News


Tonight: Menlo Park school district meeting on building new school

The Menlo Park City School District will hold the first of two community meetings tonight (Nov. 6) to provide information and hear ideas from residents about the building of a fourth elementary school at the O'Connor school site in Menlo Park.

The meeting, from 7 to 9 p.m., will be in the Laurel School multi-use room at 95 Edge Road in Atherton.

The district plans to open a new school, grades 3-5, to address the problem of a burgeoning enrollment that greatly surpassed projections from studies done in prior years, before the district's existing schools -- Encinal and Laurel elementary schools in Atherton, and Oak Knoll elementary and Hillview Middle in Menlo Park -- were renovated. Funding will come from the $23 million bond voters approved Nov. 5 -- Measure W.

The school will be constructed on district-owned property in the Willows neighborhood, the former site of O'Connor School. The campus has been leased since 1991 to the German-American International School.

A second meeting is set for Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., also in the Laurel School multi-use room.

In addition to providing an opportunity for the public to comment, the district will discuss topics including the planning, design and construction schedule of the project, the initial school design options, the initial traffic design options, and the environmental review process.

Meetings to discuss the project are also scheduled for Dec. 10, Jan. 7 and Feb. 11.

Access the district's website with information and updates on the O'Connor plans by clicking here. Comments are also being taken through an email link at that site.

Comments

Posted by Not more debt without plans, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

So, am I the only one who thinks that scheduling the community outreach AFTER asking for the money is a sign that the district doesn't have it's act together? Bond requests are legally required to be tied to specific projects. But the information in the voter pamphlet is skimpy. Presumably because they didn't have the plan baked by the deadline. Well, a reasonable alternative would have been community outreach leading up to the election. Instead we get meetings scheduled the DAY AFTER the vote.

Whether you believe the additional school is a good idea or not (I'm not opposed in theory although $23m seems rather pricey), I urge a NO vote to send a clear message that this behavior is not ok. Don't write a blank check for people who can't meet deadlines.


Posted by LocalParent, a resident of Atherton: other
on Nov 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Not more debt without plans:

They probably scheduled after the vote because they know that the bond will be approved. They know that voters in this district will approve anything related to schools, whether or not it makes good financial sense.


Posted by Tricia Barr, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

A series of community and stakeholder input meetings already took place last Winter and Spring for the School Board to hear input regarding options to deal with the over-enrollment issue. The District worked with professional contractors to get estimates for different options to re-open the O'Connor site as an MPCSD school. The Board also reviewed preliminary site drawings for the school. Based on this work, the Board decided that the best option is to build a new school at the site for grades 3-5 and decided on an amount for the bond resolution, which is now Measure W. After the vote, the District has planned to gather more detailed input from the Community. The Community Input meetings are scheduled for Nov. 6, Nov. 12, Dec. 10, Jan. 7 and Feb. 11.

I voted YES on W to build a new school for current and future students in MPCSD and alleviate the over-crowding at all of our existing elementary schools.

Here is more information and background on the decisions and meetings up to now:
Web Link


Posted by Elizabeth Ouren, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 4, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I attended a District organized community meetings last January to give input on options for how the District should address increasing enrollment. Based on community input, the District decided last Spring to plan for a new school on the O'Connor campus.

I VOTED YES on Measure W and I will plan to attend the next community input meetings as well.


Posted by Katie Ferrick, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 4, 2013 at 2:07 pm

The enrollment numbers demonstrate the need for an additional elementary school due to over crowding in our existing schools. Many options were discussed over several months of numerous public meetings and it became clear that the best outcome would be to construct classroom capacity that the district needs at the O'Connor site. I wholeheartedly support that decision. See the district web site "facilities development" tab for a full record of past meetings related to the decisions leading up to this bond measure.

I personally hope the scheduled meetings later in the week will be about planning for a newly constructed school, however, regardless of the outcome of the election, the board needs to meet as soon as possible after the election to figure out how too move forward to accommodate growing enrollment.

Thank you for supporting measure W and for attending planning meetings if you have not been able to attend the meetings held earlier this year.

Please vote Yes on W.


Posted by Newcomer, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Nov 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Apologies if this has been answered before, but for how long is the enrollment surge expected to last? As part of the post-baby-boom generation, I've gone through school closures before, and I'd hate to see a similar downturn before we finish paying off the debt.

The portable classroom at Laurel isn't that bad; it's a lot nicer than many standard classrooms at other schools.


Posted by stats, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm

@Newcomer,
There's been a lot of analysis of enrollment growth by the district. It's all up for the next 10 years with hyper growth for the next 3..

Web Link


Posted by confused citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

If the "hyper growth" is in the next three years and the O'Conner site won't even be available until 2016, how is this helping the enrollment surge? If the district needs the space, then start moving kids in there? They are asking us to vote for the building of a new school for $23 million when it won't even open until after the surge has passed. Doesn't make sense. Note on Measure W. It sounds like more of Ghysels snake oil.


Posted by stats, a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 4, 2013 at 8:44 pm

@Confused,
You certainly are confused. You use the word "surge" which is absolutely the wrong concept, and a bit disingenuous on your part. The numbers don't go down after 3 years or even 10. They keep climbing. It seems that you prefer your preconceived notions to the actual predictions.


Posted by Katie Ferrick, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Nov 5, 2013 at 12:05 am


Hoping that the enrollment data that includes projections can clear up any misunderstandings that anyone has, please see the following enrollment report here:

Web Link


I truly hope everyone can see the need for opening a new school based on enrollment today and projections into the future. Growth is anticipated to continue for at least ten years, which is the furthest out a projection can go. Based on history, the enrollment projections have consistently been outpaced by actual enrollment numbers.

Therefore, even if growth stops in ten years, the district very much needs to open a new school. Please join me in voting YES on W.


More ballot measure and back ground information can be found here:
Web Link

Thank you!


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The dress code
By Jessica T | 21 comments | 1,943 views

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,360 views

. . . People will never forget how you made them feel.
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,285 views

College Freshmen: Avoiding the Pitfalls
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,164 views

Council election, and then some.
By Stuart Soffer | 5 comments | 474 views