Board denies petition to start Mandarin immersion charter school | November 19, 2014 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Schools - November 19, 2014

Board denies petition to start Mandarin immersion charter school

by Barbara Wood

A petition to start a Mandarin immersion charter school in the Menlo Park City School District was unanimously denied by the school board on Wednesday night, Nov. 12.

This story contains 628 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Subscribe


Like this comment
Posted by Caryn Wasserstein
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Dec 9, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Subject: Menlo Mandarin Immersion Charter School (MMICS) Files Appeal With San Mateo County Board of Education (County Board)

* to find out more about the proposed Menlo Mandarin Immersion Charter School visit

Last Friday, the proponents of the Menlo Mandarin Immersion Charter School (MMICS) filed an appeal with San Mateo County Board of Education (County Board).

To recap, in early-November, after listening to strong opposition to the proposed charter by a significant majority of the community, the Menlo Park City School District Board (MPCSD Board) denied the MMICS' petition for a charter school based on deficiencies in the MMICS petition.

Coverage of community response to the MMICS petition, as well as the MPCSD Board' decision to deny the MMICS petition included the following:

San Jose Mercury News 10/16/14 Web Link_...

San Jose Mercury News 11/13/14 Web Link_...

The County Board's consideration of the MMICS appeal will follow a process similar to that followed by the MPCSD Board (i.e. public hearing and reading emails/letters from the community, followed by a board vote).

So, it is once again crucial that members of the community let the County Board know their views about the MMICS petition for a charter school:

(i) attend as many County Board hearings as possible

(a) the County Board will make an initial report on the receipt of the MMICS appeal tomorrow (December 10th, 7:00pm, in San Mateo) Web Link...

(b) the County Board will hold a public hearing on January 7th to consider the sufficiency of the MMICS' petition for a charter school, as well as the level of community support for/against the petition, and

(c) the County Board will hold in a vote on February 4th whether to grant or deny the appeal

(ii) send emails/letters to the County Board members (emails can be sent to and should have Menlo Mandarin Charter Appeal in the subject line).

(iii) read/sign the petition against the MMICS charter school Web Link...

(iv) read "Reasons to Oppose MMICS" (below)

(v) stay tuned for further dates, developments, etc...

The MPCSD would have to transfer ~$7,000 to the charter school for every out-of-district student, with $0 reimbursed for students from other Basic Aid districts (Palo Alto, Las Lomitas, Woodside), and just $0.70 on the dollar for students from Revenue Limit districts (Ravenswood- East PA/MP, Redwood City).

Charter requires MPCSD Board’s time and resources, as well as attorney fees (over $50,000 to date).


If the charter school (eventually) enrolls at least 80 in-district students, MPCSD would have to provide facilities—including equivalent playgrounds, art rooms, music rooms, etc.—for the school. Even with a new Laurel upper school, we will not have surplus facilities.


Facilities constraints could result in redistricting and/or residents’ inability to attend impacted neighborhood schools. Displacing up to 18 district teachers could result in increased class sizes.


RWC—a Revenue Limit district with excess facilities that will be reimbursed for out-of-district students—is starting a Mandarin Immersion program in Fall, 2015.


Over 1,300 MPCSD residents (and counting) have signed the counter-petition asking for denial of the charter.

The charter school petition bypasses community consultation & the MPCSD strategic planning process.

At least 1/3 of the parents who have expressed interest in enrolling their children in the charter school next year are from outside the MPCSD—including a number of the charter school leaders whose children would receive priority enrollment.


The charter school petition was filed in September 2014 after the same group’s April 2014 request for a Mandarin immersion program within the MPCSD was not immediately granted.

Introducing a Mandarin immersion program within Palo Alto’s district took 5 years.


The proposed charter’s financial viability is based on questionable assumptions, such as offering teachers only $55,000 year—about $30,000 less than the mid-range salary for MPCSD teachers.

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

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


Register now!

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.

More info