Tuesday: Menlo Park school district board to vote on O'Connor boundary change


The Menlo Park City School District's governing board will consider a resolution opposing the request from O'Connor Street residents to transfer into the district from the Ravenswood City School District when the board meets Tuesday, April 14.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the district office TERC building at 181 Encinal Ave. in Atherton, with the item scheduled to be heard at 8 p.m.

The County Committee on School District Organization will make the decision on whether to allow the transfer of the 31 Menlo Park homes, located from 235 to 495 O'Connor, between Elliott Drive and Euclid Avenue. However, opposition by either district board triggers an election if the county committee does approve the transfer.

The county committee makes the decision on which voters participate in the election -- which can be as limited as the residents of the area seeking the transfer or as broad as an election involving voters in both affected districts.

The district boundary currently runs down the middle of O'Connor Street; residents on the south side are in the Menlo Park district, and those on the north side are in the Ravenswood district.

The north-side residents argue that it was only a historical accident that left them in the Ravenswood district when most of the rest of the Willows neighborhood transferred into the Menlo Park district in 1983. That's because their side of the street was annexed into Menlo Park soon after the original petition to change districts was filed; but the homes weren't added to the petition.

The resolution to be considered by the Menlo Park board says, in part, that "the petition is one in a long line of similar proposals to alter the historic boundaries between these two elementary school districts, each of which has eroded the territory of the Ravenswood City School District, and none of which has ever added new or returned previous territory to the Ravenswood City School District."

Because the residents asking to be transferred are "more ethnically diverse than the Ravenswood City School District at large," losing these families "will actually reduce the ethnic diversity in Ravenswood by reducing the population of district residents who are not Hispanic or Latino," the resolution argues.

It also says that moving even a small number of students will worsen the Menlo Park district's overcrowding, while also worsening the Ravenswood district's opposite problem of not having enough students to fill its schools.

The county committee has not yet scheduled its deliberations on the transfer request. County office of education officials have said the committee probably will do so at either its May 4 or June 1 meeting.

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

Also on the agenda Tuesday night is a discussion of the school district's water conservation plans, consideration of adding an assistant superintendent to the district, and adoption of world language standards.

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37 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:16 pm

This totally makes sense. These are my neighbors and I fully support this.

In 1983, the County School Board and local voters approved the transfer of the homes located in The Willows into the Menlo Park City School District. However, the petition did not include a tiny strip of homes on O’Connor because at the time the petition was drafted, this small strip of homes on one side of O’Connor were unincorporated in the city.

Just three weeks after the petition (to add the Willows to MPCSD) was submitted, this small strip of homes were added to Menlo Park. However, the MPCSD petition was never amended to add in these homes.

No one intended to leave any Menlo Park / The Willows homes out of the transfer, it was simply a omission due to bad timing of government processes.

In the fall of 1984, all of the children of The Willows, except for this small strip of homes, began attending Menlo Park schools.

The children and parents of these few homes are put in an awkward position of being an island where the kids cannot go to school with their lifelong friends and neighbors, and parents are unable to carpool with their neighbors not only to school but to after-school activities (EPA residents have different sports leagues and activities than MP – so no opportunity to carpool).

Let’s keep our neighborhoods intact. Please do the right thing and fix what fell through the cracks so many years ago.

31 people like this
Posted by Ken
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:19 pm

To the MPCSD Board:

The County Board and local voters approved the transfer for The Willows into the MPCSD. There was no intent to exclude any Menlo Park homes from this transfer. However, when the transfer happened, a few Menlo Park homes in The Willows were forgotten.

98.5% of The Willows residents attend MP schools. Please let the remaining 1.5% of the residents join their neighbors.

1 person likes this
Posted by Leadership
a resident of another community
on Apr 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Has Mayor Carlton stated an opinion on this issue?

16 people like this
Posted by katherine
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 13, 2015 at 3:34 pm

I agree 100% with the petition. It's time to put the relatively small number of students living on the northside of O'Conner into the schools that their neighborhood friends, who live across the street attend. Let's not put bureaucracy ahead of the needs of these children!

5 people like this
Posted by Neigbor
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 14, 2015 at 7:08 pm

I fully support this petition of adding 31 homes to the MPCSD school district. It will be so good to have the kids from other side of OConnor St join the MPCSD schools.

Like this comment
Posted by willows guy
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 15, 2015 at 8:46 am

Why not purchase Willow School from the Ravenswood District and make that part of the district - how great to have a neighborhood school in the neighborhood!

1 person likes this
Posted by I didn't know that
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2015 at 2:25 pm

When buying a home it's important to know what school district it's in. In fact, it's one of the most important factors for families with children. This O'Connor street situation goes back more than 30 years now. Anyone who purchased a home on the RCSD side of O'Connor street either knew what they were buying or didn't do their homework.

How about this for a solution - If you purchased your home prior to the administrative oversight that kept your home out of the MPCSD your children attend MPCSD Schools. If you purchased after this event in 1984 your children attend RCSD schools.

Seems reasonable to me.

Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 23, 2015 at 9:57 am

re: Posted by I didn't know that

Interesting comment to this, while silly it is interesting that I believe hearing from the Petitioners on this forum (must admit I have not heard any of their presentations) that many of the homeowners on this strip are homes purchased prior to 1983. While I know this comment must have been made in jest the other thought is we are so concerned about 31 homes affecting our schools that we have not done anything to prevent the two 200 unit apartment complexes that are being built out in downtown MP that will no doubt bring much more students than these homes can bring not to mention traffic. These homes are a 1-time occurrence of the school district change affecting home prices. In fact, once they sell for their 40% gain (per MPCSD) than the new homeowners will pay more for their homes than their neighbors across the street so how is that fair. Home prices rise and fall and if you are lucky you Buy Low and Sell High, but to think they are doing it for these reasons (appears to be the main argument on these discussions) than I disagree.

Did they know they were buying in RCSD when they bought? Sure. Did they have a plan in place buy in this market, than petition to increase their property values, than cash out for quick $$$? Likely not. I bought my house single, got married later, had kids, now have grand-kids. But when I first bought the house I bought it for the neighborhood and location as I was not thinking about kids.

7 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 23, 2015 at 12:07 pm

> the other thought is we are
> so concerned about 31 homes
> affecting our schools that we
> have not done anything to
> prevent the two 200 unit
> apartment complexes that are
> being built out in downtown
> MP that will no doubt bring
> much more students than these
> homes can bring not to
> mention traffic.

MPCSD has no say in construction, but it does have a say in boundary changes. Your comparison is apples & oranges.

MPCSD IS concerned about the two 200 unit apartments, but it doesn't have the power to do anything about that. If it did have that power, those apartments wouldn't be built...or at the very least they wouldn't be built unless the construction included adding another school, and fat chance any builder would do that; town infrastructure is not their concern, that's the job of the town planning and building departments, and it's pretty clear they don't factor in school capacity as part of the approval process.

But MPCSD and RCSD do have a say on where district boundaries reside. Both school districts see nothing but downside, from their perspectives, to this proposed boundary change.

In my opinion, any group attempting to add to the potential capacity of MPCSD (via through construction or boundary changes) should have to pay a large fee, with the funds going towards purchasing a school for MPCSD.

By the way, I believe the Flood Park (elementary) school campus is still empty (this school sits in the Flood Park area on the "West" side of 101). Last I heard, Ravenswood still has no need for it and wasn't able to get someone to lease it.

The solutions are out there, they just need creative people in places of influence to make it happen. But the capacity crunch, and the finances that come with it, has to be solved first.

5 people like this
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 23, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Here is a link to the lease offer for the Flood Park school campus:

Web Link

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

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