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The Proposed JPA and Immediate Need for a New School District

From: domainremoved <Sheryl>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:26:56 -0700

Date: October 11, 2016

To: Mayor Richard Cline
        Mayor Pro Tem Kirsten Keith
        Council Member Catherine Carlton
        Council Member Raymond Mueller
        Council Member Peter Ohtaki

From: Sheryl Bims, Menlo Park Resident

RE: Concerns About the JPA as Presented to the Public and Residents’ Desires to Leave the Ravenswood City School District and Pursue Other Options Immediately

As a resident of Menlo Park I have remained engaged in the civic affairs of our city for fifteen years. Our city has spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants in an effort to find out what changes the residents want to see in the Belle Haven Neighborhood. One of the issues that I have heard consistently for the past fifteen years is the desire for access to a high quality education for all residents. While the JPA as presented is an effort to provide all Ravenswood students with improved facilities, it does not address the more critical issue which is access to a high quality education in Belle Haven.

We as a city must vet this proposed JPA in public meetings which allow for dialogue among Menlo Park residents who are in the Ravenswood School District and directly affected by this proposal. We must also allow for public dialogue among all Menlo Park residents because the proposed JPA will have long standing implications from an educational and financial perspective.

When it comes to school districts and leaving one district in order to establish another, there is no easy way to do it. Breaking-up is hard to do, however, in the interest of all parties involved, sometimes it is better to part ways. The Belle Haven School could be purchased by the new school district using the money proposed for the JPA, combined with a portion of the hundreds of millions derived from the combined impact fees and ongoing increased tax revenues resulting from development in the M-2 area. This action would provide Ravenswood with much needed funding for the remaining facilities improvements and allow for a more manageable sized district in which to implement their plans. The new district would be able to proceed with its plans to deliver a high quality education to the students located on the Bayside of Menlo Park.

In viewing the last few minutes of the September 13th City Council Meeting, one could easily think that some people are trying to push through a plan that is not fully embraced by your constituents. I hope that you, City Staff and the public take time to view the video. The footage runs from the last 7:30 – 4:20 minutes of the meeting. I strongly encourage you to proceed in a manner that incorporates more public input from your constituents. The current residents and thousands of new residents who will be moving to Belle Haven over the next few years deserve a new district.

Most residents in Belle Haven are ready to make drastic changes to the delivery of public education on the Bayside of Menlo Park. We do not envision the change as being something that can continue to be delayed with an election cycle or until your term in office is complete. We must move forward now and find a way to make the transition as smooth as possible for all parties involved. While there are very dedicated and well-intentioned administrators and educators in the Ravenswood School District, we can no longer wait to move forward with a new way to deliver public education to the residents of Menlo Park who live on the Bayside of Highway 101. The necessary change must include being part of a new or different school district.

Thank you for the service you provide to our city as members of the City Council. You each have a very important role to play. I ask you to exercise not only your collective voice but also your individual voices. We elected you to office to act in the best interest of the residents of this City. One of the key pillars of Menlo Park is education and you have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the educational outcomes of the students in Belle Haven. Please keep your focus on the most important factor and that is access to a high quality education. This letter is written as a result of discussion and agreement among many community residents and leaders. Please do not contribute to silencing the voice of your constituents.

Respectfully Yours,

Sheryl Bims

Sent from my iPhone
Received on Tue Oct 11 2016 - 17:32:24 PDT

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