Town Square

M-A forum on planning for growth

Original post made on May 13, 2013

In a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday, May 13, in the Performing Arts Center at Menlo-Atherton High School, officials from the Sequoia Union High School District will be seeking community input on possibly redrawing boundary maps that connect schools to neighborhoods.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 13, 2013, 11:50 AM


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Apparently, one of the options is to change the boundaries so that La Entrada students go to Woodside rather than M-A.

Right now, fewer than half the students at M-A are on a college track. These are almost exclusively students from La Entrada and Hillview. Even though they are a minority at M-A, they are a big enough minority that the school can still offer many challenging courses, like B/C calculus, a complete lab science curriculum, and the fifth year of most foreign languages.

If La Entrada students go to Woodside, the number of challenging courses offered students will decline precipitously. School ratings will suffer.

Even if you don't have school-aged children, if you live in Menlo Park or Atherton, it is likely the decline in M-A's reputation and ranking will negatively affect your housing value. If you live in an area that gets redistricted to Woodside, your housing values will also decline. Either way, we all lose.

Whatever the solution to this problem, all students in Menlo Park and Atherton -- and that includes the Las Lomitas ESD -- should continue to be within the boundaries of Menlo-Atherton HS. Not sent to a school in another city.

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Posted by Alum
a resident of La Entrada School
on May 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm

The boundaries have been changed before. No big deal. I attended La Entrada and in those days we all went to Woodside, per the boundaries. We would not have wanted to travel all the way down to Middlefield Road when Woodside was closer and at the time, the better school. The more challenging courses will follow the brighter students and the idea that your housing values will suffer has the sound of fear-mongering to me. The current boundaries that send kids from West Menlo Park to MA has always seemed strange to me.

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Posted by La Entrada Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on May 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The letter I received from SUHSD lists the projected growth for M-A in 2020 as 2,400 (not 2,600) and this aligns with the desired average for the four high schools. Carlmont HS has a projected growth of 2,600 and Sequoia 2,560.

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Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Am I alone in thinking these school are just too big? What is the chance of building community in a graduating class of 600

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Posted by Dave Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on May 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

La Entrada Parent is correct. My apologies for the error.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Gee, who'd have thought that a relatively affluent community would continue to have children? Not the demographers, obviously. The city has already repurposed former school property to other interests.

It's too bad that Stanford University doesn't have designs on a school facility instead of a medical center in Menlo Park. I realize this is completely ridiculous, but it underscores either misplaced priorities or more likely a complete blindness to the big picture for the future of Menlo Park.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I'm thinking the demographers probaly thought Menlo Park would remain "God's Waiting Room" forever.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

It has nothing to do with demographers. The problem is that the city of Menlo Park believes that large property owners should have carte blanche to develop their property in whatever manner makes the biggest profit for them. All benefit accrues to the developer, and if the general public suffers, too bad -- that's just collateral damage. Whereas the city of Palo Alto bought up land over a period of 20 years to create a new park (Johnson), Menlo Park historically has encouraged all available space to be transformed into office space and housing.

My understand is that city staff/council members/planning commissioners are not required or expected to consider the impact of their actions on the schools.

As an aside, I understand that Menlo-Atherton used to own many more acres of land, but those were sold for, what else, housing. Irony of all ironies, the people who bought those houses are now among the school neighbors who object most vehemently to any extracurricular use of the facility, be it an evening theater performance or an afterschool football game.

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Posted by Tough choice
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

So basically Carlemont and Sequoia are projected to be over capacity by 200 students each in several years, and you can't move all those students to Woodside because its too far away from some neighborhoods. So all 4 schools have to shift boundaries some so kids are distributed more equally to where they live.

If MA had a unified school district like PA, this wouldn't happen.

You also cant just move all the low scoring middle schools to Woodside and furrher degrade their API ranking.


Tough challenge. Life is full of them. We adapt. So will the kids.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Of course kids can adapt! My parents were orphaned at young ages and fled their country during a war. People can adapt to all kinds of suffering and deprivation. But a lot of us work hard to make sure our kids' lives are filled with opportunities, not heartrending challenges that they have to overcome just to keep themselves afloat.

Many people who live in the mid-peninsula bought their homes because of the schools, and yanking people out of their districts is not the way to deal with this. Hillview added a second story; many of us attended high schools with multiple stories. Maybe a new school can be built on the north/east side of 101, where there is land and where there's likely to be a lot more housing.

Maybe our schools need to adapt, not our kids.

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Posted by Woodside
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

You can't tell me that housing prices will go down if kids are distrected to Woodside high. Have you seen Woodside housing prices?

The schools will adjust and hire more advanced teachers.

API scores are a reflection of geneology, personal drive and parental support, not what school the kid went to.

Govt job is to provide equal education for all, not private school experience for the 1%

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Posted by Read the article
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm

The district doesn't have the money to build a new school. Or addition.

Maybe because all the tech companies have found ways to circumvent paying reasonable taxes? Prop 13 anyone? Special tax write offs ? Off shoring income?

Silicon Valley loves its workers but doesn't support the community needs to educate the future workers, or children of its employees.