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O'Connor Street residents ask for transfer into Menlo Park school district

31 homes on north side of street want transfer from Ravenswood district

Menlo Park residents who live in a group of 31 homes on the north side of O'Connor Street, just about a block from where the Menlo Park City School District plans to build its new Upper Laurel School, have asked to have school district boundaries changed so children who live there could attend the school.

Unless their recent petition is successful, only the residents of the south side of the stretch of O'Connor, between Elliott Drive and Euclid Avenue, will be eligible to attend the new school.

The homes on the north side of that section of the street are now in the Ravenswood City School District, with the district boundary running right down the middle of the road.

The petition, signed by 26 residents, was submitted to San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Anne Campbell on Dec. 9. The petition says that when East Palo Alto was incorporated in 1983, that stretch of O'Connor was annexed into Menlo Park, where their neighbors already were, but the school district boundaries weren't changed at the same time.

The petition affects the properties from 235 to 295 O'Connor Street. The lead petitioners are Susan Stacy Keller, John Barksdale and Lansing Scriven.

The petition says the change will create "a cohesive community," restore "the O'Connor Street's school district lineage" and align "city, school district and natural boundaries."

"Our day to day lives are in Menlo Park," the petition says. "We are a group of residents that are highly involved in our community and we regularly participate in informal and organized events in our Willows community."

"Our hope is that kids from both sides of our street and our entire Willows community will be able to participate together in school activities and continue to build the relationships they have formed in our neighborhood," the petition says.

The petition says it will not promote racial and ethnic segregation, one of the factors that must be considered, because the residents in the area that would be transferred are very ethnically and racially diverse. The area has 49 percent white residents, 21 percent Asian residents and 16 percent Latino residents, the petition says.

The petition also says that the area currently has only one child attending Ravenswood district schools and that initially only one child would attend Menlo Park district schools if the change is approved.

Changing school district boundaries is a convoluted process. According to Ahmad Sheikholeslami, the Menlo Park district's chief business and operations officer, who explained the process to the Menlo Park district's board at its March 10 meeting, the first step is submitting a petition to the county office of education.

If the petition meets the minimum requirements, including the signatures of more than 25 percent of the registered voters in the area to be transferred, it goes to the County Committee on School District Organization. That happened on Feb. 23, Mr. Sheikholeslami reported.

The committee then holds public hearings in the districts that would be affected by the boundary change. Those meetings are scheduled in the Menlo Park district on Monday, March 30, at 7 p.m. in the district TERC room, 181 Encinal Ave. in Atherton; and in the Ravenswood district on Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m., in the district office board room, 2120 Euclid Ave. in East Palo Alto.

The school boards of the affected districts can support, oppose, or remain neutral on the petition, Mr. Sheikholeslami said.

The Menlo Park board will discuss its stand on the petition at its April 14 meeting, he said.

Once the public hearings have been held, the county committee has 120 days to vote on the boundary change. The earliest it could be considered is at its May 4 meeting.

The committee's decision can be appealed to the state board of education.

If either district opposes or remains neutral about the transfer, but it is approved by the county committee, an election must be held. The county board would decide which voters would take part in the election, which could include only the homes affected, or residents of either or both affected districts. (Note - the original version of this story quoted a Menlo Park district official who said only the affected residents would vote.)

Comments

70 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:26 pm

This will be great if it goes through. We all want Menlo Park to be a community where residents get to know one another and are involved in the community as a whole. We need more neighborhoods where kids can walk to school together, play together after school, join community activities together, etc. The Willows is one area of Menlo Park where residents have lived for extended periods of time - really creating the feel of an established neighborhood. Allowing all Menlo Park students to attend Menlo Park schools will help to foster that.


66 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 13, 2015 at 1:40 pm

This makes sense. It seems that is it correcting an oversight that happened years ago (when that group of houses were annexed by the city - the school boundaries should have been changed then).

It seems really odd that all of the surrounding Willows/MP homes are part of the MP School District except for these few. I feel bad for the kids who cannot go to school with their neighborhood friends. It especially doesn't make sense with the new O'Connor school going in and these few Menlo Park residents (who are in easy walking distance of the school) are not allowed to attend the new school.


28 people like this
Posted by Aaron
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 13, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Aaron is a registered user.

Sounds good to me. I'd also like to see Menlo Park/Atherton as a whole merge our disparate elementary school districts into a single unified school district. I know there are lots of people who disagree, but Palo Alto functions just fine under one unified school district while Menlo Park spreads out across four. There are a ton of barriers to this, but merging Las Lomitas, MPCSD, and the Menlo Park sections of Ravenswood and Redwood City districts would go a long way toward unifying our community as a whole.


18 people like this
Posted by Menlo Park Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 13, 2015 at 4:18 pm

I completely agree with the petitioners. It makes no sense to live and pay taxes in the City of Menlo Park and be in the Ravenswood School District. You have my support. Now where are the proponents for the Belle Haven School. The same principal is in play. The school is in the Ravenswood School District but is in the City of Menlo Park. The school is falling down and very unsafe based on the latest assessment done by the school district.
With all the construction going in Menlo Park, Bohannon, Facebook, Hotels, Multiple Stanford developments, The Dairy project, The 400,000 sq. ft. incubator on the old Cadillac dealer site on El Camino, The Marriott, etc. etc. I'd say the Menlo Park School district can well afford it.
I suggest the city council members and the city manager read the assessment, take a tour of the school and consider the liability of a school in their city that is unsafe and non-compliant with ADA. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen. If I were an attorney. I'd take that lawsuit on in a second.


13 people like this
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 13, 2015 at 4:32 pm

lessons learned is a registered user.

Those of you who are in favor of merging may not be familiar with the intricacies of public school financing. Las Lomitas, Menlo Park, and Sequoia are basic aid districts, which means (gross simplification here) they get to keep their property tax. Ravenswood is a revenue limit district, so it is funded on a per-pupil basis not directly related to property tax collection. Hence, most taxes from this property will go into the state education bucket, not to Ravenswood.

Las Lomitas (two schools) will not merge with MPCSD (four schools) because LLESD has extra benefits grandfathered from way back. For example, LLESD teachers receive higher salaries than MPCSD teachers do.

Lots of political and economic considerations make a merger far more complicated than just combining several neighborhood fruit stands into a local market.


26 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 13, 2015 at 4:34 pm

> have asked to have school district boundaries
> changed so children who live there could
> attend the school.

The geographic proximity is only partially relevant. Even if the petition were granted, only the upper-elementary grades will be taught at the O'Connor location. Parents will still need to have their kids go across town for early elementary.

> school district boundaries weren't changed at the same time.

School district are separate entities from towns; school boundaries have only a rough correlation with town/city boundaries; 1 changing doesn't mean the other must change. Menlo Park's town boundaries contain parts of 3 school districts: MPCSD, Ravenswood and LLESD. Atherton's town boundaries also contain parts of 3 school districts: MPCSD, LLESD and RCESD.

It is not inconsistent for a neighborhood to be in the Ravenswood school district. There are other parts of Menlo Park that are in Ravenswood as well.

> "a cohesive community,"

I'm confused. According to their petition, there's a grand total of 1 kid currently attending Ravenswood. Clearly, the school district assignment has zero impact on community cohesiveness.

> restore "the O'Connor Street's school district lineage"

This implies that both sides of O'Connor Street were once a part of MPCSD. If that is true, that's one of the few things listed in the petition that give it some merit.

If it's not true, then "O'Connor Street's school district lineage" is a lie.

> and align "city, school district and natural boundaries."

Already discussed and refuted. There's only a rough correlation between town and school boundaries. If people want to make the case that the town & school boundaries should be the same, then they should be the same for all, NOT just a small group of self-interested homeowners.

In other words, if you're going to make the school boundary the same as the towns of Atherton and Menlo Park town boundaries, the following changes would need to be done:

1) All "East Menlo Park" moved from Ravenswood to MPCSD;
2) The 30+ homes on north O'Connor moved from Ravenswood to MPCSD;
3) All Atherton homes "north" of Atherton Ave moved from RCESD to MPCSD;
4) All Menlo Park & Atherton homes in the LLESD moved to MPCSD;
5) All Atherton homes in Lloyden Park moved from RCESD to MPCSD;
6) Remove Unincorporated San Mateo neighborhood "Menlo Oaks" from MPCSD;
7) If "friendly acres" (another USMC neighborhood) is in MPCSD, remove it;


7 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 13, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Also, keep in mind that the above list does not include North Fair Oaks, a neighborhood in Unincorporated San Mateo County that has in the past expressed interest in being in MPCSD (it would need to be annexed for that to happen).


63 people like this
Posted by Ken
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 13, 2015 at 7:01 pm

I appreciate all of the comments from the community regarding broader district border issues. This petition, however, is not about broader boundary issues or merging fruit stands but about being a part of the wonderful community we call the Willows.

We are proud Menlo Park residents and live in the Willows neighborhood. My kids play with the other kids in our neighborhood and have grown up with many of them. Because we live in Menlo Park, we all play on the same MA-LL little league teams, play on the same MP AYSO soccer teams, and swim on the team at Burgess. However, for some unusual reason, a very small number of homes in a small strip on one side of a street are not included in the same school district as the other kids who live in the Willows are.

This is awkward for the kids and parents alike. When the kids at Laurel or Hillview are talking about the exciting baseball game last Saturday, kids in these 31 homes are excluded from the peer bonding that happens. Rather, the district lines state they have to attend other schools where they have little to no connection with the kids in those districts (note the athletic leagues use the city borders, not school district borders to determine eligibility). Let’s face it, kids want to go to school with their friends and neighborhood pals. For parents, we have a whole different set of challenges. Carpooling to school with our neighbors is not an option, since our kids and our neighbor’s kids go to different schools. And then trying to coordinate/share/carpool after school to sports practices and activities are impossible, since kids in the Ravenswood district don’t play at Burgess, Encinal and Lyle like my kids do.

There really is no logical reason for the current state, and if the district lines were drawn from scratch today, this would even be a consideration. However, we’re left with the sequence of the events led to this oddity. To the districts, this is a very small issue that will not impact either district very much at all.

We love our community and hope you all will support this initiative. Thank you!


19 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Mar 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm

After reading the article and looking closely at the maps, it does not make any sense to me why, in 1983, those 31 homes were left halfway in East Palo Alto (school district affiliation) and Menlo Park (city residency). This is clearly an oversight and I support the petition.

I agree with the last comment - there is no logical reason for this and I hope the school district considers what's best for the children that live in those 31 homes. Thank you.


22 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 13, 2015 at 10:58 pm

Ken wrote:
> This petition, however, is not about broader boundary issues

The broader boundary issues are relevant because “in Menlo Park”, “in Little League” and “in Ravenswood” is not unique to this neighborhood.


> When the kids at Laurel or Hillview are talking about the exciting baseball game last Saturday, kids in these 31 homes are excluded from the peer bonding that happens.

But this implies there are no other Ravenswood kids in Little League to “bond” with. That cannot possibly be true.

Also, the petition clearly states there’s only 1 kid going to Ravenswood in the affected neighborhood, so the social impact on “kids” you describe in your post doesn’t jive with the statements in the petition.


> To the districts, this is a very small issue that will not impact either district very much at all.

The financial impacts on MPCSD are not trivial, unfortunately:

* as a basic aid district, MPCSD costs are greater than the revenue generated from the property taxes of the homes in the neighborhood;
* MPCSD is dealing with an impending capacity crunch, from numerous sources:
- additional homes (houses and townhouses);
- A petition to add Mandarin Immersion, which has the potential to both reduce per-pupil revenue and take up school space;
- Organic growth;


Also…I feel like the petition and posts are being a little evasive on some very obvious (and I think, real) reasons for the petition:

1) The petition says there’s just 1 kid affected (“hey, so virtually no impact to MPCSD”) but posts talk about numerous kids. The difference is clearly that the petition is trying to hide the fact that there are kids in this neighborhood going to private school. The parents don’t want to pay for private school if they can get good public school for free, and don’t want the public to know that more than 1 kid will be added to MPCSD.

I can’t blame them for wanting a good public school, but….well, you bought in that neighborhood knowing it was Ravenswood SD, and got the homes at a discount price because of it. Where was the concern for the kids when you were buying?

2) If successful, moving these homes will increase in price, pretty significantly.


I don’t fault the neighborhood for trying to get into a different school district, but you weren’t exactly hoodwinked; you bought knowing it was Ravenswood. If the petition is successful, are you going to donate the increase in property values, and help MPCSD pay for the increased costs? Doubtful.

I’d be more understanding, even supportive, if the petition and posts were more honest, instead of trying to obscure the increase in student population. And if there was a way to ensure the financial impact to MPCSD was addressed.


Like this comment
Posted by lessons learned
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Mar 14, 2015 at 9:15 am

lessons learned is a registered user.

I don't know the petitioners and have no stake in the outcome here. Just looking at a map, the petition makes a lot of sense. Two other points vis a vis Peninsula Resident's post:

* I did not know anything about the school district when I bought my house. I had an infant and the original plan was to move in a few years, so it didn't even occur to me to check. I've also noticed that realtors who are listing homes often have misinformation about which district the house is in.

* I expect many of the kids are in private school. The last transfer that I remember involved 600 Willow, the condo complex, and all the families I know in that complex stayed in their schools. If your kids are happy, doing well, and have friends, you're not going to yank them just to save a few bucks. Of course, if new families move into those houses in 20 years, their kids will probably start off in public school but this city is changing so fast, that's not going to matter.

I have my own theories about why the Ravenswood district is consistently at the bottom of the heap, but in general its problems are not those that will be cured by merging with another district or throwing more money at the schools.


10 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 14, 2015 at 11:13 am

lessons learned wrote:
> I did not know anything about the school district when I bought my house

If you chose to ignore the school district, that's a choice you made. The homeowners in this petition made that same choice.


> I've also noticed that realtors who are listing homes often have misinformation about which district the house is in.

Misleading buyers on the assigned school district is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Respectfully, "often have misinformation" is at best an exaggeration; agents have a fiduciary duty to disclose all known and relevant information about a property, and the school district is one of the top items every agent discloses.

I'm not saying it's impossible there's a rouge agent that may misinform buyers. But most/all of a side of a street being duped by numerous agents isn't believable. These homeowners bought knowing, and being completed disclosed on, exactly what school district they were buying into. And they were fine with it because they got a discount relative to many other parts of Menlo Park.


> If your kids are happy, doing well, and have friends, you're not going to yank them just to save a few bucks.

Well, good private schools are more than a few bucks :) Nice neighborhoods like this are priced at a discount because homeowners frequently price in the cost of private school.

And...what about that "bonding" argument made earlier? Private school kids miss out on the same bonding with MPCSD kids as Ravenswood kids. If they don't remove the kids from private school, then "bonding" with MPCSD isn't as important as portrayed.



In a nutshell, here are my issues with the petition and the homeowners promoting it:

1) saying there's only 1 kid going to Ravenswood is a highly deceptive statement. It may be technically true, but that statement is meant to imply that only 1 kid would transfer over. You, I and the homeowners know there are a lot more kids in the affected neighborhood than one. If they were honest, they'd give a more accurate accounting of the number of kids in the neighborhood that have the potential to transfer into MPCSD if the petition is approved.

Saying there's only 1 Ravenswood kid in the affected homes is a classic "lie of omission." Nobody likes being duped. These homeowners are trying to dupe MPCSD.

Just be honest, people. You'll earn more goodwill that way.

2) This potential transfer does nothing to address the financial and logistical impacts to MPCSD. As previously noted, MPCSD has an impending capacity crunch that would be exacerbated by the approval of this petition. And the property taxes from these homes are unlikely to cover the cost of the increase in student population.

The petitioners claim to be "a group of residents that are highly involved in our community." Well, prove that by explaining how you'll address the financial and logistical impact your petition would have on MPCSD.

3) This neighborhood is no different than these neighborhoods:

* Lloyden Park: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD;

* West Atherton, north of Atherton Ave: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD;

* "East" Menlo Park: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD;

* Parts of West Menlo Park: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD (though in this case, unlike the others above, they're in a good school district. But note that the petitioners don't use that as an argument so this neighborhood is a valid comparison from the petitions point-of-view);

The same arguments that the petitioners make for their neighborhood apply to the above neighborhoods. Why should the arguments for transfer apply in the Willows but not for the above neighborhoods?

(that said, I'd be willing to ignore #3 provided they resolved #1 and #2. But that's just me).


3 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Mar 14, 2015 at 1:20 pm

I've looked over the petition in more detail, and it provides much more info that I suspected from the article. It addresses the potential changes in homeowner property values of the transfer. I must admit I was (and still somewhat am) skeptical of the financial motive behind this petition. But I concede that the financial numbers presented in the petition look authentic, and searches on redfin, realtor.com and zillow appear to support the contention that this change wouldn't significantly affect property prices.

So kudos to the petitioners for addressing this concern in the petition.

However, I think their projected increase in student population from a transfer is debatable, and I'd like to know how the petitioners will help ensure the shortcoming in MPCSD funding that would come from a transfer (since property taxes I believe would be less than the cost of the students) would be addressed.


34 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 14, 2015 at 4:02 pm

Getting coffee at Cafe Zoe this morning, I ran into one of my neighbors who happens to live on Oconnor. She lives in that block of 31 homes so I asked her several questions about the petition and the families living there. Here is what I learned:

1. Most of the kids who live on that side of Oconnor are NOT in private schools. The only child she knows about is in a special needs school and has no intention of leaving that school (for obvious reasons) and believes that one other family (catholic) may be in private schools. most of the children on the block go to public schools: 1 in Ravenswood, at least one in MP, a couple in PA and a few in other surrounding public districts.

2. This is not about money, it is about inclusion and cohesiveness of the Willows community. It is about keeping the community intact for generations to come.

3. There will be extremely little impact on the other residents in MP.
> This will not cost more in taxes for anyone in MP, and
> this will not cause crowding in the classrooms. My logic: Assume the one Ravenswood student comes over and perhaps a couple of more, it seems to me that we could count on one or two hands the increase in MP enrollment, spread across 9 grades and multiple schools. This is next to nothing percentage-wise in the district. In fact, there are already at least one MP student living in these homes, so there is no net new impact there.

My 2 cents: These are good people motivated to raise good kids and be a positive part of our community. They are not motivated by greed. Let’s not villanize our neighbors with accusations of deception based on false assumptions.

I hope this research helps get more facts out there – facts speak louder than speculation.


3 people like this
Posted by Tiffany
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2015 at 12:30 am

Ken, you said "Rather, the district lines state they have to attend other schools where they have little to no connection with the kids in those districts (note the athletic leagues use the city borders, not school district borders to determine eligibility). "

Look at Menlo's Little League eligibility here: Web Link

The athletic leagues do not just use city borders; the children of Belle Haven (also Menlo Park) are not allowed to play in Menlo Park's little league. Also, why don't the children have connection to those other kids? They can't have connections if they never meet the children that live in the apartments just behind their house. I wish the residents of O'Connor would see this as an opportunity to help make connections across race, culture, and income lines.

I'm deeply disturbed by the racial and income inequities playing into this petition. I'm also saddened by the lack of empathy and neighborly feel between the residents of the Willows and the East Palo Alto neighborhood that are literally in the same place.


45 people like this
Posted by Ken
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 15, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Tiffany, I read your comment and was saddened. This is not a racial/income issue and I am very sorry to hear you bring this up.

1. I encourage you to read the petition and you will see that these 31 households here are very racially diverse - probably more than you assume and more than MP is. Your assumption that we don’t care or make efforts to bridge gaps is also mistaken.

2. Tiffany, perhaps you might want to take an opportunity to get to know me/us better, and you might then form a different opinion (meet for coffee perhaps – I can share with you about the East Palo Alto children’s organization I am supporting. Perhaps I can recruit you to help too!).

All I ask is please take what is stated in the petition at face value. Please, everyone, try not to insert personal biases or stereotypes as others have done here.

3. It just seems to make sense that my neighbors and I should be able to send our children to the school that is so close that I can see it from my driveway. The school and our homes are in the same city. The school and our homes are in the same neighborhood (Willows) and my neighbors across the street (as well as some on my side of the street) can attend there, but we cannot. It is arbitrary and unintentional and we are simply asking for it to be corrected.


4 people like this
Posted by Tiffany
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Ken, I'm not trying to accuse you of being outwardly racist, but I do think the lines that are literally drawn between EPA and MP are enforced through inequitable policies. I think my problem is less that the O'Connor residents want to be part of MPCSD (to be honest, it does make sense to me in a lot of ways.) My problem is that with the deep history between East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, this petition highlights the way that those of us who are educated and come with more privilege have the ability to remove ourselves from the problems that those with less resources have to face. In my knowledge, no one has written a thorough and detailed report to allow the students who live in Belle Haven to also join MPCSD (or allow those children who also have Menlo Park addresses to join the Little League!). Not only that, Willow Oaks is 3 blocks away from O'Connor and situated literally in the middle of the Willows neighborhood; I'm not sure I understand how the inequities of education and district lines drawn isn't clear from just that fact.

In addition, as a teacher within the Ravenswood school district, I know the power that a few students in a classroom can have on group dynamics. I wish you could know the power your children could have had in a classroom where students might just need to have an example of a few kids who just love to read. I also wish that instead of supporting an organization that works in East Palo Alto, you could see the power of walking alongside parents to improve a school because your children actually go there too. I think there is a lot of benefit to the Willows community, and I just wish that community would extend to your East Palo Alto neighbors instead of trying to get away from them.

I know my opinion isn't a popular one, and a lot of Menlo Park residents won't agree - but I truly believe that if the Menlo Park and East Palo Alto communities could be more integrated, it would benefit both parties.


46 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 15, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Good evening,
I have read through the comments and then the petition very carefully and feel compelled to point out some glaring mistakes.

1. “Peninsula Resident” stated:
------------------------------------
“Saying there's only 1 kid going to Ravenswood is a highly deceptive statement. It may be technically true, but that statement is meant to imply that only 1 kid would transfer over. You, I and the homeowners know there are a lot more kids in the affected neighborhood than one. If they were honest, they'd give a more accurate accounting of the number of kids in the neighborhood that have the potential to transfer into MPCSD if the petition is approved.
Saying there's only 1 Ravenswood kid in the affected homes is a classic "lie of omission." Nobody likes being duped. These homeowners are trying to dupe MPCSD.
Just be honest, people. You'll earn more goodwill that way.”
---------------------------------------

The above entire statement is completely wrong (as well as inflammatory and biased) and can easily be rebuked if “Peninsula Resident” bothered to read the petition carefully.

On page 6 of the petition, it states “Both school districts are well above the 901 minimum required by the state of California and we anticipate a maximum of five students from our group of homes attending the schools at any one time, having a minuscule on district or school enrollment.”

I think it is really clear that the petitioners DID indeed address this, and for some reason, this person did not read it or understand it.

2. By “Peninsula Resident’s” own admission, he initially charged the petitioners of trying to drive up their own property values, but then after reading the petition, he verified the research and agreed with the findings that their property values were already well appreciated and this would not make any significant impact and he/she correctly backed off and corrected their statement. (kudos for stepping up here)

There are so many other glaring incorrect statements from this individual, that is it a waste of time trying to address all of them. However, I am particularly amused with this one:

------------------------------------
“3) This neighborhood is no different than these neighborhoods:
* Lloyden Park: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD;
* West Atherton, north of Atherton Ave: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD;
* "East" Menlo Park: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD;
* Parts of West Menlo Park: in Menlo Park/Atherton, kids can go to MA-LL, not in MPCSD (though in this case, unlike the others above, they're in a good school district. But note that the petitioners don't use that as an argument so this neighborhood is a valid comparison from the petitions point-of-view);”
------------------------------------

These 31 homes are a TINY subset of “the Willows” – a neighborhood that is nearly entirely in the MPCSD. However, apparently, rather than recognize that fact, he/she has decided to elevate the 31 homes to “neighborhood” status and compare it to Lloyden Park, North Atherton, The Avenues (unincorporated MP), etc.

He/she has completely missed the point. This petition is not talking about moving an entire neighborhood (e.g. hundreds and hundreds of households in a distinct region) into the district, which is an entirely different conversation and issue, but rather it is addressing a tiny subset of the Willows neighborhood (which is IN the MPCSD district) which apparently is the victim of poor inter-government coordination 40 years ago. Apples and oranges. Trying to draw a parallel here is laughable for the thinking man.

Anyway, I don’t have a horse in the race, but the attorney in me can’t help not rebuking poorly crafted arguments.


2 people like this
Posted by traffic
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

If the new school generates any additional vehicle traffic, the residents on O'Connor will be impacted the most.


36 people like this
Posted by Ken
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Tiffany, thank you for your response back and for sharing more about your perspective and background.

I appreciate you saying our petition makes a lot of sense.

I agree and sympathize with your points and also think that more can be done to unite our region. I also agree that there is often no logic in the circumstances that we face today (e.g. your point about willow oaks being in the willows neighborhood, as well as our 31 homes not the same as all the others in the Willows neighborhood).

This petition is intended to address the micro issue that we face here in these few homes. I think that your comments are focused on the macro issue.

We are not in opposition or disagreement. But we are approaching things at different levels.

I appreciate that we can have constructive dialog. This can only help in bringing us all together. Now, if only the folks in Washington could have meaningful dialog, they might actually get things done. Lol.


6 people like this
Posted by Old MP
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm

Please drop little league from this argument. We are talking about education, not baseball boundaries set by an organization that's located on the East Coast.


7 people like this
Posted by Pam
a resident of another community
on Mar 16, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Call it what you will, for the home owners petitioning, the prize is an instant bump in property value. If living in the MP school district is so important, that should have been a part of the home purchase decision. Most school district boundaries do not follow municipal boundaries. Anyone who has done a microscopic bit of due diligence when buying a home knows that.


16 people like this
Posted by Support Public School
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 17, 2015 at 12:34 am

There are some level headed comments here, and some protectionist comments. You really have to read the whole petition before you can understand the issue here.

If you look in the petition at the chart with the racial demographics, it's rather stark. The petitioners are 27.8% White and 27.8% Asian, whereas the Ravenswood school district has 0% White and 0% Asian. Basically, if you are not Hispanic, Black, or Filipino/Pacific Islander, then you don't send your kid to Ravenswood.

If you look at the most recent 2013 growth API scores, you see a great divide.
Willow Oaks (K-8) - 741
Laurel (K-5) - 927
Hillview (6-8) - 950

You can understand why only one kid from this group actually attends school in Ravenswood. A few others attend nearby public schools (how?). If this petition is approved, then the next group of young kids will all likely attend Laurel/Hillview together. Any parent would want this for their children. The question is, do they have a leg to stand on? I read the whole petition, and I believe they do. This petition makes sense and has solid arguments.

As a parent of a kid attending Encinal Elementary, and a supporter of neighborhood public schools, I support their petition.


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

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