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Ravenswood board votes to close Willow Oaks and Brentwood elementary schools

Original post made on Jan 10, 2020

After a lengthy debate, the Ravenswood school board voted to move Willow Oaks Elementary School students to Belle Haven Elementary School in Menlo Park and Brentwood Academy students to CostaƱo School in East Palo Alto this fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 10, 2020, 7:55 AM

Comments (7)

1 person likes this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2020 at 11:49 am

Perhaps the MP School district should occupy the Willow Oaks campus.

2 people like this
Posted by Whatever2
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 10, 2020 at 1:44 pm

To Whatever,
No way! That one has already been sold to Facebook (Primay School). Wait and see.

Like this comment
Posted by Samuel Y
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 10, 2020 at 4:04 pm

Menlo Park City School District should buy or rent the Willow Oaks campus, as a hedge against increased enrollment in the future. They could even consider building a new school there to replace the newly built Upper Laurel school and renting out the existing school. The new site would be closer to the Lower Laurel school, essentially a straight shot down Coleman Ave. Would avoid winding through the Willows neighborhood to get to Upper Laurel.

Like this comment
Posted by Justin
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jan 13, 2020 at 1:22 pm

Where will these kids now be sent to school?

12 people like this
Posted by Jennifer Bestor
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 1, 2020 at 10:29 am

The San Mateo County Controller just posted his 2018-19 Property Tax Highlights report. It shows that property tax collected for low-income school districts in the county, but redistributed to other local agencies as "excess" to school needs, grew from $210 million to $243 million.

So Ravenswood is having to close two community schools to save $0.4 million each, while $243 million is dismissed as unneeded.

What would it take to change this? 200 words in the state Education Code, adding a regional cost supplement to the school funding formula. No new taxes. No ballot initiative. Just a majority vote in the legislature.

Just for Ravenswood? No -- for every low-income school district in the four very high-cost counties: San Mateo (incl. Redwood City, Half Moon Bay, Daly City), Santa Clara, Marin and San Francisco. Which would cost nothing? Yup ... between these four counties, there is now over $900 million a year of property tax collected for education that is being dismissed as "excess."

Meanwhile, Gov. Newsom is advocating for "community schools" in his budget ... while Redwood City and Ravenswood are closing theirs. Not for lack of money. Just for lack of political will.

6 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Feb 1, 2020 at 12:43 pm

"What would it take to change this? 200 words in the state Education Code, adding a regional cost supplement to the school funding formula. No new taxes. No ballot initiative. Just a majority vote in the legislature."

While Jennifer and I have historically disagreed on funding issues as they relate to MPCSD, I can say I wholeheartedly agree with her point on this matter.

The poor apportionment of property tax funds as designed by Assembly Bill 8 (AB8) is ultimately at the root of this problem. As Jennifer has alluded to in previous posts over the years, ERAF is meant to partially mitigate the funding distribution problems created by AB8; but even ERAF is flawed by not providing more funding to poor districts in high cost-of-living areas.

IMHO AB8 needs to be completely replaced with a better apportionment method. But in the interim the under-funding of poor schools can be mitigated by simply adding a regional COLA to the redistribution of funds in ERAF.

6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Feb 2, 2020 at 7:23 am

I agree that it is time to totally revise the allocation of property taxes that was established over 40 years ago by AB 8.

Doing so will require a lot of difficult choices since this would be the ultimate zero sum game - any increases to one entity would require reductions to other entities.

One possible method would be modeled after the current process of redistricting which was based on the work of a non-partizan citizens panel. Recommendations from such a panel could then be submitted to either the legislature or the voters for a simple yes/no vote without the opportunity to tinker.

A more feasible local solution would be to consolidate all fire and police agencies in San Mateo County and then allocate the hundreds of millions in savings to the schools. We would get better fire and police services and better schools!

(PS - the worst method would be to do it piecemeal by a Town Council which represents a tiny, tiny, tiny number of taxpayers.)

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