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Parents upset over 'hasty' Castro changes

Original post made on Jan 8, 2016

Mountain View Whisman School District staff are looking to scrimp and save to avoid depleting the $198 million Measure G bond fund before all planned campus projects are completed. But proposed cuts to the already-approved Castro and Mistral Elementary campus project had parents up in arms Thursday night, arguing that their voices hadn't been heard on the altered campus.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 8, 2016, 1:56 PM

Comments (44)

52 people like this
Posted by Jenny B
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I can see why Mistral/Castro parents feel like they are getting jerked around. They totally are. It's typical of the district to make big changes without getting proper community input.

By the way, that's exactly what happened when the Board decided to greenlight this massive two-school Castro construction project. They just did it, without input from the facilities committee and without giving the rest of the district a chance to weigh in.

I personally think using modulars sounds like a reasonable plan, if some of the specific complaints like the location of the office and parking can be addressed. Nobody is getting everything they want in MVWSD these days.


18 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 8, 2016 at 5:04 pm

"What I want to do is ensure that we are able to fill our neighborhood schools so we have viable and healthy neighborhood schools," Lambert said.

Why is this a priority? If parents are attracted to the choice programs over neighborhood schools, why not give them that? Why limit enrollment at the choice programs essentially giving some families what they want and not others?

As an incoming parent who will be selecting a choice program instead of my neighborhood school, I agree the choice programs should be in portable classrooms. That sounds like a fair compromise. After all, they are "choice" programs so you don't have to attend them. If a building is that important to you then attend your neighborhood school.


13 people like this
Posted by Because
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 8, 2016 at 6:43 pm

Dear @Why?

The purpose of public schools is to provide a equitable educational opportunity to all students in an area. Neighborhood schools are the backbone of the public school system. Neighborhood schools help to promote community, increased neighborhood safety and cohesion. When neighborhood schools are eroded for any reason, safety, cohesion, and educational quality decreases.

It is easy to imagine a point where the neighborhood schools are compromised beyond an acceptable point, and no one wants to get to that point.

In my opinion, there are things that are more important than what any one parent wants. I agree with Trustee Lambert when he calls for quality neighborhood schools. Choice schools are icing on the cake, but you need the cake.


13 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 8, 2016 at 8:25 pm

@ Because

Fine. Then get rid of both choice programs and send everyone to neighborhood schools. It seems to me that the "equitable educational opportunity" that you speak of isn't supported by offering parents choice, as "choice" by definition means there are differences among the various school programs otherwise there would be no need for parents to choose a program if all schools offered the same.

It doesn't make sense to try to accomplish both. Either allow all parents a choice in their child's education by accommodating those requests, or don't offer a choice to anyone. It is not equitable to offer a choice to some but not to others.

The current system we have makes no sense. Don't desperately try to fill neighborhood schools by forcing only some families to attend who really would prefer a different environment for their child. Or if you're going that route, then do it with everyone. Those neighborhood schools would be full again (and probably much improved) if the choice programs were gone.

Reading the article again I think Lambert's comments were more in relation to the fact that the board approved opening a new school in Slater, so in light of that decision (which he didn't support) he would like to limit the choice programs, which does make sense. I get it now. The district probably can't open a new school AND accommodate all those choice requests. Bummer for those of us who wanted a choice.


11 people like this
Posted by Appalled
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jan 9, 2016 at 12:36 am

This board just gets more and more ridiculous--all of these types of decisions just erode trust in the board and its leadership. They are wasting money with their delays. Why create major long term problems at Castro/Mistral over a few million dollars, which is so little in the grand scheme of things?


30 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 9, 2016 at 8:24 am

It sounds like the real decisions in this district are not being made at board meetings, but behind closed doors at the district office or between blocs of board members meeting in secret. Everything is then attempted to be pushed through and rubber stamped before the community can get wind of it. We've seen it happen with the Slater issue (committees and studies say we don't need the campus, and then suddenly we do) and now with this about face regarding major changes to quality of construction. That would largely explain why board meetings are a circus and all the time parents and community members spend doing committee work and attending meetings are wasted.

If one of the superintendent's first steps, with board approval, was to hire a communications officer, how could this have happened?

It would appear that the new board member Gutierrez is the only board member with a backbone who is genuinely interested in following a process and community input.

Also, how long are modular buildings expected to last? Are we just kicking the can down the road with a temporary buildings that will have to be replaced sooner? They current schools look to have been around since the 1960s. Will modulars make it to 50 years before being replaced? Can they even be remodeled or upgraded later?


16 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

Never thought it would come to this, but this disheartening lack of foresight is forcing me to consider moving my kids and family out of this district. People should be asking why we are so over budget, what can be done to stop the bleeding and what about those future projects using Measure G funds, are they being cut as well? I saw mention that the District Offices are also being re-vamped -- how about cutting that project? The institutional bias against neighborhoods in the Castro school district is appalling.


38 people like this
Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 9, 2016 at 12:49 pm

This is the result of ill advised approval of a Slater campus. The other schools will all be cut now for a school the district doesn't need.


17 people like this
Posted by Fast Forward 6 Years
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2016 at 3:57 pm

The combined enrollment at Castro and Mistral is down by 300 students. There are empty classrooms that no one wants to use.

It's wise not to build out 2 full size schools on that one small site. It's a temporary situation that enrollment there is so high. The gentrification of the attendance area is a real thing that no one's going to stop.


19 people like this
Posted by Mistral Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 9, 2016 at 4:50 pm

@FastForward - it's not clear what data you're basing you're statement on. The Castro area is the one with the highest density of students. Evaluation and research work by the district's own staff show that. The district's professional staff argued repeatedly that opening a school at Slater is not the right decision for the district because there are not enough neighborhood students there to justify a school. The board overruled their own staff and experts, and is now adding insult to injury by cutting programs in order to find ways to accommodate that ill-advised decision.

The board, as a whole, is failing the entire district's community. It lacks a coherent long-term vision and plan, it bows to capricious demands of the few (see Salter), and many of its meetings feel like a bad soap opera. Our kids deserve better than this.


4 people like this
Posted by JW
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 9, 2016 at 8:51 pm

IMO, Lambert is just being realistic. If we throw students away from one school it will inevitably lose too many students and have to close. No one wants to see a neighborhood school close. No one. I think he's just talking simple numbers.

I'm ready to bail but that's probably because I don't want my child going to Crittenten! Los Altos, K-6, here I come. Crittenten, no thank you.


7 people like this
Posted by Fast Forward 6 Years
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Decreasing numbers of Spanish-speaking students are inevitable. How long will there be enough interest to provide half the students for a bilingual dual immersion program. To quote the article: "Mistral parents, many of whom commute in from other areas of the city," Doesn't sound like a neighborhood program to me.

All this crap about not being able to operate a program with "only" 350 students may go by the wayside of demand for Mistral should drink. Smaller schools are fine, especially when there are two of them bumping up against each other like this. Plans should be made for reuse of some of the modular buildings if Mistral shrinks too much. In fact, as we know, the combined enrollment is not currently enough to fill both of these 2 large school complexes....


4 people like this
Posted by Fast Forward 6 Years
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2016 at 11:38 pm

Argh, spelling correction auto is a bore. The demand for Dual Immersion is not dependable over the long term. That's the reality. School buildings last 30-40 years. What will these 2 complexes be used for in 10 years? Let alone 30.

If demand for Mistral does shrink, the district has a duty to have a plan pre-considered.

Surely better to have saved the investment in permanent buildings by using more economical but still deluxe modular techniques. Los Gatos has used modular buildings to great success. In fact, they used 2 story modulars to free more playground space. Too bad there was so little out of the box thinking in this case. See this web site: Web Link

Maybe it's not too late.


6 people like this
Posted by Perspective
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2016 at 12:02 am

A big consideration is not to be short sighted. Whether or not there are sufficient kids for a school in the Whisman School/Slater attendance areas today is not the only point. Can we seriously rely on that large geographic area NEVER having more students in MVWSD? Will they ALWAYS continue to pay for private school instead of attending public? Why should they? Every survey has shown that 25-30% of the kids living in MVWSD boundaries are opting to pay for expensive private educations. This is not something that can be relied on to continue. Similarly the low income and spanish-speaking homes that fill Castro now are not likely to remain in the city over time. The district has reported a shrinking overall public school enrollment, due to the residents being priced out of their apartments. The developers are building new apartments that rent for outrageous sums of money. By the time the old units are torn down and replaced and/or "remodeled" the rents will be unaffordable for low income residents. This is not a bold prediction.

So where are the native spanish speakers going to come from the expand the enrollment at Mistral? Eh?


8 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 10, 2016 at 4:28 am

Board Building Confusion, as usual, I will try to clear it up, as usual.

@Ed of Castro City
@Why? of Rex Manor
@others of MMVWSD

There has been a great deal of confusion relating to the various types of
school building construction styles and the resulting features of the buildings we would get from each type. I will try to explain and hopefully clear up any confusion on them.

First, the "Custom designed/on-site built/sitck-built" school building.
They last the longest, typically 50years or more with proper maint.
Custom buildings that are built on-site from a pile of raw materials is the
most expensive type of construction and it takes the most on-site work,
but you get great flexibility in the fit/finish and any style/size/features
and sort of unique vision or aesthetic you may wish. They can also be built for multi-story buildings with standard methods. Further confusion is created when these are called "permanent" buildings as if they are the ONLY type that is permanent.

Second, the TWO STORY Modular building. These are also permanent buildings.
They can save land footprint when you need the space for other things.
They can last 40-50 years by obeying the maint schedule.
All Modulars have very restrictive options possible for fit/finish/features/etc. They are not beautiful, they look like school buildings.
All modulars have one advantage, once the site is prepared and the Modular building sections get delivered, they can be installed quickly, so this reduces the on-site work. They cost almost exactly the same as custom-built-on-site does. Worse, there seems to be only one company who supplies 2-story modulars. Modulars can be worked on later, but in far fewer ways.

Third, the one-story Modulars. These are also permanent buildings.
They can last 40-50 years by obeying the maint schedule.
They are much cheaper per classroom than 2-story Modulars. Several companies produce these. They use more land than 2-story buildings.

Fourth, the Modern Style Portables. These are movable, if need be, after installation. They can be disconnected from the utilities and lifted out to move or sell. When properly maintained as advised they typically last 20 years. These meet all the modern requirements of school buildings and are nearly as energy efficient as the types above.

Fifth and worst, the Old Style Portables. These are NOT being considered for any of our schools. It's possible that if some are in good shape, they may be allowed to stay on a case by case basis.

Most of the classrooms at Stevenson are made up of these old style sub-standard Portables.
All the classrooms, the Library and MUR at Stevenson are seriously below standard size.

These old-style portables can be identified by the fact that they sit well above the ground and you must walk up several steps or a wheelchair ramp to get up to their floor-levels.

Such portables are certainly at most MVWSD schools currently, including Stevenson, Mont Loma, Bubb, Huff, Whishman and Slater and I think all the school sites have at least some. Many have already reached the point where they should be removed. Some, like the sub-standard sized ones at Stevenson seem to have some years left in them.

So, the Board in the past badly confused everyone when they dismissed "Modulars" as being the same cost as "custom built" because they were ONLY considering the high-cost 2-story Modulars. The one-story Modulars are significantly less expensive per room.

The Board further confused the issues by throwing around the term "permanent" when it should have been saying Modular vs Portable vs Custom (or stick-built or built-on-site).

I hope I have now provided clarity of these 5 forms of buildings that have been discussed in such a confusing manner in the past and I have to assume the Board will continue confusing people in the future about this and many things.

The Board deciding to go ahead with a new Slater makes in mandatory that money be squeezed from all other schools in whatever ways they can think of to be able to build "SLATER NOW NOT LATER". Waiting for some future school bond wont meet their desire for a new Slater now.


17 people like this
Posted by Another Mistral parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2016 at 10:15 pm

@FastForward

Demand for dual-immersion will not shrink. Parents are flocking to dual immersion programs around the country to provide a better education for their children.
That is, of course, unless the programming falters (which could happen if there are insufficient funds for the school, or if parents can't drop off their kids without impossible traffic as the revised plan would cause).

I have no problem with higher quality modular buildings at Mistral, as long as they are adequate to serve the community. But I am frustrated with a board that approves an unnecessary school with no way to pay for it except sucking funds from the existing (and already sufficient) schools that are already strapped for funding.


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 9:10 am

@ Jenny B of R. Park. In November-Dec of 2014, it was the outgoing Superintendent, not the Board of MVWSD, that decided to setup the staff/site committee for Castro facility planning but put them 'outside the purview' of the District Facilities Committee. Many members of the DFC hated those well-reported in-the-press restrictions, but Dr. Skelly continued them through most of his administration.

Jennny, I agree entirely with your premise - the community - for Measure G, is the entire community of MVWSD, and not just one group of parents (be it Mistral, Slater, or Stevenson etc.)

Steven Nelson is but one of the elected Trustees of the MVWSD, these are only opinions


48 people like this
Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 11, 2016 at 9:40 am

Trustee Nelson, You are collectively responsible for the professional decisions of the Interim Superintendent hired by the board. In my opinion, you are personally held to a higher responsibility since without your egregious unprofessional conduct, the distraction of and need for an Interim Superintendent would likely not have been necessary.

By the way, you could still salvage your reputation in our community by setting your ego aside and announcing that you will not seek re-election. I do not expect such a revelation on your part, but sometimes hope springs eternal.


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 9:50 am

@ PACT Parent. mostly right. Stick-permanent, modular-permanent, portable-temporary. The discussion at some Board meetings, by parents, community and occasionally staff (& contractors) can confuse things. More.
It is absolutely not "the Board." The form letter from at least 30 Mistral parents started out with the modular-construction-mistake built into the very first paragraph of their letter! So now, what, a couple hundred Mistral families have this mistaken terminology built into their thinking?
-PACT Parent, thanks for the layman summary. Permanent-Stick, Permanent-Modular, Temporary-Portable. "Temporary" got zero Board member support.


48 people like this
Posted by It is absolutely the board.
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2016 at 10:42 am

@Steven Nelson,

My parents taught me if everyone else seems to be the problem then maybe the problem the is you. We are used to you blaming the superintendent, the interim superintendent, other board members, staff, and now parents. I wonder what you think your part in the dysfunction is. Please stop blaming everyone else and start owning your mistakes. Try working with people instead of against them. If you can't, then maybe you should take Old Steve's advice to announce you won't run for reelection. Or better still, resign now and let others work together without your interference.


3 people like this
Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm

In a nutshell I remember reading and followed the $198 million dollar wish list.

MVWSD, the school board and the residents attended meeting to decide what to spend money on. Lists do change and priorities change.

Election to past the taxes, tax passes.

Then came more meetings and delays.

Another election changes school board, more delays.

While all this is going building and labor costs skyrocket, more delays with more costs going up each month.

In the meantime 1950 buildings quickly built remain while shopping centers, office buildings, private homes and entire new aircraft are built.

We can't change our public school building to fit in the 21st century.


13 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:46 pm

@Frustrated: Not sure where the connection is to Slater. The Measure G budget summary presented at the Board last week had a zero next to Slater. Slater could have not happened at all, and they'd still be having a conversation on scaling back the cost of the Castro/Mistral project in order to fit the Measure G budget.

I'm seeing a few things that are really driving the change... the addition of a District Office update, the actual cost of the Castro/Mistral project, and the additional program contingency (which is there because experienced staff have suggested that there are going to be surprises as we get into the current projects - I think it's also wise given what we're seeing regarding construction costs). Plus the conversation around alternative construction methods helps increase competition, which is a good thing and drives innovation. Maybe they'll 3D-print the District Office. :)

That said, it's a tough balance between engaging the community, and moving fast to get construction moving before it gets even more expensive. If we want this stuff to happen with more time for community input as new information becomes available, it's going to cost more. A 25% increase in Measure G assessments would cost the owner of a $1M home about 21 cents a day... which seems rather reasonable to me... but barring any action on that front, the District is going to try and make do with what the voters have given them.


8 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 11, 2016 at 2:26 pm

"reasonable" is a subjective term.

And to be honest.. giving the current MORE money to mismanage is not the answer.


9 people like this
Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 11, 2016 at 2:39 pm

@Otto: I'm totally open to a perspective that says there needs to be a change in leadership (i.e. the Board) before moving forward on more revenue - the voters will have an opportunity to make their will known only 10 months from now, and I'm sure that many are looking to hear from present Board members regarding whether or not they will run again (in fact, I'm sure some would like to know that before voting on the parcel tax). We have many years of construction still to come - just need to be careful we don't shut the door on some good long-term options that additional funding might enable.


5 people like this
Posted by Dual Immersion Shrinking
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:10 am

While there could be increased demand from English speaking parents, the truth is that it is already hard to get enough Spanish speaking parents to let their children participate in the Dual Immersion program. That's the whole reason for the existence of Castro alongside Mistral. If you look, you see a much higher fraction of low income families at Castro than at Mistral. Castro is bigger than Mistral by far. With Spanish speaking families forced to move out of the district, the source of Spanish language speakers dwindles with each passing year. Each year has depended on a higher FRACTION of all Spanish speaking kids participating in the Dual Immersion program. Some of the Spanish speakers come from other attendance areas than Castro, and then that shrinks the enrollment at Monta Loma, for example.


6 people like this
Posted by Rules of Order
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:13 am

The Board needs a strong leader who will enforce meeting procedures. It's the fault of the leader if the meeting goes astray. Spending 20 minutes "discussing" if a motion can be amended in process is clearly something that could not be done just because of Steve Nelson. All that was needed was for the Chairman to say "no."


11 people like this
Posted by Dual Immersion Here to Stay
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 12, 2016 at 8:58 am

There is short-sightedness on this topic. Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the US. The Dual Immersion Program will grow over the next decade. It's in high demand already with a waiting list. Even if Spanish speaking families of low income are driven away by the high cost of living in the area, higher income Spanish Speaking families will make it their school of choice. At the very least, it will all but guaranteed to become a Spanish Immersion program like Escondido School in Palo Alto where attendance is by lottery. See Web Link

I commend the board for pressing on with their plans for the Casto/Mistral Campus. The ability for students to speak more than one, or even more than two languages, is in high demand. Dual or Spanish Immersion Programs allow students to get a huge a leg up on learning a second language and reaching fluency. Other areas of the brain are also developed with dual language learners, similar to how children who learn to read music also excel at math. At the very least, Dual Immersion students will be well prepared to take API exams and meet the language requirements for college graduation. Many students at Mistral and Castro already speak a language other than English or Spanish. And their numbers are growing. The other neighborhood schools don't offer this; they are just quaint neighborhood schools. We should not let the myopic, single-language views of a few board members, district staff and neighborhood rowdies halt the direction the community and country is headed. Such thinking belongs in the Stone Age.

And let's not forget, the Castro/Mistral campus that they will refurbish and expand and construct is in the center of town with high-density housing all around, not tucked away in some peripheral neighborhood or sleepy single-family homes. One need only drive around town to realize that. Many students now and in the future will walk to this site.


4 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 12, 2016 at 10:45 am

@Dual Immersion Shrinking,

You are clearly misinformed.

You wrote:
"While there could be increased demand from English speaking parents,"

The current enrollment at the Mistral school is 390 while the Castro school has only 304 kids.
There is and always has been increasing demand for Dual-Immersion.

"the truth is that it is already hard to get enough Spanish speaking parents to let their children participate in the Dual Immersion program."

It's difficult to convince native-Spanish-speaking families of the benefits of the Dual-Immersion method of education. I was told by an administrator at D.I. (now Mistral) that when they held informational meetings in Spanish about Dual-Immersion almost no native-Spanish families turned up even to hear about it.

We had exactly the same problem at Stevenson. We advertised in Spanish and did what we could to reach-out to the community that we would have a Spanish-speaking meeting to tell people about our school and virtually nobody showed up. I think only 2 families.

Native-Spanish-speaking families are familiar and comfortable with a traditional school environment full of mostly Spanish-speaking kids and teachers. Most of these families are highly risk-averse and are not open to the idea that Dual-Immersion (or any alternative style of education) could be beneficial to their kids.

"That's the whole reason for the existence of Castro alongside Mistral."

Mistral needs to stay near Castro because so many Spanish-speaking families are also low-income families who cannot afford to travel away from their immediate walking-distance neighborhood.

"If you look, you see a much higher fraction of low income families at Castro than at Mistral."

Low-income families are naturally more risk-averse.
Only getting to know DI will make them open to the idea.

"Castro is bigger than Mistral by far."

No, Mistral is 390 kids and Castro is 304 kids.

"With Spanish speaking families forced to move out of the district, the source of Spanish language speakers dwindles with each passing year."

Low-income families in general are finding it harder to stay, but that only moves the "center of gravity" as to where native-Spanish-speakers may come from.

"Each year has depended on a higher FRACTION of all Spanish speaking kids participating in the Dual Immersion program."

You seem to be suggesting that Spanish is becoming an endangered language in our district? All the more reason for Dual-Immersion.

"Some of the Spanish speakers come from other attendance areas than Castro, and then that shrinks the enrollment at Monta Loma, for example."

From what I understand, there are native-Spanish-speakers all over our district, not just in one or two areas. Granted, the low-income group may be highly concentrated near Castro/Mistral and they are more sensitive to travel distance.


7 people like this
Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:27 pm

God.. the circus is definitely in town.

What we are lacking here is solid leaders. We have money. It can't cover every request.

So decisions need to be made about how to best spend the money.

Those decisions will not all be easy. Some will be hard. Some groups will not be happy with some decisions.

That's just the way it goes. Make your decisions and stand by them. Otherwise you'll never make any decisions.


5 people like this
Posted by Castro Location
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

Actually, Castro is on the edge of the district's high density El Camino Corridor. Los Altos Schools serve those North/West of Ortega on one side and the intersection where Rengstorff dead ends into Los Altos on the other. El Camino runs 3 or 3.25 miles within MVWSD depending on the side of the road. Castro is located 0.25 to 0.50 miles from the end of that run. Castro doesn't serve more of the ECR corridor in MVWSD than it does serve. A lot of high density housing developments so far begun are being done on El Camino OUTSIDE of Castro's attendance area, which stops at Chiquita Avenue. The big new housing development on El Camino near El Monte is smack dab straddling the Castro attendance area, so it will be interesting to see whether they split that complex, or assign it to Castro or Bubb. Its neighbors currently attend Bubb. The Residence Inn would be in Castro if any kids live there.


5 people like this
Posted by Dual Immersion Shrinking
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm

The resistance to dual immersion on the part of the Spanish speaking families is a real factor. It's not just that they are risk averse. There is a lot more benefit to the program for English speaking than for Spanish speaking. Hoping that low income Spanish speaking near that area will be replaced by middle income Spanish speaking who will be more interest in Dual Immersion is not realistic. The gentrification that is occurring will reduce kids in there area, regardless of their ethnicity. Meanwhile, kids are being added in all the other areas of the district, and their parents value a neighborhood school. Spanish speaking kids aren't going to want to travel to Mistral to attend a dual immersion program.


3 people like this
Posted by Other shrink Issues
a resident of another community
on Jan 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm

It's not just dual immersion programs and Spanish speaking populations which are shrinking in this high income privileged city. Other factors reducing relative demand for Castro and Mistral TOGETHER as opposed to Bubb and Huff in particular are future development. It's already a stretch to think that TODAY these 2 schools can see enrollment held to 450. In the future that will be even harder. Over the next 10 years there's going to be growth in kids all over the city, PARTICULARLY in the current Huff and Bubb attendance areas, but also in Landels and Monta Loma. Planning for a 10 year horizon makes it highly dubious to only add capacity at Castro and Mistral. This is a long term plan, not something just for this year or next.


3 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 13, 2016 at 1:14 am

@Dual Immersion Shrinking

FYI, I don't speak Spanish and I have no "skin in the game" relating to Castro/Mistral.

"The resistance to dual immersion on the part of the Spanish speaking families is a real factor."

Sure, fear/distrust of the unknown is a very real factor in many poor decisions. Better information tends to improve decisions.

"It's not just that they are risk averse."

Not the "only" factor, for example, I'm sure some people "feel" more "comfortable" if their kids go to school with mostly kids who look like themselves and speak the same way they do, etc...

I have heard the same thing about some deaf parents who react with great resistance when they learn their also deaf child can be given hearing.

"There is a lot more benefit to the program for English speaking than for Spanish speaking."

So, "I wont have it for my child because I feel some other child gets more from it.", seriously?

Logically, WHO benefits more from learning a second language in our nation?
The native English-speaker who learns Spanish, or the native Spanish-speaker who learns English?

"Hoping that low income Spanish speaking near that area will be replaced by middle income Spanish speaking who will be more interest in Dual Immersion is not realistic."

Time will tell, but the Castro/Mistral school buildings wont go wasted in any case.

"The gentrification that is occurring will reduce kids in there area, regardless of their ethnicity."

You use the term "gentrification" to imply evil, but for most people it's better known as "The American Dream".

I hope the kids of low-income parents gain as much as they can from our available schools so they can have a better life than their parents had.

I grew up poor. My parents accepted the worst homes to get the best schools. I've done the same. Hopefully, my child will have a better life than I had.

"Meanwhile, kids are being added in all the other areas of the district, and their parents value a neighborhood school."

Only about 25-35% of M.V. parents prefer their neighborhood schools, the rest prefer private or choice schools. Having those options is a big part of what makes our city so desirable.

"Spanish speaking kids aren't going to want to travel to Mistral to attend a dual immersion program."

The kids don't get to choose.
It's up to the parents to make the best choices for their kids.


14 people like this
Posted by Mistral Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 13, 2016 at 7:14 am

"Rudolph called the cost-saving revisions a 'misstep'". More like arrogance if you watch the video. Bypass the community and go against a board vote to build permanent structures with a plan to build a campus with portable classrooms? See how much you can get away with, and then backtrack with parsing phrases? How many more missteps can we expect? The more important and scary question to ask is if no one showed up to the meeting, what would have happened? This just proves what Nelson has been saying all along: More transparency is needed over the manner in which this district and board conduct business!

"The agenda allocated only 20 minutes for discussion on the new construction plans, and board president Ellen Wheeler restricted community comments to one minute each. On several occasions, Nelson demanded public speakers stop speaking beyond their allotted time."

This is a classic example of the board's dysfunction. People love to criticize Nelson, but clearly Wheeler allowed this item to be put on the agenda and then limited public input to one minute. Don't attack Nelson for a time limit that Wheeler, the board president, controls. It would appear that neither the new superintendent, Nelson or Wheeler are interested in public input.


5 people like this
Posted by answer to fast forward
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2016 at 10:55 am

@FastForward, the Castro/Mistral neighborhood is a high density area and will be so in 6 years. When the population changes, there will still be many students to fill the school,because it will still be a more relatively affordable place to live. The Slater re-opening may be a combination of need and politics. I don't know how many potential students there are in the neighborhood that can enroll and if it would meet a viable number for the school to operate effectively. This decision to re-open can also potentially be a political move and creating gridlock and financial difficulty from the apolitical position of being a trustee.


4 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:15 am

@ PACT Parent - your assertion of only 25-35% of Mountain View parents choosing neighborhood schools is absurdly wrong. Please go back and study the last several demographic reports and do the required spreadsheeting calculations. Or - if you are 'making assumptions', plainly state what they are.
Trustee Nelson's opinion


16 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson,

Actually, @PACT Parent is correct on that number. We were consistently told that there were approximately 5,000 available students in MV. Of those students about 3,600 attend MV Public/Choice schools. Many of those families would not prefer a public school under any circumstance as they are choosing schools that support their religious preferences (Catholic schools for instance) or cultural preferences (the Chinese schools). Others can simply afford schools like Pinewood and make those choices. We're not going to recapture those families. But there are some families who choose language academies or charter schools we could recapture with some of our future plans.


23 people like this
Posted by Why?
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:12 am

@Cfrink

There are also a number of families who send their kids to Catholic schools not because they are Catholic and want to instill those values in their children, but merely because they see they are well run schools with good academics, nice extras (sometimes even a foreign language offered) and they seem better organized and run than the Mountain View schools. The Catholic schools are much less expensive than other private schools in the area, so they are accessible to many more. This is incredibly sad to me, but it happens often. The district could easily attract some of those people back (or prevent more from enrolling in the future) with better schools. Essentially those families are not opting for Catholic schools, they are opting out of MVWSD drama. That's the sad reality.


5 people like this
Posted by PACT parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm

@Steven Nelson of Cuesta Park
You wrote:
"@ PACT Parent - your assertion of only 25-35% of Mountain View parents choosing neighborhood schools is absurdly wrong."

That's not quite what I said.
I do admit I should have specified K-5 kids.
I tend to assume people know I mean K-5, but I should specify that.

What I said was "prefer", not actually attended or even "enrolled in".

"Please go back and study the last several demographic reports"

The demographic reports only provide one relevant number, how many total K-5 kids live within the MVWSD. The final enrollment numbers and the waiting lists to get into choice schools and the transfers provide the rest.

The percentages came from various full agenda packages and enrollment listings. The 30% number has often been mentioned during Board meetings.

Even if you believe the number is something different, that does not change the point I was making. SOME parents "prefer" their own local neighborhood public school, but around here, most don't and certainly most "added" families wont in the future because they will have the income level that allows them to opt-out of the neighborhood schools.

Walking-distance schools are nice (I got to walk to school one year as a kid myself and it was nice), but great schools are better and families having choices is better.


13 people like this
Posted by Cfrink
a resident of Willowgate
on Jan 18, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Cfrink is a registered user.

@Why

Sure, some of that is likely true. I don't see the "drama" that most people see. I spend a lot of time dealing with the district as I volunteer my time and feel heavily involved. The only drama I see is stuff like what this story is about: The school district held more than 20 meetings with the community to discuss what the plans would be at Castro/Mistral. The district has been waiting for over a year to start construction on schools. The district has been waiting for quite a while to decide whether or not to ask for a much needed parcel tax. The adjustments that were suggested for this school site were suggested for the good of all students in the district. We have to stop thinking about just our school and start thinking about all our schools at a community, and all our students as a community. I want what's best for the students going to school across town and the ones going to school in my neighborhood. I do believe it'll get better. We have a fantastic Superintendent now and an equally fantastic CFO. We should let these guys get to work and make decisions, get our input and get to work. We're not doing that right now. That's the drama the needs to change.


5 people like this
Posted by Follow the Money
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2016 at 2:45 am

Good planning for the future requires forward looking analysis of population trends. None of the demographer's reports address changing economic levels due to increased rents.

To say that the area served by Castro is notably more dense than any other area of Mountain View served by MVWSD is debatable to say the least. Castro does not serve the bulk of the Greater San Antonio (Shopping) area because that is within LASD. Castro does not serve much of the El Camino Real area, and it serves none of the downtown. Surely these too are equally as dense as the area served by Castro. There are similar apartment buildings throughout the city, with regard to current density. The entire San Antonio and El Camino areas are designated areas for increased residential (and commercial too) density.

Castro's local attendance area is bounded by Ortega Avenue on the Northwest and Chiquita Avenue on the Southeast, between El Camino and Central Expressway. Not much different in character of potential density than Bubb or Landels, which both contain long stretches along El Camino Real.

As for the proposed Parcel Tax, this is called into complete question by Governor Brown's proposed budget for 2016-2017 which awards each student in the state an extra $4000 in funding K-12.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood

on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood

on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood

on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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