Town Square

Editorial: Uphill challenge for Phillips Brooks School

Original post made on Oct 3, 2007

It is no secret that Phillips Brooks, the private elementary school that has been located on Avy Avenue in Menlo Park since 1978, is eager to move its nearly 300 students to a more spacious rural setting, but still remain close to most of its families who reside in this area.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007, 12:00 AM


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Posted by Jackie
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 3, 2007 at 12:02 pm

I think it is irresponsbile of the Almanac to take this kind of a position about education. As a resident of the peninsula for most of my 40 years of life, I am amazed at the changes that have taken place in this area over that time, many of which I am not necessarily comfortable with. But the most amazing thing is how with all of the growth that this area has had over those years, we have neglected a lot of the underlying infrastructure that supports it, especially in the area of education.

Many of the public schools in this area are packed to the limits. If the current influx of children continues at its current rates, Las Lomitas is going to be forced to take the campus back when its lease runs out. I'm sure that the Menlo Park Elementary School district wishes it had an available campus. While I am sure many readers feel that public school is the only thing needed, it doesn't meet the need of every child out there. While I personally plan to send my own children to Oak Knoll at the point where they can attend school, I certainly am happy to know for children who need a smaller environment that there are schools out there like Phillips Brooks. Without a permanent home, Phillips Brooks may not be able to exist over the long term.

I find it amazing the degree to which people are so much more interested in the own personal self interests than thinking about the general good of the community. To be honest the change in this area which bothers me most over the last 25 years is the increased selfishness of the population. Perhaps there is something better that the Almanac could be championing rather than focusing its editorial space on hurting a schools chance for long term survival.

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Posted by School Alumna
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Oct 5, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Jackie's position looks like welfare for the rich.

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Posted by Michigander Too
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 6, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Before everyone jumps to conclusions, I suggest you take a deep breath and go look at the property in question. I walk it on a regular basis. It has very limited access on a one car witdth lane with homes close to the lane. That lane dumps out onto Los Trancos which is a busy, dangerous, narrow, at capacity road. Neither the lane or the entrance can be widened due to set back rules and creek preservation issues. The property itself backs down to a creek that can really roar in the winter, and, if the kids did manage to get across the creek, they would end up in a biergarten with a somewhat colorful clientel.

I certainly understand the desire of PBS to move out to a less dense area. That is why many of us live in PV. However, when you move to a community you need to follow the rules and sensibilities of the community. No one likes the new neighbor who shows up and wants all the building rules changed for them, wants to paint their house an odd color -- etc. This is not a situation where someone moves next to a school or busy building and wants it changed because they have "arrived". This is a school trying to move into a neighborhood with families that have lived there a long time and change the current situation that everyone is satisfied with. The school needs to make the effort to fit in, not the other way around. For example, the creek. It is quite difficult to find a stretch of creek that has been fenced in PV. It doesn't fit in with the rural character PV tries to hard to maintain. Since a popular walking path goes along the creek there it is doubtful that the town would agree to fence the creek off -- how would you keep the kids out of it? Or would PBS want everyone in the town to change things just for them?

It is also worth noting that PBS does not serve the PV community. Almost all of our kids go to our local public schools. I have school age children and know of only one PV family currently at PBS, and a couple at St. Joes or St. Raymonds for religious reasons. There are also a couple of families at Peninsula School.

I am sorry that the Lawler Ranch Road site didn't work out. That still seems like a great location. Anyways, perhaps those who are concerned about this issue should take a look at the property in question before forming an opinion either way.

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Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Nov 27, 2007 at 8:46 pm

No one has brought up the fact that the road the 10-acre property is on is a private road!