighborhood has been focused on the end game--- the return of a walkable neighborhood school. We are now closer than we have ever been to achieving that goal. We have no issues with other neighborhoods or schools and wish to keep it that way. Please, do not allow the structure of this process to divide the community. We choose to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.


19 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm

@ Robert,

I agree with the idea of all neighborhoods having schools. I would like for that to be the case. The reason that I'm advocating for leaving things as they are is this: the superintendent has stated that adding a school without closing one is not an option. So, in that schema, adding a Whisman school will close another school. And if you've looked at the numbers that were presented at the task force's meeting, you'll see, not surprisingly, that adding a school will lower the numbers of students at other schools. That is a problem because the board will consider closing a school with low enrollment numbers. The different options produce different 'losers' in that race.

If you can come up with a way to keep all of the schools open, and open Whisman, I'm with you. But I'm not for closing any of the schools that currently exist, just to experiment in Whisman. As much as you want to create something, other people don't want to destroy something. It's a hard situation.



10 people like this
Posted by Not with you
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 12, 2015 at 8:58 pm

Not with you Willow gate.
We need a fresh start for Theuerkauf. And the question should not be: How do you get into PACT? How can I afford private school? The question is: How is the school district going to improve its teaching methods? We are falling, it is time for a change.
All schools in Mountain View should be excellent. How can this be done?

@Deniece -imagine the demand for housing in Mountain View if all the schools performed like Bubb and Huff. More demand for housing in Mountain View equals more money for the schools.


9 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 12, 2015 at 9:22 pm

@Robert

Scenario #6 is a good idea. This "International School" could be an innovative public/private school collaboration. Public school kids could attend the private school an hour a day for language arts. The kids could mix at recess and during extracurricular activities. This would create a student body with a very diverse background. This could result in an attractive option for those that want their kids to learn a second language other than Spanish. I am sure there are complications to iron out, but the new Whisman school would be born with a unique and compelling identity, attracting students from around the district.


8 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Mar 12, 2015 at 9:28 pm

@ Parent,

Please re-read my letter and you will see that I have presented a viable solution for our neighborhood. Perhaps if other neighborhoods or schools worked on solving their own problems rather than complaining, the District would be the better for it. You say that there is insufficient population to support a Whisman School, and yet we send over 600 children every school day out of their neighborhood to go to school. Have you noticed the new homes and apartments being built in our neighborhood? What the District has actually said is that the student population is leveling out District wide, but it is growing in our neighborhood.
You mention the impact a school's closing has on a neighborhood, and we certainly do understand as we have had not one, but two schools closed in ours. The District is structuring this boundary realignment by pitting one neighborhood against another for a school.
Every neighborhood should have a walkable school for its children first, and then the choice programs should be considered after that goal has been achieved. Cake first then frosting. We currently have schools fighting over the frosting, while one neighborhood doesn't even have cake. How petty and selfish does that sound?
Yes, it will cost the District money to do the right thing by all the neighborhoods, but that is what the District it supposed to do.
What our scenario #6 attempts to demonstrate is thinking globally and acting locally for a solution.
Another possibility is asking those company's and developers who want to build in North Bayshore, to include a new School at Whisman as part of their Public Benefits package to the City. The entire North Bayshore area will be in the Whisman attendance boundary and that is the nexus. The city cannot ask this, but citizens can. I am sure that the City Council would smile more favorably on a developer who offers to build a school in the community, than some what-not store in North Bayshore.


13 people like this
Posted by Help for Theuerkauf
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 12, 2015 at 9:41 pm

I agree it would be great to fix things at Theuerkauf. From reading these posts it seems some people are happy there, but I've heard other neighbors who have attended complain and change schools. The other MV schools are all pretty good, but for some reason Theuerkauf lags behind.

I hear people talk about the value of a neighborhood school. What good is a neighborhood school if no one in the neighborhood wants to go there? That's what we have in my neighborhood. I'm tired of seeing the kids in my neighborhood split between different schools - PACT, DI, private school, etc because no one wants to go to Theuerkauf. A bunch of families end up moving before their kids reach school age. It would be great to have one school that we could all build a community around, but that only works if it's a school that families WANT to attend. Maybe some creative solutions are in order? We need something to turn things around. Just telling people to send their kids there isn't enough.


5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

@Robert

Hi Robert,

I want to clarify something. It's not my opinion that Whisman doesn't have enough students to support a school. And it's not proven that it won't support a school. (They haven't done enough research for anyone to know that.) But that is the info that the hired demographics people are providing to the Task Force, and that's the info that decisions are going to be based on.

Personally, I totally prioritize neighborhood schools over choice schools. I'm not a choice school person. When I bought my house it was zoned for Slater, and that was okay with me. My goal is to minimize destruction at this point in time.

Again, if there is a way to work a Whisman school w/o closing another existing school, then I'm for it.


6 people like this
Posted by Don't make assumptions
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

@ Kevin
"Public school kids could attend the private school an hour a day for language arts."

Before making assumptions about having the "public school kids attend the private school for an hour", please learn about how their language programs work. My neighbor works at one of these schools, so I know how their language programs work. GISSV is language immersion: other subjects are taught in German. It is not simply a 'German class'. The Chinese school's language classes are almost an hour and a half a day, each day. Are you suggesting our kids lose 7.5 hours each week (the equivalent of an entire school day) to learn another language?

Are you suggesting that public school dollars pay the private school fees for such instruction? I don't think that is legal, and how would that go over with parents who don't get the same benefit? This would mean more language teachers at the private schools; should MVWSD pay for private school teachers? Opening Whisman is already going to cost the district money; adding new teachers and additional fees on top of that doesn't seem like a sensible choice.


20 people like this
Posted by Politics as Usual
a resident of another community
on Mar 12, 2015 at 11:12 pm

@Parent

Thank you for such a well-written piece about why it is not time to open a neighborhood school in Whisman at this time. I agree, if it will be full (450-600) AND not hurt the operations of other schools/communities, then it needs to open.

However, school boards are part of a political process. When 3 of 5 members (Nelson, Coladonado, and Wheeler) all ran on the specific platform of opening a school at Whisman, then I venture to say that they are going to be the winning votes. They will win. Children all over Mountain View will lose.


19 people like this
Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Slater
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:33 am

I think everyone in the district agrees that the Whisman/Slater neighborhood should have a neighborhood school. There is much disagreement about whether other schools should close or be slowly starved to to make it happen.

What my eyes are seeing is that opening a school in Slater/Whisman will cost $1mil a year to operate (we won't even discuss the cost to build which takes away funds from upgrades to other facilities). The district does not have $1mil extra to run a 9th school. I know the neighbors who rallied so hard to get this far have a hard time with this but it is a fact. The district is on solid financial footing from years of prudent spending. Knowingly draining the operating budget for a project you already know you cannot afford is fiscally irresponsible.

There are two members on the board who do not care if another school is closed or staved to death. They will ignore and rationalize and dismiss data and silence the pleas of other families as needed to achieve their end: open a school at Slater/Whisman no matter what. Do board members pledge a fiduciary duty to the district when sworn in?


3 people like this
Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:36 am

@Parent at Willowgate:

I am with you.


12 people like this
Posted by Honest
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:57 am

Let's be honest. This is just segregation and gentrification they are working on at Castro and now they are trying to do this at Theuerkauf. How shameful.


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:15 am

@Politics as Usual,
I agree with your central point, the trustees have had a long-standing decision they always intended to implement no matter what. Oh, and the people who want to keep the plan to close Stevenson on-track ALL ask us to NOT post on the MV Voice feedback sections.

Last spring the idea to CLOSE Stevenson PACT and ship us all over to Whisman surfaced and pretty much was a major shock to the majority of PACT parents. It was pretty clear from what the people delivering the "ideas" were saying that this was really what the trustees had decided to do.
I was not the only PACT parent who got the same impression.

In the meeting the PACT families had a huge and virtually unanimous back-lash against any idea to move PACT anywhere. We were assured at the time of the meeting that was held to discuss it that there would be a whole series of meetings stretching out for many months starting last spring.

I recall a direct quote from one person involved: "Not to worry, you will get sick of all the invites to meetings about this before anything is decided."

When no such meetings materialized last spring, I tried several times since then to get some news updates from anyone I could. I wanted to find out about the status of the plan to close Stevenson, if it was still on the table or not. I could NOT find anyone who would say anything more than one form or another of "Don't worry, there will be loads of parent out-reach and meetings and full transparency..." and other political non-answers designed to stop me from asking more questions.

When the BATF committee was announced in December, there was ZERO mention that the REAL job of the BATF was to deal with the closing of Stevenson and the opening of a new school in Whisman/Slater. I was only able to find ONE email asking for people to join the BATF. Had I known what the BATF was supposed to work on, I assure you I would have been there in a flash to get on the BATF committee.

Then, even after the BATF meetings began, there was ZERO mention of what the trustees were asking the BATF to work on. ONLY when the BATF had already had a few meetings and had already come up with a series of distracting "straw-man" "scenarios" to present, only then did word finally leak-out about what was going on.

All the so-called "scenarios" put the PACT school dead-center in the list of pros/cons. All but one required PACT to move off the Stevenson campus.

By the next meeting the trustees had inexplicably just deleted 2 of the scenarios from consideration.

During the most recent meeting, the Superintendent simply stated that the ONLY option which would allow Stevenson to remain open was now off the table. A fair interpretation of his comments was that keeping Stevenson open was never really going to be considered anyway.

When his comments were heard by the BATF members, some of them pounced on what he said and pointedly asked questions like: WHY keeping Stevenson open was even allowed as an option in the "scenarios" when the plan was always to close Stevenson in the first place. WHY did we waste our time discussing an option that was never real? WHY didn't the trustees inform us of this at the start?...

Needless to say, they never got any answers.

Yes, politics as usual.
The actual decision was made long ago, they are just looking for someone else (the BATF members) to take the heat for making the decision they wanted all along.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:23 am

@Honest,
I am honestly confused by the comment about how the Dual-Immersion langauge program at Castro is some sort of evil "segregation and gentrification" agenda at work.

I freely admit I know very little about what is going on at Castro.
I have heard the huge cost of the re-construction into 2 separate schools.
My understanding was that the DI program was set up to provide specific teaching methods to help those who do not speak English well to also get a good education while learning English.
I also understand that part of it helps kids learn Spanish who don't now.
I think someone mentioned that DI also provided special help for people with other language barriers as well.

So, again, I don't know all that much, but I am honestly confused by the claim you made.

I would appreciate any factual information which explains your point of view. I am being sincere here, NOT sarcastic or ironic.



13 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:55 am

@Robert,
You wrote:
"...For example, if the Castro DI school or PACT effectively defunds a Whisman/Slater school..."

Actually, you have that exactly backwards.
The truth is this:
The plan to give Whisman/Slater a school defunds the Stevenson PACT school.

I would be quite happy to find a way to give Whisman/Slater a new school IF it could be done without tearing apart what has been working so well already at Stevenson PACT.

Stevenson PACT is in such high demand from all over the district that if Stevenson were to be re-built in a more efficient manner we could fill up perhaps as many as 533 seats just with kids already wanting to get in. (Stevenson PACT waiting-list is now 170 kids)

One way this could be done would be to MOVE the MVWSD district offices to some place else, like the Cooper School site, for example. Then re-build Stevenson in 2 or 3 stages without disrupting the existing classes.

I cannot find any rational explanation why the idea of moving the district offices has not been a part of the discussions by the BATF. I do see a political reason NOT to discuss this. If the district offices were moved, then the Stevenson campus would suddenly become a more viable school site to fit the 450 students minimum the district claims all schools must meet. They know there is no other way for Stevenson to grow to 450, so they don't want the idea of moving the district offices discussed.

By the way, if parents all across the district were suddenly told that Stevenson PACT could hold 450 or more kids, I'd bet money on the fact that even more parents than ever would apply for the lottery to get in. The Stevenson location is a major part of the appeal of Stevenson PACT which would NOT be the case if PACT was required to move to Whisman.


10 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 2:28 am

@Parent Willowgate,
I MOSTLY agree with your whole post (and well-written by the way), EXCEPT the below assumption about where the actual target is painted for that ax to fall on. You wrote:

"The "obvious" choice for the ax is Theuerkauf."

That's just a straw-man "scenario" setup for a specific political purpose, NOT a real option for real consideration.

Had you been at the meeting last spring (the first time the trustees tried to foist their plan on the parents) you would have heard a different story. If you were also at the meetings this month you would have seen the real over-lap between every "different" "scenario" which has been proposed.

It's always been about closing Stevenson PACT to give Whisman/Slater a school no matter what the cost or consequences.

The ONLY reason why they threw Theuerkauf into the mix was to create more tension among the district parents and make it seem like it was a battle of PACT versus Theuerkauf. Making it look like a class-war thing makes the Theuerkauf parents assume they need to side with Whisman against Stevenson in order to keep their school.

It's a divide & concour strategy. For years Theuerkauf and Stevenson have been pretty good and cooperative neighbors, now the trustees have found a way to pit the two sets of parents against one another.

That's the plan, and it looks like a highly effective one, if we fall for it!

Never let it be said we don't have some serious politicians running our school district!


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 2:48 am

Dear Mountain View Parent of Rex Manor,
Hello from a neighbor.
You asked:
"How did this end up being about PACT?"

Please see my prior post, it was always about PACT, or rather, Stevenson PACT. Stevenson was always the target from at least early last year and probably from some years before then too.

In your other comment you shined a light on a huge reason why the politicians in-charge have seemingly put Theuerkauf on the potential hit-list when you said:

"... It is not okay to think that because Theuerkauf families are mostly hispanic, they can be driven out..."

The best way to bring down a public-relations nightmare onto the Stevenson PACT School is to play that exact card and hope the public will fall for it and rally around the "less-fortunate" Theuerkauf families to defeat the evil PACT families.

For evidence of this, you need look no farther than the posts in the MV Voice after the prior article came out. Several posters started right off calling the PACT parents and school all sorts of names. Mainly trying to frame PACT itself as racist and a form of gentrification.

So, yeah, this has always mainly been about closing Stevenson PACT, by any means necessary.


23 people like this
Posted by Another PACT parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

I agree with everything PACT parent said. PACT parents have no desire to close another school or move to another location.

Greg Coladonato should be ashamed of himself. The idea to move PACT to Whisman came entirely from him. He made a commitment to serve on the PACT board and then left the school completely in the lurch to go fulfill his political ambitions. I'm not sure why he thinks his own political agenda is more important than what 90% of PACT parents want.


11 people like this
Posted by Data
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 8:55 am

If we were to open a school in Whisman in 2 years, how many parents in the Whisman/Slater neighborhood would remove their kids from their current/future placement and send them to Whisman. I think the problem would be that most parents would have a more difficult choice moving schools once their kid has already started. I may be wrong, but that seems to be the data that should be used to make decisions. If there is a neighborhood that is lacking in enrollment then that would be the school that should redistribute their students. Its the chicken versus egg conundrum, and it doesn't seem like we are financially able to handle opening a new school right now.


8 people like this
Posted by Shoreline West Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2015 at 9:41 am

Two additional comments to this very rich conversation.

1. While I have not seen the other schools, I have toured Castro and Bubb and noticed clear differences in the school conditions. Bubb and Huff's PTA probably have more money to spend on specific school improvements than the other schools. More money at the school = more enrichment activities and support = more likely for students to achieve well. Just look at the recent research on environment and health outcomes on NPR this week for example. This funding disparity should be included as part of the discussion.

2. Would love to see a more nuanced discussion on the desire to make all schools like the "best" school. Personally, I'd like to think that the best school is one that educates our kids to be the social, compassionate, and curious children of the world rather than just the ability to perform well on tests.


11 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 9:44 am

@Another PACT parent of Monta Loma,
While I am gratified you agree with me on the vitally important issue at-hand, may I make a suggestion?

You may have noticed some posters have made extremely distasteful accusations against PACT in general and I have responded in as reasonable a voice as I could.

Perhaps it would be more productive to actually engage Trustee Greg Coladonato in polite conversation on your views and to ask him relevant questions?

I have found him open to discussion and so far it has been polite and useful. I have no idea if I could possibly have any effect on his decisions, but we can always hope for a favorable outcome.

In any case, glad to hear another voice wanting to keep a good thing going where it already thrives, STEVENSON PACT, WITH a great Theuerkauf next door.


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 9:52 am

@Shoreline West Mom,
I have not seen the other schools, just Stevenson and Theuerkauf.
If you have seen Stevenson close-up, how would you compare the facilities of Stevenson to the other schools in the district?

I think that the vast majority of Stevenson PACT parents would choose to stay put at Stevenson exactly as it is rather than to have a nice shiny newly-built school anywhere else in the district.

To quote the theme song of TV show "Monk":
I could be wrong, but I don't think so.


11 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

Dear Pact Parent, I don't recall describing Theuerkauf families as "less fortunate" at all. Do you see those words, cuz I don't. I didn't put any "card out there to play". The people that wrote the scenarios did and you just did. Theuerkauf families aren't less fortunate. They are filled with fortune. So, I guess you can indeed relate to the fear of the Theuerkauf families who don't want to lose their school because PACT, too, was threatened to be closed. None of us want our schools to be closed. I apologize, there is NO animosity toward anyone at PACT and that was not my intention, but it is clear that the current scenarios are focusing on keeping PACT open by taking over Theuerkauf and disguising it as moving boundaries and saying that everyone will be able to stay at their home school (which would no longer be Theuerkauf for hundreds if the boundaries are changed). I would love for PACT to have it's own permanent home for years to come but not at the risk of pushing out the neighborhood families at Theuerkauf. Theuerkauf wants to survive and thrive just like PACT does. That is my point. Can that happen? I would hope that the board would try to give PACT its own campus and let Theuerkauf keep theirs. Like someone else commented, there are buildings right next door to Stevenson on the Montecito side of San Pierre, which seem to be a potential option, err, the DO? There are many PACT parents that stand by Theuerkauf. I ask for different scenarios other than ones that were provided with PACT taking over Theuerkauf. In the meantime, I will fight for the Theuerkauf families that, too, and I reiterate, love their school.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Mar 13, 2015 at 11:39 am

@PACT parent
When I wrote:
"...For example, if the Castro DI school or PACT effectively defunds a Whisman/Slater school..."

Then you replied,

Actually, you have that exactly backwards.
The truth is this:
The plan to give Whisman/Slater a school defunds the Stevenson PACT school.

I would be quite happy to find a way to give Whisman/Slater a new school IF it could be done without tearing apart what has been working so well already at Stevenson PACT."

The general tenor of the arguments presented so far is that a choice program trumps a neighborhood program, a concept with which I fervently disagree. The fundamental foundation of a school district are its neighborhood schools first and foremost. The Castro and DI decision is PACT's major opponent, not Whisman/Slater. The Castro decision should be reopened for discussion and re-evaluation, not doing this has led the other schools and neighborhoods to fight over what's left of the remaining budget. Everyone feels so sad that Whisman/Slater has no school and absolutely should have one, except if it requires any sacrifice on their part. The I've got mine, so sad for you attitude is alive and well in our District.

Here are the current enrollment data for our District.

Current MVWSD K-5 enrollment in different parts of town, with schools

Dividing on Shoreline and Central Expressway:

NE: 774 students. 0 NH schools
NW: 636 students. 2 NH schools (ML + TH) + 1 choice (ST)
SE: 1131 students. 3 NH schools (BB + HU + LA).
SW: 981 students. 1 NH school (CA) 1 choice (DI)

PACT parents and sympathizers, if you feel so strongly about saving your program, be pro-active and put together your own solution, and present it to the Board, as has the Whisman/Slater neighborhood.
The Whisman/Slater neighborhood has the moral high ground in this discussion, and we are not giving up.


8 people like this
Posted by Concerned Theuerkauf Parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:33 pm

I am starting to feel like Jan in the Brady Bunch, but instead of Marsha Marsha Marsha it’s PACT PACT PACT.

Please do not lose sight of what is going on. This is not a Pro PACT or against PACT issue.

Closing a neighborhood school like Theuerkauf will cause a ripple effect to the Middle Schools. A lot of the children @ Theuerkauf have older siblings that walk them to school & then walk to Crittenden their neighborhood middle school, after school they walk back to Theuerkauf pick up the siblings and walk home. Everything is close to their home. Closing down Theuerkauf would put these children in greater danger by having them walk further out of their neighborhood, cross major intersection and back to their neighborhood twice daily. How does this make any sense. How many children are we going to put at risk.

If opening another school in the Whisman/Slater area doesn’t make sense cost wise, closes another neighborhood school that is centrally located to the neighborhood middle school and lowers the attendance of several of the other schools then why are we even considering it? How many of the families in the Whisman/Slater area are even willing to change schools and/or send their children to their neighborhood school if they opened one? How many would opt for inner district transfers, choice programs, etc. I don’t think the district is ready to open another school. If the issue at hand is that PACT needs more space and they say they don’t want to move and by this I would think they also mean not take over Theuerkauf then let them take over the rest of the district offices and move the district office. That to me makes a lot more sense.

@Help For Theuerkauf

The majority of the families at Theuerkauf are happy there. I have found that the happiest ones are the ones that are actively involved in the school community, they volunteer, work w/the teachers, staff, principal, etc. doing what they can to help their child and the school succeed. There are many choice activities available, but if you are not active in the community and/or take the time to be informed then you are doing your child a disservice. It is the same w/all the neighborhood schools, those w/higher parent participation have greater performance. You do not need a special school for your child to succeed, you need a strong neighborhood school community. You get out what you put in. Stay informed, volunteer, participate and you will see a world of difference in your neighborhood school. Don’t expect to see changes if you do nothing to change what you see as a problem. The principal, teachers and staff have always had an open door policy and encourage parents to speak up, participate, do what they can to help out, they encourage you to volunteer and help your child and the school succeed. So it always comes as a surprise to me when someone says they are not happy. My question is what are you doing to change that? What difference are you making in your neighborhood school community? Or are you just looking out for #1.


8 people like this
Posted by Concerned Theuerkauf Parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm

@ Willowgate

You hit the nail on the head. Theuerkauf has a large English as a second language population and yes they attended the planning meeting eager to speak up and ready to voice their opinion but were disheartened when there was not an interpreter available nor was any of the material in a language they were comfortable with to comprehend what was going on. This is why many times our families do not attend these meetings and why they feel as if they have no voice.


5 people like this
Posted by School Bored
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 3:47 pm

The school board meeting next week includes this item:

A. Boundary Advisory Task Force Update

The Board will hear an update on the work of the Boundary Advisory Task Force and will provide feedback on the issues posed by the Boundary Advisory Task Force.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: As mentioned in the Board report, staff does not recommend opening an additional elementary school. Staff recommends that the Board provide feedback on the issues posed by the Boundary Advisory Task Force.


27 people like this
Posted by Herman
a resident of Gemello
on Mar 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm

This seems rushed and, frankly, not needed. Keep everything as is!


26 people like this
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 13, 2015 at 5:12 pm

I agree with Herman. Let's drop this and maybe enforce existing boundaries better. That would solve a lot of the problems.
The concept of a neighborhood school is a false fantasy when - as it turns out - about half the kids do not attend their "neighborhood" school.


16 people like this
Posted by a_dad
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 13, 2015 at 5:20 pm

I always believe the most important factors to kid education is: Parent > Teacher > School Score > Neighborhood > Public or Private School, etc. Parent is the kernel, that's who live more than 16 hours with the kids. They are observing and learning from parents more than from teachers, classmates, schools. If parent reduce watching TV or facebook 50% and spend the time with kids, read, or even play together, your kid and yourself would be very grateful in the future.

I live in Monta Loma neighborhood, and send my kid to Stevenson PACT. The only reason is that PACT students can benefit from the PArent-Child-Teacher system. The "cost" to parents is committed 3 hours school volunteering job each week, but your child would benefit a lot from other parents volunteering.

PACT should not be a card on the table of the proposed reopening of Whisman School. I don't know why PACT became the focus either. PACT has been there for about 20 years. PACT is not the reason why Whisman School was closed a decade ago, and not the obstacle to its reopening. PACT has no ambition to take or expand to any other school sites. The meaning of PACT is to give an extra choice for the parents who somehow want to try a different way to bind more to their kids. BTW, why Whisman School was closed before? Who can guarantee it would not be closed again with the same reason several years later?

It's reasonable to go back to the fundamental debates:
Is the reason to reopen Whisman school strong enough?
Can reopening with a painful closing benefit or hurt the whole district?

If PACT or any other neighborhood school is shut down in a rush, or PACT is not PACT anymore, by the votes of several politicians. It's OK, fair enough, and my kid could go back to Monta Loma which is also excellent. But I will stop my donation to Mountain View Education Foundation, and use my money and time to organize to anti those politicians in the next ten years, because they hurt the district and community permanently.


29 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Bravo to the task force for slowing things down and getting clarification and asking for direction from the board. I was at the last meeting and as discussion went on, it was clear that many members felt as though the 'boundary' task force was in fact morphing into a 'closure' task force. The members clearly felt uncomfortable making any decision or ranking of options until first getting clarification from the board.

Is the objective to balance enrollment across our existing schools by moving enrollment boundaries?
Is the objective to open a Whisman neighborhood school at any cost?
Is the objective to open up enrollment at a very popular choice program that is currently 'land-locked'?
Is the objective to correct school 'performance' by moving kids around?
Is the objective to close a school?

It seems clear to me after reading the comments that NOBODY wants their school to move/close (no surprise there)
It also is clear after the task force meeting this week that there is neither the number of students nor the funding to add a newly opened Whisman/Slater school and NOT close/move a school

So I am trying to understand the logic in spending millions of dollars to open....move...and then close a school ESPECIALLY when each step involves a severe disruption of families

Let's all please just slow down and think for a minute


15 people like this
Posted by huh?
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2015 at 9:36 pm

If the district has $20 million in reserves (40% instead of the usual 3% of a $50 million operating budget) why is there this assumption that the district does not have money to open another school?

There are 900 more kids in the district now than there were 10 years ago. Ten years ago class size was 20 kids in K-3 and 30 kids in 5-6. Wasn't "small classes, small schools" one of the many benefits that were promised during the parcel tax campaigns?

What is the benefit to the district office of having large elementary schools with standing room only classrooms? That they can hire fewer teachers and save the taxpayers money to be used on unspecified unforeseen future emergencies and unhappy superintendents?

The district needs to spend the public's tax dollars on kids who are currently in public schools. Parcel taxes should be spent on the kids who are in school right now. If the district has so much money in reserve, why do they even need a parcel tax? Why do they even need MVEF if they already have $20 million stashed away in a piggy bank?

Why is the district making huge plans to replace one-story buildings with 2-story buildings at every elementary campus when they aren't even sure if one of those campuses might be closed?

And on that topic, why is the district (I'm told) using the same architect and the same construction firm to build those 2-story buildings when that architect and construction firm built the 2-story building at Crittenden so incorrectly that the upper floor cannot and apparently has never been used? If you hired a contractor who did such a bad job on your bathroom remodel that you couldn't even use it, would you hire the same contractor to build a whole new house?

Why was a task force called "Boundary Advisory" told to make decisions about school closure?

Aside from the fact that we love living in Mountain View, and we love our teachers and our playgrounds and our principals, everything that happens at the district office is just nuts.


32 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

So, this whole mess is just the result of 2 board members running amok? How about a recall and we leave things as they are?


34 people like this
Posted by another dad
a resident of Slater
on Mar 13, 2015 at 11:44 pm

I do not get it: The most recent (a couple months old) demographic study (commissioned by the board, no less) shows that there is essentially NO GROWTH to be expected in the Whisman triangle (plus/minus a handful). Why the heck do you want to open a new school there which would costs more than a million dollars annually to run (not to mention the cost of building it). With expected anemic attendance numbers, such a school is doomed to be closed just a few years later. But then we have wasted $20M (or whatever it costs) in construction, torn apart other neighborhoods, and disenfranchised parents and students all over the district.
I say: Put an and to this madness and focus instead on how to teach our kids better!


32 people like this
Posted by not a politician
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Mar 14, 2015 at 12:05 am

It has become common to not trust Washington politicians.
But what is sad to see is that the well-being of our kids is being imperiled by the misguided ideology of several (not all) local, highly politicized board members. Sick. HANDS OFF OUR SCHOOLS!


9 people like this
Posted by Here's a Thought
a resident of Slater
on Mar 14, 2015 at 3:48 am

Why not survey all the families who will be forced to attend the new school at Whisman by the 2 existing private schools? What would they prefer? To Continue at their present school, or to be assigned to a new school?


15 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 14, 2015 at 10:28 am

These are my personal observations from my work on the board, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Mountain View Whisman School District or the School Board. There is great work being done in the district along with things to improve, and things to rightly debate with intensity. I’d like to respond to some thing said here that are not accurate.

Claim: “20 million stashed away in a piggy bank”
My Response:
The purpose of the reserve, currently at $22 million, is to ensure you can keep your newer teachers and core programs through cyclical recessions. To compare, PAUSD has $29 million Web Link in reserve and MVLA $14 million Web Link, both of those are solid basic aid districts, which aren’t affected by the state budget the way MVWSD is affected.

The School Board last week authorized reducing the reserve to little under $8 million, in percentage of annual expenses, this would be a 15% reserve, in line with PAUSD’s 15%, less than the 25% MVLA keeps. The state recommendation of 6% reserves would be equal to 3 weeks of expenses. Does any household think 3 weeks of expenses is the right size of an emergency fund? 15% is equal to a little under 2 months.

The plan to reduce reserves focuses on “one-time” investments that bring long-term benefits without incurring long-term expenses. This includes $3 million on a robust teacher professional development plan under the belief that investing in the skills of our teachers is our best “capital” investment. It includes $1.5 turnaround funds for Castro and Theuerkauf in recognition that our schools with the highest percent of students in poverty need seed funding for innovation.
Web Link

It is understandable boundary conversations creates anxiety around Theuerkauf, and I do not know the outcome, but I do know the resource commitment to Theuerkauf’s success is seen in the budget plans above.

In addition to a plan to wind down reserves on on-time investments, the board and district has committed to reducing class size through on-going annual revenue, which will reduce the future large build-ups of reserves.

The district and teachers are currently in salary negotiations, I do not yet know the outcome, but there is palpable spirit of collaboration between the district and teachers negotiation teams.

Claim: “Why do they even need MVEF?”
My Response:
MVEF provides music, art, and science to all our children. There has been such a focus on the reserve, but not on the reality that our elementary school district operates on $9,900, MVLA $16,100, PAUSD $14,500, and we have 3x as many at-risk students. Web Link And despite that reality, when extra funds are available like Shoreline Funds, the community still allocates those public funds to both MVLA and MVWSD despite the underlining wealth and needs gap. MVEF works tirelessly to make all those disparities in funding indiscernible to our city’s elementary school children. They work magic. If you have skepticism of district spending, it would be even more reason to donate to MVEF. Those MVEF dollars go direct to student experiences. Please do not punish MVEF for any criticism one might have of the school board or district.

Claim: “Why is the district making huge plans to replace one-story buildings with 2-story buildings at every elementary campus… why is the district using the same architect and the same construction firm?”
My Response:
There is no plan to place two story buildings on each campus, where discussion is taking place are the few schools with impacted footprints.

The architects for each elementary school will be up a competitive process, so no architect has been chosen for any elementary school, let alone construction firms.

What is being talked about: bold ideas to provide freshly cooked meals to all our district’s children through kitchen innovations and training by new and great District Master Chef Bob Mencimer. These meals will rival the very best food plans offered by any district around us, just ask any Crittenden student who already experience it. This is being done under the premise that what our children eat is as important as what they learn. This has been part of a multi-year collaboration with Google on redesigning our food program.

What’s being talked about are inspiring and safe libraries and classrooms for each of our schools. Not the portables that some are currently in. By 2016, there will be two new great performing arts spaces at our middle schools, places that will embolden the arts for both the students and the community that will also have access to use the spaces. There will be two learning innovations centers that will be a bridge to future Silicon Valley careers, especially for students whose social economic circumstances have left them out of the prosperity of Mountain View’s tech boom.

Back to boundaries, people have every right to be involved, express concerns, and offer solutions (here’s an annotated map to help Web Link. I spend hours each night listening and reflecting on what people are saying about the process and possible solutions. And I speak for myself, but no, I have not reached some forgone conclusion, so since I am a board member, one can not fairly conclude that the process for the school board is “just for show.”

We have many things to work on, but please don’t let that cloud all the things that are good, and that even greater things are to come.

Christopher Chiang
President of the Mountain View Whisman School Board

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.


35 people like this
Posted by scientist
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Back 15 years ago, Whisman (and then Slater) were closed due to the Navy leaving and overall low attendance numbers. Since then, a lot of time has passed and the valley has seen a lot of changes. What has not changed significantly, though, are the student numbers in the Slater/Whisman area. I went through the trouble of going through the last couple of demographic studies, tallied up the students in the Slater/Whisman area, and found that, essentially, there has been some modest change in the last 10 years, up and down. No significant uptick in student population is projected. While I understand that memory is short - and most of us where not here 15 years ago - the numbers don't lie. I also understand that it is desirable to have a school close by. But if the student situation is essentially the same as it was 10-15 years ago (and is expected to be the same for the next 5-10 years), it would appear that the underlying reason for NOT having a school in the area has not changed. Opening a school there makes no sense at all.


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 6:28 pm

@huh?,
You asked:
"Why was a task force called "Boundary Advisory" told to make decisions about school closure?"

I think the answer to that question is the same as so many others that have been asked by BATF members and many parents, like:

Why is this process really being rushed so fast to get a result ASAP?
Why did the district do such a dismal job of informing the parents what was really going on?
Why has the district been so stealthy?
Why didn't the trustees make SURE that ALL relevant communications and documents were available in Spanish right after they were done in English?
Why can't interested people (BATF members and the parents who show up at meetings) who ask relevant and critical questions get actual meaningful answers?
Why did the politicians in-charge suddenly (without discussion) rule-out 3 entire "scenarios" themselves rather than the BATF members being allowed to make such decisions?
WHY did the TEMORARY Superintendent clearly indicate that all of these issues need to be nailed-down and carved in stone BEFORE the permanent long-term Superintendent could take his office?
Why is it that the only remaining "scenarios" are those with Stevenson closing?
WHY have so many people close to the process strongly urge people NOT to discuss all these issues on the MV Voice web-site?
Why did some trustees come out so quickly to dispute the original headline of the first news story?
"New school could close down Stevenson PACT"
To anyone who has been at the meetings, that headline is not only 100% accurate as written, but seems prophetic.

The questions above and many others asked by BATF members and by parents and other interested parties all have the same answer.

The common answer to all these questions is NOT about practical demographic numbers or dollars or safety or dubious benefits of making every school fit the 450-600 enrollment goal they set or advisable renovations or...

It's all about politics and always has been.

Any "WHY" question anyone cares to ask about all of this (going back at least a yer or more by the way) can be answered with the same answer.

The veneer of the BATF process AND the rush to get it all done ASAP is intended to minimize the political fall-out from the decision when the trustees finally announce it and confirm the MV Voice headline.

To paraphrase the Monk song:
"I could be wrong now,----but I don't think so!,
well, it's a political jungle out there,
it's a political jungle...."


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 7:33 pm

@Robert of Slater,
You wrote several things I disagree with:
"The general tenor of the arguments presented so far is that a choice program trumps a neighborhood program,..."

Not my point at all. Not even a fair interpretation.
"Choice" is not only the American way, it also benefits the traditional schools.
Every child is an individual with individual needs.
A "one size" educational system dose NOT "fit all".
Both PACT and DI exist because there is a need and because they have a PROVEN track-record which WORKS to serve those needs. Which is why several hundred families want their kids in them.

By having these district-wide "choice" schools, the kids who would not do as well in traditional school settings have the opportunity to rise to their potential in a different setting. The PACT and DI methods are particularly effective in tailoring the educational experience to the specific needs of each child.

You wrote:
"The fundamental foundation of a school district are its neighborhood schools first and foremost."

I see, to the utter exclusion of anything else, right?
No room for any choice for anyone, just one rigid process required for all, right?

You wrote:
"The Castro and DI decision is PACT's major opponent, not Whisman/Slater."

I guess I will forgive the lack of historical perspective shown by the above claim.

The political move to close Stevenson in order to give a school to Whisman/Slater began WAY WAY BEFORE the questions about Castro and DI were even in the mix. The political moves to close Stevenson began some years ago, perhaps even before the last trustees election.

You wrote:
"The I've got mine, so sad for you attitude is alive and well in our District."

As opposed to the:
I WANT A NEW ONE FOR ME, so sad for everyone else who will need to sacrifice to GIVE IT TO ME!
Or the:
I made a political promise to help me get elected to school board last time, now I need to come-through on that promise to get re-elected.

Pretty much EVERYONE (from the very start over a year ago) who supports PACT, Theuerkauf, DI and other schools uniformly have said:
"We support the idea of giving Whisman a new school IF we find a way to accomplish that without tearing-down what already exists and works well."

I don't really see people from Whisman/Slater showing similar sympathy towards other schools which would suffer to give Whisman a school.

You wrote:
"Dividing on Shoreline and Central Expressway:"

That's NOT how the district is divided and it does NOT reflect the actual locations of existing school sites.

You asked:
"PACT parents and sympathizers, if you feel so strongly about saving your program, be pro-active and put together your own solution, and present it to the Board, as has the Whisman/Slater neighborhood."

WE TRIED! A YEAR AGO to get the board to discuss finding creative ways to give a new school to Whisman/Slater, but NOBODY was interested in any such discussions.

EVERY meeting on the issue some people have asked that exact question and tried to begin that discussion, but the district has ZERO interest in that discussion.

You wrote:
"The Whisman/Slater neighborhood has the moral high ground in this discussion, and we are not giving up."

Self-serving declaration with no meaning.


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Dear Mountain View Parent of Rex Manor
You wrote:
"Dear Pact Parent, I don't recall describing Theuerkauf families as "less fortunate" at all. Do you see those words, cuz I don't. I didn't put any "card out there to play"."

Please pardon my choice of use of " quotes, I did not mean to imply that you did. I was trying to de-code the sub-text that arises from the situation and which are exploited.

I have other posts where I addressed the conflicting public perceptions of Theuerkauf. I freely admit I don't understand why these perceptions exist. My point was simply that people who are determined to close Stevenson are exploiting this perception to the benefit of obtaining their prize.

In any case, my belief (based on everything that has gone on for at least a year) is that the only reason the idea was floated by the trustees to close Theuerkauf was a cynical intentional attempt to pit the parents of Theuerkauf against Stevenson parents.

My position and that of many Stevenson parents I have spoken to and remarks made in meetings is that BOTH Stevenson and Theuerkauf schools benefit from the fact they are next door to each other. PACT families would NOT be happy for either school to be closed. NOR would PACT families be happy to be all alone in a neighborhood without a close-by traditional school.

PACT has always wanted to be good neighbors to a traditional school.
PACT NEEDS it's own administration and NEEDS a central commute-friendly location. Where PACT & Theuerkauf are now suit PACT just fine AND suit the additional 170 families who are on the waiting list.

You asked about the issue of closing the district offices and moving ONLY those employees to a new location so that Slater can expand.

That idea was brought up a year ago that I was present for and countless times since in EVERY meeting since. The reaction of the politicians in-charge has mostly been dismissive or even hostile. They don't even want it discussed at all as an idea.


8 people like this
Posted by Canela
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2015 at 8:48 pm

Hi Pact Parent,

Can you explain in more detail about your quote:

"My position and that of many Stevenson parents I have spoken to and remarks made in meetings is that BOTH Stevenson and Theuerkauf schools benefit from the fact they are next door to each other."

How exactly does Theuerkauf benefit from having Stevenson next to it? You have one of the highest performing schools located next to the lowest performing school in the district and I don't at all see how one helps the other. Please enlighten me.

Do PACT parents also volunteer at Theuerkauf? Do the schools have joint fund-raising events? Joint after-school programs with kids from both schools? Other shared resources? I'd love to hear how Stevenson helps Theuerkauf by sharing a campus.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:31 am

Canela of Rex Manor,
Hello neighbor :-)

You asked:
Can you explain in more detail about your quote:
"My position...is that BOTH Stevenson and Theuerkauf schools benefit from the fact they are next door to each other."

Sure, let's start with looking at the Dual-Immersion and Castro co-location.
Clearly, it helps to locate a DI type program as close to the center of distribution for the families who would most benefit from the special services that program offers.

The kids who really need the DI style of education wont end up floundering in the next-door traditional school. This allows the traditional school to focus on the core of teaching instead of also having to deal with kids who don't have the English skills.

When people choose where to live and raise a family and have any type of interest in a dual-language environment, then they will be looking at areas closest to a DI school. That makes the neighborhood more valuable.

You asked:
"How exactly does Theuerkauf benefit from having Stevenson next to it? You have one of the highest performing schools located next to the lowest performing school in the district..."

I agree the public perception is not the best for Theuerkauf, I also know Theuerkauf parents who are quite happy there. Not sure how to reconcile those divergent views.

As with the DI program with Castro, the location of PACT has 2 main general benefits for Theuerkauf and some less tangible.

Those kids who would not do as well in a traditional setting have a place to go to get what they need. The PACT method lends itself very well to tailoring the educational experience of each child for the best performance that child can achieve.

That means the traditional school can focus traditional methods on the majority of kids who will achieve their best in a traditional setting and conducting their education without the distraction of the kids who would not.

Given the poor public perception of Theuerkauf...

Then what does Stevenson PACT do to the perception of the desirability of our neighborhood?

I suspect plenty of people choose to move here because of the perception of Stevenson. This improves tax revenue, housing options, property values, jobs, etc...

There are also less tangible benefits. The families of both schools get to know each other and develop friendships which could never happen if we were all stuck in neighborhood schools. Choice schools bring geographically distant people together. My kid is very attached to several Theuerkauf kids and vise-versa. The kids of both schools share both playgrounds all the time.

The parents who come to our neighborhood for PACT from all over the district get to see our neighborhood, our traditional school, our shopping, our families, and get to care about our neighborhood even if they live off in the far corner of the district. This can only benefit our neighborhood and both our schools and the perception of our neighborhood.

In any case, Stevenson parents from all over the district are very happy to have Theuerkauf next-door and sincerely want it to stay that way!


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:57 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 Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 15, 2015 at 10:24 am

PACT parent, and those who do not listen to the words of the Demographers. PACT seems to be obsessed. And TH seems to be obsessed, and ... seem to be obsessed. All with the words and assertions and actions of the ADMINISTRATION. The Administrators - specifically the Business Office, is running the administration committee process. The Demographers have made it clearer - almost all the growth in the next 5-10 years is expected in the North-East quadrant of the District.

IS "Neighborhood School" a Choice? Should "Neighborhood School" be a choice for all neighborhood stakeholders in this District? (Including residential property owners?) That is a Political decision - not a bureaucratic one - and I happen to be an elected politician of a local legislative body.

but that is just my informed opinion,
Steven Nelson, an elected MVWSD Trustee


23 people like this
Posted by False premise
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:41 pm

This whole discussion of closing one school versus another seems to miss the point. But the premise for opening the new school in the Slater neighborhood is false: The economics (number of students now and future, and the operating cost) does not support a new school. That should be the end of the story.


21 people like this
Posted by do not close schools
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Ellen Wheeler was a trustee when some schools were closed 15 years ago. We take our hats off for doing what was a difficult decision - but it was the right decision. It is still the right decision at this time. Let's hope she does not base her decision now on a false sentiment of penance for undoing past actions and instead stick with the duties of the board: Fiduciary duty to the district, and provide vision by which the school district is operated.


25 people like this
Posted by property value dropping
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:59 pm

If we re-draw the district boundaries, I wonder how the parents of the 150 folks in the Slater/Whisman neighborhood who are currently zoned for Huff feel about that? Are you ready to send your kids to Slater? Are you ready to see your property values drop?


36 people like this
Posted by dad51
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Greg Coladonato comes across like a global warming denier: "Let's ignore the data if they do not fit our ideology". In this case the data are the growth predictions for Slater/Whisman (no growth).

If he still has state-wide (or any other public office) ambitions, this attitude might come back to haunt him. And we will make sure that the public will be made aware of his recklessness.


13 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm

@Steven Nelson,
You ironically wrote:
"PACT parent, and those who do not listen to the words of the Demographers. PACT seems to be obsessed. And TH seems to be obsessed, and ... seem to be obsessed."

WOW! Talk about....
POT-KETTLE-BLACK!

I think the vast majority of people who have seen Trustee Nelson in-action would find his words above equally ironic.

So, just because Stevenson parents and Theuerkauf parents don't want to lose their schools, that makes all of US "obsessed"??????

Perhaps we should mail him a dictionary? .... naa, never mind.


12 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 15, 2015 at 11:35 pm

As suggested a power-that-be, I have been re-reading the Demographic study and found this rather relevant quote:

MOUNTAIN VIEW WHISMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT DEMOGRAPHIC STUDY 2014/2015
First excerpt about K-5, second excerpt about grades 6-8:
"...As demonstrated in this study, MVWSD has experienced positive enrollment gains in recent years at the lower elementary grade levels due to the re‐opening of Stevenson elementary,..."

Lets see that again:
"...positive enrollment gains ... due to the re‐opening of Stevenson elementary,..."

To me that sounds like the opening of Stevenson PACT has caused more families to move INTO our district because they WANTED Stevenson PACT for their kids. Given that PACT is a "choice" school the families knew they could move into any area of our district to gain the advantages of Stevenson PACT. How close they chose to reside would of course be determined by their own situation an dhow well they could handle the commute. Stevenson has helped the entire district.

Further the Demographic study goes on to state:
"... the implementation of transitional kindergarten, and the implementation of the Dual Immersion program... "

So, not only did Stevenson PACT draw new families into our district, the other "choice" program did as well!

And more from the Demographic study:
"...These enrollment gains assisted in offsetting negative migration at all other grade levels..."

That sounds like the real focus of discussion SHOULD be on WHY we lose families once they move into our middle & high schools?
WHY all the political pressure to mess around with EXISTING K-5 schools?

More from the Demographic study:
"... However, enrollments at the lower grade levels have now stabilized and are not projected to continue. As a result, enrollments are
projected to remain stable or slightly decline at the TK‐5th grade levels through 2024‐25..."

Wait, let me see if I have that correct?
K-5 grade enrollment has "stabilized" and are NOT expected to increase, rather the projection is "...to remain stable or slightly decline at the TK‐5th grade levels through 2024‐25..."

Lest see that again:
"...enrollments are projected to remain stable or slightly decline at the TK‐5th grade levels through 2024‐25..."

So, for the next 10 years there is expected to be equal or FEWER K-5 kids in our district?

Second excerpt about grades 6-8:
"...At the middle school level, enrollment are projected to increase as the larger cohorts who have entered in recent years continue to matriculate through the higher grade levels. Toward the end of the projection period,
enrollments at the 6‐8th grade levels will stabilize..."

A clear statement that what the District SHOULD be looking at is improving our Middle & High schools to retain families and PREPARE for the flood of K-5 kids who will then move into middle schools.

So, WHY are we messing around with our existing K-5 schools?

Oh, yeah, I forgot, politics comes before kids.


15 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

I agree w/you a_dad.

If I no longer have a neighborhood school due to the decisions of politicians not looking out for our communities best interest then I will also no longer donate to MVEF and use my available resources to make sure everyone knows about what our “elected” board members have done to our community.

Landels, Theuerkauf & PACT do not want the proposed scenarios.


37 people like this
Posted by Huff Parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2015 at 10:54 am

Not all Whisman parents want a neighborhood school. Please do not lump us all together. My child is zoned for Huff, although we live much closer to the Slater/Whisman schools. Let me be clear: the Huff parents in this part of the city do NOT want to attend another school, especially a new neighborhood school that is not established, has no track record, and would have teachers that we most likely wouldn't know. Our only saving grace is that our children will be grandfathered into any changes, so we won't have to move. Please do not make assumptions that everyone in our neighborhood wants a neighborhood school. This has turned into a political soap opera, and it's getting rather disheartening. Shame on the district for not sharing this information with all members of the community before it hit the local newspaper!


21 people like this
Posted by Huff Parent
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2015 at 11:06 am

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


19 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Speak up parents and/or interested parties. Our elected officials need to know that the majority do NOT want this to happen. I know of many families in the Whisman area that would not switch or want to attend a school in that area.

Thank you @ Huff Parent for posting the emails.


20 people like this
Posted by FACT MAN
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 16, 2015 at 7:22 pm

I just want to make a few FACTUAL points. From these facts, and the political decisions that are being discussed, you will see that politics is driving a few select key members, who are supposed to be looking out for the welfare of the entire district.

1) Demographics - 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) Finance - 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 so called “expansion” are for homes that do not typically bring families with children (also in the demographic study).
4) “Neighborhood” school - A large number of students DO NOT currently go their “neighborhood” school. 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 - 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) Property Values - If the district is stretched thin, 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, 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 Million go? Think about it!!! We have 148 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.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 17, 2015 at 9:36 am

@FACT MAN (anonymous poster) I do not find your 'facts' very conclusive. Because they seem to depend on a certain ethical/moral view of the world. Those who have, deserve to keep, those who have been denied, don't deserve a share. Sorry - I never ran on that platform! Living/owning in the most affluent 1/5 of the District (South of El Camino) I recognize the frustrations of the Minority who have been denied the opportunity of Neighborhood Choice for a decade.
SN is an elected Trustee of the MVWSD


10 people like this
Posted by don't punish
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

ATTN: Concerned Parent
"If I no longer have a neighborhood school due to the decisions of politicians not looking out for our communities best interest then I will also no longer donate to MVEF and use my available resources to make sure everyone knows about what our "elected" board members have done to our community. "

MVEF benefits every student in the district, not just the students in the neighborhood they are associated with.
I don't think the school board has much to do with MVEF it is parent run.

Please continue to give for ALL the students.


18 people like this
Posted by Answer the question Steven Nelson
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:10 am

FACT MAN cited specific numbers and demographics. He didn't say anything about "I got mine, you don't deserve a share."

Answer each of the specific points #1-6 that are listed!

Where in MV You live is irrelevant. Saying that you live "on the wealthier side of town" and close to Bubb makes you more understanding of residents who do not have a neighborhood school makes no sense at all.

Maybe people would have more respect for you if, instead of a defensive reply about where you live and what you believe, you just answered the question about demographics in the district.


23 people like this
Posted by FACT MAN
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:12 am

Mr. Nelson - My facts don't need to be in quotes because they are actually facts. Unlike many 'facts' that have been widely circulated, these are true:
1) The demographic study shows overall DECREASE in TK-5th grade student numbers.
2) The March 19th District Facilities Committee update to the board states that the District is operating in a deficit and either STAFF or PROGRAMS will need to be cut if expenses increase.
3) The demographic study also says, in plain language, that the expansion does not typically add elementary age kids

Now my 2 cents - We have 148 Million to spend. Why spin our wheels to drastically change something when we can systematically invest and have a far greater impact? Board members should look at the district wide opportunities and strategy. The sky is the limit, and we have the opportunity to use the money to improve our current facilities and programs.


10 people like this
Posted by a_dad
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:24 am

Thank President Chiang's long comments.

Nobody wants to punish MVEF. But the logic is: if MVWSD has $22M to waste, why it should care my little $500 donation? I understand and respect if Mr. Greg Coladonato plans to race to state assembly again. But serving as a MVWSD trustee should not be a stepping stone. All decisions should be made on the infects to the whole district.

I love MV. I'm renting, and will rent in Palo Alto if PACT is not PACT anymore, since the rent difference is not too much now. I'll punish all those who should be punished, who push me out of MV, in the next ten years, I mean, put $5,000 (or even 10 times more if my startup succeeds) to punish one or two politicians. If it's a game to someone, I'm all in.


5 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Mar 17, 2015 at 6:01 pm

Dear PACT Parent from Rex Manor, You have been voicing some strong opinions in this blog and I wonder if you would be willing to debate your positions with a Whisman/Slater advocate in front of the media before the Thursday School Board meeting? My name is Robert, I live in the Whisman/Slater neighborhood. I'm ready for my close up, are you?


5 people like this
Posted by Slater Mom
a resident of Slater
on Mar 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm

@Robert
It's commendable to advocate so hard for our neighborhood. I'm wondering if this is the same Robert who recently sent a letter to our NA about moving out in a few months after living here for three decades? If so, why are you leaving an area you are fighting so hard for? If not, I'd very much like to see the debate. Unless, of course, it ends up pitting one neighborhood against another, in which case we can all agree that won't solve anything.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2015 at 8:59 pm

@Robert,
As I am certain you are well aware of...

The vast majority of people do not have the specific skill-set to do a reasonable job advocating their sincere positions in a public-speaking forum, which is exactly why people who do have those specific skills prefer that type of forum.

It gives them a huge unfair advantage.

I must assume Robert is quite experienced in a public-speaking live-debate in-front-of-the-cameras setting and that is why he prefers that forum.

Robert is pulling an old politicians trick of claiming that the only "real debate" is live/public and anyone not skilled in that setting must not have anything valid to say.

I am not a politician.
I am not a polished public-speaker with years of live public debate in my background.
I prefer to THINK about what I wish to say/write rather than just blurt things out for live TV.
I certainly won't be "ready for my closeup" "in front of the media" by Thursday.
As with most people, I would be a poor representative for my views in such a forum, which is what those who prefer that forum count on.

If Robert is so convinced he is right and I am wrong, then why not explain it in writing?

I have always agreed with the wisdom of Dirty Harry Callahan from Magnum Force when he said:
"A man's got to know his limitations."

I know mine, I accept them, I freely admit to them.
That does NOT make my views less valid.
It does NOT make my questions any less relevant.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm

@don't punish,
You wrote:
"MVEF benefits every student in the district, not just the students in the neighborhood they are associated with. I don't think the school board has much to do with MVEF it is parent run. Please continue to give for ALL the students."

Dear don't punish,
I believe our "favorite" trustee himself pointed out that all donations of money and time/effort are strictly voluntary and nobody should be pressured to donate.

This point combined with the positions of various powers-that-be shows they don't hear the public unless the public agrees with them. It is a perfectly valid option to choose to think longer-term about what is really of benefit to our school district by putting your money where it will do the most real good.

If choosing to re-direct your own money from going to the MVEF to going towards un-seating those who are clearly doing more damage than good, then that is a perfectly valid way to benefit our District.

As things stand, it's a valid fear to feel that we will continue to see endless years of political agendas enacted by the whims of a few people who don't care about the harm they are doing.

Regardless of where any voter stands on any specific issue, you cannot seriously think that the way the MVWSD has operated in recent years is really the way we WANT decisions to be made, right?

Tossing around profanities, personal attacks, threats, bullying, "hostile work environment", hidden agendas, stealth committees, rushed decisions, censures, $231K "severance" packages, etc...

Is that the best our kids deserve?
Really?


9 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 17, 2015 at 10:45 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.


23 people like this
Posted by Not a Huff parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 18, 2015 at 9:34 am

To "Huff Parent from North Whisman neighborhood".

While you are zoned for Huff and grandfathered in, please consider the actual families who live near Huff but cannot attend their own neighborhood school because of over-enrollment and must drive to Bubb or Landels.

Is that right or fair to the children? Let alone the families paying top dollar to live in the Huff neighborhood without the benefit of going to Huff. Many of the spots which should go to the families living in the shadow of this school are given away to families who benefited from the Slater closure so long ago. (The boundaries post-Slater were drawn up by none other than former superintendent Goldman).

I though the point of the boundary task force was to reduce the number of students making cross-city commutes to get to school while having to pass right by their neighborhood schools. There has been a real impact to our neighborhood sense of community and there has been a safety issue with the number of drivers going from one neighborhood to another daily. I am surprised there are not more car/pedestrian accidents at all of our schools, given the cross-city school commutes each morning.

Although moving boundaries is often hard, change is hard. But it's the right thing to do.

Good for you that you get to keep your safe spot at Huff, but it comes at a cost for others. Let's make sure to wave at each other as you go to MY children's neighborhood school, while I drive my kids to our "neighborhood" school across town.



23 people like this
Posted by Wierd but True????
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm

While we are looking at Nelson and Wheeler, did anyone consider looking at Coladonato. It's interesting that it is not disclosed in his campaign link that he is a real estate broker.

Web Link

Web Link

What is his personal agenda?


5 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

@ not a huff parent

This is exactly why we do not want Theuerkauf to close. It will cause children to have to cross major intersections in order to get to school. This includes Elementary age students & middle school students as the older siblings often times walk the younger sibling to school. The task force is supposed to look @ safe ways to school & by closing a neighborhood school it is causing un-safe ways to school.

If you have not already done so read the proposals as Landels is also on the chopping block.


7 people like this
Posted by Increase capacity
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm

@Not a Huff parent

Why not just increase capacity? Then nobody has to move. The problem with shifting boundaries, is that now you're going to affect property values. It's unfortunate but true that school quality affects property values, especially in this part of the country.


21 people like this
Posted by Eat your own dog food motto
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Mar 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm

How do you increase capacity with no funds? Castro was decided in some back alley handshake without thought to the cost or impact to all the other schools in the district that service our children.

So you don't want to move boundaries, but want to make policies that make boudaries invisible, making some schools a free for all? If people from highly resourced families stayed in their neighborhoods schools, maybe the quality and desirablity of the school would go up. The optics and marketing is created by those who eat their own dog food. Is this about property values, or quality of education?

If all schools are improved, then all properties in Mountain View will increase in value.

With the lax grandfathering policies of the district, no one will have to move anyway.. just continue waving to one another as you race accross town for drop off!!!


13 people like this
Posted by Rushed, no collaboration
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2015 at 4:40 pm

Dear Community: There's no place for reasonable discussions/ collaborations about what's best for the community as a whole.

The rushed timetable makes me think all if this is about power and political gain.

I think the board has a plan. And they are going to implement that plan. We as, as residents, won't know what it is, until it's too late.

Whatever happened to serving the public by actually listening to the community? I don't see that happening in any functional capacity.

The only rational comment/decision on this topic to date was when the boundary task force said they would not/could not make a recommendation. More time is needed, more community input is needed.


5 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Mar 18, 2015 at 5:01 pm

@ PACT Parent
You attribute more to my public speaking ability than I would ever claim. I,like you, prefer the thoughtful written discussion, which allows time to think and choose ones words carefully. The forum we are currently using is more a monologue than a dialogue in my opinion, and I have found a contemporaneous face to face discussion can often lead to discovering areas of common agreement. Thursday’s Board meeting is setting up to be very vocal and emotional. I personally hold the District responsible for structuring the process in a manner that pits neighborhood against neighborhood, and not all neighborhoods are included in that discussion. It doesn’t have to be that way. If you have been following the Voice blogs regarding this issue, you are well aware of the reactive discourse taking place in our community. Everyone concerned is feeling threatened and boxed into a corner, hence the lashing out and high levels of vitriol permeating the discussion.
A new proposal from a community member has just been presented to the District, and I would be interested in hearing your thoughts after you have read it. I am certain that it will come up in a discussion tomorrow. You are a politician whether you claim the title or not.


17 people like this
Posted by Sylvie
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 18, 2015 at 5:12 pm

Back to the original question in this thread-- why did this become about PACT?

It became about PACT in part because the Voice, knowing that PACT is a lightning rod for strong feelings pro and against, is deliberately stirring the pot and we are all helping hold the spoon.

The sensationalist headline about "closing PACT" is an example. Nobody is going to close PACT. The *program* might move but it is not going to close. "PACT Parent," you aren't exactly helping keep this discussion calm with your lengthy rants with way too many words in all caps. I think this whole thing is going to work out, and in the meantime the Voice is racking up a lot of page views.


8 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2015 at 5:39 pm

This whole discussion arises out of listening to the part of the community that wants to re-open Whisman/Slater. To even consider that, the boundaries must be adjusted. All of the published information I have seen includes grandfathering,of current students, as was done the last time attendance boundaries were adjusted. Increasing capacity in the face of overall flat enrollment projections does not make sense, particularly when the whole community supports schools of a certain size. Are folks whining about appraised property values or believing what agents or sites like Zillo say about values? Property values are related to the income of the folks around you, since that is what API correlates to. Next year we will have a new test that does not reach back to compare to API, so what will agents say then? If folks really wanted to overpay to attend a certain elementary school, Palo Alto would have been a much more reliable choice as a community. By the way, I have always wondered what impact a "good" elementary school had on the students of educated parents, since all our students have access to one of the best high school districts in the state?


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2015 at 5:46 pm

@Sylvie wrote:
"Back to the original question in this thread-- why did this become about PACT?"

For accuracy, it's really all about Stevenson versus Whisman and politics.

Stevenson, where PACT happens to be located, is the best location in the district for the commute of kids from all corners of the district. Which is one thing a "choice" school needs to serve the whole district.
(My understanding is that the DI school is located in the center of demand.)

Whisman happens to have the political power at the moment which can over-ride any other concerns or effects.

The district powers-that-be want Whisman open and to close Stevenson to then rent Stevenson out to an exclusive private school who can afford to "buy" the best site in the district.

What ever that may do to PACT, is irrelevant to the political agenda.
PACT has been tossed around every time the district wants to play games
with the schools. PACT has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the district.

You wrote:
"It became about PACT in part because the Voice,...
The sensationalist headline about "closing PACT" is an example."

Again, for accuracy, and as I have pointed out before, the headline was:
"New school could close down Stevenson PACT"

That is a perfectly TRUE headline!
Also, it seems very prophetic, based on the remarks of the TEMPORARY Superintendent and his break-neck-speed rush to a final decision by April 16th.

The district is determined to shut down Stevenson PACT and what happens to PACT next is just in the noise.


8 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm

@PACT Parent,

Since PACT has grown, a new site could eliminate the lottery and waiting list. Fixing Stevenson to do that requires relocating the District Office. A couple of vocal trustees already shouted their own planners down about that idea. If the goal is walkable neighborhood schools, closing one to open another, or visa versa, makes no sense. The reason for leasing out Stevenson would be to offset some of the revenue lost by reclaiming Whisman or Slater. I sit in many board meetings. I don't accept your last sentence "conspiracy theory" above. It sounds like an old tape from the closure of Slater.


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 18, 2015 at 7:14 pm

@Old Steve wrote:

"Since PACT has grown, a new site could eliminate the lottery and waiting list."

Stevenson was laid-out in a hap-hazard manner and is poorly using the size of the site. Re-building in a rational manner would open a lot more seats.

"Fixing Stevenson to do that requires relocating the District Office."

Many parents have been suggesting that for over a YEAR at least!
The district has places to build new offices.

The existing district offices are an embarrassment. The meeting rooms are pitiful/under-sized. Hard to believe it's a 21st century District office.

"A couple of vocal trustees already shouted their own planners down about that idea."

I happened to be sitting behind our TEMPORARY Superintendent and I spoke up for that idea. He spun around and angrily confronted me with a nasty look on his face. He wont allow that discussion.

"If the goal is walkable neighborhood schools, closing one to open another, or visa versa, makes no sense."

Correct, because it has to do with the exercise of political power, not what makes sense.

"The reason for leasing out Stevenson would be to offset some of the revenue lost by reclaiming Whisman or Slater."

Why "lose" anything to begin with and then have the need to make up for it?
The Demographics study provided ZERO data supporting any need for opening Whisman and no expectation of any future need for a decade.

"I don't accept your last sentence "conspiracy theory" above."

I suppose if you choose to define "conspiracy" as:
A set of people who all happen to want the same thing, for various reasons, making use of their collective authority to get it. I don't.

Whatever their individual motivations may be, it happens that the majority of the powers-that-be all have a shared goal and, so far, have shown little interest in opposing views.

"It sounds like an old tape from the closure of Slater."

I was not aware of what was going on back then, but from what I have read since then, both Whisman and Slater fell victim to a major loss of kids in the district due to, among other things, the closure of the military base.

I assume closing those schools was painful, to the remaining families, but the drastic change of circumstances forced the closures.

As things are now, there is no such factors which force such a drastic changes as to close any school.


6 people like this
Posted by Round peg, square hole
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm

People need to please slow down and delve deeply into plans that some are throwing around regarding moving PACT to Whisman and moving the private schools to Stevenson. It is not feasible fo move the German school and the Chinese school to Stevenson. The German school has more than 450 kids from preschool through high school. The Chinese school has more than 110 elementary kids. 560+ kids will not fit in the Stevenson site. Round peg, square hole!

If the district needs the near 1M rental income from these schools, and they are laser-focused on opening a neighborhood school at Whisman, where do they put the paying tenants? Round peg, square hole!


5 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 9:11 am

@ PACT Parent

Correct, a new district office was taken off the table during the early phases of Middle School planning, as I pointed out.

The board did not raise the issue of reopening Whisman/Slater, the community did.

Regardless of the demographic data, the most vocal support for a reopening is based in concepts of equity across the community in the matter of "neighborhood schools". Current attendance boundaries appear illogical to some, and could be adjusted as they have been numerous times before.

The fundamental question for both committees is how to support Whisman/Slater reopening, AND improve education for all district students.


15 people like this
Posted by 5 Votesk Please Consider
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 19, 2015 at 10:21 am

There are 5 votes that will determine the fate of many many residents of mountain view, as well as many non-residents if the leased campuses are impacted.

If any of the board members are reading these comments, I urge you to set aside your personal agenda, then look at the broader long term picture.

Please don't make all the boundary committee input, public debate, and community feedback just another motion you go through so you can say you "considered" the feedback, all to do just doing what your were going to do in the first place. This will be an insult to all of those that you are suppossed to represent.

Please consider the many many families you will impact, how you will break friendships, cause considerable changes and family stress.

Then consider that there are solutions to achieve more than this - By investing in our current schools. Invest based on the board strategic goals - not by deciding based on the squeaky wheels.


5 people like this
Posted by plain and simple
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:05 am

North Whisman deserves to have a neighborhood school. It is ridiculous that people are saying this neighborhood is just fine with having our children spread all over town so that everyone else can keep the same thing we want. We have paid our dues, why are the two schools in our neighborhood providing all the rental income for the district, why not spread that around somehow?


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:09 am

@Old Steve,
"Correct, a new district office was taken off the table during the early phases of Middle School planning..."

Ok, but WHY?
I can certainly imagine some people objecting to the idea of the district staff getting "new-cool-digs" while the schools need so much help.
I can see how they would be required to explain it to the public.

However, perhaps they didn't discuss the solid understandable reasons
that doing this would be good for the entire district.
Perhaps they didn't have someone with the vision to see it?

The current offices are not capable of providing proper hearing facilities for the numbers of people who would wish to attend many meetings. They are old and not up to the task of a modern school district. Anybody walking by can see through the windows and see how poorly these old buildings suit the need.

But more importantly, the space they occupy can be put to vastly better use after the District staff moves elsewhere.

How much better would things be if the Stevenson campus could effectively use the entire site so that 500 or more kids could attend Stevenson PACT?

Can't we get this back on the agenda for serious discussions?


7 people like this
Posted by Arsenic & Old Lace
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:18 am

What I find interesting in reading the boundary proposals is that if they move PACT to Whisman one of the negatives it points out is as follows:

“If neighborhood area adds housing and
accompanying student population, choice
opportunities will be reduced and PACT/
Stevenson philosophy could be diluted”

But it doesn’t say this as a negative on the 5a, b & c scenarios. Since the neighborhood surrounding Theuerkauf is pretty big and many students families may choose to stay in the area causing choice opportunity to be reduced, so would that not cause the same negative impact to PACT. The same negative impact should also be noted in one of the previous proposals showing PACT taking over Landels, but again the negatives did not mention this. I find this a bit confusing as to why it would not be listed as a negative on the other proposals but listed as a negative if they move PACT to Whisman giving neighboring families the choice of PACT or a neighboring school.

I am not a PACT parent so I am not against or pro PACT, but am curious as to why these things were not listed as negatives. It seems to be more of the arsenic covered in sugar that we are being fed.

Like I have said before none of this makes any sense. Why open another school @ the cost of displacing neighborhood children, also losing revenue by displacing the German & Chinese School. All the data is showing that there is not much growth expected in that area. What will the cost be to the community to satisfy a whim. I chose to live where I live knowing full well what school my children would go to. It seems to me that you should have made the same decision, if you chose to live in an area w/out a neighborhood school and suddenly are crying foul whose fault is it but your own. Why cost us a neighborhood school as well as a financial drain to help pacify you for your choices.


4 people like this
Posted by long time resident of
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:39 am

@arsenic
Excuse me, what?? North Whisman had a school, many of us moved here when North Whisman had two schools. Suddenly crying foul? Are you kidding me? What do you think the cost has been to our community since Slater was closed? Perhaps PACT would have been wise to fight a little harder to keep that school open at that time. Be careful what you wish for and all that.
I do however agree with the other parts of your post.


7 people like this
Posted by Neighborhood school
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:45 am

@plain and simple

I don't think it's that straight forward. Also, by saying "we have paid our dues", what does that mean? All of the rent money is going towards paying for our staff and student programs, so we all get the benefit - whether at Huff or Theuerkauf.

Also, those that live in the outside borders of each school zone is very similar to where Whisman/Slater has to travel to Theuerkauf and to Bubb. Yes it's on the longer distance that needs to travel, but it's not that much different than the outskirts of other school zones.

I say sell the Whisman and Slater schools. We could probably get around 50 Million. Then be done with this discussion.

Then use the 50 Million to build a nice community center where we can all benefit.


10 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:47 am

@plain and simple of North Whisman,

"North Whisman deserves to have a neighborhood school."

Consider the true reasons why things are as they are, which I address below.

The term "deserves" is an emotional "fairness" argument not a practical one and nothing has changed and nothing is likely to change (according to Demographic study) to create a practical reason to satisfy the emotional desire.

What is "fair" about repeatedly bouncing PACT all over the district over and over again?

I ASSURE you that even a year ago, and to this day, PACT parents would be delighted to see a 9th K-5 school opened in Whisma/Slater IF that could be done WITHOUT closing or moving any existing school.

WHY is it that the Whisman/Slater advocates don't offer solutions for their desires which DO NOT REQUIRE hundreds of other families to sacrifice for the benefit of a minority of families?

WHY don't the Whisman/Slater advocates discuss ways of improving the operational budget of the MVWSD so that they can get their 9th school WITHOUT closing any existing school?

WHY is it that PACT people openly say, and have for a YEAR, they want EVERYONE to be happy, but Whisman/Slater advocates are ONLY concerned with their own desires?

The huge disruptions to hundreds of families cannot be justified by the desires of a small fraction of the families in the district.

"It is ridiculous that people are saying this neighborhood is just fine with having our children spread all over town so that everyone else can keep the same thing we want. We have paid our dues, why are the two schools in our neighborhood providing all the rental income for the district, why not spread that around somehow? "

It's not "ridiculous", it's a natural historical consequence of drastic changes that took place 10-15 years ago which were NOT the fault of people in the district.

The Pentagon is as much to blame as anyone, complain to them about leaving.
The military moved out and took their steady flow of K-5 kids with them.

The school district we have now were 2 separate districts at one time. There were serious problems which caused a merger to create the MVWSD. Fallout from that merge combined with the military moving out forced the district close schools in the area with the fewest kids.

The school properties which could not be supported by the available neighborhood kids could be rented to private schools which are NOT effected by the local population of kids. Private schools accept kids from all over, even other cities. That's why the private schools can operate in an area with so few kids living locally to those schools.

Also, some people will move their private-school-kids into that area, but this does not help the public school demand because those kids wont go to public K-5 and most will continue in private middle-schools.

The Demographic study showed NO significant growth and no significant expectations of growth in the K-5 population for the next decade. It showed NO growth in the types of housing which draws families into an area being planned for the Whisman/Slater area.

The historical actions of the MVWSD relating to closing schools was driven (in the past) by actual practical NEED to make drastic changes because population changes made the massive disruptions mandatory.

No such massive changes in populations have happened recently and none are likely in the next 10 years, so forcing hundreds of families to sacrifice for the emotional desires of a smaller group to gain something, is not reasonable.

It would be wonderful if the focus was on how to improve the operating budget so that everyone could get what they want.

Why can't we put our energy into that?

WHY MUST this be framed as a zero-sum-game where a minority ONLY gains by taking away from a larger group?


7 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 11:57 am

The Parents of Whisman/Slater voted with their feet. Military families moved away on orders of the Base Closure Commission when the Navy left Moffett. The community assumed that families moving into Whisman Station housing would compensate. By the time of the School District Merger, those kids were not yet in MVWSD classrooms.

Most of the current discussion is around proposals that do not reassign current students. How many families had students at Slater who still have students in the district? Most district students currently living in Whisman/Slater were not yet born when Slater was closed.


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

@5 Votesk Please Consider of North Whisman,

Glad to see some people in Whisman do think about total impact.

"There are 5 votes that will determine the fate of many many residents of mountain view, as well as many non-residents if the leased campuses are impacted."

I agree that the existing 5 Trustees have a majority of members who made campaign promises to hand over a school to Whisman/Slater and thus have a conflict of interest.

However, I think they are not the only or perhaps biggest problem driving towards a tunnel-vision conclusion of closing Stevenson to give a school to Whisman/Slater.

You pointed out:
"all to do just doing what your were going to do in the first place. This will be an insult to all of those that you are suppossed to represent."

And therein lies what may be the bigger problem. The TEMPORARY Superintendent is running (and I do mean RUNNING) things at a blindingly fast pace to get his plan done and carved in stone BEFORE a permanent Superintendent can be found and seated.

There is ZERO practical excuse for this haste, only political ones.

The majority of the BATF revolted against the TEMP-Super's demand for a pre-mature offering of their opinions. The BATF asked for a substantial extension to the TEMP-Super's deadline for their feedback, but the TEMP-Super refused and only added another new meeting to the calendar in-between now and his deadline.

The TEMP-Super simply declared 3 of the original scenarios to be "off the table". He wont allow open discussions of alternative ideas of how to improve operating budget nor the idea of moving the District Offices to gain that space for Stevenson so we could build to support 450-500-? kids.

"Please consider the many many families you will impact, how you will break friendships, cause considerable changes and family stress."

I have heard nothing in the various meetings, nor in anything written by the powers-that-be to show the impact matters to their final decision.
Many of the BATF members have clearly understood and care about the impact, but they have no authority and have been restricted to only a couple choices by the TEMP-Super.

"Then consider that there are solutions to achieve more than this..."

Not allowed for discussion by the powers-that-be.


22 people like this
Posted by Conflict of Interest
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2015 at 12:48 pm

I just read a post referring to conflict of interest, then had to read up on the Board bylaws, which states:

"Common Law Doctrine Against Conflict of Interest

A Board member shall abstain from any official action in which his/her private or personal interest may conflict with his/her official duties."

I seem to recall that Greg Coladonato has children in PACT? If this is true, does this constitute conflict of interest?


6 people like this
Posted by Demographic Data
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Here is the demographic study - Web Link.

Pages 67 and 68 highlight the neighborhoods and the student resident projections through the year 2019-20. Student residents are those who are expected to attend MVWSD.

I would assume the Whisman/Slater neighborhoods would be the ones East of Moffet and North of Central. These include what is marked as "Theuerkauf C and D", "Huff A", "Landels A, B, C and D" on page 67. The student resident projections for these areas are on page 68.

It isn't clear to me why there is a belief amongst some commenters here that this neighborhood doesn't have enough student residents to warrant a neighborhood school or that this neighborhood has no growth over the next 5 years. Perhaps someone can shine a light on why such a belief continues to persist


4 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 19, 2015 at 4:34 pm

@PACT Parent

Perhaps something we agree on:
In most districts, the superintendent answers to the school board.


6 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm

@ Data:

Pages 9&10 of the same study point to overall flat TK-5 enrollment across the district. Thus adding a school potentially leads to closing another. Or shouldering the expense (and forgone income) of maintaining school populations smaller than the district's own criteria.


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:20 pm

@mr_b
You wrte:
"Perhaps something we agree on:
In most districts, the superintendent answers to the school board."

I don't know the exact rules in the MVWSD structure, but I can comment on the attitude of TEMPORARY consultants. I've been one on occasion. I've seen many many temp consultants in-action.

A consultant who came into the job with no long-term intentions commonly think they ALWAYS "know best" or have their own agenda which may not actually be best for the client.

The temptation to bull-doze ahead, over any objections and in-spite of any data or facts to attain a specific goal they prefer, is huge! I've seen many consultants do that.

The current TEMP-Super has little to lose even if the plan goes horribly awry. He has no skin in the game and no long-term accountability for his actions.

Oh, and besides, it would require quite an explanation from the trustees if they were to fire yet another Super, even a TEMP-Super.

I want the long-term permanent Superintendent to be the person who runs this decision process, not a temp. A substitute teacher does not take on the task of re-arranging the entire classroom and writing up a whole new series of lesson plans. That's not their purpose and it shouldn't be the job of a TEMP-Super either.


11 people like this
Posted by Conflict
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm

@Conflict of Interst.

Greg Coladonato has a conflict of Interst because he lives in the Whisman/Slater neighborhood and campaigned as as a school board candidate to open a school in the neighborhood.

DESPITE being a Stevenson PACT parent, he suggested (without any input from the PACT community) that the school district move the PACT program to his neighborhood and craate a priory registration for his neighborhood.

He's refused to acknowledge any conflict, which is quite disturbing.

At the end of his presentaion below (last 11 minutes), he clearly says that's he doesn't see any problem at all moving the PACT program to Whisman neighborhood and giving priority to those living there. Thats the conflict. Clearly incapable of serving the larger community as a whole and only looking for his own self interest.

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Conflict Note
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:30 pm

Yeah, right, all the trustees have a conflict because they live in the district. They all favor the schools that serve their houses. No one with kids should be able to run for trustee. And no one with kids in the non-PACT schools should vote on anything that affects them either, as they have a conflict.


4 people like this
Posted by Conflict
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm

@Cinflict of Interest

The correct link for hearing and watching Greg Colodonato offer his recommendation to make PACT a priory enrollment for his Wishman/Slater neighborhood is here:

Web Link

At the 14:40 minute mark.


3 people like this
Posted by Conflict
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:43 pm

@Cinflict of Interest

The correct link for hearing and watching Greg Colodonato offer his recommendation to make PACT a priory enrollment for his Wishman/Slater neighborhood is here:

Web Link

At the 14:40 minute mark.


4 people like this
Posted by Demographic Data
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:51 pm

@ Old Steve of Rex Manor

Thank you for pointing out that overall TK-5 enrollment across the district is not expected to increase and I agree. The totals on page 68 of the demographic study - Web Link also points this out.

My question was why do commenters seem to also imply that Whisman/Slater growth is also flat when the data shows that it is growing (at least the way I am seeing it). The data also shows neighborhoods that are expected to see declines in enrollment.

On the one hand, the district cannot afford to have a new school (for a total of 9 schools) since there isn't enough demand growth. On the other it cannot also neglect the fact there is increasing demand in the Whisman area with declining demand in other neighborhoods. What should be done about it? That really is the problem statement is it not? (and perhaps not the conspiracy theories and hidden agendas that I have been reading)


6 people like this
Posted by Fact Man
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm

@demographic data:
1) If you look at the 10 year data, future growth is minimal across all neighborhoods, and there is attrition in some areas. If you add up the neighborhoods you mention there is growth, not really a compelling enough amount to open another school but....

2) Look at the historical data - that's where the growth is (the last 10 years). And that's probably why there is a number of resident students who could theoretically attend a new school in Whisman/Slater.

3) Since future growth is expected to be minimal, the district should really look at today's numbers and assume for the most part those numbers will remain flat for the next 10 years (this is all from the demographic data).

4) Then they should decide how to operate most efficiently with the numbers we have today. If we are talking efficiency, then in reality the current schools are just enough, the borders just need to tweaked a little.

But it's not about efficiency, it's not about allocating resources in the best way, it's not about fiscal or anything responsibility. If it was, this discussion would not be happening because from a factual standpoint, the district is doing just fine and it will continue to do so as long as some slight adjustments are made.

From a political/civil aspect, it's not so cut and dry. This is really about giving one neighborhood a neighborhood school. The Whisman/Slater community has been asking for a long long time. They've been bringing it up time and time again, and now that a Board member or two are in a position to do so, they are going to make it happen.

Ellen Wheeler - you closed a school 14 or so years ago, correct? I commend you for the tough decision you had to make then, and the tough decisions you are facing today. That goes for all board members - I hope that you act with integrity, and a broad world view.


5 people like this
Posted by Interested Party
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Greg C. does have children in PACT. Whether that is conflict of interest I don't know.

Maybe the board should decide.


5 people like this
Posted by Demographic Data
a resident of another community
on Mar 19, 2015 at 6:35 pm

@Fact Man

Thank you for keeping the conversation grounded on facts that any one reading these comments can refer to - Web Link

Yes, I agree the 10 year data is also flat. Data past the 5 years doesn't break out by neighborhoods. It is only by grade level. So at an aggregate I see a convincing argument to stay at 8 schools total for MVWSD

Currently the Whisman/Slater section of the city (east of Moffet and North of Central) has 528 resident students (page 68 of the link above) and over the the next 5 years goes to 557. So, yes it is a persuasive argument that let us make decisions based on today's known numbers vs. the futures projected numbers when the projection only shows small increases.

The question then is can all the 529 current resident students be accommodated to near by schools by just redrawing the boundaries without a school in that neighborhood? The two sub-areas where this might be hard to accomplish are the "Huff A" neighborhood (which really is in the Whisman area, please see page 67 of link above) and "Landels D". These two sub areas are expected to grow from 213 today to 300 in 5 years.

These two sub-areas go to Huff and Landels schools respectively. This causes overcrowding in Huff, causing ripple effects to those who live in the actual Huff neighborhood. So I am not persuaded by the argument that the district is doing just fine. Maybe it is, but I haven't been able to convince myself.

Maybe redrawing can accomplish if everyone is redrawn to Landels instead of Huff but I assume that will not be a popular option which is probably the not so cut and dry political/civil aspect you are referring to

Thank you once again for keeping the discussion grounded on facts and not rhetoric


6 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 20, 2015 at 7:57 am

At last night's board meeting I shared this one page data sheet:
Web Link

On the second page of the link after the core data were my personal recommendations, and not the collective recommendations resulting from yesterday's school board meeting.

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


3 people like this
Posted by Comparing averages
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2015 at 8:44 am

Keep in mind when talking about average school size, Los Altos numbers include 6th grade, as Ellen Wheeler pointed out, and if 6th grade is removed school size is quite comparable.


12 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

Last night’s conversation missed the point why school size averages matter. It’s less about the grade composition but the operational and financial efficiency.
How many students should one principal and support team support?

Whether it’s K-6 or K-5 doesn’t change the operational question that if Los Altos, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and Menlo Park all operate larger schools already (more students per one principal/support staff) it begs the question, do we impair our ability to offer more instructional programs and teacher compensation by further shrinking our schools, when we already have a less per pupil revenue than other schools.

On question of moving the current PACT to Whisman. The valid point of Whisman is their desire for a neighborhood school. Moving a current school like the current PACT with existing students to Whisman defeats that purpose of offering seats to neighborhood students at a local school. Furthermore, it reduces the amount of district wide seats in a high demand program. I hope we as a community can provide clarity to that issue soon and end this needless drama.


18 people like this
Posted by WHISMAN PARENT
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 20, 2015 at 9:59 am

I say since the boundaries are now stating our son is assigned to Huff then we should NOT have to pay 700.00 for school bus service when Landals School is a short safe bike ride away from our home. This makes NO SENSE..

Also Steve Nelson is needs to OFF the school board and so does Greg. The actions of these two men are disgusting! I am appalled and embarrassed that these two are on our school board. They way they talk to each other and over each other and their bullish ways.. I makes me sad that our children suffer at the hands and decisions of this board..


8 people like this
Posted by Future MVWSD Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

So the board voted to move forward with 9 schools. If this leads to the loss of rental income from Google or the private schools currently occupying a few sites, which will snowball to the loss of teachers or educational resources for every child in the district, who do we blame and hold accountable? Adding a million in operational revenue and losing almost a million in rental revenue looks like every kid in the district will have to lose something. Who and/or what will have to go?


3 people like this
Posted by Future MVWSD Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

So the board voted to move forward with 9 schools. If this leads to the loss of rental income from Google or the private schools currently occupying a few sites, which will snowball to the loss of teachers or educational resources for every child in the district, who do we blame and hold accountable? Adding a million in operational revenue and losing almost a million in rental revenue looks like every kid in the district will have to lose something. Who and/or what will have to go?


5 people like this
Posted by Future MVWSD Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

So the board voted to move forward with 9 schools. If this leads to the loss of rental income from Google or the private schools currently occupying a few sites, which will snowball to the loss of teachers or educational resources for every child in the district, who do we blame and hold accountable? Adding a million in operational revenue and losing almost a million in rental revenue looks like every kid in the district will have to lose something. Who and/or what will have to go?


3 people like this
Posted by Future MVWSD Parent
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:29 am

So the board voted to move forward with 9 schools. If this leads to the loss of rental income from Google or the private schools currently occupying a few sites, which will snowball to the loss of teachers or educational resources for every child in the district, who do we blame and hold accountable? Adding a million in operational revenue and losing almost a million in rental revenue looks like every kid in the district will have to lose something. Who and/or what will have to go?


8 people like this
Posted by understanding finallly hits
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:40 am

Up until last night’s meeting I didn’t understand why PACT was so against closing down an existing school and/or being moved to Whisman. I get it now.

PACT doesn’t want to be inundated w/the influx of neighborhood kids that would have priority to the choice school w/families that can’t or won’t participate as much as PACT needs in order to be successful. PACT draws the most kids from those school that have the move Socioeconomically disadvantaged students & this to me is why those assigned to those schools don’t want to send their kids to the neighborhood school that has a high % of Socioeconomically disadvantaged and (since race is being put out there) a high Latino population. This is why PACT has as many students enrolled & a waiting list. Let’s call a spade a spade, how would PACT rate if they had as many students enrolled ELL as the other schools. I don’t think it would fare well @ all, it would also not fare well w/lower parent participation, which would happen if PACT was the neighborhood school.

PACT wants to expand into the district office in order to accommodate more students, but let me ask you this. When you enroll in college courses, etc. there is a limited amount of space, if there isn’t room then you don’t get your class choice. So why are we expanding when there should be a limit? I have heard talk that PACT wants to extend to include upper grades, is it because those zoned for Crittenden don’t want to send their kids there?

I think PACT started out as a different way to teach kids, etc. but over time it has changed & appears to be more about self-segregation. There are some that I do believe fully embrace the PACT methods etc. but I think a large part of that community does not.


7 people like this
Posted by Sylvie
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:51 am

@understanding

My understanding is that PACT is a choice school based on parent participation. You can't force people to send their kids there if they don't want to be involved in the program, and race has nothing to do with it.

Would you want your kids sent to the Spanish immersion program if you had no interest in the program for them? Same thing with PACT. It's not a conspiracy, it's the whole philosophy the school is based on.


8 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 11:56 am

This is a white elephant and we all know it. Expanding to 9 schools is going to cost us tax payers a lot of money. I think it should be as some of the speakers said last night. Put all the chips on the table & look @ all the school including the two choice schools.

The argument that some put out there for a school in Whisman is a supposition that Google is expanding to include 10k more employees. Out of all the employees currently @ Google only live in Mt. View, that’s a pretty low # & then take into account how many have elementary school age children and the # would even be lower. So why would the district think that we will suddenly have an influx w/these 10k more employees & push for a rush to open a new school that we all know will be a huge drain.

I think Mr. Chang was right in saying let’s set some $$ aside to possibly open a school in the Whisman area in the “future”.

Right now is not the time.

Something else I would like to throw out there. Google already has their own preschools, what would make anyone think that they wouldn’t change that to also include elementary school & possibly beyond. Everyone is making a lot of assumptions about Google and putting all of their eggs in one basket.

Wake up MVWS & do right by our kids.


4 people like this
Posted by @ sylvie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:22 pm

@ Sylvie

What I am saying is that if PACT was to take over Theuerkauf or Whisman then it would most likely dilute it’s philosophy and the #’s would reflect this.

Let me use this as an example. If Theuerkauf was to be taken over the PACT then the neighborhood surrounding Theuerkauf would have priority enrollment for PACT. Many of the Theuerkauf families walk to school, older siblings drop off younger ones etc. many families are also single car families and do not have additional vehicles in which to drive to Monte Loma (not to mention the horrible intersection to get to Monte Loma) so they would opt to stay @ PACT even though they cannot or will not participate in the way that the PACT program needs in order to succeed.

So what I am saying is I get why PACT is saying they don’t want to move. PACT knows that it’s philosophy would get diluted and would no longer be as highly rated as it is now.


4 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:30 pm

I hear a lot of "would not close a school, to open a school" talk. That makes sense, but isn't that pretty much what happened when the Slater school was closed, and PACT got moved over to Castro for a while and then PACT got their own school opened at Stevenson. It was a two step process, but a school was closed and a school was opened.


11 people like this
Posted by Prevent train wrecks
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Why is Castro still a done deal? The cost to build the facilities will take away from all the other schools in the district. Last night Chiang said (paraphrase) 'not going back on the Castro decision now for the benefit of the boundary task force.' That's not an acceptable reason.

From my observation, the task force is willing to do what's right and look into things carefully...even if it means pulling some trains back to prevent a wreck... in this case Castro. We should not have to eat the mess of the former superintendent after giving him a generous parting gift of $230K.


11 people like this
Posted by Dear Board
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Answer what the BATF needs to make RECOMMENDATIONS. I can already see your finger pointing back to the committees... for whatever decisions you have already made up in your minds without committee recommendations, data and intelligence. Last night it seemed you were already casting votes... what an insult to all the committees!


13 people like this
Posted by PACT alumni family
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm

The lack of SE diversity at PACT is more of a recent thing, maybe in the last 5 years or so. More than anything, I think the changes reflect gentrification in Mountain View as a whole, and not some sort of elitist white flight from other schools. The school was very successful then, and continues to be successful. Bringing in SE diversity has been a priority for the school, but with a random lottery for admission there is no way to guarantee it.


3 people like this
Posted by concerned parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 20, 2015 at 1:40 pm

only 3k employees. re: my post above


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2015 at 10:57 pm

@Future MVWSD Parent,
You wrote:
"So the board voted to move forward with 9 schools. If this leads to the loss of rental income from Google or the private schools currently occupying a few sites,"

Not to worry...

The "possible loss of rental" issue was a direct result of the assertion that all our MVWSD schools MUST be built-up to hold at least 450 and up to 600 kids per school. If that were done at all sites, we would end up taking space away from some of our rental customers.

However, it was brought up by Trustee Greg Coladonato that we probably should re-think that high number. We found out that the 450-600 number came from some old decision made many years ago. That old decision had been based on the intention to re-visit that number every "few years" and it has not been until now.

At some size we can build Whisman without tossing the German/Chinese school off the lot. No need to toss Google off Slater OR Theuerkauf either.

The other advantage of lowering the minimum capacity would be to lower total costs of construction from the Measure G funds.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:10 pm

@Prevent train wrecks
You wrote:
"Why is Castro still a done deal?"

My understanding (I try really hard to pay detailed attention) was that the "done deal" part was about keeping the "Dual-Immersion" School on the same site as Castro Traditional School.

Personally, I fully support the idea of keeping ANY type of "choice" school right next-door to a traditional school. this benefits BOTH the choice school AND the neighborhood.

You wrote:
"The cost to build the facilities will take away from all the other schools in the district."

Far be it from me to agree with Nelson, but I have to point out that Nelson was talking about re-thinking the whole idea of a total-scrape-to-dirt of the Castro site to do a total re-build from dirt up. If Castro & DI can be built into 2 good schools for a better price than 2 superb amazing beautiful awe-inspiring schools for a higher price, that's worth serious consideration.

"Last night Chiang said (paraphrase) 'not going back on the Castro decision now for the benefit of the boundary task force.' That's not an acceptable reason."

Again, I'm pretty sure that was the question of co-location of the DI and traditional schools, not the cost.

From my observation, the task force is willing to do what's right and look into things carefully...even if it means pulling some trains back to prevent a wreck... in this case Castro. We should not have to eat the mess of the former superintendent after giving him a generous parting gift of $230K.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:21 pm

@Parent wrote:

"I hear a lot of "would not close a school, to open a school" talk. That makes sense, but isn't that pretty much what happened when the Slater school was closed, and PACT got moved over to Castro for a while and then PACT got their own school opened at Stevenson. It was a two step process, but a school was closed and a school was opened."

Not quite. Remember, PACT at Slater, then PACT at Castro, were just sub-programs NOT a "school".

ONLY when PACT landed at Stevenson was it allowed to be a school.

Also, do keep in-mind that Slater and Whisman schools got closed because of major forces that the district could not control or compensate for. They didn't close Whisman or Slater for local political reasons or pressure from the community. Those closures were the only choices that could be made at those times.

Now, things are different and we may well be able to open a 9th school and that is the wish of PACT parents as well as Theuerkauf and Whisman/Slater parents. We all want the same things, we just hope the MVWSD board is p to the task of finding a creative way to accomplish this goal.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 21, 2015 at 11:45 pm

@understanding finallly hits
You wrote:
"I get it now."

Well, you got close, but it will take another few light-bulbs to turn-on.

"PACT doesn't want to be inundated w/the influx of neighborhood kids that would have priority"

The reason does NOT depend on the suggested "neighborhood priority", but that does make the situations worse and the damage happen sooner.

"to the choice school w/families that can't or won't participate as much as PACT needs in order to be successful."

The "parental-involvement" is certainly a key factor, but the cause of the problem goes much deeper.

Consider what would happen if the Dual-Immersion school were placed alone in Whisman WITHOUT a traditional public school next door. That wouldl mean the Whisman/Slater people would NOT actually have a true "choice".

Even if everyone who wanted into the DI were required to get in by random district-wide lottery, they would still have a HUGE group of people who ONLY want in DI because of the proximity to their homes. The DI school would fill up more and more each year with English-speaking families who have ZERO interest in their kids learning Spanish at DI.

These parents would not bother doing anything to support the DI concept, no parental-pressure for their kids to make the effort to learn Spanish and no involvement in any optional support for any other language-based activities.

It would not take long until, by random-chance of the lottery, the DI school would have majority of English-speaking families and the DI concept would starve to death.

It's WORSE for PACT. PACT includes all sorts of additional PCT concept support activities AND the parental-involvement aspect. If PACT were placed ANYWHERE by itself, with no traditional neighbor, PACT would starve to death due to the steady increase of parents who have on interest in the PACT methods.

Even without parental-involvement from SOME PACT parents, the PACT concept can work, IF the vast majority of parents actually "buy-in" to the various alternative teaching methods used by PACT.

ANY "choice" school placed ANYWHERE alone is doomed to failure. The only question is how long it would take to die of neglect.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 22, 2015 at 12:18 am

@understanding finallly hits
Also Wrote:
"PACT wants to expand into the district office in order to accommodate more students,"

That would be the easiest and cheapest way to accommodate additional kids from the 170-kid waiting-list. It would also be a big help in upgrading the Stevenson campus.

As things are, the kids all have to eat out-doors on aluminum pic-nic tables which are often too cold or too hot or too wet to sit on. The school lunches are made elsewhere and passed out on little paper bins. Mostly cold food.

Taking over the district office buildings would allow for an indoor area for lunch tables and possibly on-site food prep for better hot meals AND more classrooms for more kids from the waiting-list.

You wrote:
"So why are we expanding when there should be a limit?"

If we can expand PACT to include more of the 170-kid waiting-list, why NOT do that? WHY SHOULD there be some "limit" if there is a reasonable way to increase that limit to more closely suit real demand?

You wrote:
"I have heard talk that PACT wants to extend to include upper grades,"

Well, yes, there are those who advocate that the PACT methods eventually extend to create a PACT middle-school, but there is probably no where near enough demand for any such thing to be realistically done anytime soon.

It's pie-in-the-sky talk from those who have the highest dedication to the PACT philosophy.

"is it because those zoned for Crittenden don't want to send their kids there?"

What's wrong with Crittenden? My wife went to Crittenden!
We are looking forwards to sending our kid there for 6-8th grades and then Los Altos High after that.

"I think PACT started out as a different way to teach kids, etc."

It still is.
Nothing has changed in the PACT philosophy or methods. The main changes over the years has been improved methods of training the teachers in the PACT methods and better organization methods for the parental-involvement to get the best educational value from the hours the parents can provide.

"but over time it has changed & appears to be more about self-segregation."

That accusation is simply part of the tactics of those who wanted to shut down Stevenson in order to take those resources to give a school to Whisman/Slater.

The current ELL and SED enrollment stats have NOTHING to do with PACT methods or intentions of families or staff of Stevenson. Stevenson makes every effort to attract as much diversity of ethnic/ELL/SED as we can.

"There are some that I do believe fully embrace the PACT methods etc."

Indeed, and from the parental involvement I have seen, the vast majority do.

" but I think a large part of that community does not. "

An opinion based on what exactly?

How much time have you spent at Stevenson to see how many parents get involved?


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 8:54 am

@Demographic Data & @ Fact Man: thanks. Your last postings are the sort of the coming together of some ideas - based on future projections of data (best guesses) - that I enjoy seeing, reading, and hearing. [I'm turning away from the postings of PACT parent of Monta Loma, for this is just one person & "We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish."]
Local politicians are just concerned citizens who are willing to stand up, run for office (you get a BIG VOTE), and then do the best they can to fulfill their campaign points (promises?) and the ideas they said they ran on. Ellen, Chris, Greg and myself ran as politicians (I think Bill has said he feels more like a "fiduciary" - but '$ is politics' also IMO)
@ Not a Huff parent - I must defend the former Principal of Huff, Mr. Goldman, from your error. "The boundaries post-Slater were drawn up by" the DO, and not Huff/Goldman. Goldman always maintained - that he was urging diversity, more disadvantaged kiddos into his school! I absolutely accept his word on this! Principal Smith has wonderfully helped bring Huff to the highest API (& performance%) for disadvantaged students - in the entire District! about 860


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:16 am

SN is a elected member of the MVWSD Board. The posted opinions are his own.
Like Chiang, & Lambert he ran for office in 2012 (along with citizens Peter Darrah and Jim Pollart). In 2014 Wheeler and Coladonato were elected (they ran along with citizens Phil Palmer [inc.] and Hofsa Mirza).
The League of Women Voters archives information on these campaigns / candidates if you wish to review:
[ Web Link ]
[ Web Link ].


20 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:16 am

Steven Nelson is an individual trustee, and he does not speak for the School Board or Mountain View Whisman School District, even when he evokes the names of trustees or MVWSD staff.

Some trustees are committed to their campaign promises, there are other trustees (including myself) who are eager to continue to study newly presented data, listen to the members of the community, and then more than willing to change their mind and even admit mistake based on that information.

Christopher Chiang
President of the Mountain View Whisman School Board


13 people like this
Posted by PACT alumni family
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Steve Nelson, you must be aware of your reputation among families in the district, right? You come across as a bully, hell bent on pushing your own agenda, willing to mow over anyone in the way by simply annoying and harassing. And you expect people to use their real names in order to converse with you? Why would I (or anyone else) open myself up to your constant haranguing?


4 people like this
Posted by Loud Voices
a resident of another community
on Mar 22, 2015 at 5:10 pm

I'm thinking that the dumping on Steve Nelson is not indeed representative of the community as a whole. Certainly it doesn't represent those voters who are disgusted with the spendthrift ways of the school district. The district gets a huge bond measure and the blows much of it on frills for the middle schools, while the condition of the elementary schools is sub-par. There are those who notice.

Even the votes in the last election which seemed to indicate desire for a new school to open were not all supportive of that end. You have Rube Goldberg solutions by the superintendent to gerrymander attendance areas to try to even out socioeconomic status across schools. Perhaps the votes were to disapprove of that. In truth what you need to do is spend a lot more money on the low income kids in their education, even if they are more present at one school than another. The kids at Castro are more prevalent but there are low SES kids at every school. They don't get extra attention to the extent that they should.

But then again, certainly the immigrant non citizen parents aren't voters...


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 22, 2015 at 9:42 pm

@Christopher Chiang of North Bayshore wrote:

"...Some trustees are committed to their campaign promises,..."

Just a point I have always been curious about, for any level of government.

When a politician makes a campaign promise, exactly what authority does that candidate have to actually make any such promise? What actual obligation does such a promise impose onto the governing body should they get elected?

I ask this because of some of the remarks made at the last board meeting. It sounded like a campaign promise, once made, is somehow an obligation that goes above the oath of office they took to serve the best interests of the entire jurisdiction they serve.

Just curious.


11 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Mar 23, 2015 at 6:51 am

I am appalled! Did Mr. Nelson really admit that campaign promises are a higher priority for 3 of our Trustees than is their fiduciary responsibility to our children!?! MVWSD is heading for a train wreck financially. Good luck ever passing another parcel tax while the current Board is in place.


7 people like this
Posted by @ Voter
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 23, 2015 at 7:59 am

What you have to remember is the Steven Nelson doesn't speak for the other members of the Board. The other current board members ran to make this a better place for students. Unfortunately Mr. Nelson ran as a politician and the result is what we have - a totally dysfunctional board that can't anything done and staff leaving because of the hostile work environment he has created.


7 people like this
Posted by csea member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 25, 2015 at 7:32 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? ??


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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Chick-fil-A quietly starts delivering out of DoorDash kitchen in Redwood City
By Elena Kadvany | 60 comments | 9,407 views

Palo Altans and their Virtue Signaling
By Sherry Listgarten | 24 comments | 2,657 views

Differentiating Grief from Clinical Depression
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 2,370 views