With preschool's closure, Ravenswood families to face child care gap

District's budget crisis leaves county negotiating for center's future

Parents of the 140 students enrolled in the Ravenswood school district's Child Development Center (CDC) will be scrambling for care for about six weeks this summer as the preschool transitions to a new provider.

Ravenswood, no longer able to afford to operate the center in the face of an ongoing budget deficit, will relinquish its state-funded preschool spaces on June 30. The San Mateo County Office of Education is currently in talks with the California Department of Education to take over the slots and distribute them to a new provider at the same facility on O'Connor Street in East Palo Alto.

Representatives from the county Office of Education and 4Cs (the Child Care Coordinating Council) of San Mateo County, a nonprofit that helps families find child care, spoke with CDC families and staff at a Wednesday meeting organized by East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica. They estimated that families will have to find temporary care from June 30 to about mid-August.

The state Department of Education has told the county that it is "committed to keeping those spaces in San Mateo County, and preferably in the Ravenswood community," according to a county press release.

The county intends to find a new provider that will offer full-day, full-year preschool as the CDC currently does.

4Cs will help families find alternative care during the interim period, Executive Director David Fleishman said on Wednesday. As long there are open spaces elsewhere, parents will not have to reapply for eligibility and can transfer directly into other programs, county staff said. If their children are currently enrolled at the Child Development Center, they will also not have to reapply to the new provider there, staff said.

4Cs might also provide families with child care vouchers to cover the cost of non-state preschool programs during the transition period, according to the county.

Several parents asked how students who receive special-education services will be supported during the transition. County Superintendent Anne Campbell said that Ravenswood is still responsible for managing students' Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), but the county will work with families to also coordinate the plans with new providers.

Child Development Center staff, most of whom are losing their jobs under budget cuts recently approved by the Ravenswood school board, asked whether they will be recommended to be hired by the new provider. One mother also said she's concerned about losing teachers with whom her child has developed relationships.

While the county cannot direct an independent organization on its hiring process, staff noted that there's currently a shortage of early childhood educators in the region.

"When the new program vendors open, they're going to need to hire staff," said Jean-Marie Houston, administrator of early learning support services for the county Office of Education.

The county promised to communicate with families and staff regularly in the coming months as it negotiates a future for the preschool.

Acknowledging that parents want to know how their young children will be cared for, Campbell emphasized that the county is under a tight timeline to find a resolution for a complex situation. It's the first time her office is helping a district with the closure of a preschool facility, she said.

"This is not an easy thing to do," Campbell told the full room of more than 35 parents and community members. "We are absolutely focused on trying to make this work for everybody, but its going to be different. We're going to all need to work together."

Related content:

Webcast: Ravenswood's budget crisis


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21 people like this
Posted by Real Motive for Closing CDC
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2018 at 3:16 pm

I was there and was not surprised to see a room was full of parents, community members, including Ravenswood classified employees. The whole community is concerned and cannot understand how can the district do this to the children. If they really wanted to save money without sacrificing any students in the district, they could have had closed couple of elementary schools and send those students to other schools in Ravenswood School District. By consolidating schools no child would have been left behind, but they decided to close the CDC mainly because they want to retaliate against the parent and teachers who had to collaborate with the investigations against Ms. Willson Domestic Partner (Glenda Savage, former CDC director). This is all that it comes too. Gloria, Sharifa, and Ana Pulido think that people are so dumb, they will never figure out the main reason for closing it. By the way, Ms. Anne Campbell said it loud and clear that Ravenswood School District is closing the CDC, even thought Sharifa, Ana Pulido, and Gloria claimed otherwise.
-Time for those board members including Marcelino Lopez and Dr. Hernandez have to go and leave their positions for someone else who are not so nice to the superintendent. Ms. Pulido got a new well-paid job, I bet she got a great letter of recommendation from Gloria Hernandez. Take a look at the Almanac on Line. I sure hope that Ravenswood stays away from the new CDC and the planning as they do not want anything to do with it anymore [portion removed.]

20 people like this
Posted by Stone Hearts
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 1, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Too bad Board Trustees Sharifa Wilson, Marcelino Lopez, Dr. Gloria Hernandez decided to close the CDC, this is going to cost Gloria his job, and the board of trustees who voted yes on it their seat. Community members, classified and certified staff, and other district employees will not be voting for them anymore. We trusted and voted for Ana, Marcelino, and they did not care about our little ones. What kind of harts do they have, how can they not be touched by the video presented to them. We could understand Mr. Marcelino Lopez because he did not even get to see the CDC video nor he got to listen to the parents and teacher's concerns. He only came to say yes. Is that vote even valid? They have a heart of stone, not a flesh one. Let's pray for them so they can get a flesh one, so they can stop thinking about the power and benefits they get from Gloria by voting yes to closing the CDC. Hopefully, they will back up on their vote, and if they do not, they will see the children's' faces in their dreams. The faces of those students who are homeless and they completely depended on the CDC to have a place to eat, sleep, and learn social, academic and emotional skills. At least the ones who have a home, have food to eat and a place to sleep.

23 people like this
Posted by CDC Parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2018 at 8:58 pm

CDC Parent is a registered user.

I had my child while Ms. Wilson’s Domestic Partner was the director, Glenda Savage. She was rough with parents, she always spoke with a tone when parents had questions or expressed their questions, was never there when the teachers asked for help. [Portion removed.]

19 people like this
Posted by Stone Heart
a resident of Los Altos
on Mar 1, 2018 at 9:05 pm

I forgot to mention Dr. Night.
By the way, I forgot to mention Dr. Charlie MacNight. I excused her when she voted yes to closing the CDC because it is very obvious that she does not know what is going on anymore. She is too old and sick to make decisions on behalf of our students' education. I heard that she does not even live in East Palo Alto anymore, but in Los Angeles with her daughter. She needs to be replaced.

17 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 1, 2018 at 10:34 pm

What a mess! We do not just have a very bad superintendent who misuses the students funds, but also [portion removed] board members who cover up for the superintendent and now we know why Mr. Wilson voted yes to closing the CDC because her domestic partner do not work there anymore due to her mistakes, but Ms. wilson thinks she is taking it on the parents and teachers for collaborating with the investigation, but she is wrong she is really affecting the future of our students. Shame on her and the other vote members who support her and the superintendent who hire Glenda Savage who had no qualifications to do the job, and this is the reason she messed up big times.

6 people like this
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2018 at 10:14 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

Sharifa Wilson spoke about the current issues in the Ravenswood School District at the YMCA on Monday. You can find a video of her talk on the Facebook Group "East Palo Alto Neighbors." Lots of interesting points of view expressed.

Web Link

19 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 2, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Sharifa Wilson said a number of derogatory and unprofessional comments during that meeting about CDC staff. It's shocking since her partner made HUGE mistakes while supervising the CDC. She wasn't even licensed to work in the position she held. Who hired her without reviewing her credentials?

16 people like this
Posted by Real Motive for Closing CDC
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 2, 2018 at 3:56 pm

You bring out a very good question. Who hire Glenda Savage without reviewing his credentials if she had any. We know why she was hired because she asked the superintendent for a big favor which was to get Glenda a job. Too bad she did not last because of her incompetence to perform as a director of the CDC. The board members get upset when the community, parents, and staff come and say to Ms. Hernandez that she is corrupted along with some of the board members. Isn't hiring Savage, and John Denos her son corruption? She never interviewed other people before hiring them. Gloria says who to hire and the board members just obey her. When is she going to leave the district? Are we going to have to do the same thing that had to do in order to get rid of Charlie Night?

12 people like this
Posted by CDC PARENT 2
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 2, 2018 at 7:22 pm

I watch the video that was posted on East Palo Alto Neighbors, and I could not believe or my eyes or eats. She lied so much and now we have the proof of how bad she really is. She does not stop to think what she is going to say, is very compulsive and she often opens her mouth without thinking the trouble she is going to get in, or who is she going to hurt with his poisonous words. my kids attend Sequoia Union High School, and they have always been welcome. Sharifa was saying that Sequoia Union High School do not want Ravenswood School Students at their district, and they want them to go to Palo Alto Academy, but that is a big lie. Sequoia Union High School loves our kids and wants them there. Anna Pulido thinks says the same think. Anna cannot think of herself. She just follows Sharifa like a puppet. I am surprised that she now works at Sequoia High School when she does not like the way they treat our kids. Most of our board members are so incompetent and they shall be recalled.
They are so incompetent to do their work as board members. They need to be recalled.

Like this comment
Posted by Janet Diaz
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 3, 2018 at 7:33 am

Well when everyone decided to get rid of Dr. C. Knight , they let go of a woman whom was beyond helping the community, she did everything she could for all of the Ravenswood employees and thier families, thier are plenty of problems in East Palo Alto, one closure is minimal. The schools that continued to stay open are a mess. They can make a quick fix by having preK like in he past. Drama Drama Drama. Too much chiefs not enough Indians.

Like this comment
Posted by Janet Diaz
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 3, 2018 at 7:37 am

Did you forget about the last time you got hired for a job you know you lied about some experience, Yea, well think about everyone that has done it. It works for some not for all. But no need to be drama. Use your energy on finding solutions. BE PAR OF THE SOLUTION NOT THE PROBLEM.

4 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Mar 3, 2018 at 3:56 pm

No, I haven't ever lied to get a job, especially a job working with children. There are too many chiefs. District staff need to be laid off rather than the school staff who make very little money.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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