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Why is it that non-resident school district employees can get their children into an elementary school that has a waiting list?

Original post made by just curious, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 11, 2007

All the recent discussion about waitlist and overflows got me wondering why some teachers who don't live in our district are able to jump over others on a waitlist, even when the parent doesn't teach at that particular school site? Does the teachers' union really have that much power that teachers' kids have priority over the children of tax paying residents?

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Comments (13)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2007 at 6:54 am

There is a waiting list because of the stupid Tinsley agreement to provide the equivalent of a complete school for non-residents. Sunset Tinsley and don't elect anyone to the board who still supports this last vestige of the crazy years.

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Posted by Rufous
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 11, 2007 at 9:25 am

You could get rid of the entire board and elect anyone you want, but last I checked the VTP was a court ordered program, so you'd have to take it up with the state.

Curious: I don't know what the wait-list rules are for teachers' kids. Sorry. I do know that there aren't that many of them, and that, at the elementary level, nearly a third of them (17/60) are at Ohlone, which makes me think that they're not jumping ahead of neighborhood kids on the waiting list for their neighborhood school. Nixon and Barron Park are the neighborhood schools with the highest counts, at 7 and 6 respectively. The other neighborhood schools have 1-4 employee kids.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2007 at 10:00 am

How about a Board that had their attorney draft a request to the court to sunset the ruling as no longer either needed or helpful?

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 11, 2007 at 2:10 pm

I thought the basis of Tinsley was overturned--thus, some of the other districts, like Mountain View, had opted out. I'm assuming PAUSD hasn't because it would open it to charges of racism and exclusivism. I think, though, neighborhood kids and PA residents really ought to be given first priority regarding their own schools.

As for the teachers--recruiting strategy plain and simple. It's cheaper than building housing for them in PA or paying them enough that they can afford to live here. It's interesting so many of them choose Ohlone--I've heard that even the Hoover teachers send their kids there.

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Posted by Another Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2007 at 2:29 pm

I think you will find that they manage to get their kids into SI very easily!!

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Posted by just curious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2007 at 2:54 pm

Well I guess the comments on Ohlone strengthens my concern, because it has recently been stated that Ohlone has a rather long waitlist, so should there be any district employees children in Kindergarten at Ohlone if there are several Kinder spots open at say Barren Park?

Letting them into the district is a perk in and of itself, is it really necessary to let them jump the waitlist as people have suggested has happened at Ohlone and SI? Especially for SI, I would think that there would never be an opportunity for non-resident children of employees to be in that program, unless the whole waitlist had been exhausted first!

So if my child got waitlisted at Ohlone and didn't get a spot at Duveneck and had to go to Juana Briones way across town, this is the current situation?

Talk about lotteries being wrong, this is really wrong!!!

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 11, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Just Curious,

I think the teacher preference thing is sort of like the sibling preference thing. Younger sibs get an automatic by into the choice schools.

And, yes, you can get waitlisted at a choice school, bumped from your neighborhood school and sent across El Camino.

The problem sort of exploded last Spring, which is why I think board members who were open to MI are inclined to vote against it.

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Posted by Terman Parent
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Jan 11, 2007 at 7:27 pm

Where did you get your stats on which schools the non-Palo Alto PAUSD staff children attend? I searched the 11th day attendance report (p. 15 on: Web Link,
and only saw total counts per grade, not school.

TOTAL TRANSFERS into PAUSD: VTP = 537, PAUSD staff= 118, Affidavits = 203, Other interdistrict = 21: Grand Total = 879 = 0.8% of the 10,937 enrollment total.

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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 11, 2007 at 7:57 pm

I hate to disturb your stream of dreams, but arithmetic is a fairly well established thing. 879/10,937 = .08. This means 8% (not 0.8%). This means that about 1 in 12 kids in PAUSD are not local, or have special passes. If these kids were to be sent home, there would be no attendance crisis at this point.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Thank you, John. The refusal of the District to discuss sunset is in itself malpractice.

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 11, 2007 at 9:17 pm

I'd like to know if other school districts around here have to support children that come from outside the district (with attendant problems of crowding) - for whatever reason (transfer arrangements, court orders, children of district teachers who live elsewhere, etc.) - like PAUSD does - I get the impression that Los Altos Elementary and Los Altos/Mountain View High School District don't do this...

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Posted by Rufous
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 11, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Terman Parent,

My data comes from the AAAG presentation to the BOE on 12/5. Page 25 of this PDF:
Web Link

In this chart "Not PAUSD"= district employee kids + the (very few) kids granted interdistrict transfers. "Ravenswood"=the VTP kids and the one "NBA" kid is a kid for whom residence has not yet been validated (this number has gone way down in the last year with the new enforcement team).

From this chart, take out the 13 "Not PAUSD" SDC (Special Day Class) kids (SDC programs pull from many neighboring cities by design -- we aren't going to get rid of them). That leaves 60 "Not PAUSD" kids in the regular programs in the elementary schools. Nearly all of these are district employee kids. (Compare this number, 60, to the 11th day enrollment packet figures of 57 district employee + 8 other = 65 Not PAUSD kids) -- I can't explain away the discrepancy of 5 kids, perhaps the Lapkoff & Gobalet numbers were from the CBEDS date instead of the 11th day date). In any case, even if off by a kid or two here or there, it gives a rough idea that there are *about* 60 district employee kids in the elementary schools.

Note, also, that the 203 "Affidavit" kids from the 11th day data are residents of PAUSD. I don't pretend to understand the rules and distinctions of that category ("students residing with someone other than a parent or legal guardian"), just that these are kids who are legally living within PAUSD boundaries and do not require transfer approval in order to enroll. They need to be removed from the Grand Total of transfers into PAUSD since they are not transfers, rather residents.

So the number of kids with "special passes" (using 11th day enrollment data) is: Elementary: VTP=6.8%, NotPAUSD=1.4%; Middle: VTP=4.1%; NotPAUSD=1%; High: 3.2% VTP, 1.4% NotPAUSD. District-wide the percent of "special passes" kids is 6.2% or about 1 in 16. While it would certainly help our enrollment crunch to get rid of all these kids, it would take a court order reversal to eliminate the VTP kids and would probably discourage many good teachers from coming to our district if we didn't offer them that perk (plus it's a relatively small number.)

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2007 at 7:08 am

"It would take a court order.."
Perhaps a counter lawsuit? Perhaps a challenge to the initial finding instead of the wilful compliance and agreement to encumber the district is indicated. The failure of the district to approach sunseting is culpable. They have no right to demand another dime from the district payers until they stop this criminal bleeding.
Nobles oblige on their own dime if you please.

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