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Letter to the Editor: 'No Boundary' Policy Concerns Redwood Shores Residents

Residents on the east side of Hwy. 101 say the new school district policy creates unnecessary ambiguity.

 

(Editor's note: Belmont Shores, as referred to in this letter, is an area consisting of 125 homes in the Farallon and California Cottages neighborhoods.)

Dear Editor,

Our neighborhood has recently banded together to express concerns before the Belmont-Redwood Shores School Board regarding the No Boundary Policy adopted for the 2012-2013 school year. 

The new No Boundary policy creates unnecessary ambiguity for the neighborhoods of Belmont Shores with the potential outcome of changing our neighborhood school from Redwood Shores Elementary to Nesbit.  We are strongly opposed to this. 

Many of our children attended Nesbit for Kindergarten and 1st grade and were proud to be Nesbit Pumas while our neighborhood school was under construction.  We considered ourselves guests while our neighborhood school was being built.  Redwood Shores Elementary is our neighborhood school.  

We have expressed our many concerns about the unintended consequences of the new policy through multiple emails to board members, a letter signed by over 75 of our neighbors and several appearances at recent Board meetings. 

The neighborhoods of Belmont Shores have been committed to Redwood Shores Elementary Schools since it’s inception. We, along with our neighbors in Redwood Shores campaigned for passage of Measure C.  We worked at the phone banks, put up signs and rallied for its ultimate passage.  More importantly, we voted for the passage of Measure C and have been paying for it ever since.  Measure C was a ballet for voters in neighborhoods west of 101 and changing of our neighborhood school as a result of the new No Boundary policy feels like our vote is not being honored or respected.

We have presented to the School Board our safety concerns over a change of neighborhood school would create including: having with our children walk past a hotel, through an empty baseball field, over the freeway bridge, onto Ralston Ave, and past a gas station to get to Nesbit from our neighborhoods.  Our children currently can walk directly to Redwood Shores Elementary on a bike path the entire time without ever walking on a street.

We are disappointed with the lack of communication and inadequate representation during the planning process last year.  We understand that the boundary issue was a heated and exhausting topic last year and upon reading the many meeting minutes, agendas and comments on the Belmont Patch from different committees and boards, one thing became crystal clear…the neighborhoods of Belmont Shores got lost in the mix. In fact, there is substantial evidence that Belmont Shores was not intended to be affected by the boundary policy change! The April 27, 2011 edition of the Redwood Shores Elementary Newsletter clearly states:

“Note: Redwood Shores and Sandpiper Elementary Schools will not be affected by the boundary change”.   

We view a potential change in schools as an accidental consequence of the new No Boundary policy, and we believe it can and should be fixed now.  Our neighborhoods do not contribute to the capacity problems in other schools yet the solution negatively impacts our neighborhoods.

We have double-checked the minutes and agendas on the boundary matter from last year and found:  

  • Cipriani, Central, and Nesbit were mentioned repeatedly in the minutes.  Redwood Shores Elementary was not. 
  • Neighborhoods 20-43 were studied continuously.  The working chart from the Boundary Committee and maps used for alternative ideas do not even include Belmont Shores. 
  • The June 2nd minutes indicate that there was a Traffic Analysis conducted to study the safety of children walking from neighborhoods 41-43 to Nesbit.  Belmont Shores neighborhoods were not included in this study yet safety is one of our primary concerns.  
  • Central, Nesbit, and Cipriani all held school wide community meetings on the Boundary issue.  Redwood Shores Elementary did not because it was communicated that there would be no impact.  

The families who are affected most, those who do not yet have children currently enrolled in Redwood Shores Elementary were the least informed.  They received no communication whatsoever from the school or district.

A few members of the School Board have suggested that we “wait and see what happens” or “let it all settle”.  While this may seem the like a reasonable solution to them after such a difficult process last year, our neighborhood is not satisfied with this approach.  Our simple request is that the School Board can and should fix this problem now and adjust its algorithm to respect the natural boundary of Highway 101 and the integrity of our vote on Measure C.

We believe there is a perfect storm supporting our position to reverse the unintended consequence of the no boundary policy including:

  • Belmont Shores support and passage of measure C.
  • Misleading and ineffective communication.
  • Lack of appropriate community outreach.
  • Long-standing safety concerns.
  • Respect for the continuity of our community.

A simple conditional statement in the algorithm software is an easy fix and one that can and should be made now. Our neighborhood is deeply concerned by this matter and will stand united in our determination to resolve it in a fair manner. 

Sincerely, 

Concerned Residents of Belmont Shores

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