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IT’S THE WRONG PLAN! A Critical Analysis of the Student Redistribution and Facility Plan Adopted by The Menlo Park School Board Prepared by:L.D. Montague,

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Presentation on theme: "IT’S THE WRONG PLAN! A Critical Analysis of the Student Redistribution and Facility Plan Adopted by The Menlo Park School Board Prepared by:L.D. Montague,"— Presentation transcript:

1 IT’S THE WRONG PLAN! A Critical Analysis of the Student Redistribution and Facility Plan Adopted by The Menlo Park School Board Prepared by:L.D. Montague, LDM Associates Engineering and Management Consultants

2 The Issue The $91M bond money voted by the tax payers intended to be spent wisely to meet the long term needs of our schools; Plan adopted doesn’t! District’s demographics data shows that the approved plan fails its own selection criteria –will be obsolete within 5 years of completion –forecloses future corrective action Decisions based on erroneous information Detailed analysis of the data indicates a much better and flexible plan is available.

3 Hillview 659?769?900+?

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8 Recommendations Approved 1. Reconfigure Laurel from a K-2 to a K-3; Encinal from a 3-5 to a K-5; Oak Knoll to remain K-5 2. Adjust school boundaries to achieve the reconfiguration 3. Construct educational resource center at Encinal Campus 4. Maintain lease at O’Connor until 2011, yet reserve $1.75M of bond funds for development there if enrollment exceeds projections

9 O’Connor campus declared inappropriate for use because it is too small - “3 acres” One middle school declared highly desireable from an educational standpoint and favored by parents and educators Two Pivotal Findings Drove Choice Neither of these have been or can be justified on basis of fact

10 Why a Single Middle School? Arguments for one school Economy of scale allows more special activity facilities Specialist faculty can be hired and used more efficiently at one facility with large population Hillview blue ribbon school that can’t be duplicated One campus heavily favored by parents and educators Counter Arguments Facilities can be duplicated for far less than the cost of two story construction Encinal is 10 minutes away from Hillview. Faculty efficiency is function of number of students not number of campuses We used to have two great middle schools with healthy competition between them All tax payers have a vote--not just a group of vociferous parents.

11 The O’Connor Campus O’Connor campus declared inappropriate without written explanation at the October decision meeting At the February Hillview public meeting, superintendent stated that O’Connor campus was not considered because it was only 3 acres. According to city records and on site measurements the site is 5.8 acres -- almost as large as Laurel campus (6.1 acres), and has the most parking space of any campus and access from three streets. A new 400+ student facility can easily be built behind the existing building. Instead, superintendent recommended extending the lease to the German American School. The income from the lease is apparently $318,000/yr % of the annual operating income, per the ‘06-’07 approved budget

12 O’Connor Leased 5.8 acres Hillview acres

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14 Review of Board’s Decision Three of the four recommendations made by superintendent and approved by board are counter to board’s stated objectives Real message of district’s demographic data is ignored. Community and long term fiscal impacts subordinated to perceived but unjustified “benefits” that fail objective scrutiny Two story construction substantially more expensive due to seismic, stairway and ADA access requirements.

15 Critical Analysis Approach District demographic study used to break down student population by neighborhood by grade by year –Grades assumed equally distributed within grade groups in consultant study –Boundaries adjusted to balance population Comparison done between District plan and a 5 campus 2 middle school configuration

16 School Planning Area Map Ringwood Ave Ravenswood Marsh Rd Middlefield Bay Rd Encinal Ave Valparaiso Ave Santa Cruz Ave Middle Ave El Camino Real Willow Rd

17 Growth by Neighborhood

18 What Demographics Study Shows 60% of the elementary student enrollment growth resides east of El Camino Real –Linwood Oaks, Lindenwood/Menlo Oaks & Willows –In 2010, 210 K-5 students reside in Willows alone. Oak Knoll is overcrowded now and will get worse. More than 60% of current 659 student middle school enrollment as well as the expected growth in middle school enrollment to 911 students resides east of ECR.

19 Approved Plan Seriously Flawed The decision not to consider O’Connor for elementary facility based on erroneous data and eliminated most flexible options Decision to continue with only one middle school does not stand responsible independent scrutiny –Proposed enrollment exceeding 900 students on 9+acre site ignores environmental impacts and exceeds state student density standards for campus size by factor of two. –Demographics data shows that the proposed facility will be at capacity soon after it is complete –Pros far outweighed by negatives Encinal, the largest campus was and is ideally a middle school site and that option should be preserved not foreclosed Continuing the O’Connor lease to German American school is not in best interests of district--Terminate/renegotiate as soon as possible.

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21 Approved Plan Implications Tearing down the existing Hillview facility, renovated and expanded only 5 years ago at a cost of more than $15M is unnecessary, and a colossal waste of the tax payers money. Building a new two story $40M facility will unnecessarily create major environmental impacts to school operations and the surrounding community –9+ acre campus cannot handle the proposed 900+ students and resultant traffic on Santa Cruz Ave. and cross streets –The staging and construction will eliminate all playing fields for at least two years; more likely three. –The plan eliminates Tinker park and tennis courts that are important to the neighborhood Locating the district office at Encinal was inappropriate use of the land exacerbating parking, pickup and drop off problems, and the proposal to add a resource center there compounds the felony

22 A Better Near & Long Term Plan District’s data favors a five campus plan –A new K student facility at the 5.8 acre O’Conner campus –A 400+ student K-4 at Laurel, and a 600 pupil K-4 at Oak Knoll –A second middle school at Encinal along with Hillview -- each with pupils –All facilities upgraded and modernized with minimum disruption to campus operations and community –District offices and proposed resource center co- located at O’Conner in refurbished existing building

23 5 Campus Student Distribution The following three charts show the distribution of students for 2007, 2010, and 2015 based on the district’s same demographics data applied to a 5 campus configuration. On these charts, yellow color denotes Oak Knoll attendence, green represents Laurel, Rose color represents Encinal, and blue represents Hillview. There is no difference from the baseline plan in 2007, but by 2010, the new O’Connor school is completed and its attendence is shown in gray.

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28 , O’Connor School Five campus configuration maximizes capacity without overcrowding with maximum flexibility to handle enrollment uncertainties. K K-4

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30 5 Campus Plan Proposal 1. Apply sufficient funding to build new 400+ facility at O’Connor and conversion of Encinal to a 5-8 middle school 2. Terminate lease of German American School at earliest opportunity. Begin construction in parallel if necessary 3. Use remainder of bond funds to upgrade other campuses and consolidation of district offices as appropriate with construction phased for minimum disruption –Environmental improvements –Electronic classrooms –Specialized class and lab spaces 4. Move district offices and build resource center at O’Connor site to refurbished existing building after new K-4 facility is complete 5. Student populations compatible with campus sizes and adaptable by moving grade 5 either way between campuses depending on real class enrollments.

31 Request for Community Action Demand architects be directed by board to develop a preliminary design for a new modern 400+ student K-4 school at O’Connor campus. Lease not to be extended. Laurel changes can proceed as planned Hillview design effort should be put on hold until O’Connor preliminary design is completed, and no permanent K-4 improvements should be made at Encinal pending completion of O’Connor preliminary design. Oak Knoll design must consider implications of reducing its population by moving 5th grade to middle school by 2010 Since board appears biased against any plan other than the one adopted in violation of its own criteria, an independent review panel preferably from outside the district should be formed to evaluate and recommend best plan to the tax payers of Menlo Park


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