News


Meetings on big changes at Woodside, M-A high schools

The Sequoia Union High School District will host community meetings at Woodside and Menlo-Atherton high schools on Monday and Tuesday to discuss major facility changes at the schools and a district-wide bond measure that might amount to $225 million.

The meetings are set for 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at Woodside High School and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Menlo-Atherton High Schools. The meetings will be held in the schools' performing arts centers.

The district says it needs capital improvement funds to increase capacity at all district campuses in light of a coming enrollment surge.

M-A is expected to take the brunt of the increase with 2,600 students by the 2020-21 school year, up from the current 2,000.

Woodside High could rise to 2,200 by 2020-21, about 400 more students than at present.

If district voters were to approve a $225 million bond measure, about $84 million might go for new facilities at the comprehensive high schools.

M-A could get $29 million to add 17 regular classrooms and two classrooms for science, one for chemistry and two for performing arts or career technical education. Woodside could get $9 million to do the same, but with 10 regular classrooms and one each of the others.

The school board is having polling done to gauge community opinion on what size of bond measure would be acceptable. A community task force came up with a list of projects for each campus and a number as to what it would cost: $225 million.

A ballot measure could be before district voters in the June 2014 or November 2014 election.

The district's enrollment projections predict how each school's population is expected to grow over the next six years. The list of projects for each campus reflects the expected enrollment for the 2020-21 school year at that campus.

Click here to see a letter to parents from Superintendent James Lianides.

Dave Boyce

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gumby
a resident of Woodside: other
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Here comes the property tax increase again. If you don't believe it, check the % of your tax bill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WP
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Feb 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

I like it that we get to pay taxes, especially for good schools. Civil society doesn't come free, and in the long run a well educated populous is more likely to make sound policy choices. In our area there are plenty of grouchy old rich people like to complain about taxes, but they sure enjoy it when the value of their property appreciates because of good public schools. Yay school bonds! Go M-A Bears and Woodside Wildcats!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ol' Homeboy
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Feb 7, 2014 at 1:35 pm

RU kidding me? Who's projecting that M-A's enrollment is going to grow by 30% in 6 years? Maybe our SUHSD officials need to go back to school and take a statistic course. M-A's student population has remained relatively consistent since I graduated in 1969. So, where are all these kids suddenly surfacing? With new real estate development extremely limited and existing home/rent prices through the roof — I'd like to know what indicators are being used to guesstimate this projected student increase. And won't some of the new Charter Schools that have been proposed within the district absorb extra students? This just sounds like another bogus SUHSD Bond issue scam.
You'd think with all the Erectile Disfunction ads we're blanketed with today, our population would be on the brink of extinction - not increasing!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on Feb 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Seeing the district enrollment is fairly simple: just look at the enrollment in the pipeline in the underlying K-8 districts.

See the school-by-school enrollment depends on boundary lines and, to a lesser extent, transfers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by stats
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

@Ol' Homeboy,
Guess you missed the demographic tidal wave flooding through the elementary and middle schools that feed MA. And if you really want to know where all the kids are coming from, it's all irrefutably documented.

Web Link

BTW - Maybe it feels like MA's student population hasn't varied much since 1969, but the district's population has been incredibly cyclical. Maybe you missed big changes like annexation of the Willows and the closure of Ravenswood High ?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lill
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Feb 7, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Also, in the past the SUHS district did a great job shifting the boarders (especially between Woodside and M-A) depending on population ups and downs-- the result was more balanced high schools. Not sure why they are "overcrowding" and "overbuilding" M-A when a great school like Woodside stil has room for kids.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2014 at 9:47 am

There are more kids in Menlo Park now and you can see that in the elementary and middle school enrollments of Las Lomitas and Menlo Park City School districts.

M-A is having to absorb all of Las Lomitas growth because those parents have money and clout and they want their kids to go M-A even though Woodside it closer for many of them.

The main driver for the increase in both schools is simply more kids.

We should do everything we can to educate all kids as best we can - our future society will depend how well we do this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Feb 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm

WP wrote:
> in the long run a well educated populous is more likely to make sound policy choices.

What evidence do you have that mega-large high schools result in "a well educated populous" that makes "sound policy choices."

I'm betting NONE.

Mega-large high schools are not the solution.

I will be actively fighting the bond measure. We need more schools, not larger schools. The only way we will get the attention of the board is to send this measure to defeat. Then they'll be forced to do what they should have been doing for years: planning long term. We've had enough short-term thinking, and real estate prices are only going to go higher long-term.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Glens
on Feb 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

> M-A is having to absorb all of Las Lomitas growth because
> those parents have money and clout and they want their
> kids to go M-A even though Woodside it closer for many
> of them.

Well, then I guess that proves that money and intelligence do not always correlate :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by stats
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Feb 9, 2014 at 10:30 am

@peninsula resident,
And pray tell, what would long term planning look like in your expert opinion ? Seems like you would help more by offering your vision and guidance, than by boycotting current ideas. In fact, it's not clear you even have a workable solution in mind, just bombastic opposition. BTW - I believe the proposed bond plan includes two more small schools, as well as expansions, so I'm not sure what your vision would look like.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Middle school parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 9, 2014 at 1:42 pm

@resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, the reason of the over-crowding of M-A is not Las Lomitas. Our district is fairly small and currently graduates about 125 kids; the graduation class will grow to 160 over time, but that is still very small comparing to all of the Ravenswood graduation class of over 400 kids that will grow to over 500.

The reason of the over-enrollment at M-A is that the school board decided to add all the Ravenswood district into M-A (currently only 1/3 goes to M-A). While we all agree with this decision, it begs the question: if you add something in, should you take something out? They took out few kids from North Fair Oaks, and declared it a tie. One wonders about their math skills!

And just to be perfectly, the Las Lomitas community was NOT consulted on the decision not to move us to Woodside, the decision was made for us.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by peninsula resident
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Feb 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm

stats wrote:
> And pray tell, what would long term planning look like in your expert opinion?

Add another full high school. It's pretty indisputable that the district made poor choices in the past, actually GIVING UP school land when it's clear...whether you go back 5, 10, 20 or 40 years...that the bay area population would INCREASE, not decrease. The need for more high schools was clearly foreseeable, but prior Sequoia school boards just kicked the can on solving problems long-term. This board continues that trend.

"stats" : I dare you to argue the above statement is not true. I double dare you. I triple dare you. Personally, I don't think you...um...are able to do so (note: edited by author. I decided to be kind). I'm calling you out. Right now.

And in case anyone thinks I'm being too hard on "stats", I should point out "stats" and I have had disagreements on school-related issues before. I find "stats" hand-wavy just-do-whatever-the-school-districts-say approach weak, not constructive and not in the best interests of our communities or our children.

I'm sure there were plenty of people like "stats" that supported the closure of Ravenswood and San Carlos High Schools. And it's that hand-wavy, short-sided, do-whatever-the-school-districts-say attitude that got our communities in this bind. It needs to stop.

stats wrote:
> [snipped since it added nothing to the discussion...as usual]

stats wrote:
> the proposed bond plan includes two more small schools

Gee, the added schools will be 5.8% of the "estimated" (and I use that word loosely) population; a grand total of 586 students. Wow, way to think big and think long term, SUHSD!!! Pathetic.

Will the bond measure have language in it guaranteeing that a portion of the money will be guaranteed to be spent on those small schools, with guarantees that the infrastructure of these small schools will support a minimum of 586? Or is it just a ruse to convince skeptical voters that they're planning long-term. We'll see. I'm skeptical.

You should all be skeptical. Just a quick history lesson on peninsula school districts should make that obvious.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WP
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Feb 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm

If we're lucky, maybe peninsula resident will write an angry, unhinged essay for the sample ballot opposing the bond measure, and help ensure it passes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by History guy
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Feb 10, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Proximity, preparation and demographics seem to suggest that Las Lomitas is a natural for Woodside. That will even the burden on MA and Woodside and provide a good solution or all.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Want to bet the two small school are really for Charter Schools?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dave Boyce
Almanac staff writer
on Feb 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Dave Boyce is a registered user.

The two small schools, one of which Sequoia district officials said would be located in "the Menlo Park area," will be magnet schools. They will also be new buildings rather than a remodel of an existing building or set of buildings.

Since the small schools will not have a built-in constituency -- Menlo-Atherton has Las Lomitas, Menlo Park and Ravenswood, for example -- a key question will be the nature of the magnet. What focus for a small school will be attractive enough to draw 300 to 400 students away from the comprehensive schools? Perhaps science, perhaps art, perhaps something else entirely.

Officials have said that the answer to this question will be based on researching community opinion.


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