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Reverse Lottery at Palo Verde

Original post made by Vianica on Apr 21, 2010

I got a letter from Palo Verde today saying that due to over enrollment there is a reverse lottery that will take place on Apr 28. Whichever name gets picked out will get over flowed. Can someone explain to me what the logic of that is? Also if there are issues of overflow in elementary schools are there not better ways of addressing it than making parents wait until the end to figure out where their child is going to school? Why cant the school have a first come first serve enrollment period where there is atleast some assurance of getting into a neighborhood school? I read somewhere on this forum that there were questions about the logic of the immersion programs when there is a problem with over enrollment. I did not agree with them initially but now that my kid is hanging in limbo not going where he is going to go, I am not so sure of how diverting public funds to teach kids spanish and mandarin helps me when my kid is not even assured of getting into his neighborhood school. They say that when space becomes available the overflowed kid will be moved back to the neighborhood school? How is that going to help a kid adjust half way in the school year? Is anyone on the school board listening and can help address this?

Vianica

Comments (105)

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Although frustrating, a lottery is the fairest way to decide who gets the spots. Siblings and VTP students get first priority, then the remaining kids. Everyone who enrolled by Feb (whatever the date was) is in an equal spot. Spots also open up over the summer and sometimes the first week of school (when kids who have decided to go private don't show up), so don't get too discouraged. April 28th is well before the start of the next school year, far from "the end".

The Choice schools (unless you wanted one of them to be your neighborhood school) actually help with neighborhood enrollment since some of the kids who are in the Palo Verde attendance area end up at Ohlone, Hoover or Escondido.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm

East Palo Alto students (VTP program, aka Tinsley) have priority over Palo Alto residents. Time for someone to sue but no one wants the controversy.

The city allowed South PA to be overbuilt. We all saw this coming.

I agree that placement should be on a first-come, first served basis.

Here are the email addresses of the School Board Members: Web Link

I recommend contacting Camille, Melissa, or Barbara K. for quick, intelligent, and thoughtful replies.


Posted by PriorityOne?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Were you in the "priority one" group that registered in January-February? If so, then things really have gotten tight at Palo Verde. I know at Fairmeadow, they've said that if you were in the "priority one" group then there would be virtually no chance of getting overflowed, but official enrollment confirmation has not been sent out yet, so who knows.


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm

"East Palo Alto students (VTP program, aka Tinsley) have priority over Palo Alto residents."

No they don't. There is an allocation of VTP students at *each* school. This isn't a "priority over Palo Alto residents" issue. Sending all VTP students to one school would defeat the purpose of the program.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm

School district didn't approve all the high density housing; the city council did. Write to the city council city.council@cityofpaloalto.org to express you concerns. They may say that they can't take "schools" into account in approving housing, but that they can deny changing zoning to more dense housing for many other reasons.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

@common sense: the original poster was asking who to write to regarding the lottery situation.

@headliners: Sure, VTP students are taking the place of PA students because if they weren't at the schools, the PA students would have more room for PA students.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

The PA schools would have more room for PA students.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm

PAUSD teachers are also permitted to enroll their own students in PAUSD, regardless of where they live.


Posted by PAUSD Teacher, a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 9:26 pm

PAUSD teachers have to send their children where there is space. They are not sent to a school that has overflow.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:34 pm

VTP students are not all placed at one school, I believe we accept 60 a year. They are spread among all the elementary schools more or less evenly. But those spaces are allocated whether the school is overenrolled or not, so VTP kids get preference over new families (but not siblings.)


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:55 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Tinsley was and is a big mistake and the failure to reconsider Tinsley in the face of overcrowding is criminal misfeasance. Better time in a classroom than time in a bus. Noblesse oblige is an individual, not a civic virtue in that that there is no virtue in giving away others' money.


Posted by Vianica, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Apr 22, 2010 at 8:07 am

Thank you all for your comments. I think if overflow has been a problem, and if the city has overbuilt Palo Alto, then there has to be some solution to this problem. I understand that Palo Verde has been going through excess enrollment for the last two years or so. Which begs the question then why is something not being done about it. Thank you for providing me with the links to the school board members. With residents moving into Altaire, Vantage and Summerhill townhome/condo communities, it is only going to get worse and kids that are over flowed will never be able to come back to their home schools which is very sad. I am already concerned about it for my child. I intend to take this up with the school board. Some solution to this is important and needs to be thought through.

Thanks,

Vianica


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 8:29 am

"Thank you all for your comments. I think if overflow has been a problem, and if the city has overbuilt Palo Alto, then there has to be some solution to this problem."

Check out the boundary maps: Web Link
The only way to solve it is to change the boundaries so that they align with the size of the schools. But as soon as they try to do that you get parents screaming that they bought a house in their area because they wanted to get into a specific neighborhood school.
Addison had 140 students applying for 60 places this year.

As to the "priority" crowd. That's right all 60 VTP students get to choose which elementary school they attend and go ahead of you!


Posted by EcoMama, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

If the Tinsley kids weren't in PA schools, there'd be no diversity. I value having those kids in my kids' school. I've found that the families who've applied for spaces and sent their kids to PA schools place a high priority on education and add value to the schools through volunteering, etc., out of gratitude for the spot. Regardless, it's a small number, and even removing those kids wouldn't fix the overflow problem.

Like another commenter said, I thought all priority-one registrations were guaranteed space, no? I suspect that Palo Verde/Midtown might've had some post-deadline influx. There's been a lot of action there vis-a-vis real estate sales and rentals, and I don't think realtors hammer home hard enough that you're not guaranteed space in the local schools (though if you purchase, you have to sign a form acknowledging that -- renters don't).


Posted by EcoMama, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:23 am

And one more thought/question ... how does removing immersion programs have anything to do with this? The number of classrooms and kids per classrooms are set; if anything, an influx of immersion kids sent back to "regular" school would worsen the problem. The only space/rooms freed up would be at Ohlone and Escondido, which don't have overflow problems (or I haven't heard they do).


Posted by Vianica, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

Re Ecomama's post: When a school district is facing problems with excess enrollment, and when there are choice programs such as MI and SI, then it is very hard to get an accurate estimate of how many kids are in a given year going to a particular neighborhood school since everyone has to apply to their neighborhood school first.

And so whether a school is over enrolled or not does not become clear till all the choice programs have their lottery. Also when there is over enrollment, if the choice programs such as MI or SI are put on hold, then that frees up public resources to accommodate neighborhood kids in their home schools. And once the kids requiring a basic kindergarten admission are given their spots, the school system can then figure out how to use any left over resources to promote language immersion. Right now per my understanding schools that offer MI and SI have specific resources allocated to them while there are neighborhood schools that are dealing with over enrollment that would do better by using some of the resrouces to create an extra classroom, or hire additional teachers. When in a school sytem kids are getting shunted around due to excess demand, the logic of diverting resources to language immersion does not make sense.


Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

Choice programs like Ohlone, Hoover draw a majority from South Palo Alto, and help to ease the overflow problems in the South (Palo Verde, El Carmelo, Fairmeadow).

The number of Tinsley students per class per school is small, but try telling it to the family whose kid is #1 - #5 on the wait list.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:31 am

Based on this years enrollment info there are actually 122 kids at Ohlone who are in the Palo Verde enrollment area, so Ohlone actually helps with Palo Verde's overenrollment issue.

All PAUSD eligible students are guaranteed a spot at a PAUSD school. It may not be the one closest to their home, but we are obligated to educate all students. Students who apply by the deadline are guaranteed to be considered first, using Addison as an example, if there are 60 spots and 140 students, 80 will go to another PAUSD school.

All the schools have a "maximum" level of kids that are allowed at that school. Ohlone (non immersion) and Hoover could easily be required to take more students, just like any of the other elementary school. The Immersion programs are limited after 1st or 2nd grade to kids who are fluent at grade level in the immersion language.

However, we do have 616 VTP students and 138 teachers students and 33 interdistrict transfers (not sure why those happen), that's 787 non-residents kids. 413 at the elementary level - or about the size of Addison or Nixon.


Posted by greencityusabut broke, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

What diversity? Is there a rule of which color or race ought to live in the east side of 101? What I can say is that their real estate market is overheated..Check out the real estate section to find out who are buying.. And this is the year of 2010 and not 1976.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:41 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gilbert, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm

It is depressing to hear the incessant and pointless whining over VTP.
Grow up people.
You can't undo the settlement.
The point of a legal settlement is to achieve finality.
The only possible way to alter VTP is to open negotiations between the parties to the settlement. Good luck.


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 1:33 pm

"Based on this years enrollment info there are actually 122 kids at Ohlone who are in the Palo Verde enrollment area, so Ohlone actually helps with Palo Verde's overenrollment issue."

Ohlone would help even more if it was a neighborhood school!
Here's the 11th day enrollment report from the district for 2009/2010: Web Link
Only way to relieve the pressure for the North Cluster is to re-open Garland but that's not feasible in the current climate.


Posted by PV Mom, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Vianica -
If it eases your mind, most of the time all the kids on the waiting list clear for attendance at Palo Verde before the school year starts. With slightly larger classes sizes next year, that would be even more likely. if you are put on the waitlist, contact the school office to see if you can get put on the mailing list for kinder playdates etc., so that your child can meet other incoming kinders in the neighborhood. Of course, some of them will be waitlisted for - and get into - choice programs so they won't all be in class together but it will be fun for your child and make kindergarten seem a little more familiar.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Re: "most of the time all the kids on the waiting list clear for attendance at Palo Verde before the school year starts."

True, but it can be a week or a day before school starts.


Posted by Sorry, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:46 pm

One thing new parents fail to understand is that the School District has an obligation to educate your child, they are not obligated to educate your child in a nearby neighborhood school if that school is full. The PAUSD would like to get your child into the nearby neighborhood elementary school because it's cheaper for them than to provide transportation to another school.

Unfortunately, some schools fill up and others do not, so children must be transported to the school where space is available. They will not open another school until ALL the elementary schools are full and some, particularly on the west side of town, are not.


Posted by Palo Verde Parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Welcome to Barron Park! This is the school were all the overflows go. Just be careful about the fights and the bullying, other than that it is a good place. Your child might be there for more than a year. Then when finally there is a spot at the neighborhood school you are afraid to move him there because he changes are not so good for young children. But hey, you are in Palo Alto, and anything goes here.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2010 at 6:37 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

You can't undo a settlement?
Gilbert, settlements get undone every day, especially when they were illegal and harmful. I believe Jim Crow was a a settlement, AKA Plessy v Ferguson. Tinsley validates the concept of racial differences under the law, and Tinsley substitutes bus time for classroom time. Bad law, bad social policy, failed education theory.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2010 at 1:03 pm

No diversity in Palo Alto? Have you actually looked at the enrollment? Palo Alto's getting more diverse all on its own steam because Santa Clara County's gotten more diverse.

I think the VTP is, at this point, a lawsuit waiting to happen because it bumps families from their own schools regardless of in-district enrollment. I also wonder given that white families in EPA aren't eligible for the transfers whether there's a legal issue with the settlement anyway since it's inherently discriminatory.

As for overflow at Ohlone--Ohlone's waiting list is huge. This will change when the new building goes up at which point Ohlone will be insanely huge. More like a city school than a neighborhood one.

The problem with the immersion programs as opposed to Ohlone-main and Hoover is that you have the language fluency requirement from grade two on. This means you can't readily compensate for attrition and you can't expand the older classes to their allowed maximum. The district allows upper-grade classes to get bigger, but immersion classes get smaller--so, it's an inefficient use of space in a district where every seat counts.

Tinsley may well sunset out simply because we may hit a point where the white enrollment drops low enough percentage-wise--i.e. we'll look like Cupertino at which point there's an opt-out button. I don't quite see it--I'm more inclined to think we'll end up with a north/south split.


Posted by I hear you, and I'm sorry, a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I hear you, Vianica. I'm sorry you are having this experience. I know others going through the same thing.

I think it is a fallacy that choice schools help alleviate the overflow problem. Choice schools contribute to the overflow problem more than they alleviate it. If Ohlone and Mandarin Immersion weren't occupying their site, the surrounding neighborhood would have a very nice neighborhood school and your neighborhood school, Palo Verde, would not be oversubscribed.

I know south Palo Alto families who have to drive past their former neighborhood school (which now excludes them because they were not lucky in the choice school lottery) to get to their assigned school because it is so far away. It's easy for the district to create choice schools, but it's community families and the city who pay the price for them.

The choice schools all used to be neighborhood schools. If they were still neighborhood schools, we could redraw attendance boundaries and provide nice walkable, community-based neighborhood schools to every neighborhood in Palo Alto. Many neighborhood children pay a high price so that a minority of families who get lucky in the choice school lottery can have their boutique programs...as Vianica and her children have now also experienced.

Choice schools made sense when the district was suffering from enrollment reduction and needed to lure families back to the district; that is not the case any more. However, once choice programs are established, they become politically entrenched and "untouchable."

It is unfortunate that you are one of those affected. However, this is a democracy. You can have a voice in making change if that is important to you.


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm

"I think the VTP is, at this point, a lawsuit waiting to happen because it bumps families from their own schools regardless of in-district enrollment. I also wonder given that white families in EPA aren't eligible for the transfers whether there's a legal issue with the settlement anyway since it's inherently discriminatory."

Even if California did miss out on round one "race to the top" funding, the newly introduced student transfer rights still remain on the books.
If it's not VTP it will be direct applications from EPA students to PA schools and that is a non-discriminatory policy. Be careful what you wish for!


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Here we go again. There are no families driving past their former neighborhood school that is now a choice school because the two choice schools--Ohlone and Hoover haven't been neighborhood schools in decades. In the case of Ohlone, the district was busily shutting down schools because of enrollment and funding drops. You might as well complain about driving past Ventura, Greendell and parks that now occupy old public school sites.

The schools near Hoover haven't had overflow problems--probably in part because people move to that area, in part, to go to Hoover.

Ohlone is large enough that if a neighborhood school, it would get the overflows from the north cluster--the waitlist at Ohlone is such that it does reduce overflow because people voluntarily choose not to attend their neighborhood school.

The kids in the choice programs will go somewhere in the district. It's that's simple.

I do think there's a big problem with the expansion of SI at Escondido because the second strand gave priority to north-cluster overflow kids and Escondido neighborhood kids got overflowed. MI's a problem because it's a less efficient use of classroom space than expanding Ohlone main would have been and ignored Ohlone's own huge waitlist for a less in-demand program.

Headliners,

What kind of student transfer rights? I don't have a problem with transfer applications--as long as it's done on a space-available basis. My issue is bumping kids from their own neighborhood schools because space is automatically allocated to out-of-district kids regardless of in-district demand. If there's room, I don't have an issue.

As it is, I suspect we have a situation where minority Tinsley kids bump minority Palo Alto kids. (And what's a minority anyway in a state that has no majority? Or county for that matter?)


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

As part of the "race to the top" funding requirements, the state needs to institute laws so that any student from a schools with low test scores can apply to *any* school regardless of what district it is in.
The district can only refuse the request based on space and needs to define a policy on which it will accept/reject requests.
Now, you might think that Palo Alto could argue that they were already full but that is only the case since they want to restrict the elementary class size. This is unlikely to be an acceptable option since a district could say it is full simply by setting the class size at, say, 15 students. The state is likely to define what is an acceptable class size and it is unlikely to be 20.
And you think Ohlone is big now!


Posted by Discard Tinsley, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Headliners, How can an EPA child attend a PA school if there is no VTP? EPA is not only in a different city, but also in a different county! You're implying that Los Altos students can rightfully attend Palo Alto schools? Wrong! I know someone who was caught doing that and they had to move back to Palo Alto to attend PAUSD.

I also know of an EPA family who all appear Caucasian but there is 1/4 Mexican in the mother. The father attends Stanford graduate school. His child appears Caucasian, they dress well, and they are using the VTP. This is abuse, not diversifying as per VTP's intentions.

Agree with OP that if we weren't overflowing, VTP would be less of an issue.




Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I believe it is time, when schools are overfull and the district is strapped for cash, to DEMAND a legal investigation of the requirement to end Tinsley. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

"EPA is not only in a different city, but also in a different county! "

DT, that's it exactly!

"... it was No Child Left Behind – in 2002 – that introduced the idea that students in schools with the lowest test scores must be allowed to transfer to a different school within their district. California's new bills take that idea further by allowing students in those schools to transfer to a better school outside their district."

And with EPA just a short hop over the freeway, which district are they likely to choose?


Posted by Discard Tinsley, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Headliners,

So a student in a lesser Mountain View school can attend PAUSD? I don't think so. It's VTP that's allowing EPA to attend PAUSD.

Need anymore acronyms?


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm

No, MountainView can't because they don't have any low performing schools. EPA schools, on the other hand: Web Link

"The laws allow parents to pull their children out of the state's 1,000 lowest-scoring schools and move them to schools in *other districts*. They also allow parents to overhaul up to 75 chronically underperforming schools each year by collecting signatures from a majority of parents."


Posted by No easy answers, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:55 pm

To whoever it was who said the choice schools help alleviate overcrowding:
It's a mixed bag. Yes, kids cross town for SI, MI, Hoover or Ohlone, leaving a spot behind for a neighborhood kid. But, look at the class sizes for Spanish Immersion at Escondido for 4th and 5th grade. Web Link - page 10. Because of attrition, these classes are much smaller than typical 4th/5th grade classes at other schools. 69 students are using 4 classrooms, whereas 4 classrooms cover 92 4th & 5th graders at other schools. That's an entire classrom of wasted capacity!

The biggest mistake the previous school board made was allowing Spanish immersion to grow by a half strand per year. It's squeezing out Escondido's neighborhood kids, which is against district policy.

They should have discussed started up a second Spanish Immersion strand in south Palo Alto. The demand is there, and students wouldn't have to schlep across the city to attend. Barron Park or Fairmeadow are possibilites since a disproportionate number of SI students are coming from those schools anyhow.

I bet if it were expanded closer to home more Palo Verde students would apply, thereby leaving open spaces for those who prefer the neighborhood experience.

I'll save my thoughts about MI for another day. "I hear you and I'm sorry" as well as OhlonePar expressed the problems surrounding that neighborhood well.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm

School districts are not required to take transfer students from the underperforming schools if they are full or if it will cost them money. We won't be required to take students from other districts because we are a basic aid district, the funding which follows them is far below what we spend on our students.

As it is, every transfer student (such as the teacher's kids and VTP kids) cost us the difference between the state funding which follows them and what we spend on our students.


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Sorry, PA Mom, that's doesn't fly either. Basic aid districts are explicitly called out in the bill and what funding they are given. Space is the only exception: Web Link

"48359.5. For a school district of enrollment that is a basic aid
district, the apportionment of state funds for any average daily
attendance credited pursuant to this article shall be 70 percent of
the district revenue limit that would have been apportioned to the
school district of residence. "


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Nea, interesting point with Escondido. The SI 5th grade only has 16 students per class vs. 23 in most other 5th grades. That's a pretty big disparity when the district is struggling with space.
At least there will be space for the incoming EPA students!


Posted by pares, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Many of us in the south have complained that there are too many dense housing projects and it would over-crowd our schools. The city did not listen. So here we are. A new elementary school needs to be opened. And stop the dense housing buildings.


Posted by An old parent, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

It is the school districts fault about over crowding in south Palo Alto. In my life the school district sold five elemetary school sights in south Palo Alto and keeps Greendal closed. The school board meetings during that time had many people saying that they should keep the sights for the future. The staff and the board thought they were smarter then the rest of us. Some things never change.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2010 at 12:38 am

The Palo Alto definition of "neighborhood school" is not the same as the school in your neighborhood. "Neighborhood school" is defined as the non-choice school that your neighborhood is assigned.

Yes, there are many people who drive past Hoover and Ohlone every day because it is in their neighborhood but it is not their neighborhood school and likewise there are many who drive past Palo Verde every day because it is over-enrolled and they are overflowed elsewhere.

The problem with choice schools is not that they relieve congestion with other schools, but that there is a site in a neighborhood which is given other alternative criteria. I am not necessarily against having Hoover and Ohlone as alternatives because they do give choices to parents that we otherwise would not have, but it is interesting that the two sites are in the areas where overflows are now rampant and not only do parents have to drive their kids across town to get there, but parents living nearby consequently have to drive kids across town to get to their overflowed site.

For anyone who thinks the District provides transport to those who they overflow across town, they don't. It costs the District nothing to have kids overflowed across town - it is up to the parents to get them to wherever the District decide to put them.


Posted by Palo Verde Parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:24 am

Our son was overflowed to Walter Hays when he first started in 2007, I remember feeling really sad on the first day of school, as I was driving him to Walter Hays, and seeing the neighborhood kids walking to Palo Verde. But a spot in Palo Verde opened up and he moved back to Palo Verde after only 3 months in overflowed school. Our younger daughter got in easily since she was a sib.

Even though both my kids are now in Palo Verde and we are very happy there, when their friends down the street had to go to be overflowed to another school, it really bothers me. Sharing the community is what public school is about. I wanted my kids to go to school and grow up with their neighbors, but it is not always the case.

Out of all the options people have been talking about, I think redrawing the boundaries is the most feasible option for solving this problem.


Posted by GrownUp, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:40 am

Just wanted to warn the dreaded parents of the "lottery" system.

It will be naive to think that it is a process that gives everyone the fair chance. It does not. The "system" and the decision makers behind will make choices based on all sorts of reasons, and some of these reasons are not fair.

Years ago when my kids were starting elementary school, lots of parents across the city wanted their kids to get into an immersion program in our neighborhood school. Not knowing anyone or anything, of course we did not get in.

Several months after school started, I accidentally met someone at work who happened to just moved into our neighborhood for a short time period, having child age of my own and applied to the same immersion program. The only difference is that his child got in.

So we chatted about it and he told me that his child's godfather knew this person in our school pretty well. He boasted that he could pretty much get his kids into anything he wanted to. With his accent, he told me, giggling, "I guess you can not"...

Of course that was only the first frustration I encountered with the district. As my kids moving up, I heard more stories from various schools. The selection process of any sort is never a fair game, just like in real world. It repeats every August. One has got to be "in"...


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

When the issue is too much family housing sure Palo Altans direct their attention to the VTP.
When the issue is that elementary schools where destroyed and sold for housing instead of asking the school district and the city for a moratorium on family housing Palo Altans scapegoat.
Surely anybody can understand (can they?) that you cannot have population equilibrium, if most housing is built for a specific segment of society, in this case families and the single and couples are left with the option of commuting to the city. Surely we can all look at it and say "how stupid". No we can't. We live in PA therefore we must be oh, so clever and continue building more and more family housing. The issue has always been as long as I can remember (back to 1981) too much lack of good planning, too much greed and not enough space.
There would not be enough space in schools even without the VTP kids. That's another issue on whose history and constrains have been written about in these forums (yes I know the plural is fora but i'm kind of "Merican not Latin).

Don't come to Palo Alto. Los Altos, Cupertino and some others have BETTER school districts. And if you are already here you could push for the end of madness which is wanting more family housing and then complain that the result is overflowing...
VTP is NOT going away. It is a settlement that Palo Alto itself proposed. But even if miraculously those VTP kids would disappear the problem of overflowing would not disappear. Blaming others for our own made problems has in the past produced
developments such as nazism, apartheid and our home brewed Jim Crow.
The issue is that newer Palo Altans displaced from their schools those already here.
I'm a former Palo Verde and Ohlone mother and in my time there was no problem with
enrollment in neighborhood schools.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by EcoMama, a resident of Community Center
on Apr 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

Wow, I am shocked and kind of outraged at the backlash against Tinsley. Please, don't try and tell me that Palo Alto is "diverse enough" without it. And what about giving these kids -- who might not otherwise have a chance at doing better than their parents -- a real opportunity to enjoy a top-notch education? The cycle of poverty in EPA won't be broken without better education, and, if that means taking 600 of their kids in Palo Alto, great. We owe that much to our less well-off neighbors. It's not just PC or liberal BS -- it's the right and moral thing to do, lawsuit mandate or not. I think that Silicon Valley has lost touch with the way much of the rest of the country works: there are programs like this in NYC, DC, Boston, Pittsburgh, Atlanta in which kids from weaker schools can gain access to stronger ones.

But this is all aside from two points: One, when you move to Palo Alto, if you buy a house, you have to sign a statement indicating that you're aware that you might not have access to your "neighborhood school." Again, in the rest of the world, some kids have to be bused or driven for miles -- what's the problem here, a few more blocks? A minor inconvenience that usually remedies itself before school starts? And two, eliminating Tinsley won't happen (it's a legal decision), nor is the elimination of immersion programs likely. Hopefully, Measure A will pass, and none of these decisions will need to be made.

But as for people being overflowed...? That's been happening in Palo Alto for years and years, and it does end up working out in the end. It may be a short-term inconvenience, but it's better than overcrowded schools.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

Tinsley IS NOT a legal decision. IT's a SETTLEMENT, akin to a contract. The settlement ended a court case from Margaret Tinsley et al versus neighboring school districts. The settlement was proposed by Palo Alto and neighboring districts and accepted by Tinsley et al. It has no end date. The only provision for its end is that neighboring districts become integrated AS DEFINED. No legal maneuvers of any kind are likely to end the VTP. It's like buying a house. You propose to buy it, make an offer and it's accepted. Some 30 years later you can't have it back just because your conditions change. So, the only gain would be for its opponents to mention the VTP as the source of all bad in the PAUSD and as a result spread venom and make people (children included) feel either ostracized/excluded and in practice make emotional bullies of many PA students. Nice and ethical people don't do that.

People mentioning the VTP should know what it is instead of spewing ignorant tirades. You are against or pro VTP? Fine. But don't spread ignorance in order to make your point.
I can see that we are almost at the same point we were when the Tinsley court case started. The accusation was that PA and others had conspired to purposefully push East PA and its children out of their school districts on the account of their race . Does it hold true still? Looking at these posts some of us wonder.


Posted by facts, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Everyone keeps talking about the choice schools helping the overflow situation.

That is completely wrong.

If Ohlone was a neighborhood school, it would allow everyone who lives near PV to go to a neighborhood school. It is because Ohlone is a choice school that the PV district is so overcrowded.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 25, 2010 at 7:05 pm

When we faced the possibility of being overflowed from our neighborhood school to a school in south Palo Alto,we inquired about whether transportation would be provided(the overenrollment would easily have filled a bus). We were told at that time that PAUSD did not have any busses and we would have to drive our kids ourselves to the school.

I don't get people who see the Tinsley agreement as some sort of charity program. I am not a lawyer so I cannot comment on how or if the settlement can be changed. I do feel it is a burden on the district.

To the person who said they valued the diversity of Tinsley, are you living in the same town I am??


Posted by jb, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 25, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Then there are children who go to parochial and other private schools who hit the freeways every day and whose best friends may live in Belmont or Fremont, Sunnyvale or San Mateo.

The wisest parents are teaching their children the skill of flexibility to make the best of whatever options are taken or befall them.


Posted by Discard Tinsley, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 25, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Isn't Menlo Park trying to get out of the Tinsley program?


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 25, 2010 at 9:35 pm

It looks as if Menlo Park is not pursuing that option which, if true, is quite smart. They have no grounds to do so and they know it.


Posted by Discard Tinsley, a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 25, 2010 at 10:44 pm

How long do we have to wait? Until every single space in our elementaries are filled to capacity?

How does Tinsley bring diversity? The fact that skin color is different? We already have children from different countries: India, China, Taiwan, etc. Or is it academic diversity?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 7:15 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 26, 2010 at 8:17 am

The interesting thing about the Tinsley agreement is that Ravenswood would love to have those students and their funding back in their district (see the thread about closing the Stanford charter).


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

The settlement's only provision for it to become void is that the PAUSD district becomes integrated as defined, which is not the case now neither will it be the case for a long time or if the parties agree to void it (they would probably have to go to court and petition even in that case but I don't know for sure).

Different school districts with the same arguments against Tinsley could meet very different set of facts. Menlo Park, for example, allowed the Willows area, which belonged to Ravenswood School District, to become permanently part of the MPSD at more or less same time that the Tinsley suit was settled.
I was a resident and petitioner then. If Tinsley were to be disputed on the basis of overcrowding (which is in fact no basis at all ) the same argument would apply to the Willows area and it would go back to Ravenswood together with the VTP.
Since this has been pointed out MP has very wisely been quiet on the end of Tinsley.
But all arguments are moot in the face of what is the real culprits: tearing down schools and building too many family dwellings. There was NO overcrowding when the VTP started. The overcrowding is a result of the present parents, not Tinsley.

building too many family dwellings


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2010 at 11:09 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Tinsley was based on fraudulent assertions. As a former EPA resident for 7 years and father of a Ravenswood grad, I can assure you that EPA is not now and never was a poverty pocket. Educational and criminal problems are a direct result of the culture of difference encouraged by the emphasis given skin color and the blame whitey mentality.
Any one who believes an hour on a bus compensates for an hour lost from the classroom not only doesn't understand the problem, they are central to the problem. Give children a core education, including the ability to read well enough to read for pleasure and you cannot keep that child down.


Posted by Huh, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Narnia,

"The settlement's only provision for it to become void is that the PAUSD district becomes integrated as defined,"

Defined how? Didn't Palo Alto elementaries cross some demographic line recently? 1/4 or 1/3 Asian?

Prop. 13 was partly intended to promote fair funding of education, but it has had the opposite effect. Now we have a local district (pausd) being penalized for state-wide failures.


Posted by from SF - now a PA mom, a resident of University South
on Apr 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. We used to live in San Francisco - where there are *no* neighborhood schools. Many parents end up driving their kids from one side of SF to the other everyday to attend mediocre schools. When we moved to PA, even though it was down to the wire whether or not we'd get into our neighborhood school - I was ecstatic just to know that my child was guaranteed a spot at a PAUSD school. They're all solid academically, and the drive from one end of town to the other is no more than 15 minutes.

The one tough thing about the uncertainty and the churn was lining up afterschool care. It's hard to get a solid spot when you aren't a confirmed student at a given school!


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm

huh says,
"Defined how? Didn't Palo Alto elementaries cross some demographic line recently? 1/4 or 1/3 Asian?"

No and no. Tinsley is mitigation for the fact that the neighboring districts were accused of purposefully, deliberately and unlawfully conspiring to draw their bounderies to exclude East Palo Altans, specifically the blacks/ poor. So, no, asians in PA do not mitigate the reason for the Tinsley suit and the settlement terms offered by the neighboring districts.

If you don't know what VTP/Tinsley settlement please inform yourself BEFORE offering opinions that have nothing to do with it. Of course, you can be against the settlement and many people are and were for various reasons.. But it's a done deal. There is no way of altering a contract/settlement (in lay terms) unilaterally, which seems to be a fake-solution that has raised its head. Are there other solutions? yes. But only for people of good will, solid understanding of the facts and capable judgement. Until then the against-tinsley people are banging their head on the wall and each time expecting a different result. How does that help?


Posted by huh, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Narnia,

Whatever.

That doesn't take away from the fact that this problem is generated at the state level because of the unequal ways education is financed under Prop. 13 and that an individual district is asked to take up the slack.

This settlement is intended to address historical issues--but the old barriers (blacks and asians were barred from living in PA in the not-distant past) are gone, and the ongoing problem is one of poverty. Asians have less poverty, so we have more of them in PA.

Rather than have an individual district pay the price for history, we'd do better to redress the real problem of poverty and unequal spending per pupil.

In any case, I suspect there are other solutions. The settlement specifies that pausd need not drop any element of its curriculum as a result of enrolling Tinsley students. We will certainly be dropping elements of the curriculum this year, and some of those could easily be restored by suspending Tinsley.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

"Tinsley is mitigation for the fact that the neighboring districts were accused of purposefully, deliberately and unlawfully conspiring to draw their bounderies to exclude East Palo Altans, specifically the blacks/ poor."
Oh? The County line was there long before there was a PAUSD or Ravenswood.


Posted by Amy, a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Are there any schools that are not overflowing? How about Jauna Briones? We are moving back to Palo Alto this summer. I am coming home, having grown up in P.A. I have a second grader and a preschooler. This conversation has me wondering if we should move to Sunnyvale or Cupertino instead. Any thoughts?


Posted by Charlie, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:40 am

I am almost certain when the census bureau 2010 releases the data for EPA residences, the majority families are foreign born... "The Battlefield Has Changed and We Must Make A Swift Transition"


Posted by cblasey, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 27, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Amy, Juana Briones is a fantastic place. I think overall you would be very happy in Palo Alto. Often when people choose the neighboring communities like Sunnyvale, etc., they are left with wondering and wishing they could be in Palo Alto. Just my opinion. Good luck


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Headliner,

If the state program limits transfers based on space available, well, then, I'm all for it. That's an improvement over the VTP situation. I'm happy to see kids from out-of-district as long as they're not bumping kids in the district from their own schools.

Narnia, I live in house where the original deed makes it clear that Jewish people and negros can't live in it. Guess what? That convenant no longer holds.

Settlements aren't etched in stone. VTP is problematic for a number of reasons--and if transfers are already allowed under state law, why hold on to it? I don't think anyone intentionally set it up so that kids were getting bumped from their local schools by transfer students.

And, again, I wonder, at that point, the validity of a settlement that does that--or for that matter, a settlement that denies some children the right to apply for transfers based on the color of their skin.

It may be a settlement--but would all of it be found legal? I wouldn't bank on it.

Yes, heavy building has overcrowded the schools. HOWEVER, we've been facing the overcrowding situation for a number of years. And it's not just in south Palo Alto or where there are choice programs. The situation with the schools in the north cluster has been an issue for some time. Now, the south cluster's dealing with overcrowding and we can expect the same issues in the west cluster as buildings go up and people flee underfunded districts to basic-aid districts like Palo Alto's.

Palo Alto was not involved in the unfair districting in San Mateo County because, of course, of the county lines. It's kind of ridiculous the district was involved in the settlement, frankly.

facts.

Again, Ohlone and Hoover have students who live in the district and need to go to school somewhere. I live in a draw area (Duveneck), which has had serious overflow issues. Either my kid goes to a choice program voluntarily or some other kid gets bumped involuntarily from their neighborhood schools.

Enough of the elementary schools have overflow issues that it's not a case of one school being particularly overcrowded as a result.

It's a shame, though, that the district has held off on reopening Greendell and is, instead, doing the mega-school routine--much worse for students.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I believe PAUSD volunteered to participate. That may be why Tinsley is a 3rd rail.


Posted by 35USC101, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm



"I believe PAUSD volunteered to participate. That may be why Tinsley is a 3rd rail."

Not correct. See the only appellate decision on this case.
91 Cal.App.3d 871 (1979)
Nothing indicates that PAUSD sought to intervene. PAUSD seems to have fought quite hard.

Web Link


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 28, 2010 at 4:09 am

Tinsley is NOT a convenant. It is a settlement. I don't really know how somebody can confuse a constitutional matter, that is a convenant prohibiting the selling of houses to people of some races, with what is essentially a valid contract entered freely by the parties. There is no constitutional issue with Tinsley. What is telling is the fact that some people want to employ huge resources in battling a problem that exists only in their minds , opening an enormous can of worms with a myriad of implications. Be very careful what you ask for. You may get it. The process also makes the VTP children ostracized. That seems to be the end result. As I said there was no problem with enrollment until the McMansion phenomena. And what is also telling is that any forum discussion relating to the schools, whatever it is always is never discussed because people immediately start on the Tinsley matter as if the VTP program is responsible for every bad result of the PAUSD.
That is shameful scapegoating.
There should be some intellectual honesty when discussing these matters.The distribution of students throughout the various schools is less the fault of the VTP, than it is the fault of Ohlone and Nixon which forbid access to neighbor students on an equal basis, the immersion programs or the distribution of the number of children throughout various parts of the city.
The Tinsley discussion should be tabled for another forum and perhaps open only to people of different opinions who have knowledge of what it is and it isn't.

35USC101 is correct. It was not a matter of "volunteering". PAUSD was a defendant in the Tinsley suit and PAUSD (and neighboring school districts) PROPOSED the settlement. They did that because they would probably loose as they had been since the facts presented were against them. They didn't a want a court mandated solution. They wanted to make their own solution and have an approved settlement. It's an agreement akin to a contract and it cannot be unilaterally disposed off.
And if you meddle with it by going to court, how would you like a court mandate after millions of dollars spent, years in litigation and a result that may not be to your liking?

Like many other decisions previous Board of Ed's made you have to live with it. You can't take away houses built on school property that was sold and revert the property back to a school, anymore than you can take Tinsley back.
Find another solution.


Posted by Vianica, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Okay the results are out. My kid has been overflowed with six others to Barron Park Elementary from Palo Verde.Last year there were 26 kids that were overflowed so I am still optimistic. Any thoughts on the Barron Park school? I know that there was one member on this forum that did not have anything nice to say about Barron Park.

Thanks.


Posted by Vianica, a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm

And this year they overflowed 13 students from Palo Verde.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

So it is settled; When the government determines it is in the interests of a racial grope, it can use race as a determinant of treatment. Jim Crow is alive and well.


Posted by at least one member, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Our family and many others hated Barron Park with a passion. The kids there are routinely undereducated and undersocialized. They regularly try to blame the situation on a particular class year, but those classes have come and gone for over a decade now and the problem still exists. The principal doles out special favors to anyone she thinks is on "her side" (which should tell you what it is like for those she thinks are "against her" -- there is no neutral) We moved out of the neighborhood to escape. So sorry you were overflowed. I would seriously think about private school before sending my child there again.


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm

OhlonePar,
Consider how PAUSD would manage applications from EPA students under the "race to the top" bill. They wouldn't simply allow EPA students to go to schools with spaces - SI excepted since they seem to have trouble back-filling there.
PAUSD would want to control attendance at each school and use a plan very similar to VTP. Work out how many "spaces" available in the district and divide applicants amongst the schools regardless of overcrowding.
Neighborhood students would still be bumped.
At least one EPA elementary school, which has around 400 students, would qualify for the bill.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 28, 2010 at 6:45 pm


EPA has a financial incentive to take back the VTP students, their motivation for kicking out Stanford appeared to be financial, so they get the funds for the students rather than the charter.

Either way it is better for all concerned for the VTP to end ASAP.

EPA needs to develop a functional school system through high school, for the sake of the the students if not parental and community pride.

It is clearly unjust when 600+ places in PAUSD are being taken by students from another county when PAUSD is already overcrowded.

Common decency would mean that EPA take these students under their own system-- that is the best, fair solution for all concerned.

EPA has shown courage--- we suppose -- in rejecting Stanford-- they should do the same in rejecting the outdated, no longer relevant-- and in fact demeaning VTP program.


Posted by EPA resident, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:05 am

I find Sharon's comments very strange (EPA has shown courage--- we suppose -- in rejecting Stanford-- they should do the same in rejecting the outdated, no longer relevant-- and in fact demeaning VTP program. )

Considering her comments on this thread:
Web Link
"Given the way Stanford has been treated in this matter there will be a dramatic decrease in charitable and other contributions of time and effort from Stanford Alumni.
There will also be a review of Tinsley and other handout programs.
EPA will have to take responsibility for educating its own children, the vast majority of whom now are the descendants of immigrants legal and illegal from south of the border."

and
"Stanford devoted major time, money and focus to this effort in EPA-- for nothing but insults in return.

Silicon Valley devoted major time, money and focus to " Bridge the Digital Divide" for nothing but EPA lack of interest, commitment and insults in return."

and
"Stanford's involvement in EPA was a major asset for EPA,

EPA's insult of and rejection of Stanford is a very big deal, reported in the NYT's and nation wide"

Well is it an insult or courage. Why is Sharon talking out of both sides of her mouth?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 29, 2010 at 11:41 am

Narnia,

The VTP agreement uses race as a factor in determining eligibility for the program. At the time, that was legal--since then, there has been a move away from that. I don't think you could get a settlement like Tinsley today--as in kids solely of European descent cannot qualify for Tinsley purely because of their heritage.

Remember, we now have a law on the books that forbids using race balancing as a criteria for UC admissions--this law was driven in part by the Asian community who felt their kids were subject to discrimination because of the balancing.

Ironically, this is a bit what's happening here. Many of the new families coming into south Palo Alto are Asian. Kinders without older sibs in a school are more likely to be overflowed. Ergo, it is quite likely that the minority Tinsley kid is, indeed, bumping another minority kid who's family's scraped up the money to actually live in Palo Alto.

And those new families, by the way, aren't all living in McMansions--many are squeezing into townhouses and paying through the nose because they, like me, are willing to sacrifice space for good schools.

There were good things about Tinsley--but to pretend there are no unintended consequences--consequences that should be discussed and dealt with--is disingenuous.

Headliner,

I don't see why the district couldn't use some flexibility--expanding or shrinking the number of spaces in a given year dependent on district space. Of course, I've never been sure why PAUSD has ended up paying the price for some ugly districting in another county. (And, yes, I do think the districting of Ravenswood was pretty funky. Just not sure what PA had to do with it.)

EPA resident,

Don't even try to make sense out of Sharon. From what I can see, the EPA board looked for ways to shut down the Stanford charter--it was a hardly an obvious closure. I don't get it--from this side of the freeway it reads like a power game. I'd like to see some investigative reporting on what and who is in play here. The closure doesn't make sense in and of itself.

And as much as the VTP situation is a problem for PA--I understand why EPA parents enroll their kids in it--how could you not, given the issues with EPA schools?

So it all comes back to creating good schools in EPA. Why isn't it happening? I know poverty and other factors are going to make it hard to make all EPA schools top-notch--but there should be a couple of them--a situation closer to Redwood City, where there's a range.

I think Walter does have a point in that the VTP means that motivated parents in EPA simply put their kids in PAUSD schools--the program siphons off the most motivated families.

EPA needs charters because it needs schools to attract motivated families--to teach other families how to do it.


Posted by headliners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm

OhlonePar,
VTP's been here a while as have the overflow issues. PAUSD hasn't seen fit to change it's allocation system. There's little chance it will be altered based on overflow or the "North Cluster" would never receive any EPA students.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 29, 2010 at 5:39 pm



From the point of view of Stanford and Stanford alumni EPA action was an insult and did not make rational sense in the long term interests of language challenged EPA students.

In reviewing the EPA school districts board meeting and reading the comments here, EPA viewed their decision as in their short term economic self interest and as a courageous stance against elitist Stanford who were, allegedly, "experimenting" with EPA students.

Very well, we happen to support the Stanford Alumni view that it was a bad decision.
Those who support the other view, that it was courageous and in EPAs financial interest should also support the end of Tinsley .

The majority Stanford Alumni who have kids in PAUSD also support the end of Tinsley

Let us get it done!

It can be seen as another courageous act by EPA, which is also in their school districts financial interest.

For PAUSD parents it is a matter of justice, fairness and racial equality.

Therefore the decision to end Tinsley is a win win

EPA get money, dignity and shows courage.
PA gets justice, fairness and racial equity.

The question is how soon can it end, it is not a voluntary program, this June would be ideal for and end date--- just like the decision re the Stanford EPA Charter School--- it was given a 6 week notice-- fair is fair let both parties agreed to get rid of Tinsley-- fast


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Tinsley cannot be disposed off unilaterally anymore than any legal agreement can.

OhlonePar, you are not right. The legal basis for the lawsuit still holds because of the alleged facts. The settlement exists in lieu of a court decision and if it has something to do with race it's because the defendants in the civil suit HAD made it about it, by purposefully, unlawfully and with malice redistricted so that East Palo Altans of color would not be able to attend any of the "whites'" school districts. So race entered in the consideration of the settlement because of the whites' districts, not EPA's. All this is perhaps a little complicated for those who don't bother to learn the case for the settlement.
And, no, Walter it is not a government imposition. It's akin of a contract. No court mandated it. That is one of the reasons why it hasn't been challenged. Government has nothing to do with it. That's why it is so difficult to challenge. Haven't you discover this already?
If you live in a property that was a school at one time you are one of the reasons for overcrowding. And PAUSD cannot come in and dispossess you of your property anymore than they can decide to "suspend" Tinsley. There are, of course, other nicer solutions but blindness of the worse kind is not allowing Palo Altans to look for them.

It is difficult to understand the animosity, scapegoating and finger pointing that is directed to VTP unless one knows the history behind the settlement. And then it's crystal clear.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2010 at 5:44 pm



Tinsley came out of a completely different reality to today.

It was initiated in the era of racial school busing, at a time when EPA was going to change its name to Nairobi and 80 to 90% of the population of EPA was black.

Today less than 20% of the population in EPA is black and that percentage is declining rapidly, the era of busing was declared a failure decades ago.
Tinsley has gutted the prospects for a viable EPA school district.

Imagine the impact on PAUSD if the most motivated parents sent 1,200( adjusted numbers by population ) of their kids to Portola Valley Schools because they did not feel PAUSD was any good.

Tinsley in fact degrades the EPA schools, as a community, EPA needs functional schools with committed parents.

Tinsley is predicated upon a racist ideology which is both bad and irrelevant-- given the dramatic change in EPA demographics.
80% of EPA is now Latino-- mainly Mexican they were never slaves on American plantations-- the whole Tinsley idea is now irrelevant, it should end in June- this year or next.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Apparently Sharon, you have some difficulty with the idea that an agreement made by the competent authorities cannot be broken unilaterally, that is by just one party . There is nothing in the agreement that speaks to your post at all. The only provision for its termination is that Palo Alto and neighboring districts become integrated as defined . Palo Alto cannot qualify by any means. One school district qualified and therefore the settlement is null with respect to that district. But Palo Alto? It doesn't qualify and will not qualify for a long time. It doesn't matter what East palo Alto became or didn't become. They could all be rich and well educated...The only criterion is what Palo Alto
has become. Blame whoever you want but East Palo Alto is not at fault at all. The decisions that were taken by the boards of ed when the agreement was proposed BY THEM cannot be undone that easily. There are other solutions it seems to me, but spending the time accusing and scapegoating instead of fighting for at least one more school seems to me a really waste of resources. But you know why you do it.


Posted by INF, a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 30, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Palo Alto is quite integrated, actually.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Before Pearl Harbor in WW2 EPA had a very significant Asian Population mainly Japanese they lost their homes and farms in the Interment.

PAUSD now has a large Asian student component we are integrated.

Tinsley is a racist program that has no relevance to current reality and demeans the EPA school districts.

Immigrants from Mexico have no more right to affirmative action than immigrants from Pakistan or Ireland or anywhere else.

Descendants of slaves from Africa could argue for some help for one generation, 20 years, that time has long past--20 yrs ago.

Immigrants from Latin America or Italy have no right to special treatment, just because they speak a different language.

To provide affirmative action for immigrants from Uganda, Kenya, Jamaica etc because they are Black is absurd-- so is providing affirmative action for immigrants from Mexico, Argentina or Spain-- because they speak Spanish.

Tinsley is a racist program that will end.

Ending Tinsley busing will empower the EPA schools and give them the respect they will earn.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

I am aware of the history of East Palo Alto. What you say has NOTHING to do with the Tinsley settlement.Sharon, It looks as if you are carving arguments left and right without any consideration for a legal document that gave origin to the program. To me that's like banging your head on the wall repeatedly in order to have chickens hatch eggs. Such diatribes contribute nothing to the discussion at all because they are mute on the relevant aspects of the agreement. I am convinced Tinsley will end in Palo Alto -as it has already ended for one school district- but it will not be for a long time.This discussion slipped into pure meanness, ignorance and the airing of grievances that are not at all pertinent or applicable to the facts. It aslo didn't cover the topic-lotteries.
I will leave your comments undisturbed from now on. I think you need to vent. Good luck.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 30, 2010 at 7:39 pm


Ending the Tinsley racist policy is in the best interest of EPA School Districts, they want to build a high performance school system with committed, involved parents, Tinsley undermines this vision

They understand this.

If the issue goes to trial Tinsley will loose, because it is racist, irrelevant, unfair and unjust to Palo Alto parents and tax payers and seen as a freeloading scam by all reasonable people


Posted by Not so obvious, a resident of University South
on Apr 30, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Can't a contract which forces racial bias in public school admissions be challenged? I would think it could be.

Suppose the whites in EPA can demonstrate that they are receiving not just an inferior education but inferior opportunity for education just because they are white. As a result of Tinsley. My lay interpretation of Supreme Court precedent is that this would be grounds for reconsideration. Granted, sometimes the Supreme Court allows racism, depending on the era and the race.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 1, 2010 at 9:04 am

yes, not so obvious. That's a lay interpretation, but it so happens that the Settlement is NOT a court mandate. Do blacks and hispanics have equal access to the good education like the one Palo alto conspired to deny them according to the suit? I must confess that the racial mentioning is uncomfortable to me: there is nobody white, most italians come from mediterranean stock, scots are dark, hispanics are a mixture of native people and its conquerors, etc. But poverty, and at that induced poverty is all very real. It has happen to people of "color" more than its "white" counterparts and one of the consequences is lack of educational opportunities.. That's what originated the Tinsley suit and that' s what is still topical. So, if you are going to ask for a court remedy you better think twice about the possible results. Be careful for what you ask for, tough, and the arguments you would use. What is telling is that instead of working to make PAUSD a better district correcting the actions taken years ago by the Board of Ed when the school sites (some functioning, for example, Seale was functioning as much needed day care) were sold to developers, you focus on a minor aspect which WOULD NOT solve the problem. This tells me that the plaintiffs arguments are still valid.


Posted by Amy, a resident of Green Acres
on May 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

We are renting a house in Palo Alto. Moving this summer. Can anyone please tell me which neighborhood schools are not overflowing? The houses we are interested in are in the Fairmeadow and Palo Verde neighborhoods. How do I make sure my daughter does not end up at Barron Park?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on May 3, 2010 at 11:18 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Supporters of Tinsley know it floats on balloon juice - that is why they fear any review.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

walter,

There is no question of review. You do not "review" a valid contract. .There is no more review of Tinsley than "reviewing" the conveyancing of property from the school district to private individuals. Had it been a court mandate, yes, it would be subject to those court challenges, but it's settlement, with contractual obligations and unless it was obtained irregularly or by force, and it was NOT, it's here to stay. It is puzzling to me that most against Tinsley want to re-negotiate the ORIGINAL settlement as if it has been declared void. That sounds to me like extreme legal naivete'.
You may curse those who proposed and signed it. You may think it was ill conceived or foolish. But it was the prerogative of the signers to do it. Their powers come from the law, since they were the duly elected officials. But what you cannot do is to say "sorry, I want to undo what was legally done, because I don't like the result". All actions by officials are valid (unless they are the result of an illegality) wether or not you agree with them. We do not have the power to create chaos by declaring. after the fact, that we don't really want the peace treaties we made with some countries, or that after all we declare our sale of property to others null and void because we now realize 30 years later that we shouldn't have sold it and we want to undo it.
If you don't like Tinsley you should have employed your efforts to stop the results BEFORE it was signed. It's not a matter of supporting Tinsley or not-it's a matter of law. Now, if you want to challenge it legally go ahead. Smart people recognize that doing it might bring some unexpected results and that's one of the reasons why it hasn't been done, I think.
Margaret Tinsley 's children were already out of school when the VTP started and so neither margaret nor the children benefitted personally from the settlement. They never whined about it, they simply when ahead with their lives knowing that others would be the beneficiaries. That, I think, is more than most of us have done.


Posted by Vianica, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Amy: My friend told me, and if you follow the board of ed link on the PAUSD website, you will find that they are adding a two-storey classroom building at Fairmeadow. Also everyone I spoke with assure me that most kids get flowed back to their home schools. There is also talk of the board of ed approving increased class sizes this year. I am optimistic that my kid will get flowed back. I will update the forum. At this point, based on what I hear, Addison has major overflow, Fairmeadow is on the brink.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Narnia,

Tinsley, as you've pointed out, isn't the end result of a lawsuit--it was a settlment in lieu of continuing the suit--so, the basis for the lawsuit is a bit besides the point--it's standard in settlements to stipulate that the settlement is not an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.

In other words, the factual basis of Tinsley was never decided in court.

Again, the legality of contracts--which this essentially is--get challenged all the time. You seem to be confusing this kind of action with an appeal--and, no, Tinsley can't be appealed by either party that signed off on it. Doesn't mean somebody else can't sue the districts over it--particularly if parts of the contract would no longer be considered legal--thus the problem with accepting only students of certain ethnic backgrounds from EPA. State law's changed pretty dramatically in this area.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I am not confused Ohlone Par. I was already in menlo park and then Palo Alto when the Tinsley suit was going on and I was already here when the settlement occurred. I think know its history and its terms.

"In other words, the factual basis of Tinsley was never decided in court."
Neither does it need to be. The settlement is an agreement, whatever the reasons.

"Again, the legality of contracts--which this essentially is--get challenged all"

it's not the legality of contracts that gets challenged all the time. It's whether the contract is valid and binding. The settlement was proposed by the defendants and therefore they cannot challenge the validity of something they themselves proposed, otherwise they have come up with a remedy for that.There is nothing in the terms even vaguely against the law.

"Doesn't mean somebody else can't sue the districts over it--particularly if parts of the contract would no longer be considered legal--thus the problem with accepting only students of certain ethnic backgrounds from EPA. State law's changed pretty dramatically in this area."

I am aware of state law but I am also aware of other things and the kitchen sink that can be very legitimately thrown at a lawsuit. It's too complex to explain in a forum.

I'll ask you if you are prepared to include Ohlone and Nixon in a regular school pattern, making the schools accessible to all in their neighborhood on an equal basis, suspend all manner of special immersion language programs, which according to your lay view should be against state law, etc. That would go a long way to provide neighborhood schools and eliminate overflow.

Let me repeat: be careful what you ask for. You may get it.




Posted by Not so obvious, a resident of University South
on May 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Narnia -

I do believe that if it can be shown that language immersion programs discriminate on the basis of race they are against state law.

As is Tinsley's discrimination on the basis of race. Why do you think a contract that requires discrimination on the basis of race for the purpose of attending public school cannot be challenged?

The contracts that discriminated on the bases of race for the purpose of selling property were successfully challenged.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 4, 2010 at 11:53 pm

This is a different thing, Not so obvious. The housing contracts were unconstitutional. That's why they are not valid. They forbade some races from buying, but if you notice the Augusta National doesn't accept women and many clubs do not admit certain races and only admit others and just like the buyers of houses with the type of covenant you mentioned, they are doing private business.
Many receive federal and state funds and despite that, their
admission criteria is not unconstitutional. Discrimination is a not always unconstitutional or against the law.
Some housing is also discriminatory (when for example imposes a rule that nobody under a certain age can be admitted), but not illegal in many cases, despite federal law and some states law to the contrary.

This discussion is getting to the point that many of us cannot fully understand. To try to apply lay arguments against what are very complex legal concepts, doesn't work unless you are a lawyer and you can spend endless hours researching and then explaining the legal situation to people who are not sufficiently legally educated. I am not either, but I happen to have an in-house attorney who is very interested in this matter and therefore can be explained "stuff" at the dinner table sometimes.
The very essence of the Tinsley agreement is that it happen because Palo Alto et al (the defendants) had introduced race into school redistricting. It wasn't East Palo Alto who had discriminated on a racial basis. So, they had to correct that situation and they opted for giving East Palo Altans the access they had been denied, according to the suit. The court agreed. The defendants decided that rather than appealing, they would offer a settlement.
Tough.

The equal protection clause has been subject to much debate about its meaning, its application and its scope.
It is extraordinary to me that the arguments employed by some posters leave Palo Alto at the same point it was when the agreement was signed. It was all in the redistricting that was engendered by Palo alto et al (says the lawsuit). It seems that PA just doesn't want people from EPA around otherwise there would be challenges to the attendance of Los Altos residents, who also crowd the schools to the immersion programs and the preferential treatment applied to Nixon and Ohlone etc. Apparently, that's fine, as is also fine for the willows children to attend Menlo Park schools, for some (mostly elderly) to pay less property taxes (prop 13 ), etc.
Well, a lot to consider.


Posted by Not so obvious, a resident of University South
on May 5, 2010 at 12:14 am

narnia -

You may be right, but the argument, "I'm right because it's too difficult for you to understand" is not convincing.

There are indeed court rulings that allow discrimination based on race. But there also is an intent to reach a race-blind society, and this temporary nature of the remedial discrimination is explicitly recognized in some of the rulings.


Posted by Bub, a resident of Barron Park
on May 5, 2010 at 7:18 am

"here are no families driving past their former neighborhood school that is now a choice school because the two choice schools--Ohlone and Hoover haven't been neighborhood schools in decades."

How long they've been choice schools is irrelevant. Families are still driving past their former neighborhood school.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 5, 2010 at 8:52 am

Not so obvious, please.
I did not say " "I'm right because it's too difficult for you to understand" is not convincing."

I said
"This discussion is getting to the point that many of us cannot fully understand"

Good bye. It was nice to hear from you. It's time to go.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 5, 2010 at 8:52 am

Challenging Tinsley could benefit EPA more than PAUSD. They loose millions of dollars because so many students are educated elsewhere. I would also venture that the most involved parents, the ones that help build a great school community which in turns helps to build a stronger community in general, are the ones who send their kids to the Tinsley program and the charter schools. Building a strong school district in EPA would benefit everyone.

As far as the Los Altos Hills families who attend PAUSD, their taxes come to PAUSD, not Los Altos. And some of Palo Alto is in the Los Altos school district.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on May 5, 2010 at 10:51 am

Palo Alto mom.
the point IS that redistricting allowed (some) Los altos in but not EPA. The present situation was allowed. County and city borders are not inalienable rights given from God. They are constructs. (For example all property up the present borders of San Mateo County was San francisco county. San Mateo didn't always existed) . The tenor of the Tinsley suit was that PALO ALTO at al (the defendants) conspired to exclude EPA form their districts. So where the taxes come from is irrelevant. It was done to achieve that result.
Borders were drawn to precisely delineate school districts in a certain way and the Tinsley suit charged that either by design or accidentally the end result is that EPA was excluded. That's was the relevant matter for the Tinsley suit.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on May 5, 2010 at 11:18 am


The point is that Tinsley discriminates against White students and parents living in EPA.
The original agreement was was made in the busing era, to move Blacks to Palo Alto
1/ the busing era has long gone
2/ the Black population in EPA is 20% and declining
3/ most of the students in Tinsley are now the children/grand children of immigrants from Latin America---- which is unjust and discriminatory.

We agree that ending Tinsley will in fact benefit EPA.
It is time for EPA to take responsibility for and pride in educating its own offspring-- kicking Stanford out was a move in that direction-- ending Tinsley ASAP is the next step.


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