Residents of the 31 homes on O'Connor Street in Menlo Park who are attempting to transfer from the Ravenswood City School District to the Menlo Park City School District are facing opposition from both districts. Representatives of the districts have indicated their school boards will oppose the move.
Public hearings were held March 30 in the Menlo Park district and April 6 in the Ravenswood district.
The residents who want to transfer live between 235 and 495 O'Connor Street. The districts' boundaries runs down the middle of the street. Their neighbors across the street live in the Menlo Park district.
Ravenswood Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff said the Ravenswood board members oppose the petition, but will formally vote April 23. At the April 6 hearing, the district's presentation showed that the transfer would negatively affect the Ravenswood district in a number of ways, ranging from increasing racial isolation because non-Hispanic students would be removed from the district to affecting funding because fewer properties in the district could reduce its capacity to issue bonds by as much as $400,000 over time.
At Monday's hearing, a presentation from the Menlo Park City School District said the district is worried about negative impacts from the transfer. These include increased enrollment in already over-crowded schools (the district estimates the transfer could eventually increase enrollment by as many as 15 students) and creating a precedent for more transfers into the district.
The presentation also noted that the move would impact the Ravenswood district's "demographics and vibrancy" and that contrary to the petitioners' contention, the transfer would significantly increase the value of the transferred homes.
The Menlo Park board is scheduled to vote April 14 on whether it supports the transfer.
The actual decision on the transfer request will be made by the County Committee on School District Organization. The committee's decision can be appealed to the state board of education.
An election will be required if either district opposes or remains neutral about the transfer, but it is approved by the county committee. The county committee would decide which voters participate in the election, which could include only the homes affected, or residents of either or both affected districts.
The petitioners, led by Susan Stacy Keller, John Barksdale and Lansing Scriven, said the neighborhood now has only six school-age children, with several already in Menlo Park schools, either because the students have a parent who lives in the district, or the child is attending under the Tinsley program, which allows minority students to transfer from the Ravenswood district into other local school districts.
Their presentation says that only one child now attends Ravenswood schools and the transfer of that student won't affect the ethnic make-up of the district.