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School board member resigns over hostility

Original post made on Jun 12, 2015

Board member Chris Chiang announced Friday night that he will be stepping down from the Mountain View Whisman school board over what he called insults, harassment and bullying by trustee Steve Nelson towards district staff, parents and community members.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, June 12, 2015, 9:25 PM

Comments (117)

122 people like this
Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 9:56 pm

What a disaster. I'm calling for Steve Nelson to resign from his position as he's demonstrated, repeatedly, that he's unfit to serve the City of Mountain View as a school board trustee.


60 people like this
Posted by Abigail
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:03 pm

I think they should all resign and start from scratch.


72 people like this
Posted by Stevenson mom
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:09 pm

email I just sent to the board:Dear Mr. Chiang,

I was unable to attend the board meeting last night but had heard a lot about it, and was planning to write and say how much I appreciated your presence on the board. I just read in the Voice that you have resigned and I want to let you know that I understand your reasons and stand behind you in your decision. I see you as a voice of reason on the board, and as such I wish that you could stay. But I am impressed that you have lasted this long in such hostile conditions, and value the times that you have spoken out against the nonsense that goes on in the meetings. I've been a teacher for a long time and have rarely seen any trustees as dedicated, thoughtful and conscientious as you. I may not have always agreed with your comments or decisions, but I never doubted that you were always acting in the best interests of the district after careful weighing of all options.

I have also never seen a board as dysfunctional as this one. I am afraid that the wrong person is resigning, and I really hope that your decision is a wake-up call to Trustee Nelson. The needs of our community are not being met by this board. And the community is well aware of this.

I wish you all the best, Mr. Chiang, and I know that you will continue to find ways to make a positive difference in many lives in your future.
mother of 2 Stevenson students


72 people like this
Posted by Baxman
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:12 pm

Baxman is a registered user.

This is a blow to the children of our schools, the teachers and staff, and the district at large.

Mr. Nelson, we're looking at you. Name one thing you've done as a Trustee that has improved the district. Since you have no shame, no decorum or graces, it falls on everyone else to pressure you to resign. Hopefully, you'll do it sooner than later.

Mr. Chiang, you were an asset to the Board. Godspeed.


32 people like this
Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Nelson, Rosenberg and Showalter. Mountain View is getting the "leadership" it deserves. No one will take action-- the council recall effort will never happen, and clearly Nelson has free reign to erode our district without consequence or resistance.

I applaud Chiang for what I'm sure was a personally difficult decision. His comments confirm what I suspected about Goldman's departure and the settlement.


47 people like this
Posted by Consideringprivateschool
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:23 pm

How do we start a recall effort for Nelson? He has cost this district money, time, staff and sanity. He is not an evil guy, but he can never admit that he may be wrong and he has no respect for others. Communication skills and respect are vital to any government position. I voted for him and I'm sorry I did. I fear for the future of our district and have started looking at private schools.
We will miss you Mr Chiang. I didn't always agree with you, but you tried to keep things civil and moving forward. Best of luck.


57 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:23 pm

This is such a shame. Trustee Chang has tried to comtrol the board but has been unable to reign them in. Trustee Nelson has terrorized the staff and community long enough. We as residents need to strand up to this and demand his resignation. We have lost the district's CBO, a principal and now a board member due to the unbelievable mean and demoralizing behavior of Mr. Nelson. At the last board meeting Mr Nelson verbally attacked members of the audience dipuring the break. At the board meeting prior Mr Nelson told the audience "the peanut gallery needed to be quiet". Does that show he is representing all members of this community, I think not. If you don't believe this it is allon tape on the district's website. Can we all stand up against this reign of terror??
Best of luck to you Trustee Chang, I admire your integrity


35 people like this
Posted by What?
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

What we have seen is that Steve has dared to criticize the powerful and corrupt PACT mafia that has seized control of the district. The fact that Chiang is quitting is no great surprise. He has his kids in a private school! Ridiculous!


56 people like this
Posted by DistrictMom
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:39 pm

Trustee Nelson, you have brought division and controversy to this district and cost us many good and dedicated staff members. I don't know what your agenda is, but it most certainly is not the well-being of the students of this district. Please do one good thing for this school district and save is the money of having to recall you. We ask you to resign.


18 people like this
Posted by New Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 10:55 pm

PACT School has a lotto system for everyone. Nelson called it a “segregation program” because many of the many PAC school families have two working parents, and those families have relatively higher income. I don’t understand the logic.
Yes, with two working parents, the combined income would put them in the top 10% earners. However, let’s not forget the top 10% earners paid about 70% of the Federal taxes. Many of these parents had very demanding jobs and they work long hours too. Yet, they are committed to contribute their time and money to the school. These families chose PACT because of their care for their children’s education. These families have gone through the lotto system to get their kids into the school. I really don’t understand Nelson’s logic.
Most families in Mountain View are working middle class. (Note: Rich people are more likely choose to live in Woodside, PA & LA hills). Nelson need to stop the tactics because we are stupid.


43 people like this
Posted by Theron Tock
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:05 pm

Why is everyone afraid to use their real name here? Here is a message I just sent to Chris and the trustees:

Hi Chris,

I urge you to reconsider your decision to resign from the MVWSD school board! I appreciate your reasons for leaving, and I imagine it has been a very difficult and unpleasant time. However if you leave the board, the district as a whole including all of the students, the staff, and the families will be much worse off without your balanced and considered view point. If you could find it within you to stay until the end of your term I would be personally very thankful. If there is anything that I can do to change the situation so that you would consider staying, please let me know!

-Theron


22 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:13 pm

@Abigail of Willowgate

"I think they should all resign and start from scratch."

I've seen something like this before:
At the very next Board meeting (18th?), the 3 remaining more reasonable Board members would just get up silently as a group, drop off their resignation letters with Nelson and then walk out silently leaving Nelson sitting there by himself.

They should do this silently, because after all, that's only appropriate considering...

Then the audience should walk out and the district staff and somebody turn out the lights and leave him sitting in the dark so he can only bully himself. Maybe someone can bring him a mirror to argue with?

HOWEVER, IF the remaining Board members actually CARED about what is best for our district, they never would have allowed this garbage to continue. As Chris Chaing put it, "the Board sat idly by" and did nothing month after month, year after year.

I've had this discussion more than once with Board members and it's just no use to expect any of them, other than Chris, to show meaningful leadership.

Ironically, the first Board meeting I attended back in early 2014, I saw Nelson and Ellen Wheeler getting into it and she made some effort to push back against Nelson, but clearly now even she has totally lost the fire I once saw in her. Goldman was Nelson's only match, which is why he had to be bullied out the door.

I can't remember anyone else but Chris even trying this year.

RECALL THEM ALL!
That's the only chance of fixing this dysfunctional district, but it will never happen. Not enough of the voting public cares or pays any attention to school board stuff.

I now feel really sorry for our new Superintendent, he just moved here.


37 people like this
Posted by cry baby
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:20 pm

Nelson is right in supporting the general public of Mountain View. Can anyone tell how many low income family students are studying at PACT?? They are running a private school at public money. Nelson is right about the committees, there were 33% members from PACT school and 0% from Theaurkauf.

What is Chris relation with the committees:
"Nelson made comments at the last meeting alleging that the district's facilities committee was unfairly loaded with members from the more affluent Stevenson PACT community, without adequate representation from Theuerkauf Elementary.

Chiang responded by saying he had complete confidence that members of the committee were able to recommend building plans that reflect the needs of all students in the district, and apologized to the committee for Nelson's comments. After a back-and-forth between Chiang and Nelson, Chiang charged that some resignations have been tied to Nelson's actions and treatment of district staff." The DFC recommendation are full of flaws, and Chris accepted that in the meeting.


29 people like this
Posted by PACT Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Theron, people are afraid to use their names because Nelson has a history of bullying and intimidation, not just administrators and teachers but parents.

Anyone who was not at the meeting on Thursday I urge you to watch parts of the video (available on the district website). The worst part of the bullying took place during the break and cannot be seen on the video.

No matter where your child attends school, no matter what you think of PACT, or of opening a Whisman/Slater school, the school board has become completely dysfunctional and they are not operating in the best interest of our students. The example they are setting for our community is absolutely atrocious. We demand better! STEVE NELSON MUST RESIGN.


13 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:26 pm

@Theron Tock of Shoreline West

"Why is everyone afraid to use their real name here?"

I assume that was a very rhetorical question, right?

Most people who care enough about school related issues to post have kids in the district. You really think we want Nelson (or any staffer he has bullied into compliance) to have a hit-list of people he has near absolute power over because their kids are in one of our public schools?

I can just see it:
"Geeee Mr./Mrs. public-school-parent, we just can't seem to find your kid's registration for this fall, can't imagine why not. I guess you will have to go find someplace else for your kid."

People in power, who are willing to do pretty much anything to get their way regardless of the damage they do, cannot be trusted to know the names of he people who complain about his known actions.

I hope the Whisman/Slater families are proud of their main advocate. I hope nobody assumes the W/S families themselves behave like their advocate.


35 people like this
Posted by Unbiased
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Hard to believe that all the MVWSD issues are caused by one Trustee. I don't believe that. That's a distraction. Why did the board "hesitate" over the "pricey" Castro plans? Wasn't it the board that set this plan into motion? That kind of indecision is questionable. They have essentially converted Castro into 2 schools, and for some good reasons. The area it serves is the one place in Mountain View seeing massive addition of housing, e.g. the El Camino Corridor. Ok, so once you think of it as 2 schools, the plans for the Castro site's 2 schools are downright economical.

You have many parents in other areas you don't think the residents near Castro deserve to have a school large enough to hold them all. They don't think the fact that they walk to school matters.

This is a very dysfunctional board, apart from any issue with Steve Nelson. The reaction to Mr Nelson's legitimate criticism is the problem. Ok, so ask him to tone it down perhaps, but don't ridicule him for being willing to speak the concerns of constituents who may not be as politically connected as the majority....


35 people like this
Posted by cry baby PACT parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:34 pm

PACT should be closed it has no basis to run on public money. Nelson just revealed the truth, which is always bitter. Nelson please do not resign and stay firm against the Mafia!


27 people like this
Posted by Unbiased
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:37 pm

As further examples of a dysfunction district administration, consider the changes made by Mr. Skelly as a short term impartial superintendent. Did he not let got multiple district administrators, who had been selected by the previous Superintendent? Doesn't that indicate something amiss with the district? These may not be choices made directly by the board, but the board sanctioned the previous Superintendent, and some blame Mr. Nelson for his departure.

You can't have it both ways. Something was wrong with Mr. Goldman, or something was wrong with Mr. Skelly. Surely he had the discretion to only make such changes if he felt very strongly about them. So, here's a sign that switching away from Mr Goldman was a "good thing."

By a transitive relationship, if Mr. Nelson helped highlight issues with Mr Goldman, then didn't he do a service to the district?

Not many people read these comments, but some of the people who do have been downright nasty to Mr. Nelson. Well, what goes around comes around. These facts indicate a different situation than that portrayed by the gripers, and by Mr. Chiang.


9 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:45 pm

@DistrictMom of Sylvan Park

"Trustee Nelson, you have brought division and controversy to this district and cost us many good and dedicated staff members. I don't know what your agenda is,..."

Seriously?
Nelson made his one and only agenda item crystal clear long before he tricked his way onto the Board. He has always been totally committed to handing over PACT and all of it's resources to the Whisman/Slater families. The more damage he can do in the process of giving W/S a school, the better.

He is, by his own admission, a very wealthy guy, so he cares not in the least for anything but proving what a powerful bully he can be by forcing the district to open a school in Whisman/Slater REGARDLESS of what damage may be caused in the process.

Nelson has nothing to lose by being a total bully and abusing anyone he wishes to get his way. He picked this particular outcome long ago and it's his excuse to bully people and make everyone he possibly can as miserable as he can.

Now of course, perhaps Nelson was the victim of bullying as a child, which may have driven him to become wealthy so he could make others miserable for revenge, or maybe he's just always been a bully and nobody ever stood up to him his whole life and now it's too late for him to change or he would have to admit to the harm his actions have done to others.... only he knows the source of his behavior, or maybe even he does not.


11 people like this
Posted by Keep PACT
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:50 pm

A well functioning board might think of something besides letting PACT continue unchanged and eliminating it. For example, the board might require setting incentives to increase the proportion of low income students attending PACT. This might not be appreciated by the PACT program, but it's not unreasonable, and it doesn't equal destroying the PACT program.

However, this would mean MORE RESOURCES for PACT, as it would be a larger program. Since the district gets DRAMATICALLY MORE FUNDING for ELL and LOW INCOME students, it ought to pass that extra funding along to PACT. It should then cause PACT to provide its own LCAP for the PACT disadvantaged students. There's nothing tricky about this. If the disadvantaged students' parents don't participate in the program as much as the parents in families where there are two 6 figure incomes, well, that's understandable. Some of the disadvantaged students come from 2 income families too. The issues it that the 2 incomes are $23K per year and $26K per year, if that. Don't be so snobbish about families having 2 incomes. The district gets funding to provide added resources for the low income kids. They should provide some to PACT and let PACT extend the reach of its program to the disadvantaged kids in the district, at least somewhat more than now.


15 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm

@Unbiased of another community

"Something was wrong with Mr. Goldman, or something was wrong with Mr. Skelly."

Well, being forced to constantly deal with Nelson could answer both sides there.

When those Superintendents got here, perhaps they were just fine, but that changed?

I again feel very sorry for our new Superintendent, I can't imagine he knew what he was stepping into and still moved all the way across the nation.


18 people like this
Posted by Cry baby pact parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 12, 2015 at 11:51 pm

I think the pact is on the verge of collapse, principal already out, now parents are scrambling. Cry baby ....


15 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:12 am

"the board might require setting incentives to increase the proportion of low income students attending PACT."

PACT actually did ask, but legally low income student cannot be given precendence. The school doesn't control enrollment anyway, it is the district that runs that part.


10 people like this
Posted by Not the Answer
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:17 am

Stepping down is not the answer. CC should consider the bigger picture and how his resignation effects the board and district going forward.


6 people like this
Posted by Legal Hell
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:33 am

@Keep PACT of another community

Nothing tricky about your suggestion since the law says you can't pass funding around like that.


6 people like this
Posted by LCFF Funding
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:41 am

A district may do with its LCFF disadvantaged student funding whatever it says in its LCAP. PACT could receive a special stipend for each disadvantaged student.

The problem is the opposite of what you have said. The law does not REQUIRE the district to spend the disadvantaged funding supplement at the schools which serve the disadvantaged child. However, it is allowed to do so.

What kind of LCAP treatment does MVWSD have for the PACT program? The LCAP can create an incentive for disadvantaged students to apply to the PACT program by providing them at PACT the same supplemental services they would get in the traditional district program. By harmonizing with the PACT program this could encourage low income applicants to PACT, without giving them some sort of priority explicitly.


25 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:43 am

@Not the Answer of Cuernavaca

"Stepping down is not the answer. CC should consider the bigger picture and how his resignation effects the board and district going forward."

Chris Chaing did the only thing left for him to do, just as Tyler Graff did.

I hate it, I realize it almost certainly means Nelson will again prove that being a very wealthy single-minded bully will get you anything you want and let you get away with anything without any consequences to himself, I realize W/S will now certainly get 100% of what they claimed they wanted and PACT will indeed lose it all. As Nelson's loyal followers have been chanting in unison for all along.

I hate it, but I can't fault Chris or Tyler or so many others, for their difficult decision.

Is there anyone who STILL fails to understand why our public school district is steadily losing more and more ground to the private schools?

Here's a hint, it's NOT for the lack of a "walking school" in one specific area of our district.


11 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:53 am

@Theron Tock of Shoreline West

One more point Theron, Tyler let it slip that Nelson required Tyler to play private detective for Nelson to ferret out the real names of people who post on the MV-Voice that Nelson didn't like.

Anyone who was hitting Nelson a little close to the nerve becomes his target.

Do you still need to ask your question?

"Why is everyone afraid to use their real name here?"


4 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

The one critic of the PACT program who was a member of the school board and always runs it down = Influencer A.

So, just what did Influencer A use as leverage over the principal at PACT? Do him favors, or he's going to become a critic of the PACT program?

Isn't that kind of hard to fathom?


11 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:37 am

@Really? of another community

"So, just what did Influencer A use as leverage over the principal at PACT? Do him favors, or he's going to become a critic of the PACT program?
Isn't that kind of hard to fathom?"

Clearly, you have NEVER experienced the bullying of Nelson directed at you personally, or you wouldn't ask that question.

And, keep in-mind that principals and all school staff are required to report to and are subject to the Board members, one way or another.

What is hard to fathom is how anyone would ask that question seriously by this point.


5 people like this
Posted by Legal Hell
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:49 am

@ LCFF Funding of another community

You mean *targeted* disadvantaged students right? Targeted. Meaning the funds are meant to follow them specifically, not lead them.


45 people like this
Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 6:17 am

What a shame. I didn't always agreed with Mr. Chiang, but I really felt he wanted to do what he felt was best for all district students & I respected him for that.


29 people like this
Posted by Consideringprivateschool
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:17 am

I'm a Whisman area patent and very much support opening a school in our area! But I don't want to close PACT. I don't want Nelson and Colonadato's fighting and incivility to make it impossible to get anything done.
We've lost good administrators, and Skelly has been the ax man for a group of "old timers" who have pushed to take over as many positions as possible. I'm amazed they allowed Dr Rudolphe to be hired. I wish him luck, he is going to need it!
I want a neighborhood school and I think it could be done in a reasonable way, but I don't want nothing else accomplished and staff resigning due to constant berating!


63 people like this
Posted by Recall Nelson
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:34 am

Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:49 am

@Recall Nelson Thanks for starting the petition to recall Nelson


29 people like this
Posted by Jeanie Light
a resident of Slater
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:54 am

Trustee Chiang -
My daughter is 3 1/2. I've only joined the discussions about our schools recently, but I very much want to be part of the solution. I see an incredibly complex problem and your leadership as a balanced and reasonable person to be part of the solution. I was there when you shared your time with the Wagon Wheel neighborhood on Memorial Day and saw your enthusiasm and optimism for what we could do if we partner together with the amazing companies in this community. That was my first chance to meet you and Thursday night was my first chance to see Nelson in action. I have a lot of ideas and a lot of enthusiasm - I want to work with you to solve the complex problems facing our schools; I understand now that they go well beyond the missing school for Whisman-Slater.

Please reconsider your resignation - I understand clearly now that there is a huge problem with Trustee Nelson; lets work as a community to solve this, even if that solution is long overdue. I don't want to see him rob the city further by having us lose your experience and passion for our schools.

Sincerely,
Jeanie Light


14 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:20 am

Since I was a first person party to the conversation with Tyler mentioned above - here is my personal recollection, I asked him if he knew who the PACT Parent of Rex MAnor poster was - because it was a disruptive influence for one advocate, to so completely dominate the conversation. Tyler said he did - and would privately talk to that parent to try to 'tone them down' (I did not record the conversation or the exact phrase). Please see some of the public posters on other threads - this is a widely shared view.

PACT Foundation executives - I'm not going to talk to you, as I find the opinions you solicit and amplify - as disrepectful to other stakeholders in the District. That is the words of harsh relality I spoke "I'm not going to talk to you!" I can get more reliable information and data - from sources other than the PACT Foundation leaders.


29 people like this
Posted by @Recall Nelson
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:31 am

Hi, I'm very glad that this petition drive is starting but I would like to better understand the process. Will collecting a certain number of signatures prompt official action? Or is this more an effort to put public pressure on? I think the site would benefit from additional explanation of what we are signing and for what end. This needs to be done-- but needs to be done right.

He is a toxic, disruptive influence. Nelson has no business being in a position of influence in our community.


18 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:31 am

Dear Nelson,
We are with you. You did a great job bringing justice to the community and the Mafia of 109 parents (living in Rax Manor) can not harm you. These are the parents who have representation in Skelly Committees and they failed to steer the public money for PACT, because of your bold comments. Great Job!
All PACT parent comments are by few PACT parents, who are assigned the job of publicity. What was the reason of PACT principal departure? Collection of funds investigation?


30 people like this
Posted by Educator
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:37 am

I am also glad to see momentum building to recall Steve Nelson. The official guide to recalling a local official can be found at this link Web Link

Other community petitions will be helpful pressure, but actually recalling an official must be done through the county registrar process.


12 people like this
Posted by LASD Observer
a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:38 am

Chris,

Don't resign! If the other board members also resign and leave Steve as the last man standing, horrible things can happen.

The Crossings of Mountain View Homeowners Association did this and left the one dysfunction Board member remaining (the husband of the Castro school Assistant Principal).

He then appointed like-minded cronies and recently sued the former Board and management company. Now we are embroiled in a money-draining lawsuit that could destroy and bankrupt the HOA. Fortunately we are now fighting back. We overturned his new rules by a veto vote with almost 90% voting against him. Members also just submitted a petition to recall the current dysfunctional Board.



14 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:55 am

I find it sad that such a champion of 21st Century education practices will not stay on the Board. Trustee Chiang was one of the most consistent voices and votes - in the new Superintendent process - for an 'out-of-the box' administrative leader with non-standard (maybe non-Calif) credentials. Does Mr. Chaing think that switch-in-thinking / with the old administrator / could have been done?

I asked Chris, privately, for his resignation AS BOARD PRESIDENT. This is because of several reasons - but one was his inability to speak up over issues of fairness in staff committee composition - and staff 'scaring stakeholders' with Close THAT SCHOOL, or CLOSE THAT OTHER SCHOOL pronouncements. Look over the coverage of the District (by the Voice) over the last 5 months. Could that set-of-scares been avoided by a better Board President?

A Majority of the Board - asked to agendize - for Board prioritization, the SFIP Guiding Principles. That was in February! As President, Mr. Chiang refused to honor that public, prioritization process. IMO what resulted was a behind the scenes - staff directed - facilities priority process. All 450 to 600 student schools? The Board - in public- never even had a chance to discuss that and vote a prioritization (Small Schools, SFIP Guiding Principles).

Mr. Chiang first decided to run (almost) for MVWSD Trustee in 2004, when he was 24 years old. That was a Board (as Voice reporter Nick V. commented) that rarely commented about staff recommendations, and never voted against them. Change - directed from a legislative body - needs hard votes, not just discussion and rhetoric. By resigning - Mr. Chang looses an opportunity to vote for the education changes - that he so elequently advocates. I agree with some writers - that's a particular shame.

these are SNs own opinions


46 people like this
Posted by Mary Ann
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 9:02 am

What a wimp.

Chris Chiang comes out of nowhere, runs for the Senate, doesn't win, so then tries to make it big as a school board member in our wonderful little town. He brings in crazy ideas, can't run a school board meeting (no control), and then can't take the heat of the pressure of the job.

Steve Nelson is not the problem. There are five members of this board. The dysfunction lies with the team.

These Board members were elected by a community that has traditionally trusted its leaders. Unfortunately the MVWSD board has lost that trust with the community.

Skelly has unearthed some skeletons from the previous administration and dealt with them. Good. That is why we need a proven superintendent at the helm. Unfortunately this board was not able to deliver on this for us. Shame on them. The selected man is in over his head - period.

There is an achievement gap in our community, and a large percentage of families members who take their children to private school. Chaing's answer to these challenges has been to publicly cast aspersions at Steve Nelson.

Put on your big boy pants on Mr. Chiang, and don't let the door hit you as you leave us.

To the remaining members on the board - take heed. Step up and do what you were elected to do. Do not blame one person on your team for the dysfunction. You have selected a superintendent who doesn't have a clue how to run a district, let alone one with such dysfunction. This is your biggest challenge.


10 people like this
Posted by Joel Lachter
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 13, 2015 at 9:24 am

I too was surprised and saddened to read about Chris’s resignation. He has clearly worked hard to make the district a better place and to keep his eyes and mind open for new ideas to improve education in the district.

In the article and the comments so far, I don’t see much about what happens next. Does the board continue with four members? Is their a special election? Who becomes board president?


18 people like this
Posted by cry baby
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 9:36 am

I agree with Mary, the remaining board members have to move-on and work with the community to make the right decisions. They should not spend money on expensive buildings at Castro with glass doors, and fire the architects who developed these plans for kids.

I think Chris was confused all the way at one end he is saying: "Board president Chris Chiang said he changed his opinion on the task force recommendations after hearing from the community, and that there were a number of flaws in the process that troubled him. Chiang said it was wrong for the board to assign the task force restrictions that constrained the number of options for opening a new school."

and in his resignation he is praising the committees "
Nelson made comments at the last meeting alleging that the district's facilities committee was unfairly loaded with members from the more affluent Stevenson PACT community, without adequate representation from Theuerkauf Elementary.

Chiang responded by saying he had complete confidence that members of the committee were able to recommend building plans that reflect the needs of all students in the district, and apologized to the committee for Nelson's comments. "


22 people like this
Posted by Old MV parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 9:39 am

So it was Mr. Chiang's crazy idea to hire someone with no experience as superintendent?

Then he leaves?

Don't let the door hit you as you leave.

Shame on this Board.


10 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

If anyone has the time, it would be super useful to have a list of the timings of behavior/issues on the board meeting webcasts. Then people who haven't the stomach for 5 hour meetings could get a feel for what is going on in terms of abusive language, general waste of time, wacko attitudes, etc.

Something like:
4/15 Meeting: look at 3:15 - 5:15 (made that up)



24 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:04 am

As a follow up, for instance, you can see on the webcast that captures the good-bye to Craig Goldman, and the election of new board trustees, there is a fascinating discussion of whether or not Steve Nelson should be allowed to serve as a representative of the school board to any committees. He had lost this privilege as part of his censure. The logic was loosely that his behavior was so erratic and abusive that the board as a body did not want him to represent them.

Each trustee gave their opinion (four No's), and Bill Lambert adds as part of his remarks that Mr. Nelson "in my opinion has basically assaulted our superintendent verbally and physically…"

Board Meeting Dec 11, 2014.

Discussion starts at about 3:32:40. Trustee Lambert's comment starts at:3:36.

I'm shocked that this was not further researched by anyone. It seems clear to me that Mr. Nelson assaulted the superintendent and the board paid him a year's salary in order to settle with him.


21 people like this
Posted by Angry Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

For those in favor of what Mr. Nelson stands for, I encourage you to look deeper into the issues.


24 people like this
Posted by Rez
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:56 am

Another recent article from the Voice pondered why so many Mountain View school aged children were opting for private schools and home schooling. ^ There's your answer.


21 people like this
Posted by PACT Mom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:16 pm

@Mary Ann, you are confusing Chiang with Greg Coladonato. He was the one who ran for state senate, and then just a few months later ran for school board.


17 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm

@PACT Mom & @Mary Ann:

They both have run for state senate.

Chris Chiang ran for state senate in 2012 and two years later ran for MV school board in 2014.

Greg Colodonado lost in the primary in June 2014 and then elected by a very close margin to school board in Nov 2014.

Two year time difference for Mr. Chiang; 5 month time difference for Mr. Colodonado.


17 people like this
Posted by Mary Ann
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

I agree with Old MV parent. This is disgusting.

Since it is now clear, as per Mr. Nelson posted, that "Trustee Chiang was one of the most consistent voices and votes - in the new Superintendent process - for an 'out-of-the box' administrative leader with non-standard (maybe non-Calif) credentials"

He makes a big mess of everything then conveniently leaves.


8 people like this
Posted by Question
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Did I hear/read that the Stevenson principal has resigned? Is that true, and if so, why?

Thanks-


19 people like this
Posted by SC
a resident of Slater
on Jun 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Parent of willow gate: thank you for posting the video times. From that video it shows clearly that Chiang is very reasonable and Nelson is out of control and most likely caused Goldman to quit and the board to have to pay him so he wouldn't sue.


16 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

The Stevenson's Principal left to be Principal at a school in SF
Web Link

He lives there. Bigger district. More opportunities. Makes sense.


8 people like this
Posted by @observer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm

The timing seems to be odd for the stevenson principal leaving at the same time as mr.chiang. something is not right


45 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 13, 2015 at 3:27 pm

My decision to leave at this time was drive by multiple factors.
1) After seeing the work of the committees, I knew there are many knowledgeable and fair people that would take my place, so no one should be concerned that the board will lack a talented future representative (people should pay very close attention to the appointment or special election process the board takes to ensure that).

2) The dysfunction of the board has been accepted by the public at large, media, and most importantly, by the body of the board for too long. A resignation generates the needed attention towards board reform. I had for some time thought the board could right itself without some public outrage towards its behavior. Thursday’s board meeting made me realize the board can’t on its own see, make changes, and fix its internal problems.

3) I’ve invested the last three years on this board, and why not just complete the final year, leaving an open seat for the next general election would have been a great disservice to the children of MVWSD, I’ll leave that at that.

4) My last reason is my only child, who is a 4-year-old preschooler. She used to watch part of our meetings on Youtube Web Link until she started to ask why everyone was fighting, and I realized those videos were bad role modeling. Anyone who has attended our board meetings, I ask you to consider would you rather spend your evenings with Trustee Nelson or your own child.

People who run for public office should be just as ready to step away from public office. People who run for public office should be willing to sacrifice any future civic plans for the good of the community. Ultimately, resignation is not a bad thing. I hope I won’t be the last to see that resigning can be an act of public service.

Unrelated, I hope everyone can stop attacking Stevenson or any of our schools. Stevenson is a program that I have no personal connection nor do I plan to send my own child. There is nothing wrong with some parents wanting to be an active part of their schooling, just as there is nothing wrong with wanting school to be taught in two languages. Choices are meant to reflect that each child is different. No parent should ever feel shame for doing what they think is best for their child. Never has Stevenson advocated for the displacement of any other school, but many including members of the board actively suggest such happen to Stevenson. So it is baffling that there is an impression that Stevenson PACT has undue favoritism in the district. All reality points to the opposite, that Stevenson PACT is not cared for equally. Nor do they receive extra district funds, per pupil, they operate on less, funding their own intervention program, yet they get attacked for such efforts to augment what the district should provide.

I do think some of the negative energy towards Stevenson has been the district's lack of energy in expanding popular instructional elements to other schools. If something is popular and working, it should be emulated.

I do hope Stevenson will drop the “PACT” name, it doesn’t capture what the school is, and most parent participation schools in this region do not brand themselves with PACT in its title. There is always work to be done to make sure that the parent leadership realizes that a parent participation school is a school that –welcomes- and builds in internal structures for parent participation. They are not schools that –require- parent participation. This nuance still needs to be developed more.

Fundamentally all families and residents who come to the board want the same thing: to be cared for equally. Care does not mean equal results. If they feel they are indeed cared for, they can accept that decisions aren’t always equal because needs are not equal. But it’s different to make decisions based on needs versus based on apathy or contempt.


27 people like this
Posted by Old MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm

So are to think you've done the District a favor by resigning?

Wrong.

You have burdened the District with either the costs of a special election, or the nightmare of getting agreement from the four remaining trustees on an appointee.

Moreover, you have left the District with the ongoing nightmare of split votes - meaning the work of the district will see continued delays and paralysis.

Although I am glad you are leaving, this mid-term resignation was a selfish move on your part. It could not have had the best interest of the District in mind.



12 people like this
Posted by Oppose
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 13, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I'm going to cut straight to the chase. THE PACT and all of their shenanigans in a Private schools would never have allow parents controlling the class room. It's the boards responsibility to shut it down. Every pact principal has resigned for a reason. Starting with Lance Tagamore. It's sad that these kids ain't getting a decent education.


15 people like this
Posted by Earl
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm

I'm sure Pact families are meeting in closed doors strategizing their next move . Recruiting someone polishing and grooming a candidate to represent them on the board.
Mr. Chiang, THE PACT used to be the PPP but they didn't like the acronym . Changing the name doesn't doesn't change the disservice to the children of this community.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 4:45 pm

@Mary Ann of Old Mountain View, I find your lack of faith disturbing.

"That is why we need a proven superintendent at the helm. Unfortunately this board was not able to deliver on this for us. Shame on them. The selected man is in over his head - period."
...
"You have selected a superintendent who doesn't have a clue how to run a district, let alone one with such dysfunction."

We heard such remarks about Mr. Obama prior to wining those 2 elections to become President Obama. No matter what your party, no matter what your opinion of specific actions he has taken, (and I personally and strongly disagree with many of them myself) you have to admit that he rose to the challenge of the office in-spite of his immovable detractors claiming he could not.

I know little beyond the published bio of Dr. Rudolph, and I fully agree that the fact he was chosen by our deeply dysfunctional Board gives me some pause, BUT until I see him in action, I must have faith that he is fully capable of rising to his new challenge.

I trust that if Dr. Rudolph felt he was NOT fully capable of the challenge our District presents he would NOT have moved his family clear across the nation. And IF his recent direct exposure to Trustee Nelson, and the rest of our dysfunctional Board, has shaken his self-confidence, then I am sure he will make this known and will take the appropriate action.

Unless he does and until we get to know him, it is crucial we give him all possible benefit of any faith we all can muster in his ability to do the job well. The cost to our already badly off-course district of attacking Dr. Rudolph's abilities before we give him the opportunity to show us what he has to offer would only serve to make a terrible situation even worse.

"There is an achievement gap in our community, and a large percentage of families members who take their children to private school. Chaing's answer to these challenges has been to publicly cast aspersions at Steve Nelson."

So, what you're saying is that what's fair for Trustee Nelson to do repeatedly and without just provocation, without any shame or remorse and times without possibility of ever counting, is NOT equally fair for anyone else to do on occasion when given extensive provocation from Trustee Nelson?

Yeah, we get it, as long Trustee Nelson keeps single-mindedly advocating for the Whisman/Slater area, absolutely anything he does is fine with all of you, but the moment anyone does anything to stand up to him, they are the "evil ones" which need to be destroyed. Certainly reflects Trustee Nelson's behavior, thus it's no surprise that his followers would blindly follow his example.

Yep, it's all about.... "fairness"??????????


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

@Earl of Old Mountain View

"I'm sure Pact families are meeting in closed doors strategizing their next move ."

Really? Nobody called me yet, I'll have to check my email again,... hang on a moment... nope, no meetings scheduled.

It's such a strange feeling when I hear that people who clearly hate and wish to destroy Stevenson PACT are so much more informed about what Stevenson PACT is doing than any of us are.

Or, maybe they're just lying?


23 people like this
Posted by iPhone user
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Get real

Mary Ann is just saying what most folks are thinking.

It's a train wreck


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 5:22 pm

@LASD Observer of The Crossings

"Chris,
Don't resign! If the other board members also resign and leave Steve as the last man standing, horrible things can happen."

LASD, "horrible things" have already happened and more horrible things were already in the works.

Chris did the only thing he had left to him to do, your story below adds to his point, not detracts from it.

The closure of Slater a decade ago, over the intense objections of hundreds of families (including PACT) and staff was a "horrible thing" and should have been a huge red-flag to the public. Closing or moving ANY school is a horrible thing and that happened to Slater anyway and has happened to PACT TWICE already and may well happen again.

Your following narrative just goes to show that Trustee Chaing did exactly what was required to kick everyone in the behind and hopefully wake everyone up and force them to take the required action to correct the real problems. Now, if we can just honor his sacrifice by forcing the needed changes to happen.

Your description of the history of your HOA is a road-map of what must be done if our MVWSD is ever to regain it's proper functioning. Hopefully, we can avoid the law-suits part, but we must fix this district, even if it's painful.

"The Crossings of Mountain View Homeowners Association did this and left the one dysfunction Board member remaining (the husband of the Castro school Assistant Principal).

He then appointed like-minded cronies and recently sued the former Board and management company. Now we are embroiled in a money-draining lawsuit that could destroy and bankrupt the HOA. Fortunately we are now fighting back. We overturned his new rules by a veto vote with almost 90% voting against him. Members also just submitted a petition to recall the current dysfunctional Board. "


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 5:31 pm

TO EVERYONE, I was asleep 9 hours ago, the post shown below was NOT from me.
I only just NOW saw the post from "Recall Nelson".
I have made my position clear that a recall would be of no use and can only serve Nelson's agenda.

"Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
9 hours ago

@Recall Nelson Thanks for starting the petition to recall Nelson"


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 5:47 pm

@Jeanie Light of Slater

Hello Jeanie, always glad to see your posts.

"Trustee Chiang -...
- I understand clearly now that there is a huge problem with Trustee Nelson"

Jeanie, I am glad to see some Slater families are finally waking up to the fact that we all have a huge problem in our current Board.

The families of Stevenson has been calling for combined efforts on real plans to help the entire district from the start. Meaning, improving total enrollment. Our wish always was that Whisman/Slater gets a traditional neighborhood school WITHOUT destroying Stevenson or other schools in the process.

It has been the Board & district which has always interfered and prevented our communities from cooperating by intentionally setting one group of families against another and another and another.

This same tactic was used a decade ago to split the community wide-open by pitting the Slater families against the Castro families. Then the Board used this distraction to go ahead and do exactly what they intended all along.

The only real sustainable solution, is significantly improved total enrollment, NOT the unwilling displacement of an entire school.


6 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2015 at 5:58 pm

@iPhone user of Old Mountain View

"Get real
Mary Ann is just saying what most folks are thinking."

Really?
You assume most people think Dr. Rudolph is incapable of doing the job?

I wonder what it is about him that makes you believe that?
Him being from New York, or??? What exactly makes you feel that way?
Is it something the people you hang out with have been saying?

I find your lack of faith disturbing.


29 people like this
Posted by Nelson is taking $$ away from students
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2015 at 7:32 pm

Nelson has already cost the district almost $230,000 that was paid out to the former superintendent. How many more people have claims against him/ the district that they just haven't filed yet. All of this takes away from the students and their education. If only three more people file claims, the students would be out A MILLION DOLLARS! Past time to throw this guy out.


10 people like this
Posted by Isn't it curious
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 13, 2015 at 8:59 pm

@pact parent
Really? Nobody called me yet, I'll have to check my email again,... hang on a moment..

Or, maybe they're just lying?
Or maybe pact is getting nervous.


29 people like this
Posted by S
a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2015 at 11:28 pm

It's very sad that adults ruin things for the kids. I also don't understand why there are some people so against PACT. All the people I've known from PACT have always advocated for all kids. When they closed Slater PACT parents were vocal advocates for keeping open both Slater AND Castro. This time around I see PACT parents advocating for theuerkuef.
Adults need to quit fighting, act decent and step back and say what is best for the kids, and what behaivor do we want to present to them as acceptable? Watching the board meetings, it would NOT be some of the behaivor displayed there.


22 people like this
Posted by SC
a resident of Slater
on Jun 14, 2015 at 2:30 am

On the 10/302013 board video where Nelson is censured, Chiang is actually the most supportive person of removing sections Nelson disagreed with. It appears that Chiang tried very hard to build consensus and respect during board meetings. It is too bad the district is losing this board member.


10 people like this
Posted by csea member
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 14, 2015 at 6:50 am

The loss of Chris is another great loss after the loss Goldman. McNamee leaving is NOT a loss at all. She is as big a bully as Ttustee Nelson is.

Why not have the state takeover like they did Oakland's school system. They are on the right tract now and moving towards being a great place to send your kids and work at!


14 people like this
Posted by un-Pack
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 14, 2015 at 12:05 pm

how about distributing the PACT into the general public schools. Stop the haves and the have nots its sending the wrong message. Separation can't be equal.
the pack squad comes off entitled. If these parents want to be teachers get your credential stop pushing your agenda on our public schools.
Superintendent Dr. Ayinde Rudolph, the stakeholders are all our children, please keep the focus on them. Parents involvement is important parent control is contrary to all reason or common sense.
To the pact parents that want to jump on my opinion, i see you everyday and your behavior is shameful your kids are no more special than Castro kids,Bubb, Huff . Monta Loma,Landels,Theuerkauf.
Slater neighborhood needs Slater re-openend.




21 people like this
Posted by Consideringprivateschool
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 14, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Why why why do we have to pit Reopen Slater/Whisman against PACT? No one here is evil. We want every student to have a great education. We don't want to move PACT. We want a neighborhood school, not PACT moved. We are on the same damn side!

We need A Board who thinks about long term planning and the increasing density of our community, who will not
Blithely accept that people who just choose private school, but will fight to make this district the amazing place it should be. We need nine schools, each with different character. We need things up to code, but we don't need each school to be 450. I don't think Castro and DI want 900 kids crushed on that campus with ok place to play and a preschool with no playground!

We need all options to be open that do not close a school. We need creative thinking and long term planning. We need to not sign a 15 year lease for Whisman!

Let's work together and find a Board who can do the same!


18 people like this
Posted by SN
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 14, 2015 at 2:04 pm

@ S

One reason why so many are against PACT is one particular commenter (you know who you are) who has to make absolutely every single issue posted on MV Voice into something about PACT. Give it a rest; there isn't some sort of crazy bloodlust on in MV against PACT.


22 people like this
Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jun 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm

I encourage the community be actively involved with the board in the board member replacement process.

By resigning in this summer recess, and if the school board is diligent in filling an opening, there may then be a replacement in place before the fall board sessions begin, so no split votes. Also an appointment (as permitted by the election code given the distance from a general election) would not cost the district or taxpayers any funds.

I have no connections to Stevenson, but I have worked with their parents enough to know they would love to be left alone. They don't interject, they are injected into these debates. I hope the board will defend all its schools equally, and respect parents at all schools equally, favoring none above another, still of course recognizing that needs will mean schools receive different things. I hope the new board member gets this nuance.

This has been the most attention given to board behavior. If people will continue to hold the board to a higher standard, then any price I have to pay is worth it.

My departure does not have to cost the district or city anything financially or in terms of a quality representative, the public can ensure that.


8 people like this
Posted by Think Again
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2015 at 8:50 pm

@consideringprivateschool
Think again... For the district to fund 9 schools, regardless of size, they SHOULD most definitely sign the long term lease with the German school. This establishes the needed revenue (with the HUGE rental increase) to fund all the schools everyone is fighting for without negatively impacting anyone else. Open the Slater site for a new neighborhood school, increase rent from tenants, change the required number of students per school, and it's win-win!!!


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 14, 2015 at 10:48 pm

The school district has zero tolerance policy against bullying and yet we allow a member of our school board to continue to bully staff, and community alike. How can we sit by an d allow that to continue?


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 14, 2015 at 10:56 pm

@Think Again of another community

"For the district to fund 9 schools, regardless of size, they SHOULD most definitely sign the long term lease with the German school."

First, I have always supported 9 schools, when conditions allow all 9 schools to be safe from closure. Closing any school is a terrible thing to do. ANY supposed "good" done by closing a school, if indeed any good is actual rather than imaginary, ANY good is always temporary, but the damage done is forever and can never actually be made right again.

Second, I have conflicting thoughts about the deal with the German school, (more so if a similar deal should arise with the Chinese school as well) but I was under the impression that the increased rental price actually ramps-in over time.

I bring this up simply to keep the math straight. If the district is going to suddenly get an extra million a year starting the instant the contract is signed, that may be one thing, but if it takes a 10-year ramp-up to get to that million added per year, that's clearly another.

The details matter.

If I am mistaken about this, feel free to correct, and I will try to find my copy of the deal to see if I can understand the legal-eze.


9 people like this
Posted by S
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:05 pm

How can moving a school destroy it? If PACT is moved to Slater/Whisman site it will be better for its growth. It will be a proper school with all facilities. Prior moves kept PACT intact as well too. It will solve both problems of Whisman having a school and PACT having the missing facilities. Think about it, it will be a brand new school!


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:19 pm

@Resident of Shoreline West

"The school district has zero tolerance policy against bullying and yet we allow a member of our school board to continue to bully staff, and community alike."

I believe I have covered this before, politicians are essentially immune from the real-world consequences of their actions and are not subject to the same rules as the rest of us. The worst they might potentially suffer is to lose an election. Incumbents are very hard to unseat in an election. And IF a politician loses one election, they just find another election for some other public office, until they win one.

Only the powerless are subject to the rules, only the innocent families suffer when schools are closed, never the politicians who close them.

"How can we sit by and allow that to continue?"

How can we stop them?

Even the president of the Board could not stop it.
The prior Superintendent could not stop it.
Principals and teachers could not stop it.
Other employees of the district could not stop it.

The news media mostly ignores this (except the MV-Voice, thank you).
So, the voters generally know nothing about it.

Only recently a fraction of the W/S families have begun to wake up to the problem. I am not yet aware of them making any serious effort to correct it.

Which makes sense for them, but since they are calling for "fairness" for themselves, perhaps they might want to think a bit more on that term and take some action themselves?

The W/S families are the only ones in the position to correct the problem soon enough. Perhaps the rest of the news media may pay some attention and finally the voters may take action, but I doubt it.

A well-tweaked resume on an election ballot goes a long way and being an incumbent is usually very hard to defeat in an election.


12 people like this
Posted by Think Again
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:36 pm

@ PACT Parent
Please take the time to do some research; all the documents are public record.

1. The rental increase begins at an increase of 75% in year 1 and grows approx. 6% each year after that to reach a full 100% increase after 5 years. After that, the lease increases according to the Consumer Price Index rates of between 3-4% each year. This is why you saw Wheeler and Nelson wanting it to pass so quickly last week. If the lease is signed soon, the district can start collecting 75% higher rent beginning with next month's payment.

This information can be found in the board agenda packet from two weeks ago.

2. Nothing to worry about with the Chinese school. They do not have a lease with the school district. They sublease from the German school. If the German school gets kicked out, then so goes the Chinese school. Both schools are good partners with each other, and the Slater/Whisman neighborhood has stated, along with the board, that they wish to keep this partnership.

Please, just like you ask everyone to get PACT info straight before posting on this forum, I ask that you do the same to not cause further confusion amongst the community.


13 people like this
Posted by Not the Answer
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 14, 2015 at 11:55 pm

C'mon, let's not make this out to be a noble move. I'm sure CC had his reasons...and he's ABSOLUTELY entitled. But it's likely that many (including some remaining board members and a newly hired superintendent) feel abandoned.

Attracting more attention to Mr. Nelson? Please.

(And note for the time being, Mr. Nelson is now 1 of 4; instead of 1 of 5)



9 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 12:33 am

@S of Shoreline West

WHO exactly do you think has walked away from Stevenson PACT because of some mythical "missing" facilities? Give me one million and I could easily fix-up the few things which the kids would appreciate getting fixed.

"How can moving a school destroy it?"

Many ways. How many people do you know who live out of a suitcase in the temporary housing of a hotel?

I can predict the events at a future MVWSD Board meeting:
The families of W/S come back to the Board and complain... "There is not enough space at the (new school name to be inserted) for OUR neighborhood kids and yet, THOSE "choice" kids have seats. That's UNFAIR to W/S, WE demand the "choice" kids give up their seats so our neighborhood kids can get in. It's OUR neighborhood school after all, WE should have priority over any "choice" kids."

PACT has never been allowed to have a home. Moving over to W/S would be yet another hotel room where we can only stay as long as the managers do not decide they need the room for their other customers. Like when the predicted "kid-population explosion" in W/S is supposed to take place, the kids of W/S will want into the new school and PACT will again be ordered to pack up and move on for a FOURTH time.

Stevenson was the first time we found a place where we could really make a home for the long-haul. We have invested ourselves here for 6 years. We have dreamed of having Stevenson as our permanent home.

Stevenson is the absolutely best location in the entire district for a school to draw kids from all areas of the district. And the Whisman/Slater area is by far the worst for doing that.

IF the W/S area is so great. WHY don't the District Offices move there?
Well? Why not?
Could it be that the W/S area is so geographically isolated that it would make things difficult for the public to get to the District Offices it they got moved over there?

"If PACT is moved to Slater/Whisman site it will be better for its growth."

"Growth" for growth's sake is utterly counter to the whole point of our whole-child progressive educational philosophy. Growth without careful planning and preparation does far more harm than good.

It has taken PACT 20 years to carefully grow to the point where we feel we can handle the 390 kids which will be at Stevenson starting this fall. It may take us a while at 390 before the entire support system among our parents and teachers reaches such a comfort-level so that we will be ready for any further growth. It depends on our parents and teachers.

May I also mention Stevenson now needs not only to hire 3 more teachers but a new principal as well. We are going to have enough on our plates where we are, but moving us at such a critical time would be even more devastating than it would be normally.

"It will be a proper school with all facilities."

WE ARE A PROPER SCHOOL and we have managed quite well for 6 years with our facilities as they are. Our location is more valuable than some new buildings.

"Prior moves kept PACT intact as well too."

IF you mean "PACT" as a philosophy, then sure, the philosophy will remain intact, because it's an idea and ideas are hard to kill.

If you think getting booted out of Slater and thrown to the opposite side of the district didn't causes losses and do damage, you're NOT well-informed. If you think we didn't suffer losses from the second move over to Stevenson, you are also NOT well-informed.

A third move, especially over to W/S would be such a huge slap in the face, we would never again feel safe or stable. Regardless of how wonderful the new SLATER-OWNED HOTEL might be.

We would know from day-one that we will always be the wandering school, never with a home, never able to relax and just focus on education, always on the edge of having to pack up again.

"It will solve both problems of Whisman having a school"

Actually, it only allows the Slater families to get their "walking school", the Whisman families will have to wait more years to get back their "walking school". I still wonder which of our other schools will have to be "improved" by moving that school to Whisman.

"and PACT having the missing facilities."

The families don't see anything "missing" now. There are always potential improvements to any school, but the parents are not waling away from PACT over concerns about any "missing" facilities.

"Think about it, it will be a brand new school!"

No thanks, we like the one we have had for 6 years.


16 people like this
Posted by SN
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:02 am

@PACT PARENT

Wow, so much vitriol. If you speak for PACT it's no wonder everyone is so mistrusting of PACT. How did an article about a trustee resigning become about about whisman and slater?


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:02 am

@SN of Rex Manor
You claimed:
"One reason why so many are against PACT is one particular commenter (you know who you are)"

Well, that's the first thing you got provably wrong.

Look back at the archived posts from the Whisman/Slater advocates going back many years. Their forces have been screaming for the utter destruction of PACT for many years to TAKE the resources for giving a walking school to W/S.

The first my family ever heard of PACT was just a few years ago. The first time I learned that the W/S people wanted to TAKE the resources of the Stevenson School so they can have a walking school was only early 2014.

I never paid much attention to the Mountain View Voice in the decades we have lived in Mountain View. The first time I even knew there was a web-site, let alone a "comments" section, was 2014 and I don't recall ever posting until 2015.

"who has to make absolutely every single issue posted on MV Voice into something about PACT."

REALLY?
You mean that someone has been posting using my moniker about issues unrelated to the MVWSD events?

Everything I have posted with this moniker on was directly related.

I have posted ONE TIME on ONE unrelated story and I did NOT use this same moniker, because it was not relevant to the MVWSD.

"Give it a rest;"

Because you fear I am endangering the effort to close Stevenson?

When the people who wish to destroy PACT rest, then I will happily return to working on repairing my little "fixer-upper" house.

"there isn't some sort of crazy bloodlust on in MV against PACT. "

Again, I suggest you go look back on the MV-Voice archives, LOOOOOONG before I had ever heard of PACT and judge for yourself based on seeing for yourself.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 2:03 am

@Consideringprivateschool of North Whisman

How much progress on enrollment could we all have made together over a decade of effort if not for all of us being forced into a war neither side wants?

"Why why why do we have to pit Reopen Slater/Whisman against PACT?"

I don't think "you" did, and certainly the PACT families never have, but I know that the Board has done exactly that now and in the past TOO!

The MV-Voice archived news stories from 2005/2006 show how the Board intentionally pitted the families of the Slater school against the families of the Castro School, back when PACT was about a one-strand slice of Slater.

Read up about a Board member who stayed up late one Wednesday night to write up a whole proposal to pit Slater families against Castro families and totally SHOCKED the Slater families. The Slater families (including PACT) then quickly took a stand AGAINST closing ANY school. The Slater (including PACT) families strongly advocated that Castro should NOT be closed either.

"No one here is evil."

No, but politicians, especially long-term professional politicians, often become isolated from the harm their decisions do. They focus on "winning" a political point or fulfilling some campaign promise.

And never forget:
“Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”
― T.S. Eliot

I assume that the Board of 2005 felt they had "good intentions" behind their closure of Slater, but looking back, does anyone else agree it was worth it?

"We want every student to have a great education. We don't want to move PACT. We want a neighborhood school, not PACT moved."

Now if the rest of W/S advocates would just agree with you, we could have all been working on the only real solution for a decade now!
Improved total enrollment is the only real sustainable solution.

How much harm has been done to enrollment by a decade of these pointless wars set up by the Board?

"We are on the same damn side!"

The MVWSD Board wont allow that. Like most politicians, they NEED to pit one set of families against another so they can exercise arbitrary power as they wish and never need to "prove" what they wish to do is actually required or even wise.

When the W/S families convince their main advocates to stop the war they started and focus all our COMBINED efforts on improving total enrollment, THEN we can all work together and get to the only real sustainable solution.

But, ONLY the W/S families have any influence over their advocates (OK, I admit I am hoping the W/S families have such influence). Their advocates want to take away our existing home from us, make us pack-up for a third time and put us into a temporary HOTEL situation in W/S. From which, we will ultimately get told to pack-up and move for a fourth time.

I think that one poster has one thing right, we should just go ahead and change our school name to the "PACK" school, because we just keep on being ordered to "PACK" and move again and again and again...


22 people like this
Posted by outside observer
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 15, 2015 at 4:29 am

"The school district has zero tolerance policy against bullying and yet we allow a member of our school board to continue to bully staff, and community alike. How can we sit by an d allow that to continue?"

We are talking about adults here. How is it possible to be bullied by another adult that has no power unless a majority agree with him. I have observed Mr. Nelsons boorish behavior but I dont see it impacting others unless they are too insecure in themselves. I have a hard time believing Wheeler and Coladonato put up with this nonsense.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 5:15 am

@outside observer of North Whisman

"The school district has zero tolerance policy against bullying and yet we allow a member of our school board to continue to bully staff..."

"We are talking about adults here."

Welllll, technically, correct I guess, nut more to the point, they are politicians.

"How is it possible to be bullied by another adult"

Just how isolated from the real world are you?
I see bullying, including both verbal and physical assaults commonly at the jobs I work. My wife sees plenty of bulling at her job too.

" that has no power unless a majority agree with him."

No he has plenty of power given by poorly informed voters.

"I have observed Mr. Nelsons boorish behavior"

You're being too kind, or you have not yet seen enough.

" but I don't see it impacting others unless they are too insecure in themselves."

Ah, it's the old cry of the bully "It's my victims fault, if he was not so much of a wimp, my verbal assaults would have no effect on him ad my occasional physical assaults he should be able to take it like a man."
It's not MY fault he's such a wimp.

"I have a hard time believing Wheeler and Coladonato put up with this nonsense."

They are politicians and the have all the same agenda points in common with Nelson, that being to:
1) get a walking school for Slater ASAP and ignore whatever damage this may cause to anyone else.
2) Destroy PACT.

They will never control Nelson, he is on the same page as they are.

They have always focused on plans that require getting both of those agenda items as part of one plan to move PACT for the third time.

And as soon as Nelson has gotten a walking school for Slater, he will no doubt turn his attention to closing another school, probably DI this time, to then open a new walking school for Whisman.

When the kids-population explosion in W/S takes place, PACT will be fored out of Slater and into a newly opened Whisman. For a few years PACT will have a strand or two, but then Whisman will demand PACT moves out again yo go somewere else for a fourth move.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 6:00 am

@Christopher Chiang of North Bayshore

One point you mentioned deserves more attention because so few people know this fact. PACT is inherently peaceful pacifists, until someone brings the war to our door, then we become Libertarians and fight back with all it takes to survive. We failed to save Slater, we learned from that defeat and have no intention of ever failing again.

You want this unproductive war to stop, fine, just stop attacking Stevenson PACT and the war is over. We don't fight unless we are attacked first, when the attacks stop, we stop. We do NOT go around picking the spoils from the bodies of the defeated. We just go back and clean up the mess and go about our business of progressive education.

We don't hold a grudge against any school, nor even against the W/S families who have been honest with us. Once the Board allows the war to end, we will be fully available to begin the ONLY productive sustainable solution discussions for increasing total enrollment.

Maybe we should teach an actual section on Libertarian principals since many parents of PACT understand them so well.

"I have no connections to Stevenson, but I have worked with their parents enough to know they would love to be left alone. They don't interject, they are injected into these debates."

Go research the history of PACT. Right from the first roll-call, on the first-day of the first PACT-class, PACT has NEVER "taken the fight TO..." any school, any group of parents, or even the Board.

EVERY SINGLE TIME the WAR has always been hauled up to our door trying to bash in our door. We have always faced the first shot fried at PACT, we have never fired first.

Look at the history from 2004/2005/2006 news articles about the District and Board decided to close Slater. PACT was a minority portion of Slater, the PACT families were promised that our group would be offered just as good a slot in some other traditional school and we should just accept this and not object so the closure of Slater would be quick and easy for the district. PACT knew that the traditional families hated the closure and in spite of knowing we would have a place where we could stay together as PACT,if we didn't fight we still fought the Board with everything we could think of to save Slater because they did NOT want to be closed.

PACT could have walked away a year sooner with no wasted time and all that effort fighting to save Slater, but we didn't accept the deal, we fought right along side the Traditional families.

When Castro was threatened, we rallied to defend Castro AND Slater.

Recently, when Theuerkauf was threatened, we rallied to defend Theuerkauf, same for Monta Loma and Landels and of course DI when it was threatened.

In EVERY case where the existence of any school is threatened, it's always PACT to the rescue.

Go back to any thread of comments posted and you will find a Nelson acolyte attacking Stevenson PACT with any lies, ignorant assumptions or excuses. The fight was brought to us first and always is.

PACT families are pacifist when left alone, most prefer the Koom-by-ya method of all gathering around the disruptive person and holding hands in a circle singing Kum-by-ya and expecting that will solve the problem with the dangerous individual.

When there is clearly an attack against PACT that has been brought to our door, we become Libertarians. Libertarians believe that one should NEVER be the aggressor, you should NEVER bring the fight TO anyone, but if a WAR is brought to your door you have every right, in fact every obligation to do all needed measures to repel the attackers and keep safe what you have.

And while I'm at it...
"I hope the board will defend all its schools equally,"

I have not seen much of our Board defending our schools in a productive manner, it' been pretty proforma for the most part.

"and respect parents at all schools equally, favoring none above another,"

That is absolutely not the case.

"still of course recognizing that needs will mean schools receive different things. I hope the new board member gets this nuance."

I'm afraid that yours was the only mind on the Board who could parse nuance.


25 people like this
Posted by Mary Ann
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2015 at 7:14 am

I agree with @not the answer

Resigning from the MVWSD Board was not a noble move.

Not only is it likely that many folks (including some remaining board members) feel abandoned, others (including me) are mad.

To make a mess and then leave is just irresponsible and selfish.


26 people like this
Posted by SN
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 7:36 am

@ PACT Parent

You just proved my point again. Another essay on PACT vs the world on an article which has nothing to do with it.


11 people like this
Posted by history class
a resident of Slater
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:09 am

@Pact Parent
Yes it is a geographically isolated neighborhood....that needs a community focal point, not just a walking school. Also, we have plenty of children, they are just being sent all over the district to keep those schools fuller. Also, of course PACT supported keeping all schools open, they had to look good because it was unclear if they would stay at Slater or move to Castro, or elsewhere. A lot of their effort was put into keeping all schools open...not so much into keeping Slater open. This may have been "below the surface" so don't go looking in the archives. The extra year at Slater was mostly a PACT idea, to give them time to PACK. It was of little use to the neighborhood families, ripping the band-aid off so slowly. Also, I agree it is not a good idea to move the PACT back to Slater. PACT really does need to have a separate school, or no school at all.


40 people like this
Posted by @PACT Parent: You're Killing Us
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:11 am

Someone needs to inform you, and I'll try to do it here, that you may be doing more harm than good to your cause. To put it in simpler terms: you're killing us! Kindly take your fingers off the keyboard, put your hands in the air and back away slowly from the computer. Let's not cause any further injury.


29 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:37 am

The headline for Friday really should have been about how the Board made a significant decision Thursday night to move forward with the first steps of the design/build process for 4 of the elementary schools (one of the votes was 5-0... which is good for this Board!), approved a new base facilities standard, and had good discussion surfacing the remaining issues for the Fall with the remaining schools (including Whisman/Slater and PACT). This was HUGE! Looking forward, there is a path emerging where we can make PACT better and also get a neighborhood school in northeast Mountain View... just need to get past the negativity in order to see it.

Instead, yet another departure is in the news & the story is disturbing... it certainly shook me. Though I worry that Trustee Chiang may have overestimated the ability of some of the parent volunteers on the committees to find time for 3-4 board meetings a month, plus additional board-related work outside of that time, plus whatever mental health time we'd need to deal with whatever challenging dialogue happens... if he indeed thinks a replacement will come from those committees.

But that said, it's yet another in a string... Goldman, McNamee, Graff, Chiang, and who-knows-how-many parents and teachers who may have decided they don't want to be a part of this environment. While I appreciate Trustee Nelson's support of some of the school facilities recommendations (and told him as much after the meeting Thursday), there are enough allegations being put forward, it probably makes sense for there to be some kind of investigation at the county or state level in order to get to the truth about what's been going on... the Board itself is too close to the issues to be an impartial review body, and the District can't afford it (unless someone wants to start a GoFundMe page to help them out).

We don't tolerate hostile environments at our local workplaces or our local colleges and universities. If one truly exists around our K-8 schools, we shouldn't tolerate that either. Either stop the bleeding, or find a way to convince the public that all of this is just coincidence, so we can have a more positive, constructive dialogue about our schools. The status quo is unacceptable.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:43 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comments]


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:56 am

@Patrick Neschleba of Monta Loma

"and had good discussion surfacing the remaining issues for the Fall with the remaining schools (including Whisman/Slater and PACT). This was HUGE! Looking forward, there is a path emerging where we can make PACT better "

Patrick, I and all the PACT families present listened to every word the Board said and we heard NOT ONE THING that would in ANY WAY "make PACT better". And we actually know quite a lot about PACT. Many of our leadership was there.

So Patrick, what exactly did YOU hear that makes YOU think something was said that does anything to "make PACT better"?????????????

Nothing I heard from the Board was in ANY manner suggesting anything that could possibly "make PACT better".

What do you think you heard?

And remember, if you're NOT PACT family member, you're opinion is not based on any understanding of what PACT needs, nor of what is important to PACT families.

What YOU might guess or assume is probably dead wrong.

So, Patrick, what did you hear that would "make PACT better"????????


26 people like this
Posted by SN
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:57 am

@ PACT Parent

(I'm going to try again, although I'm probably going to regret engaging with you after you last 10-paragraph essay. No, I didn't read it).

1. You don't *have* to defend PACT on an anonymous message board. Nothing you say here is of consequence (it's an anonymous board, there is no way to verify you actually have kids in Stevenson, or that you have kids at all), so isn't it better to reserve your energy for an actual board meeting where your voice would have impact?

2. PACT is bigger than you, and will survive in spite of you. PACT doesn't need a keyboard warrior picking online fights with everyone.

3. You don't have to bristle at anyone bringing up PACT on any message board, let alone this one. Remember, nothing anyone else says in the comments section of a newspaper has any impact either. The day MVWSD starts formulating policy based on anonymous comments is the day you should wait for, but I suspect we'll have bigger problems then.

So, please, take it easy on the rhetoric, and have a nice day.


49 people like this
Posted by Think Again
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2015 at 9:58 am

May I politely suggest that people who want to see positive change in the district please not engage with 'PACT Parent' on this forum. The theories of this person are based on fear and sensationalism.

There is never a way for everyone to be content, but the district can make most happy by doing the following:

1. Throw out the every school needs to be the same size constraint.

2. Remodel the existing schools where they are, build a smaller school at Slater, and scale down the construction at Castro- 900 kids on that site is overboard.

3. Using a little less than 1/3 of the total remaining bond money at one site (Castro) is not financially responsible. Scale down at that site, and use some of the funds to build out Slater.

4. All other sites get a remodel based on district facilities standards (which don't include luxurious movable glass walls). Make better use of the centralized space at TH and Stevenson to share common space like an MUR and library. The German School and Chinese school share the MUR, play space, library and more. Maybe reach out to them to see how they successfully share space? They are good partners.

5. Sign the long-term lease with GISSV. Use the EXTRA rental income, ($750K in year 1 from the increased rent) to help pay for operating costs at Slater. This does NOT take away from anyone because the base rent still goes to help ALL kids in the district like it always has.

6. Targeting private school families, or making them feel badly about not choosing private school is counterproductive to bringing harmony to a community. The education of your child is a personal choice. Families should have the freedom to chose from a neighborhood public school, a public choice school, a public charter school, homeschool, or private school and not be questioned about their choices.

7. Win-win-win


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 10:06 am

@history class of Slater

You revisionist assertion of history not only directly contradicts EVERY published story on the real history, but also contradicts the face-to-face discussions I have had with the traditional families formerly of Slater who went to Theuerkauf and those I have met from Slater who go to other schools.

AND even the times I have heard Ellen Weaver talking about those days directly contradict your revision of history.

In fact, the total story I have heard, from EVERYONE OTHER THAN[Portion removed due to disrespectful comment] has been consistent with each other and with the published stories.

It's only you guys who keep coming up with a variety of inconsistent spins you have ZERO proof of.


46 people like this
Posted by To PACT Parent from a Different PACT Parent
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jun 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

My first comment here, ever.

PACT Parent, please STOP. You are, without any doubt, doing far more harm than good to something you obviously care about. Take a deep breath and step away. You are hurting the very thing you are trying to defend. There are far more constructive ways to help. Take a look at the big picture instead of refuting everything, sentence by painful sentence.


7 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 10:47 am

@Think Again of another community

Generally great post and ideas, but what's in your plan that benefits Theuerkauf?

Oddly, most of what you said in this post sounds fine and we have no objection IF all those can be done with the Board's concrete assurances that they will NOT then go close ANY school for being "too small".

One little point, you didn't take the feelings of Theuerkauf into consideration, we at PACT have.

"Make better use of the centralized space at TH and Stevenson to share common space like an MUR and library."

While if this is the ONLY way PACT will be allowed to stay on the 16 acres site, then we are willing to work with Theuerkauf to find a way to make that work, the problem is not with PACT.

The issue is that Theuerkauf sees nothing they will gain from such an arrangement. From TH point of view they already have a nice MUR and library all to themselves. If they are required to share an MUR and Library with Stevenson, they would no longer able to use their resources as they wish on their own flexible schedule, they will be forced to coordinate everything with Stevenson. This will place a huge strain on the relationship between the two schools.

Further, this plan would force the Theuerkauf teachers and kids to suffer a year or more of serious construction noise and mess to build the new buildings for Stevenson.

So, I go back to the question of what exactly does this plan have in it which benefits Theuerkauf?

ONLY the TH community itself can decide what they feel wold be valuable to them, NOBODY else can think for them, it's up to them to come up with their concerns and what they desire to compensate them for the consequences of this plan.

Which is why Stevenson PACT has ALWAYS said we wish to stay exactly where we are in our current footprint and NOT to disrupt ANYONE. We would like to do some modernizing, but we will be fine even if we don't get tens of millions of dollars for a total re-build all at once.

WHY would people who do NOT attend Stevenson think they have a clue as to what is "best" for us? Same question about Theuerkauf. Why would people who attend NEITHER school feel they have a plan that would meet the needs of either school?


5 people like this
Posted by SS
a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 15, 2015 at 10:53 am

@Thank again.

Bravo for the proposals. Glad to hear constructive opinions. Just wondering if anyone can explain why school size is a constraint?


18 people like this
Posted by mr_b
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

@PACT parent

"WHY would people who do NOT attend Stevenson think they have a clue as to what is "best" for us?"

For the same reason you comment/rant about any other schools in the district. Thought that one was obvious.

The other parents who have children who attend Stevenson (that's the way that actually works) have asked you to back off. Why won't you listen to them? They deserve your response.


14 people like this
Posted by Disappointing
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:12 pm

I likely don't have all the background on the Nelson debacle but Chiang's resignation is disappointing. One of Chiang's excuses is that he didn't like his daughter seeing the conflict. If he really wants to teach his daughter a lesson, this could be a perfect example of how to deal with difficult people. Something like, "yes, honey, sometimes you have to stand up and fight for what you believe in, and stand up for others when they are being bullied." I doubt that Chiang and I agreed on everything but having a diverse set of voices should lead to a more robust dialogue and better results.

There are two ways to deal with schoolyard bullies (as Nelson is alleged to be): (1) run away, live in fear and let the bullying continue, or (2) call the bully out on his/her bad behavior, fight back, and suffer the consequences/punishment but know that the bully won't come back. Chiang unfortunately just chose the former.


22 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm

Those of you who don't think Trustee Chiang should have resigned when he had had all of his colleague's antics that he could take: Feel free to apply for the vacancy when the process is specified. It is called putting your time where your mouth is. The real disappointment is that he thought by serving as President he could help the situation. One of the challenges of optimism I guess.


28 people like this
Posted by @disappointing
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2015 at 1:54 pm

The other board members having been trying to deal with Mr. Nelson's bullying for the entire time he has been on the board. Unfortunately there is little that they or staff members can do. They have taken away everything they can but he still refuses to accept that his behavior is unacceptable. Only the voters can take away his power with a recall. He will continue to inflict more damage to the students of this district until he no longer holds office. Even if you agree with some of his ideas, you have to agree that standing over a fellow board memebef and intimidating them during a meeting is not acceptable behavior.


10 people like this
Posted by Disappointing
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2015 at 2:06 pm

@ "@disappointing": Totally see your point but there is more the board could (and should) do. Vote to limit his discussion time. Throw him out for disrupting proceedings (I think Chiang has this authority as President). Staff members could refuse to interact with him (and COULD NOT face any negative consequences if the other board members supported this effort). Publicly announce support for a recall effort. Beat his ... if he steps into your personal space.

Politics (even in this small little town) is a rough business. We need good people in this business who are willing to be tough. Chiang passed on a real opportunity here. While resigning is a bold move, it is the wrong move strategically.


15 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2015 at 2:25 pm

@SS: There are a few drivers on school size:

1. Demographics driving # of strands... highly socioeconomically diverse student populations need more differentiated instruction and re-grouping throughout the day, depending on what is being taught. Really need to talk to the teachers (and the kids!) to understand how this works. Pay attention to the examples being given by others... often the demographics of the 1- and 2-strand success stories are different from what one sees at Theuerkauf, Landels, and Monta Loma (and we can see it working at Monta Loma, which is sort of one of those "if it ain't broke..." arguments). The flip side of this argument is that less diverse schools could possibly be smaller... I went to a 2-strand elementary school in the Northeast, and it was great, but it was a very homogeneous community, and even then the school still paid for extra teaching aides in the classrooms (property tax rates there were about 2x what they are here, as a percentage of home value, and state law allowed communities to override the tax growth limits that were in place).

2. Critical mass for teachers & community... this one came up in the discussions on splitting Castro, that the neighborhood program there wasn't big enough to really work on its own, and that by splitting it out and letting it grow, it could do better than it was doing. Also with 3-4 teachers per grade you naturally get more cross-pollination on teaching approaches, which tends to lead to better teaching. Then there's just having critical mass for school events, fundraising, enough people (with time) to fill a PTA board, etc.

3. Instructional approach... kind of a follow-on to #1 above, if the approach does not involve differentiated instruction, or has a different approach (see: small group project-based learning, or bilingual instruction), then size may not matter as much. This is why the conversation about keeping the choice programs small, in order to drive any enrollment growth back into standard-capacity neighborhood schools (and therefore driving the 9th school), is interesting... though it is more expensive to run schools that way & as a community, we need to be willing to pay for that expense if we want a District with choice programs and more neighborhood schools.

4. What we have already for permanent capacity. Modernizing existing permanent classroom space is going to be cheaper than building new, and tearing down capacity at one site and building it someplace else is also more expensive. Portables have a more limited useful lifetime. So if one goal is to minimize construction cost, the first stake in the ground is that any permanent capacity stays in place - even though you don't need to use it all for regular classrooms (could use it for special needs, TK, preschool...). Never mind that tearing down 15 classrooms kind of sends a message that can be hard for a community to absorb.

5. Class size. Going back to the strand discussion... 20 kids per classroom @ 3 strands per grade drives a VERY different discussion around the capacity and # of schools, and where the boundaries should be. It's more expensive, but again, if the community is willing and able to support the operating costs, it's simply a question of getting the money to the right places, whether it's by charitable foundations, taxes, or other sources of revenue.


23 people like this
Posted by Offended
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 2:29 pm

"And remember, if you're NOT PACT family member, you're opinion is not based on any understanding of what PACT needs, nor of what is important to PACT families."

Wow. My child didn't "win" the PACT lottery this year, so we are not allowed a say in a school - in our neighborhood, by the way! - we had hoped to join at some point since we are not currently allowed to be "PACT family members" by virtue of a lottery? Our kids have to win a lottery in order to have an opinion? Here I had hoped even though we didn't "win" a spot at the school we believe is right for our child, we would still be part of the MVWSD family. Does that even exist anymore? Or are we just all fighting for our own school "families"?

We are very supportive of progressive education, and in the past have criticized the district for not making these opportunities available to more children. We had also been supportive of PACT as it supports this teaching style, but I'm starting to think that was the wrong approach. Maybe the district would be better off dismantling PACT and making sure that progressive ed techniques are available in all classrooms instead of just at one school where those lucky enough to win the lottery get it.

I sincerely hope PACT families don't feel they are somehow better than the rest of us just because we didn't win a lottery, or chose a neighborhood school. That is what it's starting to feel like and that would be the wrong reason to have a PACT school.


18 people like this
Posted by Stevenson Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Jun 15, 2015 at 2:42 pm

I would like to reiterate that PACT Parent doesn't speak for all of Stevenson PACT. He has been asked to stop posting so much by people from the school and he won't listen to us. He has been asked on here and he won't listen to anyone. Please don't think that his attitudes about the school are representative of the general population.

I am sorry that your child didn't get a spot in the lottery. I have known people who got in on the waitlist in August!


10 people like this
Posted by @disappoiinting again
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 15, 2015 at 3:03 pm

" Vote to limit his discussion time." The board already limits Mr. Nelson's time to talk. However, he constant interrupts other board members and members of the audience so it is impossible to limit the damage that he does.

"Throw him out for disrupting proceedings (I think Chiang has this authority as President)." The board president does not have the authority to remove anyone from the room.

"Staff members could refuse to interact with him (and COULD NOT face any negative consequences if the other board members supported this effort)." Staff members have already refused to interact with him but some staff members must attend the meetings as part of their responsibilities. Mr Nelson is not allowed at the district office unless he has made an appointment and an administrator is present.

"Beat his ... if he steps into your personal space. ". And I am sure he would press charges for assault.


9 people like this
Posted by Query
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm

What does it mean: a 2-strand school, a 3-strand school?


9 people like this
Posted by Think Again
a resident of another community
on Jun 15, 2015 at 4:08 pm

@ Query
Strands refer to the number of classrooms per grade level. Having three strands (3 classrooms of each grade level) allows for more flexibility and differentiated instruction to meet the needs of a wider variety of students. Having 1 or 2 strands can be difficult to implement, unless there is less diversity within each grade. Thus, smaller choice schools and larger neighborhood schools could work because choice schools tend to be less diverse in many ways because the families who choose them are looking for something specific (project-based learning, bilingual education, etc.).


10 people like this
Posted by Stevenson Parent #2
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 15, 2015 at 4:09 pm

I would like to reiterate Stevenson Parent. PACT Parent doesn't speak for all of Stevenson PACT. He has been asked to stop posting so much by people from the school and he won't listen to us. He has been asked on here and he won't listen to anyone. Please don't think that his attitudes about the school are representative of the general population.

I am sorry that your child didn't get a spot in the lottery. I have known people who got in on the waitlist in August!


26 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 15, 2015 at 7:36 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Sigh. It looks like Skelly and Nelson should have left at the same time. Both know how to create a lot of damage in a short time.
You have the rules, just a problem with enforcing them.

Use Robert's Rule of Order. Post a Sergeant Of Arms. Elect a Chairman.
Use these meeting tools to force Nelson to remain civil or be removed from the meeting by the Sergeant Of Arms.

You have the MVPD. USE THEM! They are supposed to stop bullying people like Nelson from disrupting meetings.

That is what I learned at Foothill College when I took a course on DEBATE.

After Nelson gets frog-marched out of the room several times, he might get the message that his behavior will not be tolerated in any forum, public or private.

A Blackwell, MVHS Class of 1973


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