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Hundreds of Mountain View Whisman students must change schools this fall

Original post made on Jun 11, 2019

Hundreds of students will be saying goodbye to their old campuses and going somewhere new in the upcoming school year.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 11, 2019, 1:32 PM

Comments (11)

21 people like this
Posted by MV Parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Those “surprised” by the fact that Huff and Bubb numbers aren’t declining are those not paying attention nor applying common sense - our superintendent is at the top of that list.

MVWSD should explore a Chinese immersion program for one of the under-enrolled schools. It could be a win for MV.

2 people like this
Posted by Mtn View Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 11, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Mtn View Mom is a registered user.

Kevin, thanks for reporting. Can you post a link to the updated enrollment projections.

1 person likes this
Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Jun 11, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@Mtn View Mom

It's attached as the third image in the story now.

1 person likes this
Posted by Mtn View Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Mtn View Mom is a registered user.

Thanks Kevin.

Also, here are the current enrollment numbers by school from the last Board meeting in May as well the staff rebalancing plan.

Web Link

The difference between actual April 2019 enrollment and 2019-20 projected enrollment by school

Bubb: 547 students -> 495 students (-52 students)
Castro: 281 -> 339 (+58)
Huff: 619 -> 560 (-59)
Landels: 484 -> 444 (-40)
Monta Loma: 417 -> 354 (-63)
Theuerkauf: 287 -> 347 (+60) .

The only school in the enrollment sweet spot of 400-450 is Landels

1 person likes this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Why is Huff not declining as much as "expected"? Grandfathering of 5th graders AND ALL THEIR SIBLINGS. That is the Board policy, probably what they thought of as a compromise, to allow the gradual shifting of students.

Of course - the most highly economically segregated school, STEVENSON is growing. Seems like it was projected to be between 450-500 last time I saw numbers. Why doesn't the Board and Administration change the attendance/admittance rules for Stevenson? That is very much directly IN THEIR CONTROL (maybe the charter school model they proposed?). - Sure -

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2019 at 4:51 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

450 capacity. That is an entirely reasonable method that is used for assignment in at least one school district / capacities of schools are calculated by classrooms and auxiliary facilities - teachers are assigned to those classrooms (based on district projections of TOTAL DISTRICT enrollment).

And then, through the MAGIC OF MATH a system-wide assignment algorithm is run until every student is assigned to a school with capacity, based on a minimized total distances-traveled scheme. Pretty cool (I guess they solve school continuity & siblings-at-the-same-site somewhere in the algorithm). {"That ALGORITHM, he knows everything" as the advertisement says). Link is to Belmont-Redwood Shores.

The Board was not interested in this (proven/working)concept when I submitted it to them.

Web Link

16 people like this
Posted by An Interested Observer
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm

An Interested Observer is a registered user.

Bottom line, a new elementary school was not needed.

3 people like this
Posted by Mtn View Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm

Mtn View Mom is a registered user.

Hi @Steven Nelson. Over the weekend I met one of the Board Members of the Belmont-RWS school district and he described this algorithim to me, which sounds like it works great over there. However, their district population is much more uniform in income levels than our MVWSD district and as you would expect, the perceived performance of their elementary schools are more uniform as well. On Greatschools you'll see in Bemont-RWS 4 schools which rate 9 and 1 school rates as a 8 Web Link. In MVWSD, we have schools rated at 6, 7, 8. and 9. I think this makes the school assignment much more contentious and the public is less likely to trust an algorithm (I work on algos for a living and there is often more art than science to determine an "optimal" result).

Also, where do you see that Stevenson enrollment is growing? The projected staffing level stays the same (17) next year.

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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2019 at 11:47 pm

@Mtn View Mom

"Also, where do you see that Stevenson enrollment is growing? The projected staffing level stays the same (17) next year."

The new Stevenson campus was full to the brim the day it opened last fall.

Without adding portables, which there is no place to add them, there are simply no rooms to add any more kids. They would have to eliminate an after school program to free up a room and even then it would only add 25 kids, not 70.

Stevenson had about 430 kids this year and will be very close to that in the fall.

The District already said that the temporary campus (yellow buildings) used 2 years ago and are now the District offices will end up being fully mothballed once the new District Office building is done.

Bullis Mountain View may yet come back and try again to get those yellow buildings for themselves, so don't imagine those yellow buildings will become additional classrooms for Stevenson.

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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 12, 2019 at 12:21 am

@Steven Nelson

"Why is Huff not declining as much as "expected"?"

Funny how you always give Huff a pass on the fact that they have a percentage of Free/Reduced lunch families that is only slightly different from Stevenson's. You always lavish praise on Huff while ignoring their second-lowest SED numbers in the district.

Why not force-bus lots of low-income kids from far away neighborhoods to Huff to give those lucky kids...oh, wait, the district tried that about 15 years ago and it didn't work then either.

I wonder why you don't demand a real and robust residency check for all the kids of the district, starting immediately with Huff, Bubb and Stevenson to find out for sure if many families are cheating the neighborhood residency rules, or even don't live in the MVWSD overall boundaries?

Are you afraid of what you may learn about your perpetually favorite school Huff?

Personally, I have been pushing the District Office to enact a strong residency check on the entire district for 5 years now. Lets get started with Huff and Stevenson right away, OK?

You would support that, right?

I mean the demographers were pretty clear about their projections and if Huff has significantly more kids than projected, then maybe many families are faking a Huff area residency, or even faking a Mountain View residency.

I could only expect the Huff percentage to go even lower this Fall and lower still next Fall, because of the new boundaries, even lower than Stevenson.

What ever are you going to complain about if Huff goes lower than Stevenson?

"Grandfathering of 5th graders AND ALL THEIR SIBLINGS. That is the Board policy,"

The Board took quite a bit of public comment on this policy and the Task Force spent quite a bit of time dealing with that very issue. Personally, I advocated for a clean break all moves at once. But, the task force was pretty evenly split on this issue and in the end it was just a one vote difference.

"the most highly economically segregated school, STEVENSON"

By only about 1.5% over Huff this Fall and probably less next Fall, the projections showed Huff will become "the most highly economically segregated school", unless of course, lots of Huff families are cheating.

"is growing. "

Utterly false, Stevenson was full to the brim on opening day, no rooms available for any more kids. In fact, it's been quite a struggle this year trying to find space for meetings or even storage all year. The MUR finally opened months behind schedule, but it does not really have rooms for storage or classrooms either.

2 people like this
Posted by Enrollment Update Stupidity
a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2019 at 12:43 am

One slide in the enrollment update speaks to the ongoing rental of portables. It doesn't give the numbers, but the normal rate to rent a 960 sq ft portable previously installed is about $8K per school year.

Here's where the stupidity comes in. The enrollment is declining at Bubb and Huff. So is the number of teachers. So CLEARLY the $8K portable rental fee could be saved by returning portables this summer--just part of them, not the entire set.

By the same token, going forward, it is going to be unlikely that Huff and Bubb will slim down and still serve their new attendance areas. It's likely that a portable or two at each site could still be put to good use. The cost is not astronomical--just $8K per portable classroom. But there is this statement
that the schools need to live without portables. Well, this is using the assumption to prove the hypothesis. Staffing a TEACHER for a class with overhead and benefits might cost $100K. But for one of these TEACHER's classes to operate
in a portable is a fairly affordable $8K cost. If it is just ONE classroom, I don't see the justification to shoehorn the school to fit a set number of classrooms. There can easily be population bumps where there will be a lot of kids in the attendance area of one particular age. You might do well to have an extra classroom so that you don't send 20% of the kids of one age cohort off out of the area to a different school. Its just small minds that value consistency so much that they eschew any potential use of portable classrooms. Portable classrooms are ubiquitous in schools. There's a reason.

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