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Committee to recommend re-opening Garland School

Original post made by Tyler Hanley, digital editor of Palo Alto Online, on May 18, 2007

A school district committee is asking the school board to reverse its February decision and proceed to give the private Stratford School the required 3-year notice to vacate the Garland site.

Web Link

Do you support this recommendation? Or would you rather see use of additional portable classrooms on existing sites to save money?

Comments (11)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2007 at 4:49 pm

This article parallels the one about re-opening Cubberly as a high school. Are we only growing top and bottom? What about middle schools, or are we content to let Jordan and JLS grow to pre-Terman days?

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Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 18, 2007 at 6:42 pm

My recommendation is instead to give the government schools notice that they are going to be terminated. Why should we allow the government to indoctrinate our children? Let's have separation of school and state for the same reasons we have separation of church and state.

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Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Southgate
on May 18, 2007 at 8:35 pm

So many new developments are being approved or have already been built in the city that we're doing to need another K-5 school. Garland is the logical choice.

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Posted by Paly grad
a resident of Green Acres
on May 18, 2007 at 11:17 pm

Palo Alto schools are crowded now with more housing coming.
Opening Garland sounds like a good idea. It takes awhile to give
notice to the private school there.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 19, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Middle school growth resulted in reopening Terman. So, I'd say the middle schools were the first set dealt with. The big problem there is where would another middle school go? The Garland and Cubberly campuses exist.

It might make some sense for Ohlone, say, to go up to the 8th grade, though I'm not sure how you'd work the cubicle situation.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 19, 2007 at 8:07 pm

OhlonePar, I wish you were right. However, if you look at the chart in the print Weekly (I couldn't find it online), you'll see that the FIRST schools that will reach maximum capacity is the middle schools as a group, in 2009. NO ONE IS THINKING ABOUT THIS VULNERABLE AGE GROUP, and they should be! Lots of research has shown that overly large middle school campuses are very detrimental to the mental health of the students. The schools are growing bigger--JLS is up about 50 students this year, with over 900 projected for next year--and there's no additional classified allocation, no additional janitorial allocation, no provision for teachers to work elsewhere when classrooms are shared, just basically, no consideration at all about the overall effect of this bulging population except, "They were at 1100 before, they can get that big again."

Plus now they want portables in the middle of the highly valued and extensively used basketball courts at JLS!

Maybe the middle schools will have to grow again, but the only way it's going to work at all is if support staff keeps growing, too. And Palo Alto residents said before that they did NOT want the middle schools so large, which is why Terman came to be in the first place.

Your perception is widely shared, OhlonePar, and the district's complete focus on elementaries in AAAG and the high schools in the High School Task Force has left the middle schools adrift, orphaned and ignored. NOT a good thing.

I hope folks get their heads around the biggest, most imminent enrollment growth challenge: the Palo Alto middle schools. Please don't let our city's 11-14 year olds suffer from benign neglect!!

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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on May 20, 2007 at 6:35 am

The implication that housing growth is causing the majority of enrollment growth continues in several threads. Can someone in the school district give us the actual numbers of how enrollment growth is split between more school-age kids in existing homes as they turn over versus in newly built homes?

I know this is not the major issue in this thread but the "connection" between housing growth and schools is important as the online clearly has shown in any discussion of houisng in PA.

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Posted by Palo alto mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 20, 2007 at 9:09 am

Some growth at Jordan would actually be good in the opinion of the principal. There is space for portables at the corner of Middlefield and N. California (where they were during B4E). If the school was a bit larger, they would have two true teams for 7th and 8th grade (they now share some teachers). The teaming works to make your school feel 1/2 the size - at least in your core classes.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Professorville
on May 20, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Should residents of Palo Alto request that the PAUSD Board revisit decisions that have been voted upon in the past? Should we expect public officials to react to change?

If you look at recent "hot topics", the answer depends on whether you want the decision to be made with the best, most current information, or whether you support the past decision and don't want it overturned.

IF there is a shortage of capacity, if the other alternatives are less than ideal, and IF it's the right thing to re-open Garland, then of course the Board should revisit the decision. If Garland is re-opened, the decision about how it is to be used, is a matter of implementation that can be worked out over the next three years.

IF however, you are opposed to Garland functioning as a PAUSD School, for whatever reasons, then one might argue that it's a waste of precious Board time, and wrong, to ask the Board to revisit the decision. The Board voted, so the citizens of Palo Alto should not expect to benefit from decisions based on the most current conditions and new information.

One might further argue that the School District should not make any decisions of any significance until the new Superintendent is up to speed, the Attendance Area Group is given additional time for public input and comment, the lotteries for Choice Programs are fixed, the lunch deficit is eliminated, the Bond Measures for capital improvements are approved by voters, etc...

Sometimes things change. Members of the public need to be able to engage the Board in productive discussions about that change. The Board needs to be able examine new information and make decisions based on recent information.

Change doesn't mean a mistake was made. No one needs to be blamed. Personal attacks do not help the process of handling change. Things change and you do your best to manage for a positive outcome.

We need work together to support the Board, the staff, and the new Superintendent. That doesn't mean we'll always agree, but we should deal with these issues in respectful and constructive manner.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Joe, your tone implies that we should revisit issues with no regard to timing. I disagree. One year between visits...maybe...3 months? NO.

Waiting until a new Super comes on in just a couple months, ..yes. Waiting until lotteries are fixed? No. The Super can help "fix" those concurrently with other decisions.

It is a matter of degree.

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Posted by Almost Architect
a resident of Midtown
on May 21, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Haha this is great! It's so awesome seeing a community realize a coming problem and thinking of ways to go about solving it. I personally think that we need to reopen both Garland and Cubberly to accommodate all the growth Palo Alto has had in the last 10 years. Our problem is not going to go away and I don't see a shrinking in residents over the long run. I would personally like to see the idea of a brand new campus opening (I am an architect...). I do not have suggestions for a site or anything but it's something to think about-

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