Menlo Park district to take all Tinsley students


The Menlo Park City School District voted to enroll its full allotment of Tinsley transfer students from the Ravenswood school district. The school board voted unanimously at the March 10 meeting to enroll its usual 24 students, plus 10 "backfill" students for the coming school year.

As part of the Tinsley desegregation lawsuit settlement, Menlo Park takes 24 students every year, usually kindergartners, and guarantees them a place in the district through eighth grade.

Children who leave the district or don't show up usually have their spots backfilled. This year, due to the Menlo Park district's enrollment growth and an unusually large number of backfill students, there was some question whether the backfill could be accommodated.

Superintendent Ken Ranella said that the combination of a slightly lower than expected number of new kindergartners who registered in February, plus a decrease in the anticipated number of Tinsley backfill students from 14 to 10, the district would be able to accommodate all of the students.

An earlier proposal to temporarily suspend the Tinsley program for all incoming students next year met with criticism and outrage from parents who attended last month's Menlo Park school board meeting.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth Ouren
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Bravo! The students in the Tinsley program are a wonderful part of our school community and I'm so glad the program will be fully enrolled.

Like this comment
Posted by Lee Weaver
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

We're being asked to pay more taxes to keep the teachers so class sizes won't go up, but the increase in class sizes could have been offset if we had eliminated this program. So we're basically being asked to pay more taxes for a random giveaway to whomever happens to live in EPA and gets a lucky number, which could be people from any ethnic or economic group.

Like this comment
Posted by Natasha
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Actually, with Tinsley you can't be of any ethnic group. Students who apply for those transfers have to be members of an under-represented minority group, according to the court order.

Like this comment
Posted by MP Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm

We live in Menlo Park and have the unfortunate political history of have three school districts within our towns borders. Regrettably, one of those in underperforming for a variety of reasons. Many of the Tinsley Kids are "true members" of the Menlo Park community with Menlo Park addresses and participation in all other areas of or life. Why not allow them to go to our school - many of these kids are a pleasure to have and motivated to do the best they can.

Like this comment
Posted by donnie
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 12, 2010 at 7:19 pm

how many students does palo alto take?

Like this comment
Posted by j
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 14, 2010 at 8:42 pm


Like this comment
Posted by Let's help all the kids
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

Palo Alto takes the largest number of Tnsley kids on an absolute basis, but Menlo Park takes the most of any district as a percent of enrollment. Unfortunately, the Tinsley program is actually hurting the kids who are left behind in the Ravenswood district because of the negative impact of Tinsley on Ravenswood's funding. It would be much better for all the kids in Ravenswood if the district was just split up and taken over by Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

Like this comment
Posted by agreed
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2010 at 9:07 am

Agree with Let's, but it won't happen, for the same reason that the tiny districts all around us will never merge. Teacher unions, politics.

Like this comment
Posted by No Time Like the Present
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 15, 2010 at 1:18 pm

And there's the problem: "it won't happen ... unions ... politics...."

How about we agree to new parcel taxes AFTER the school districts (unions and elected officials) agree to consolidate to improve the education for all our kids while at the same time lowering costs (more efficient use of the various campuses, reduced administrative overhead, etc). How about Los Lomitas and Menlo Park merge and take all of Atherton and Menlo Park (including unincorporated areas and the eastern parts of the city currently in Ravenswood School District). Palo Alto school district would take the rest of Ravenswood school district (i.e. East Palo Alto). Two school districts vs four. All kids in one of the two, remaining outstanding school districts. Yes, it'd be a tough sell, but the alternative (continuous parcel taxes and continued leaving-behind of Ravenswood) isn't a recipe for success either.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

No Time-
Are you willing to take the lead on this? Or is this just a red herring you bring up to divert the discussion from the pros & cons of the parcel tax?
While much that you say sounds perfectly reasonable, and may even be a great idea, I don't think it's going to solve the immediate problem of how we avoid laying off 17 young, energetic teachers by mid-May. This imminent layoff is the immediate crisis that, in addition to sending the wrong message to our teachers, will measurably degrade the quality of education provided to our young people.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 15, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I'm happy to see that the school board did the right thing on the Tinsley transfers.

I agree with Lets that we should be using the current budget issues as a reason to discuss consolidation but can't imagine how to bring the three districts to the table since the staffs in each will fight it.

Steve - The real red herring is the announcement that the city plans to lay off 17 teachers if the $1.37M parcel tax is not passed. The district has a large reserve (last I heard about $15M) that could easily be used to ride out this recession and provide time to consolidate school districts if that was the plan. The truth is that they like to pass a new parcel tax every 3-4 years in order to have revenues keep up with ballooning costs.

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

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,746 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,318 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,191 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,044 views

Bobby in Naziland: A Tale of Flatbush
By Stuart Soffer | 2 comments | 476 views


Register today!

On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More