Non-residents are a drain on public schools Schools & Kids, posted by Rebecca, a resident of Menlo Park, on Jun 23, 2006 at 11:23 am
Today's article about non-residents in Palo Alto public schools really made me angry. These greedy non-residents (who use fake lease documents or other methods to get their kids into P.A. schools) are dishonest and should be investigated. A public school district needs to ensure that the students attending their schools actually LIVE within district boundaries.
As the mother of three children, I want my kids to attend good public schools. For this reason, we purchased a house that was more expensive than we thought we could afford at the time. My husband and I work so we can live here. We also volunteer at our kids' schools, join the PTA, attend fund-raising events, donate items for the auction, etc. Do you think that non-residents are donating money or time to the schools?? It's not simply the cost of the education that we're being cheated out of.... think about it.
Posted by Phil, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 23, 2006 at 1:13 pm
I'm in COMPLETE agreement. Palo Alto public schools use revenue generated from Palo Alto taxpayers. They exist solely for the benefit of Palo Alto's children. I hope the school board and school administration are committed to keeping it that way.
Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 24, 2006 at 1:14 pm
Palo Alto is running one whole school just to benefit outsiders, just to show how liberal we are. They need to sunset Tinsley as soon as possible. When the outsiders get preference over neighborhood kids it stops being funny.
Posted by Bob Ford, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 25, 2006 at 2:22 am
I don't like it either, and don't call me "liberal," or I'll shoot you with my muzzle loading black powder rifle, but I don't think these people are "greedy" because they want their kids to go to school in our town. Find another adjective.
Posted by Prop 13 Victim, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jun 25, 2006 at 5:31 pm
What do you mean by “sunset” Tinsley? I must have been sleeping that day in law school. Are you saying that the Palo Alto school district should breach a 20 year old settlement? What is the reason the school district would be not found in contempt??
What do you mean “Palo Alto is running one whole school just to benefit outsiders, just to show how liberal we are?” As far as I know, the settlement was the result of 10 years of litigation brought against the Palo Alto school district.
Of course, the Tinsley settlement has nothing to do with non-residents illegally attending Palo Alto schools. Stick to the subject.
Posted by Mary G, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2006 at 5:24 pm
If we had extra space in our scholls, fine, let's educate others. As it is, our schools are overcrowded and taxpayers cannot send their children to neighborhood schools. We have to regulate this situation.
Posted by Ann Tagonistic, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2006 at 8:09 pm
How about giving the kids a break? Is this really a widespread problem? I can imagine kids that moved out of the area wanting to continue to go to their old school... is that so terrible? I don't have kids, but I value my education so I don't mind my property taxes going to help educate *your* kids or kids from across the border.
Who knows, maybe your little preciouses might even learn something valuable about getting along with others from having the occasional hard-working-lower-middle-class peer.
If it were up to me, I'd direct my tax dollars to which ever student wanted to learn more, whether it was a privledged palo alto kid or someone from a more typical california neighborhood.
PS, Don't you think you're getting a bit "greedy" yourself having that 3rd kid? The world has enough mouths to feed, don't you think...
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2006 at 8:11 pm
Tinsley was settled based on a theory of equal protection that, while applicable for a short period, has since been overruled. There is no basis for continuing Tinsley except to give away public funds (which is a crime, by the way). Moreover, Tinsly kids require far more than the average amount of special attention and many are behavioral problems (I know, the politically incorrect secret that remains unspoken). The program also takes away some of the "cream of the crop" students from other districts, resulting in an overall "dumbing down" of those schools.
It's time to rethink the program and revisit the settlement.
Posted by chimalus drive, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 26, 2006 at 8:26 pm
Hasn't this issue of "illegal students", who cross the borders and enter the Palo Alto schools from outside areas, made you think of the parallel with "illegal immigrants" who have come to the US ? I see and hear so many outraged comments from those who don't want their dollars spent on educating young people from outside our district, but who are sympathetic with housing, feeding and providing medical care for people who have crossed into the US without applying for visas and receiving documentation. Apparently, when it comes to Palo Alto schools, the dollars are coming directly out of our pockets, while when it comes to the greater US, the dollars are coming out of someone elses. Listen people, you can't have it both ways.
Posted by Palo Alto property taxpayer for 27 years, a resident of another community, on Jun 27, 2006 at 10:23 am
My son attends Paly. He lives with his Dad, a Palo Alto resident & property taxpayer, 20% of the time. I grew up in Palo Alto, the bought 2 houses in Palo Alto and paid property taxes, here, for 27 years - during 13 years when I paid property taxes, I had no kids. I volunteered in the classroom & for other school functions and was on the board of the PTA for many years. Legally, my son cannot attend Palo Alto school to finish his last three years of education, because he lives with me 80% of the time, yet, (as I've said) his Dad pays property taxes in Palo Alto. His teachers & counselor say it's healthier for him to remain in Palo Alto schools. There need to be exceptions to all rules. Individual situations warrant individual decisions. However, I understand that it's not time efficient to look at the merits of each circumstance. The proverbial Catch 22
Posted by Resident, a member of the Duveneck School community, on Jun 27, 2006 at 10:26 am
The basis for the Voluntary Transfer Program as a result of the original lawsuit by Ms. Tinsley was California's equal protection clause, which at the time of the original Tinsley decision was broader than the Federal due process clause. Tinsley v. Palo Alto Unified School Dist. 91 Cal.App.3d 871 (1979). However, after that original case was decided, voters passed Proposition 1 with 70% approval, which limited the scope of California's equal protection clause commensurate with the Federal equal protection clause to expressly overrule decisions like Tinsley. See Web Link
This resulted in the appellate court overruling the original Tinsley decision. See Tinsley v. Superior Court 150 Cal.App.3d 90 (1983).
Indeed, Article 1 of the California Constitution now provides that all such prior legal settlements are no longer valid:
"Except as may be precluded by the Constitution of the United States, every existing judgment, decree, writ, or other order of a court of this State, whenever rendered, which includes provisions regarding pupil school assignment or pupil transportation, or which requires a plan including any such provisions shall, upon application to a court having jurisdiction by any interested person, be modified
to conform to the provisions of this subdivision as amended, as applied to the facts which exist at the time of such modification."
So it would be fairly straightforward to "unwind" the VTP by making "application to a court."
Whether or not maintaining the VTP program is a good idea is a completely different question, and one which I believe the voters should be allowed to make. Now that we have a number of years of the program, we can all make an assessment of whether it is a worthwhile program. However, I think it is important that the community understand that the maintenance of the VTP (Tinsley) is, in fact, voluntary.
Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2006 at 12:48 pm
The subject is lack of school space that will necessitate building another school soon, a need that de-Tinsleying would alleviate.
Mostly I object to the failure to accomplish any good to the affected students and the obvious detriment to Ravenswood by cherry picking their better students. Obviously there are still fools who believe that punishing whites is a legitimate civil rights goal.
Posted by Craig, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 27, 2006 at 4:02 pm
Does anyone have any idea how many of these "Tinsley" students there are at the current time?
Just to be clear - I'm not asking that question to make a point, I'm actually curious.
Now, there is a point I would like to make. Ann (above) comments that "Who knows, maybe your little preciouses might even learn something valuable about getting along with others from having the occasional hard-working-lower-middle-class peer."
I think it would be great if that were the case, however it is not as simple as that. However, kids from other districts such as EPA are more likely to bring with them access to drugs, guns and gangs. That might not be terribly nice to hear, but I believe it to be true. That's not to say that PA kids couldn't get into that stuff on their own, but its much more likely to funnel in from the poorer areas.
I went to a high school in a suburb adjacent to Chicago. Some Chicago kids would manage to use the addresses of aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. to gain access, and often if there were trouble, it would be from those kids.
I moved here for one major reason - to send my children to some of the finest public schools in the nation. We, along with many others, paid huge prices and have made sacrifices to buy into Palo Alto. If it makes you feel better to call me a greedy, selfish elitist, be my guest. I want to keep our schools as great as possible. That means above all preventing overcrowding and by all means keeping our kids safe from drugs and violence.
Helping EPA and other disadvantaged districts should be a concern of all of us. We need to help them help themselves with better schools of their own. In order to that, they need to establish order and discipline and focus on fundamentals.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2006 at 11:01 am
I'm curious, what's the technical definition of a "non-resident"? If someone owns a property in Palo Alto (for the purposes of having a PA address or otherwise), but physically resides elsewhere, is that person a non-resident? They pay property taxes just like the rest of us, but I'm not sure if there are other factors that constitute a "resident". Thanks for any insight.
Posted by Craig, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2006 at 3:25 pm
I applaud parents trying to get the best education for their kids. We all need to help figure out ways to improve schools in those disadvantaged districts. I, however, stand by what I said. I think "Not In My Back Yard" is only an issue if a person supports a program elsewhere, but "not in my back yard." I think "busing" type programs are a bad idea period. Kids should have good schools near their own homes.
I just read the PAUSD's page about the "VTP" or Tinsley program. Exactly what is voluntary about it? Its voluntary for the parents of the Ravenswood district kids to want to enroll, but compulsary for other districts to take them. They should call it the mandatory transfer program.
I have a better idea - why not figure out what's wrong with the Ravenswood district, then fix it? Is it just lack of funds? Or, are there some other problems?
Posted by Ann Tagonistic, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2006 at 3:35 pm
I went to college in Los Angeles. Great school really. (way more nobel laureate per undergraduate than Stanford, not that that matters)
But LA had more than it's share of guns, drugs, gangs, etc. It didn't bug me, since I grew up in the real world, but believe me some of the sheltered prep school babies I went to school with were *NOT* prepared for life in the big city.
You can't protect your kids forever. If you try, your head will explode.
We're not talking about neighboring communities dumping their losers in Palo Alto. We're talking about kids like those of the divorced mom above, or at worst poor kids whose parents desperately want them to get ahead. They might be bending the rules, but I bet they value a good education.
Rich white kids can be drug addicts too... usually they're rebelling against preachy over-protective parents!
Posted by Blurve, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 28, 2006 at 8:30 pm
The educated and affluent parents of Palo Alto have all the resources they need to see that their children succeed; many parents from other communities don't. Keeping kids from poorer areas like EPA out of Palo Alto schools is just another way of perpetuating the cycle of poverty and ignorance that is so prevalent in low-income neighborhoods.
And it's not as though the presence of these kids significantly lowers the intellectual level at the school, if anything they add to the learning experience of the other kids by bringing their own unique backgrounds and experiences, diversifying the student body.
Also, the idea that Palo Alto kids need help acquiring drugs, etc. is laughable. Gunn High has a negligible outsider population but alcoholism and drug use are still rampant.
Posted by PA Resident, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2006 at 2:16 am
I wonder what percent of PAUSD's boundry bandits are actually the students chosen to participate in the Voluntary Transfer Program? It would seem quite plausible that people with higher education, wealth, and resources would be more likely to "cheat" the boundries than those struggling to put gas in the car.
Posted by Lucinda, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2006 at 5:23 pm
Re Craig from the Palo Verde area's suggestion that problems of drugs and violence are most likely to creep into Palo Alto schools from VTP students:
This "not so nice to hear" allegation is certainly not so nice to say. To offer such prejudicial conjecture that accuses an entire group of children, based on race and socioeconomic status, of introducing "contaminating" elements into the schools they attend is abhorrent as well as absurd. I am an employee of the school district and in my job I have enjoyed the opportunity of working with many VTP students. Their behavior and needs are no more generalizable than are those of their classmates fortunate enough to be born into a family able to afford a home in Palo Alto. Indeed, that their parents care enough to clear the hurdles involved to allow them to legally attend Palo Alto schools (remember, please, that we are NOT talking about illegal students when we refer to VTP children) says a great deal about their determination to make a better life for their children than they themselves have had. Furthermore, the notion that we can somehow separate ourselves from the rest of humanity, give our children and ONLY our children access to a good education, and expect that we will have a productive and safe society has been refuted over and over again. When inadequate funding is given to schools, students despair of success and eventually revert to being members of the underclass, with all the violence, crime and yes, drug use that goes with it. It is just possible that a percentage of the VTP students will be able escape that fate. I would call that good news for everyone.
Posted by Craig, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2006 at 6:21 pm
I can accept that. Its good to hear some input from someone who works in the school. I should have emphasized that my concern over drugs and gang influence were a "concern" and not necessarily an assumption. I do think I'm entitled to have concerns - I mean, this is the welfare of all of our kids!
Now, I do think you made an excellent point - there might be a distinction between people in the VTP program, and people attempting to attend school here illegally.
That being said, I still don't support the VTP program since it compels people of Palo Alto to fund the eduction of kids outside of the city. Perhaps if it were voluntary for us to fund it, I might actually support it.
Posted by scientella, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2006 at 9:50 pm
So long as money is raised within a jurisdiction, to spend within that jurisdiction then social issues aside, the rules are that people who dont live in the area are breaking the rules, and probably committing some kind of fraud, by coming in. End of story.
Ditto with illegal immigration.
When globalisation removes all boundaries, one court, one govt, one school district then this argument will disappear. Until then....
Posted by Shallow Alto, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2006 at 11:56 am
Palo Alto students are notorious partiers. I knew more kids who died violently in Palo Alto than in Menlo Park, E. Palo Alto, or Mt. View or Los Altos - of course, that was a few years ago.
Palo Alto does not have to have gangs, lower-income backgrounds and/or a better or worse braintrust w/its children to have a HUGE amount of problems w/drugs, alcohol & their corollaries - violence. Feel free to keep all that to yourselves!
Posted by Mary L., a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2006 at 1:02 pm
I agree with Ms. Tee, we are talking about providing a better education for children. I believe as a human being and as a teacher, that it is my obligation to help all children get the best education they can honestly. I don't believe it's the transfer kids who are draining the school district. Many people live in the surrounding cities and use work and family addresses to have their children go to school here. I know someone who is going to rent a studio apartment (and not live there) so her son can go to Palo Alto schools. She feels this option is less expensive than a private school. I think as a community we need to be careful to not single out a group of human beings who are legitimately sending their kids to Palo Alto schools. I believe the real problem comes from families who live in the surrounding cities who are manipulating the system.
Posted by Oscar, a resident of another community, on Jul 3, 2006 at 6:05 pm
In surrounding communities??
Reality check folks. I personally, moved OUT of Palo Alto to send my child to a better school...in Mountain View.
Palo Alto schools aren't that great. And your attitude about just taking care of your own, is really picked up on by your kids. I just don't share those values. Because it doesn't end with schools. You don't care if your police force beats up on someone from outside the community...you don't care if someone is attacked outside of your 'community'...you just don't care...and eventually that comes back and bites you. Just look at Palo Alto's current crime rate.
...At least I feel better knowing that my child is attending a very good school without a huge and public suicide rate and with other students who aren't all doped up on Ritalin or Adderall or Halcion or other prescriptions to get better grades.
Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jul 5, 2006 at 9:49 pm
It comes back to sunseting Tinsley. Any competent attorney should be able to draw up the pleading, and any competent judge should acknowledge the justice to East Palo Alto in giving them back their kids. We haven’t a chance.
Posted by observer, a resident of Menlo Park, on Jul 14, 2006 at 11:53 am
I am saddened to read the selfishness and pettyness in this thread. Good public schooling is what made California and this nation what they are today - prosperous, free and healthy. It is amazing to me read the comments from the reciepents of this largess from past generations call for the end to shariing educational resources. We are truly becoming a people of the attitude "I got mine, I don't need to worry about you" - sigh.
Posted by moved to Palo Alto for school, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Aug 29, 2006 at 9:19 pm
Parents who want their children to attend Palo Alto school, please move to Palo Alto, Stanford, or Los Altos Hills. Buy or rent, either way. For those who want their children to attend Palo Alto schools but have not moved here or do not intend to move here, do you know Palo Alto schools publish student directories with addresses? There are liberal parents who don't care, but there are plenty of parents (and children) do. Think about the impact on the kids.
Posted by ML, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 29, 2006 at 1:12 pm
I don't have a problem with impoverished kids coming to PA schools under the VTP. What I'm seeing, however, are families who buy in the gated communities of EPA and then send their kids to PA schools. These people are not poor, nor are they from ethnic groups that have been discriminated against. Tinsley's become a way for relatively affluent immigrants to game the system.
Given that Palo Alto residents aren't guaranteed a spot in neighborhood schools and that there doesn't seem to be a needs basis to Tinsley, I think there's a serious need for revising or sunsetting the VTP.
Posted by Tinsley Alumni, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Oct 26, 2006 at 3:14 pm
Dear Palo Altans,
I had no idea so many PA parents dislike us EPA students. I grew up in EPA and attended Brentwood Elementary from K-G to first grade. My mom later found out about the Tinsley program and guess what! There I go this little Mexican girl going to an all white school. Oh no! I was just wondering if you Palo Altans knew how much harm your comments can have on the development and future success of minorities? What is wrong with all of you? Oh and by the way not all EPA kids are gang members and drug dealers. I think the Tinsley program was started with good intentions by people that truly cared about EPA. Personally going through the program I can name many pro's and con's but the biggest problem here are the negative opinions you people have about EPA kids. How are they expected to succeed if people have such negative views about thier town and diverse backgrounds. Just to let all of you know I am finishing up my last year in college. What? An EPA girl when to college and wait there is more. My major is in Biological Sciences and I recently added a minor in Psychology. I believe the reason why I didn't give in to drugs or gangs was because of the people that believed in me. The people I am talking about are my parents,programs like FCE and wonderful people of all colors and backgrounds.Yes, I grew up in EPA the city with high crime, drugs and bla bla bla. People in EPA have dreams too!! Why are you pushing us away? If I had read all these comments when I was in Jordan and Paly I think my self-esteem would have gone down the drain. Today... I am just embarrassed for all of you. Shame on you! Thank you to all the NICE and kind Palo Altans that belived in me and who believe the Tinsley program is a good opportunity for EPA kids.
Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 26, 2006 at 3:22 pm
Thank you Tinsley Alumni
You have just brought tears to my eyes. It wasn't that I didn't know any of this stuff, it's just that it is nice to hear how much you have appreciated what you received and are willing to tell it. You see, many of us don't know what happens to the EPA kids when they leave. It isn't always PC to find out while you are still in school and then the opportunity goes. We just see you getting onto your buses and then you leave our lives til tomorrow. Congratulations, and I hope that your classmates from the buses are doing as well as you.
Posted by Concerned Resident of the World, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Jan 19, 2007 at 4:30 pm
Maybe we should figure out a system where adults exchange locations and build relationships across "community" boundaries. Here is an example of what some call a "Tinsley" kid...we just call her neighbor.
I think a lot of "unknowns" stem from living in two worlds. I guarantee, that if you knew the generosity of my neighbors, and dreams of our youth...the conversation would at least be more civil. Maybe we need a vehicle to celebrate what two "communities" have nurtured into young adults instead of demeaning conversations and untold stories.
Posted by Sara, a resident of Menlo Park, on Mar 8, 2007 at 3:51 pm
Hi this comment is responding to REBECCA'S comment. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] How can you talk about how the parents of Ravenswood being undocumented, and pretty much referring to us as irresponsible also. I am a parent of a Ravenswood student and yes I do have my daughter enrolled in an "outside" school under an address that is a friends.
Unlike you I am unable to afford a place on the "other side of the road." I know what kind of opportunities are out there for our kids and what should be taken advantage of for the benefit of their future. Our Kids are Our Future! I want the best because every kid has the potential to be a leader in our community, state, or country.
I believed that children in those schools could have a more possitive influence than the kids in this district. I am a working mother also attending college, and a born and raised Citizen, so is the father of my kids. We don't have the time to go to every PTA meeting. We go to school, work, and tend to our home evryday of the week with no weekends. We were not exposed to better education like YOU were your parents most likely did not migrate here for YOU to benefit. Now we know what we want from our kids and how we can achieve that goal is to do whatever we can so our kids can go to a better school in a nicer enviroment.
Posted by An upset person, a resident of another community, on Apr 23, 2007 at 4:21 pm
You guys who are talking about "sunsetting" the Tinsley program sound so ignorant. It is people like you who make it necessary for the children of East Palo Alto to attend "your schools". Your children need an education in diversity and the importance of being open-minded and fair. You could stand to learn a lot about school integration and how all can benefit from it. If you don't like it, then maybe you should bus your children out! I do agree with the person who said that you should volunteer in the Ravenswood School District if you really want to keep East Palo Altans from attending "your schools". It may not be your fault that the Ravenswood Schoold District is not doing as they should be, but ultimately, it will affect us all. Not geeting needs met at school forces kids to turn to gangs, violence, drugs, and all types of criminal activity. You will be affected one way or another, it is up to you to decide which way.
Posted by Star, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 20, 2007 at 8:38 pm
I feel that children should not be restricted to the type of education they receive. This is segregation and it is not fair that those who are minorities are not allowed to go to schools in Palo Alto. Loosin up everybody wants to get a good education and it should not be determined by the area you are located in.
Posted by Member, a resident of another community, on Oct 11, 2007 at 11:14 am
Integrating the races works, and it's only fair-- look at the Asian American success story-- so why did Tinsley destroy public education? Instead of integrating races, Tinsley tried to integrate neighborhoods with very different values. We've stopped dropping housing projects into middle class neighborhoods, because it didn't create integration. If you don't want your kid to get beaten up in the bathroom, mocked for carrying school books, and held back intellectually while fights are broken up in the back of the room, you're not a racist. What you are by now is bankrupt, from paying a fortune for the private school your kid unwillingly fled to. Meanwhile the EPA kids still go to a crumby school; and now they have to be bussed to it! Everybody lost. We must find another solution, for all the kids' sake. Peace,