The board is set to vote Thursday on a preliminary facilities offer for KIPP, which plans to enroll more than 500 students this fall as it grows two additional grade levels — growth that is in line with its original charter petition approved in 2016. KIPP, which is currently housed in 18 classrooms at the contiguous Brentwood and McNair schools, has requested a long-term, single campus. Given its projected enrollment for the 2019-20 school year, KIPP has asked for 27 classrooms and 11 specialized teaching spaces, such as science labs, music rooms and a library.
Ravenswood trustees reviewed capacity and enrollment data for each of the district's schools and other district-owned properties on Monday.
Board President Tamara Sobomehin, who said closing a school to accommodate KIPP is "not an option" for her, asked staff to come back on Thursday with a proposal to move KIPP's middle school students to the Ravenswood Middle School site on Ralmar Avenue and keep their elementary students in the existing classrooms.
"Both KIPP and our district, we need to be willing to stretch ourselves and be willing to share," Sobomehin said.
The school board's Thursday meeting begins at approximately 7:15 p.m. at the district office, 2120 Euclid Ave.
Therapists lose home at landmark MRI
Tension is building between therapists and the board of directors at a world-renowned Palo Alto mental health research institution after the organization announced it will sell its building — the home of the institution for 61 years — and become an endowment foundation.
Mental Research Institute (MRI), located at 535-555 Middlefield Road, said in a Feb. 7 press release that it is selling its building and using the proceeds to fund the endowment because the organization has a new mission: to support advancing approaches to human problems "through innovative research, education and practice by focusing on support for organizations and individuals."
With the sale of the building, which is being marketed with an asking price of $12 million, an estimated 30 psychologists and therapists who rent space will be evicted. In addition, two long-standing mental health centers at MRI — the Brief Therapy Center and Strategic Family Therapy, which have been part of the institution for decades — will likewise need to find new homes and obtain nonprofit status either on their own or through another organization.
The therapists and the two mental health centers were given notice last October by the MRI board of directors to leave by this coming Sept. 30, according to a letter obtained by the Weekly. But it's likely that therapists of at least one of the affiliated centers, the Brief Therapy Center, will not go quietly.
Karin Schlanger, director of the Brief Therapy Center since 2008 and a senior research fellow starting in 1994, said that MRI has not planned to guarantee the continuance of the two centers that form its core mission.
The institute has provided little opportunity for input from the centers, she claims.
Board members and the institute's executive director declined multiple requests from the Weekly over the past two weeks to discuss the plans. Upon releasing the press release, Executive Director Sophie Suberville said in an email to the Weekly: "The board has just finished a very thoughtful yearlong planning process to reach these key decisions outlined in the press release. Details about exactly how everything gets implemented is part of the Board's next phase of planning."
Police bring back community service officers
The Palo Alto Police Department has brought patrol Community Service Officers back to its team after the position was dropped during budget cuts more than 10 years ago, police said Tuesday.
The officers are not armed or sworn into the department and cannot make traffic stops or arrest individuals, but are trained to control traffic, maintain a presence at schools and respond to non-emergency reports.
They will also make community presentations with officers, conduct neighborhood outreach and collect evidence in cases.
The officers went through a training program for several weeks and police will oversee the program for one year to test its effectiveness.
Currently, eight full-time officers are employed as regular CSOs.
—Bay City News Service
This story contains 731 words.
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