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Mountain View City Council ends six-decade school fields partnership, gives district final offer for new agreement

Original post made on Sep 13, 2023

The Mountain View City Council voted to terminate an agreement for the joint operation of campus fields Tuesday night, while also giving the school board a one-time chance to accept the city's terms to create a new agreement.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 13, 2023, 1:58 PM

Comments (18)

Posted by SalsaMusic
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2023 at 2:29 pm

SalsaMusic is a registered user.

The city is doing the right thing here. The mvwsd is basically goading the city into terminating by giving them dumb requests.

Why does the district want to mow lawns so badly?

Posted by gretchen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2023 at 2:52 pm

gretchen is a registered user.

Good for the city. The Council should not be surprised by Dr. Rudolph's lack of clarity. He has put this neighborhood through Hell and back with his very clear antics that it was his way or the highway. Maybe it is time for a change in district administration.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2023 at 3:06 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Laura Blakely should have called in - anonymously- if she wanted to make her comments in her personal capacity. [as a person - she should not have identified herself as a school trustee / right? / she shouldn't have talked to her Board President during break, and she shouldn't have publicly deferred in line - to let her Board President precede her in public comments ] But / I think we should just "count her out" as a person to placate this 'mess'.

This MVWSD Board's actions in overseeing their Superintendent - is sadly lacking. The deferral to the Administration - for Public Policy - is also readily apparent 'in this mess'. And Laura Blakely is the most differential Trustee currently on the Board; count her votes, and listen to her 'I agree(s) with the staff' during public meetings.

School Board President Berman - although only 9 months into her term - is not (In My Opinion) showing the requisite level of 'determined professionalism' and GRIT needed to look out for the interests of public school kids and other kids in our community.

MAYbe, pray maybe, 3 Trustees (a legal majority) will finally come to their senses when the 'almost complete' draft is finished by the City and submitted to the Board for a vote.

- The legal advice the MVWSD is using seems sub-par. The clear guidance of the Board is non-existent. The ability of the senior staff - is inconsistent with the demands of this now 'delicate' but in previous decades "rather uneventful" community negotiation. - sad

Posted by CC
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2023 at 3:34 pm

CC is a registered user.

Anyone who has knowledge of Dr Rudolph's leadership style and actions over the past 8 years is not surprised by this. His leadership style is based on fear and intimidation. He only promotes staff that agree with everything he says. He does not allow constructive criticism or feedback on his decisions. As a result, many good staff have quit or been forced out of MVWSD. And the board always protects him. Some board members will ask him more challenging questions submitted by the public at the board meetings, but he usually is allowed to provided a vague or inaccurate non response to the question without follow up. The board approved a $1M home 'loan' during COVID 2020 summer with no opportunity for public input and very little legal ability to recoup the funds if he decides to sell his property, quit or move. Can you imagine if the MV city council did this for the MV City Manager with no advance public notice and no public input? Outrageous. He also spends more on consultants than many mid size tech companies in the area. Dr Rudolph runs MVWSD with an iron fist and no real interest in constructive feedback or collaborative decision making. It's his way or the highway, and his way is often unclear, illogical , and ever-shifting as the city council has pointed out. I can only conclude the board is either intimidated by him, thinks they can't hire a better replacement, or is so enamored with him during his weekly 1:1 meetings with each of them individually that they can't actually see the truth. It's unfortunate he is now leaving a trail of destruction in the broader community instead of *just* the school district. I hope someday someone has the courage to say enough is enough and hold him accountable for his poor leadership and lack of community building over the past 8 years. Is this the moment? Maybe maybe not. Probably not. I applaud the council and city staff for standing up to Dr. Rudolph. MVWSD and our broader community deserves better.

Posted by Anthony
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2023 at 8:29 pm

Anthony is a registered user.

"It's not a good look for the city and school district to simply cease communicating and attempting in good faith to work collaboratively together for the good of the residents of Mountain View," Blakely said.

But elsewhere the article says: "multi-year negotiations broke down, with the school district announcing that it was pausing the talks earlier this year."

Maybe Blakely meant "It's not a good look for the school district to unilaterally pause communicating and attempting in good faith to work collaboratively together for the good of the residents of Mountain View despite city willingness to negotiate."

The district said "we're not going to talk to you any more" and then the district wrote a letter to the city proposing to end the agreement so that the district could maintain the fields. Then the city said "OK, if that's what you want" and Rudolph is acts like this came out of nowhere.

MVWSD: Worst. Leadership. Ever.
Will this affect Rudolph's performance review this year? Nope.

Posted by Anthony
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2023 at 8:32 pm

Anthony is a registered user.

Headline should be "Mountain View City Council agrees to end six-decade school fields partnership..." rather than implying that it was their idea to start with

Posted by District watcher
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 14, 2023 at 8:43 am

District watcher is a registered user.

As a now former MVWSD employee who left because of how Rudolph treats people who work in the district that he doesn't like, I can confirm all of what CC above said about him. He makes decisions without seeking all of the information available to him and then refuses to change the decision when presented with clear facts that don't support the decision. He has all those consultants because then he really doesn't have to work. He's got a sweet high paying job and doesn't have to work thanks to the Board's blindness to his action. Time to wake up board members and see what is really happening behind the scenes.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2023 at 12:10 am

LongResident is a registered user.

Rudolph's letter said MVWSD could cover the cost of maintenance now done for free by the city through charging field access fees to Youth groups. But the city says the majority of that access can be accommodated elsewhere. So that means there won't be enough funds to cover the districts costs after all. Also the local kids from the schools will have to go to a different field elsewhere in the city, while the district tries to find groups from out of town to rent their now idle fields.

Plus, the district still has to pay to maintain the fields from usage during the school day, since that would presumably wear on the fields too.

Win win for Rudolph?

Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 15, 2023 at 4:35 am

Concerned resident is a registered user.

Mountain View parents seem to have a short memory when it come to Dr Rudolph’s decisions that have cost the district money just so he could stand his ground and be right.
Does anyone remember the Teach to One fiasco in 2017? He promised the district would mot have to pay for it it because he had a private donor. Well that lie led to a $521,000 failed experiment that hurt middle school students math teaching experience. They pulled the plug in that program just 5 months into it after months of parent complaining and bad press. (Check out the Voice’s own archive.)
He seems to make decisions to give him public recognition but so many have back fired.
He made massive personnel moves in 2018 and the public was in uproar asking for his head and yet he remains leading the district.
Should I go on board? When is enough leading the district for his own glory going to stop?

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 15, 2023 at 8:23 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

I think any prospective Board replacement - should really know elementary education, and not just Fire THE GUY. A good leader can take charge, and often must. But poor leadership does't Listen and doesn't Learn from mistakes.

This mostly goes for the Board - which is the Governing Board.

Does the Board want to become an AfterSchool Field Management body? We have a good public system for that, the City Parks & Recreation system.

Also $$$. I think @Long Resident is right, this 'takeover' concept doesn't make fiscal sense for the MVWSSD's financial stability, or for concentrating MVWSD's spending and effort on Resident PUBLIC STUDENT EDUCATION.

(SAVE COOPER PARK/ school property development)
(Monta Loma fields/ sharing-resistant Senior Focus Group)

[I support the teaching staff - that now district-wide want better 'perimeter controls' (fencing and gates) for their various safety concerns For Their Students and themselves as MVWSD employees during the school-day-hours].

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2023 at 2:38 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Turns out MVWSD has already listed the school fields for rent on a sort of AIRBNB for school facilities called Check it out! All the schools are shown with fields available 25% of the time, presumably supplementing the city's reservations and I think violating the current agreement.

So that's his idea of avoiding the management being a burden for the district administrative staff.

Sunnyvale has fields listed too but they only charge $30 and MVWSD is charging $53 per hour.

Posted by AreaResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2023 at 1:56 pm

AreaResident is a registered user.

Can anyone explain how the district can violate a city-terminated agreement?

Facilitron is a rental portal used by many school districts, not just Sunnyvale, and not just for athletic fields or courts, so it could serve the district in multiple ways. Rudolph hasn't invented the wheel here and it seems like a reasonable move considering.

I'm tired of reading myopic views about how the district is solely to blame for the problem. Yes, the district could've done more to ease the community into the conversation and could've been more involved in negotiations, but they aren't the only reason this is happening. Belligerent and/or ignorant trespassers, cranky and entitled neighbors, along with an historically derelict attitude from the city in providing neighborhoods with alternative green spaces are at least equally to blame for the result we have now.

There's a lot of posturing going around and it's not just the district doing it. Meanwhile, the kids and school staff continue to live with disruptions, and after-school programs have to alter operation, while some neighborhoods must continue to rely on district-owned fields and parks... all because of poor 'adult' behavior from the city, trespassers, cranky wheels, and the district.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 21, 2023 at 3:21 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

The School Board Meeting is This Evening, Thursday Item X.A. 90 minutes starting ??? (who knows when)
Public Agenda at:
Web Link

Board majority will (maybe) give clear 'direction' to staff = Superintendent.

I'd firmly suggest following on You-Tube /mvwsd and calling in (Zoom phone) just before X.A. starts. 8, 9 PM?
Public Comment? *9 "raises your hand"

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 21, 2023 at 8:29 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Long and @Area: the dilemma may be explained
1)the field for rent / per hour is the new synthetic Vargas soccer field? Dr. Rudolph has talked about (explained) that this is an 'adult use field' that he is very happy with. It is not under JUA. Some $$ may be why he is happy. How many $$ happy? Put in a Public Records Request / total rental income to District from Vargas' Field over it's time-of-existance.

2)The JUA is not now, at this moment "terminated"!

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 22, 2023 at 12:34 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

It's all about the money for MVSD with already trying to rent facilities on the Facilitron Web site. The site says 25% of the fields are up for rent at every elementary school site, along with places like the school library and classrooms.

This has to be including field space that the city maintains, which if rented would increase the cost of maintenance. He's charging more than Sunnyvale charges to rent its fields though, by quite a bit per hour.

The city hasn't terminated the agreement but instead has said it won't keep negotiating to renew it when it expires. It doesn't expire for another couple of years.

Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 22, 2023 at 1:21 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

"It's all about the money for MVSD with already trying to rent facilities on the Facilitron Web site."

Of course it's about the $$$, it's ALWAYS about the $$$. FOLLOW THE MONEY is the most important rule when it comes to politics. In most every bit of legislation, there are winners and losers; the winners are the ones who better their own financial positions, and the losers are the ones who are asked to foot the bill.

Posted by MVWSD Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 22, 2023 at 2:20 pm

MVWSD Parent is a registered user.

oh no, MVWSD is going to "make money" by renting out the facilities located on the property that it owns using a facilities platform used by lots of school districts to simplify their facilities management. How very corrupt and horrible.

It's interesting how the personal attacks generally come out anytime the superintendent does his actual job, which in Mountain View in 2023 does look more like real estate management than anything most superintendents got into their jobs to do. It's not at all surprising that the city would pull this tactic after getting heat for putting almost zero thought into how schools should fit into the city planning process for the >5000 housing units forecast to be added in Mountain View in the coming years. You know the superintendent, whoever that person is, will take heat when there is not enough space OR FUNDING to accommodate the students trying to enroll in 2030.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
23 hours ago

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@MVWSD. The Superintendent is clearly, and has been clearly, [SaveCooperPark] aching to be a real estate manager. Many of us do not consider he is a good one In Many Respects (not all respects.)

Rudolph was hired with zero background in Urban School Facilities planning and development. He was hired from out of California. He is still not an expert by any means, nor is his Chief Business Officer, a former Palo Alto and MVWSD school principal.

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