Mandarin Immersion Solution: A Charter in Mountain View?
Original post made by Language Lover/Give Peace a Chance, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 2, 2007
From a previous post:
I'm wondering why PACE doesn't consider pushing for a charter school in Mountain View instead of Palo Alto? The advantages have been given on various other boards, so I will try to list them here:
1) Mountain View is currently facing declining enrollments; they even recently closed a school. They have space. Palo Alto is overenrolled and facing more enrollments with lots of new housing coming on line soon.
2) Mountain View, as expressed in a previous post, has a surplus of city funds. Palo Alto has a deficit.
3) Mountain View has a Spanish Immersion program which, unlike Palo Alto's choice program with limited enrollment, expands to take everyone who wants to be in the program, including students from Palo Alto. A Mandarin Immersion program could similarly take students from the MV district and Palo Alto.
4) A Mandarin Immersion program would attract new students and be a boon for the reputation of the Mountain View school district, which suffers some relative to Palo Alto and Los Altos schools (probably not deservedly as much as it does).
5) Palo Alto families interested in MI could go there for elementary, then continue in Palo Alto schools for middle and high school if they wished. By then, maybe Palo Alto would at least have summer immersion here, and a comprehensive language plan for all kids, including elementary kids who currently have no language instruction in neighborhood schools, through high school.
6) Because MV doesn't suffer the space, facilities, and monetary constraints of PA at the moment, an MI charter school in MV could start with grades beyond just K/1 -- it could start with prepared kids up to grade 2 or 3, meaning the kids of several of the interested PA PACE families who are now too old to start in K/1 would get the benefits of an MI program after all.
7) Mountain View schools are funded differently, they're a revenue limit district (I know nothing about this, I am remembering a discussion about charter schools and the different ways schools are funded in this area). From the previous post, it seemed that Mountain View was a better choice for a charter school than a basic aid district like Palo Alto because of the way the schools are funded.
8) Mountain View school district as a whole is probably a better fit right now with the mission of charter schools.
9) There is a lot of support in Mountain View for this kind of language instruction.
10) Palo Alto is facing space problems, and if PACE is right in their assertions about MI, this would free up some spaces in our elementary schools for now (though this is somewhat debatable -- are the people most likely to go now sending their kids to private schools?)
11) Mountain View is nearby.
12) Best of all, PACE gets the MI program it wants, without limitations -- even better than they would get here in PA -- no more controversy in Palo Alto, and we can direct our energy to strategic planning, and getting the kind of language program that offers the best language strategy for ALL of Palo Alto's children, and is more flexible for the future.
I would love to hear any comments, including from Mountain View Language Lovers.
From "OhlonePar" on another thread:
A charter school would recieve about $5600 per PAUSD student from the district no mattter where the charter is.
The charter will receive the same amount per student no matter what district they come from.
In addition, if the PAUSD charter has more than 80 students from PAUSD, then the district is obliged to provide school facilities for those students--though not for the students from other districts, for whom they can charge market rate.
A couple of reasons why it makes sense for PACE to pursue the MV charter option:
1. Space. Mountain View has unused school space and would probably be willing to rent it at a reasonable rate to a school that would attract students. PACE proposed a 460-student charter. Seriously, where is that going to go in PA?
2. Rent. Rents are lower in Mountain View. Market rate in Palo Alto would be *steep*.
3. A PAUSD charter could end up in Mountain View anyway. The district doesn't have to provide facilities in the district if none are available. (Though as I recall, it should be in the county. So between here and Gilroy) By dealing directly with Mountain View, the PACE charter is more likely to have control over its space because it would be dealing with a district that would benefit from having them.
Basically, the bottom line is such that the school is more likely to succeed under MV's jurisdiction.
This seems like a great solution!! Wouldn't it be nice to find something that was positive for everyone and allowed us to stop the bickering and get this school going? I haven't seen any other proposals even come close. This wouldn't preclude a future school in Palo Alto, either; wouldn't it be great if people who want MI NOW could get what they want and still work toward something in Palo Alto with strategic planning/on a more realistic time scale given Palo Alto's problems? This seems to be the ticket.