Persistent over-enrollment in Mountain View’s schools is prompting the district to redraw school boundaries, a move that administrators hope will balance out enrollment in schools by the 2016-2017 school year.
The district is assembling a task force of administrators, teachers, principals, PTA members and neighborhood association groups to help draw the new boundaries.
Today, most parents clamor to send their kids to the higher-performing Castro and Huff elementary schools and to Graham Middle School. The rezoning would force students to attend the neighborhood school assigned by the district, likely the one in closest proximity to their house.
“This was the first year in that I can recall that Huff school, which is the school that has the highest API (academic performance index) in the district could not accommodate its incoming kindergarten enrollment,” said Craig Goldman, the superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District.
In the past, Whisman could expand kindergarten classes at Huff to accommodate more students. But this year, class size was pushed to the very maximum and 19 students had to attend kindergartens in other neighborhoods.
Greg Coladonato, the president of the Slater Neighborhood Association in the Whisman District, supports redistricting so parents can send their kids to the schools closest to their neighborhoods.
Currently, his oldest child goes to a charter school in Sunnyvale and he drives his two elementary school-aged children to Stevenson because there isn’t an alternative in his neighborhood.
“For the people in this neighborhood, the fact that we don’t have any kids walking to school and any neighborhood pride in our neighborhood school in our neighborhood, is a real disadvantage for this community,” Coladonato said.
But unlike the elementary schools that have gone through a few rezoning processes in the past, the middle school lines haven’t been redrawn since the Mountain View and Whisman districts merged in 2001.
The current divide requires kids who live on the north side of Central Expressway to attend Crittenden and those who live on the south side of the expressway to attend Graham Middle School. Roughly 40 percent of children who live in Mountain View that don’t attend private schools go to Crittenden and the 60 percent of kids go to Graham Middle School.
With more kids attending the latter school, Graham constantly deals with the issue of overcrowding and a long list of transfer requests from both parents who live in the neighborhood and those who wish to transfer their kids from the north side of town.
“We have done everything we can to accommodate the neighborhood kids including over-enrolling beyond what we think the capacity the school is,” Goldman said.
CORRECTION – Editor’s Note (12/7/2014): In this story originally published Nov. 25, 2014, Peninsula Press misstated that Greg Coladonato’s oldest child attends a private school. This child attends a charter school in Sunnyvale. This is a corrected story appropriately characterizing the school.