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Private school faces eviction in Menlo Park

Original post made on Apr 5, 2013

Menlo Park City School District staff is recommending that the school board terminate the German-American International School's lease of the district's former O'Connor School site two years early. The board will act on the recommendation tonight (April 9).

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 5, 2013, 11:56 AM

Comments (12)

Posted by Allied Arts parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Apr 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

The staff and board should also be looking ahead to recapturing the former Fremont School site on Middle Ave. from the city and establishing a K-2 building for Allied Arts and Central MP kids.
Rosener House could easily be moved to Little House on city owned land and that building could be converted and added on to accomodate the up and coming K-2 kids blossoming in Allied Arts and Central Menlo


Posted by mary, a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Apr 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm

The James Flood School adjacent to Flood Park and Suburban Park remains empty. I know it is in the Ravenswood school district. Maybe they would be willing to lease or sell the property. It is in a state of deteroriating disrepair and ruin. It could be resurected and restored to the lovely school it once was. It seems like such a waste of an asset when there are additional school sites needed.


Posted by walter, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

I've seen the effects of the overcrowding at the Menlo Park schools and I think terminating the lease early is the right decision. It's in the terms of the lease, so GAIS has always know this was a possibility. And while unfortunate, I think the needs of the city should prevail.


Posted by Menlo Mom of 3, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Apr 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I agree with Walter--while I sympathize with GAIS, the "out" clause in the contract was specifically designed for the situation we have now--severe overcrowding due to dramatic increase in number of Menlo Park children.

I find Mr. Siegel's comments mean spirited, given that his organization signed the agreement, and now is calling the MPCSD superintendent's plan to take back a site that belongs to the district, according to the terms spelled out i the original agreement "unfair" and suggesting the the superintendent is making this decision because he's "new in town".

40% increase in population over less than 15 years requires this type of measure. Frankly, it should have been done earlier.


Posted by MP parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2013 at 6:56 pm

They are just asking for another year. They have been good tenants and provide the Menlo Park City School District with a considerable amount of money in rent. Is the situation so dire that they need to be removed so quickly? It doesn't sound like they are asking to not leave, just to have one more year.

To Menlo Mom of 3....there has been a considerable amount of new classrooms added over the last 15 years to accomodate that growth. It's not as if this huge influx of students is still being housed in the same old schools.

This all sounds great but we should all be prepared to pay for this. We already pay a considerable amount of money in property taxes. Not only will taking over O'Conner lose the rent money, I'm sure we'll see another bond, parcel tax, etc. added to our monthly mortgage payments soon. I would appreciate some caution by the school board and superintendent before they make this decision. Does this really need to happen so quickly?


Posted by Allison , a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 7, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I am a law student and I've been studying Contracts. I am not claiming to be an expert but what to know... Can't the school sue on the theories of breach, detrimental reliance, Promissory Estoppel, unconscionably or public policy. . . ? I'd love to know what the Contract says? Maybe the German school's lawyer messed up by not risk shifting? Then sue the lawyer maybe? Any legal debate or a internship in Chicago (where currently live, hope to move back to Cali ) for the summer (not necessarily in Contracts) would be great.


Posted by auf wiedersehen, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Apr 7, 2013 at 9:36 pm

GAIS has enjoyed a good deal for a while. Without having to invest in their own campus, they've been able to use a school facility for many years. Now they want the district to suffer major inconveniences so they can stay a little longer. Their "just one more year" gambit sounds like a child asking for "just ten more minutes" before bedtime. If the district granted them that year, they'd just ask for another -- using the same not-enough-time rationale.

The district has been generous and accommodating, but it's way past time for GAIS to get its act together and find a permanent home. Or disband. The students all have access to their home district's public schools, and there are many other private schools. It's not as if they'll be deprived of an education without GAIS.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

The problems of the bay area which seems to be the lack of,space. Housing is bad, yet to house a school is even worse.


Posted by Change is Good, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm

To Walter and Menlo Mom,

While I agree that the O'Connor site is needed for long-term enrollment, the nature of the transition is what is in dispute. O'Connor is ~60 years old, and is WAY too small to be a viable modern public school. It needs to be radically improved or completely rebuilt (probably the latter). If one wishes to minimize the amount of time until O'Connor is fully ready (hopefully in 2016), then most people who think about it would agree that it should be shuttered in 2015, and all efforts should be dedicated to construction. Under this scenario, placing a handful of Laurel students in temporary portables for one year (2014-15), only to remove them in 2015, is absurd. GAIS should probably get an extra year, not because the District doesn't need the school, but because the best transition plan does not include temporarily exiling Laurel students to O'Connor for one year.


Posted by Old MP, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 9, 2013 at 11:23 am

GAIS signed a lease agreement with MP Schools. They knew what they were signing and they were fully aware of the early termination options that were outlined in the agreement.

I don't get how this is unfair. MP Schools are only doing exactly what is afforded them by the terms of the agreement. They aren't breaking the lease and they are working to conform all terms for notice of early termination.

If GAIS thinks they are being treated unfairly, then why in the world did they sign the agreement as written.

No matter the politics, the bottom line is the agreement is the agreement --- the school district is following it to the letter of the law. GAIS needs to take their reality pill and get ready to move.


Posted by Tricia, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 9, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I feel for the families at the GAIS. They are a committed community and have built a wonderful program. I also feel our MPCSD schools are busting at the seams. We have 750 kids at each of two of our elementary schools, Encinal and Oak Knoll. Laurel has nearly 500 kids on a campus the same size as the O'Connor site.

We have the same number of kids (if not more) in 4th grade at Encinal that the GAIS has in their entire K-5 elementary school. We need smaller schools and smaller grade cohorts, too. And space is a very real constraint. The 6 acre O'Connor campus (same size as Laurel) is the way to help us get there.

I don't think most MPCSD parents would support moving 5th graders to Hillview in order to accommodate an additional year on the lease.

None of this is to slight the GAIS, which seems to have been a good tenant and neighbor. The Board needs to act in the interest of the community it serves. By doing so, it's not acting 'against' the GAIS. I think it's unfair that The Almanac and some GAIS officials and parents are painting the District and Board as 'the bad guy' here.


Posted by SteveC, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 9, 2013 at 4:28 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

So what is the problem. Get ready to move or close down. The property belongs to the school district.


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