Within the last week, Gunn High School administrators have distributed a survey to the senior class asking for their input regarding a projected increase of student population. The PAUSD district is expecting an increase of 500-600 students in high school attendance. Questions in the survey asked for opinions about plans to address the massive increase.
1) Add more portables to both Gunn and Paly, and have more teachers share classrooms
2) Re-open Cubberley High School and rezone school boundaries
The effects of Palo Alto's growing population are beginning to have their ripple effect upon city services. The community has already felt a strain on library services to accommodate the population increase, and now we may see the same effect in our city's schools.
School administrators at Gunn already claim the campus is overcrowded. A massive increase of several hundred students will exacerbate current problems. Over my four years at Gunn, the school orchestra has expanded from 36 students to nearly 70 for this year. Next year Gunn will set a record and new milestone for having two periods of orchestra. In addition, AP classes are beginning to grow in size as well. For example, AP Biology enrollment climbed to surpass the 100 student enrollment mark this year. For next year, AP Biology is expected to climb to 130 students; another milestone for Gunn history.
Classes are already overcrowded since four years ago. The first day of my freshman year, Japanese 2 was so overcrowded that there weren't enough desks for all students for a few days. Today I'm in Japanese 5AP, which is now integrated with Japanese 4H during the same period because the language department cannot afford another Japanese instructor. Principal Noreen Likins is already anticipating the population growth. Instead of having two assembly blocks, the school may now have to have three to accommodate more students.
For the reader:
The issue at hand is about the expected increase in student population and will it diminish the quality of our schools?
Should the city promote housing at the cost of sacrificing city services?
How do we address the growth in our schools? (Plans 1, 2, or another alternative?)