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Tonight: Menlo Park council to talk about new Laurel school, police sergeant raises

 

When the Menlo Park City Council meets on Aug. 30, it is expected to consider approving an agreement between the city and the Menlo Park Police Sergeants' Association that could cost the city $50,600 between now and June 30, 2017.

The council will also wrangle with the opposing views of homeowners on Oak Court and parents who will be sending their kids to the Laurel School, Upper Campus, on how traffic and school busing should be navigated.

Police sergeants

If a tentative agreement between the city and the Menlo Park Police Sergeants' Association is approved by the council, police sergeants would receive a 3 percent hike in pay, increasing the salary range for the position to $111,391 to $135,396, up from $108,147 to $131,453.

Sergeants would also increase their contributions to their retirement pensions.

Beginning in 2017, the city would increase by $42 a month its payments to each sergeant's flexible benefits account, and would pay the full cost of vision insurance for the sergeants.

Sergeants would also get 10 hours of special leave accrual.

Patrol sergeants would increase the number of hours they work each year to 2,184, up from 2,080, and will switch to a more consistent 12-hour shift cycle.

The agreement between the city and the association would run from Aug. 30, 2016, to June 30, 2017, and salary changes would be effective Sept. 4.

Oak Court

The Menlo Park City Council will take up a discussion of what to do on Oak Court. The council has been flooded by emails from parents of future students at Laurel School, Upper Campus, and from residents of streets near the school. (The Upper Campus is the new school for kids in grades 3-5 at 275 Elliot Drive that is set to open Oct. 17.)

In particular, a fierce debate has emerged between parents of students who will attend the new school and residents on Oak Court, who worry about the Menlo Park City School District's plans to operate an automated gate at the intersection of Elliott Drive and Oak Court.

In the district's adopted initial study/negative declaration (a document that looks at the traffic and environmental impacts of the project), the district had said the gate would be used for service and emergency vehicles, occasional field trip buses, and one bus per day to transport transfer students in the Tinsley program.

No regular busing for students was planned; however, the document said a shuttle between the school's lower and upper campuses could be established. In all, it was planned that there would be one morning and one afternoon bus passing through.

However, residents of Oak Court worry that without a legally binding agreement between the school district and the city of Menlo Park, the district could leave the gate open between Oak Court and Elliott Drive, thereby allowing regular vehicle traffic on their street, which they say is narrow, lacks sidewalks, and is mostly used by cyclists and pedestrians.

On the other side, at least one resident of Elliott Drive, and numerous parents of future Laurel School, Upper Campus students, now say that they want neighborhood busing for their students and are insisting that opening the Oak Court gate for additional buses is the only way it can work.

The Menlo Park City Council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. Watch the meeting online or access the agenda here.

Editor's Note: A previous version of the story inaccurately stated that the city would increase by 3 percent its pay toward the sergeants' pensions.

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