Why doesn’t the district convert Monte Gardens back into a neighborhood school so that the students in North Concord would not have to go as far, however, keep SES and SMS as choice schools. Then the Westwood students would have a choice to attend Monte Gardens (as many of the Westwood students live in the Landana area) or Mountain View.
Converting Monte Gardens to be entirely a neighborhood school is similar to closing the school. However, because there is capacity at Monte Gardens, I could see the benefit of allowing part of Westwood to be part of the Monte Gardens neighborhood, if Westwood is closed. With that said, if Westwood is closed and a new boundary is drawn, I would advocate that neighborhood students currently attending Westwood be given the option of moving with the school or going to Monte Gardens.
Another suggestion, have you considered keeping Sequoia Elementary and Monte Gardens open, but closing Sequoia Middle School? SMS is only a couple of blocks away from Pleasant Hill Middle School and the children can go back to their neighborhood schools? That way, the parents got the benefit of the "back to basics" program in elementary school.
I don't understand why two schools supporting the same neighborhood would be closed. That seems really wrong. Was this thought about?
The board already voted to close Glenbrook, so 522 students will need to be placed at another location. If the board also closed Sequoia Middle (892 students) there would be 1,414 students that need to be placed into schools. If I remove these schools from the total facility capacity for middle schools I am left with a capacity for 7,664 students. The current number of middle school students is 7,505. In order to move these students to the schools, we would have to draw new boundary lines for all of our middle schools. Now my concern is No Child Left Behind (NCLB). For title 1 schools that are designated at program improvement (Oak Grove and Riverview) by law I have to offer them another school AND provide transportation to that school. Since Oak Grove(201 students at Sequoia) and Riverview(128 students at Sequoia) both currently have 339 students that are at Sequoia, I’m going to make an assumption that half of them want to apply for NCLB transfers. That would be 170 (I rounded up since there is no half student). I cannot see the district having the capacity to place those students in the remaining schools. Now let’s assume that you meant rescind the vote to close Glenbrook and bring everyone back to their home school. I would have to draw new boundary lines between Valley View and Pleasant Hill Middle in order to accommodate the students without building new buildings. Now I still have NCLB and I have three title 1 schools (Glenbrook (141students at Sequoia), Oak Grove (201 students at Sequoia), and Riverview(128 students at Sequoia)) in program improvement. I would have to offer transfer for these students (470) NCLB transfers. Lets assume again that half of the students took the transfers (235). I once again would have to bus those students to multiple schools. So economically it is better financially for the district to close Glenbrook and move those students to another school.If we look at test scores, it would mean closing the second highest performing school in the district.
I cannot speak for the School Closure Advisory Committee. Yes I did think about one feeder pattern being affected by two school closures. I put more emphasis on affecting the least number of students and schools. When I looked at those schools recommended by the SCAC and the number of schools being affected, Holbrook did affect the least number of schools. If Holbrook closed, the students went to two schools. If Wren closed, the students would go to four schools.
Like you said though, the board looked at the recommendation of the SCAC about Holbrook and Wren. Why not ask them to think again about how the Wren Ave. kids could have been split. It doesn't make sense that they would have to go to 4 schools. A neighborhood just had their schools wiped out. I understand that schools need to be closed but I will never understand the inequity of this choice.
There HAS to be another way. It seems completely unfair to hit North Concord this hard while the choice schools (that not everyone can attend) walks through totally unscathed. It really does feel like it's the haves vs. the have nots. I know some of the "haves" will argues that, but I have family at Monte Gardens and I know better!
Sherry, will tomorrow's meeting be broadcast?
Well since you are moderating this thread, you have obviously seen my question about whether or not tomorrows meeting will be broadcast on the internet or KVHS. Is this some sort of secret?
To my knowledge the meeting will not be broadcast.
On 2/11 Sherry said: "...When I looked at those schools recommended by the SCAC and the number of schools being affected, Holbrook did affect the least number of schools"... SCAC indicated that Holbrook would need to go to 4 schools also. It was later said 2 schools would be enough. You fail here to mention that the number of schools for Holbrook to go to "magically" changed from 4 to 2 in the Superintendent's report. That could not have been the correct criteria. Sitting right next door to Wren is Monte Gardens with space to take 3/4 of Wren's students without them even having to cross a major street. Then there is plenty of space at Westwood or El Monte (also very close by) for the other 1/4 of them. Voila, only two schools, no major highways to cross--then feeding up to the same middle schools... Can you see this Sherry? Or second scenario: Send the Wren kids that actually live on Holbrook side of Willow Pass back to Holbrook where they belong anyway. Then, Monte Gardens will have room for all the rest. -- Still just 2 moves and the kids stay in their neighborhoods. Just looking at a map says it all. Why didn't the Board see it? Because it was "North" Concord; getting old, getting ethnic.Holbrook was unfairly "chosen". They will be sent to two entirely different neighborhoods, both across major roads.
Sherry,Who or what entity was going to donate the $250? Was it Todd Porter?
Hopefully this will answer some of the Hollbrook questions. Turning Monte Gardens into a neighborhood schools was not an option. Monte Gardens has 117 students for which it is their home school. It is currently at 83% capacity and if we implement class size reduction (CSR) again it will be at 97%. For this reason it cannot fit 2/3 of Wren Avenue. The goal is to have schools operating at 80% or higher capacity. The superintendent's proposal for Holbrook was discussed two weeks before the board vote.
I posted the question about broadcasting the meeting, but I did not have an answer until this morning. The webcast is done by Gary Eberhart. If you would like definitive answers about it, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am not going to give the name of the family who wished to donate the money. Their purpose in donating the funds was to stop all of the negative blogging about the district using funds to rent a space. They had no ulterior motives. Since there was no donation made, there is no reason to state their name.It was not being donated by anyone who was on the School Closure Advisory Committee. This closes the discussion on the donation that never happened because the meeting did not occur at the Marriott hotel in San Ramon.
Yes, Sherry, "Monte Gardens has 117 students for which it is their home school". Holbrook has 399 students for which it is their home school.Food for thought, but obviously the hole that was dug is too deep.
Sherry, were you lying about the donation, because it sure sounds like you are lying.
Lying about what? There was no donation made because the meeting did not occur in San Ramon.
It seems like this process is getting out of hand. Looking back on the past months I keep coming back to the same question. Why didn't the board just accept SCC #1 school closing option that got the most votes? They studied the data for months and voted for an option that would save the money that was needed. The 1st option had closures in 3 different neighbohoods which made the most sense.
Sherry, I appreciate all the work you are doing and I am sorry for all the negative posts that you have to deal with.When I first heard Gary explain the idea about Westwood, I thought it sounded odd. Then I thought it sounded ok, and now I'm back to thinking it's a bad idea. The motivation behind it is good, keeping kids together and keeping the grant money. However, the children that are currently being kept together, as well as the SIG money, won't be there in 5 years. But this odd configuration of schools will be. Will it make sense in 5 years, when there are all new children? To have such a huge area that is served by these 2 mega middle schools? I urge you to consider whether the configuration will make sense 5 or 10 years from now. Or will people be explaining what happened, back in the day, to make the schools the way they are? Thank you for your time.
With all due respect, it appears that the only reason the Glenbrook (move to Westwood) option is being discussed and considered is because of the potential transfer of the SIG money. BEFORE any decisions are made, it is imperative that the correct information is gathered as to whether the SIG money CAN be transferred. If that can't happen, there is no reason to consider this option and the choice should go back to Silverwood which was in 2 of 3 scc recommendations. I don't have any children in any of the affected schools, so I am less biased than others. I believe the board has a fiduciary duty to the members of the scc who volunteered their time (and a lot of time at that) and ranked the schools through the various criteria. Silverwood was chosen. Period. There should be no other discussion. The issue over the bus not running by Silverwood is nonsense; it is with 1/4 mile from the front of the school, far closer than many of them walk already. Also, in looking at the boundary redrawing for Silverwood, many of the people being rerouted to Ayers would actually be closer than they are now, which would shorten their walking times. If the board is not concerned with Glenbrook families having to walk up to 4 miles, they shouldn't be concerned with Silverwood families walking 2.
So Westwood was chosen so the least amount of kids from Glenbrook would be affected and would stay together. Glenbrook is quite a distance from El Dorado...Silverwood is on hold because they would be split into 2-3 schools but they are ALOT closer than the 4 miles El Dorado is from Glenbrook. Is the new option of Westwood just to keep the SIG Grant money for Glenbrook....and why is there not a direct answer of yes or no regarding the SIG money....I don't have children at any of the schools but it seems to me that Westwood should stay open.....
Here's an idea for saving the school district money, from a Sequoia parent.Why not increase class size in Sequoia Elementary from 31 or 32 to as many as 38 or 39? That would save about two teaching positions, and increase capacity at Sequoia Elementary. I think that you can successfully and safely increase class size in well-performing schools; I would not feel the same about increasing class size in severely underperforming schools. I'm sure parents would complain, but the flip side is that with increased class size Sequoia might become the most economical school in the district, insuring its future survival!! --I was VERY happy that the two Sequoias were spared as a single commuting parent ----parent of two Sequoia elementary students and one Sequoia middle school student
PLEASE do not take the last comment as representative of any other Sequoia parents. I don't know any parent, at any school, that thinks it's a good idea to increase class sizes from what they already are! I'm fairly confident that the 38 or 39 is not allowed under the teachers contracts anyway. There are so many great teachers out there that are really being stretched with 31 students. I would consider pulling my children out of public schools all together if class sizes got that big!
I believe there are laws that govern class sizes, and elementary cannot have that many in a class. Interesting thought, though.
Hi Sherry,Will you say who the "anonymous" $250 donor was if a Grand Jury compels you to testify?Wouldn't it be easier to come clean now, in the name of the transperacy that you ran your campaign on?
Class sizes are governed by California Education Code Policy and the contract the district has with the teacher's union.
I will no longer post or answer any questions about the donation that didn't happen. If you want to meet the person, you can send me an email and I will set up a meeting with them.
Anonymous - Mr. Stone (Sequoia Parent 7:33pm), what have you been smoking?!! Increase elementary class sizes to 38 or 39 students?!!! I would like to see you try to teach 38 students in one class. Yes Sequoia is a very good school; however, like every other school, children will be children. And if you pack that many kids into a classroom, there will be problems. You do not speak for the Sequoia PTA and I'm sure the teachers at Sequoia would somewhat disturbed with your suggestion.
Sherry,Am I understanding the agenda item 9.15, that the district will pay $40,000 for factfinding, for CSEA and Local 1?
Yes. The district is required to pay for the mediator when we go to fact finding.