School-by-school breakdown of reorganization proposals

Redwood City School District superintendent’s proposed cuts revealed

in Education/Featured/Headline by

By Bill Shilstone

A new round of layoffs and plans for converting Taft Community School on 10th Avenue to a model campus with a new name, new vision and new program have been added to Supt. John Baker’s proposals for reorganization of the Redwood City Elementary School District.

A public hearing on the proposals will be held Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Fox Theatre in downtown Redwood City. The district’s five trustees will act on them Nov. 28 at Sequoia High School’s Carrington Hall.

Baker’s recommendations, detailed on the meeting agenda posted on the district web site, include the closing of Fair Oaks, Hawes and Orion, the closing of Taft for two years while it is remodeled, and the merging of the Adelante and Selby Lane bilingual programs at Selby Lane, with Adelante closing.

The closings save $3.6 million of the $4 million the district must cut next year to begin dealing with a $10 million budget shortfall caused by declining enrollment fueled by the drain of three charter schools and by families escaping the high cost of Peninsula living.

The layoffs will complete the $4 million cut for next year, Baker said in his written presentation to the board. He noted that the district has made $13 million in cuts since 2008 as enrollment has dived, down by 1,700 students since 2011 to its current level of about 7,600. Cuts included 120 teachers, resulting in larger class sizes, and 20 percent of district office staff, he said.

The recommendations all take into account the marked underpopulation of nearly all the district’s 16 schools. The numbers, compiled early in the fall, may have changed slightly, Baker said.

SCHOOL CAPACITY ENROLLMENT

Kennedy (6-8)     1,680 706                      

Hoover (K-8)        1,470 681                     

Selby Lane (K-8)   1,290 740                    

Clifford (K-8)         1,110 558                    

Roosevelt (K-8)     1,110 581                      

Taft (K-5)                1,080 331                

Garfield (K-8)         1,020 570                    

Roy Cloud (K-8)         990 718                 

Fair Oaks (K-5)           960 221              

Henry Ford (K-5)        780 377                 

McKinley IT (6-8)        720 408                

John Gill (K-5)              660 288           

North Star (3-8)           630 536             

Hawes (K-5)                  570 301           

Adelante (K-5)              550 464             

Orion (K-5)                    270 211          

Total                          14,890 7,691           

Here is how Baker’s proposals would affect each school:

Taft: Closes for two years, then reopens in 2021 with an “innovative, academically rigorous program serving a culturally and socioeconomically diverse population.” In the interim, students to go nearby Garfield or Hoover.

Orion: Moves to John Gill, sharing the site with the Mandarin/English immersion program.

John Gill: Current students have first priority to stay as part of the Orion parent participation choice option.

Adelante: School closes and its students move to Selby Lane to join 250 bilingual program students there.

Selby Lane: 460 students not in the bilingual program move to other schools.

Fair Oaks: School closes and students move to nearby Garfield or Hoover.

Hawes: School closes and students move to Roosevelt.

Roosevelt: Absorbs students from Hawes and John Gill.

Garfield and Hoover: Absorb Fair Oaks and Taft students.

Kennedy: Absorbs middle school students from Selby Lane.

Clifford, Roy Cloud, McKinley Institute of Technology, North Star Academy and Henry Ford: Not affected.

All current and incoming students at closing or merging schools will have priority in the district’s Schools of Choice program.

No determination has been made on what will happen to the closed-school properties.

The district office will close and move to a vacated school sometime in 2020, Baker said, saving $1.6 million a year. Other projects for the near future are a review of the K-8 vs. K-5/6-8 configuration and a study of the role of North Star Academy, the district’s accelerated-learning choice.

The proposals are designed in part to take advantage of the most popular choice programs, including Roosevelt’s project-based learning, by giving them room to expand and possibly attract more students. Baker said he is looking into the possibility of providing transportation to the schools of choice.

12 Comments

  1. As a clarification, Roosevelt PBL program has been struggling for the past several years with less than impressive enrollment by the Redwood City population. This program is currently being questioned as to how effective it is at preparing students for high schools, while STEAM is thought to be a better choice. It’s unclear as to why the district would want to promote such an unpopular program with questionable academic results as reported by CAASPP scores.

    The reality is that the most popular programs in Redwood City are actually North Star and Adelante (not Selby immersion).

    The district seems to believe that putting Adelante, a highly desirable school, at Selby will help grow the ADELANTE program and bring Selby scores up. It’s not clear that this location is suitable and the community is still quite divided. From the data more than 66% of the Adelante parents would have a challenging commute ACROSS town to ATHERTON. Looking at where current Selby and Adelante families come from, it’s clear traffic will become a major challenge in the morning and will impact mostly Adelante families who are crossing Woodside road (84) to San Carlos Avenue , one of 2 possible ways to reach Selby school for this population.

    Thus, it would be logical to keep Adelante where it is and add TK/PreK classes to maximize the campus currently at 464/550 students OR like all other current schools of choice, relocate it to a CENTRAL location and avoid a traffic Armageddon. Roosevelt campus is one logical choice for the popular Spanish immersion program.

    A Superintendent’s advisory committee member and Adelante parent.

  2. It is clear that the housing cost is rising, and that families may leave the area because of that. However, the houses are not leaving the area. They are still standing were they were left, maybe stand empty for a month while going through a sale. Those same houses will be occupied by other families. It seams hardly possible that the price of housing can have such an impact and be the cause of low school enrollment.

    Redwood City School District has do a much better job at raising the reputation of its schools. Moving, closing, merging does exactly the opposite.
    Destabilizing a school with a good reputation is destructive and will cause even more decline in enrollment. This is the slow death of public education in our city.

  3. I am glad Roy Cloud is not affected. It is one of the schools in the district that is doing well.. it will be loss in revenue as lots of parents will move To private schools! Thank you Mr. Baker.

  4. ORION Alternative School is NOT CLOSING! This sentence has a VERY damaging and potentially fear inciting inaccuracy…”Baker’s recommendations, detailed on the meeting agenda posted on the district web site, include the closing of Fair Oaks, Hawes and Orion, the closing of Taft for two years while it is remodeled, and the merging of the Adelante and Selby Lane bilingual programs at Selby Lane, with Adelante closing.”
    According to Dr Bakers recommendations Orion Alternative School will be moved to the John Gill campus to continue thriving and to allow growth for the schools very successful program! Please get your facts straight so you don’t do do more damage to schools and communities already in transition and turmoil! The last thing we need is to incite fear among children, parents and community members.

  5. I would like to see the plan to improve our neighborhood schools. If our schools were meeting the needs of our children, parents wouldn’t need magnet schools, nor flee to private schools. We, as a City, need to make the superintendency an elected position. The candidates need to show their ability to improve all schools, not just a chosen few. We also need more transparency.

  6. I will be the first to say that I don’t understand how such things truly work. I do understand the short fall from declining enrollment and that in part due to the price of living or better yet housing in our district, I also understand the diversion of funds to Charter schools due to the move of privatization for three decades. It seems like a 10 million dollar short fall is too much of a cut on what has already been scraped away at, we are showing plenty of bone as it is. How do we weigh out the balance between the education infrastructure we are dismantling versus the skill sets that will be required by our future graduates for the job sector, versus the amount of real estate investment that is resulting in large five to six story new buildings along with all the dense housing. Not to mention the $6,000.00 to $7,000.00 rents of 4 bedroom homes so they can be rented to 4 to 7 young people with cars, trucks and Scooters that also contribute to the enormous amount of traffic in the Redwood City School district. At what point do we ask those who want to play real estate investment to pay for the destruction of social infrastructure that so called investment creates? $10,000.00 divided by 12 months is $833,333.33. I find it difficult to believe we don’t have the courage or the foresight to charge new development projects more to enter and exist in our school district. We are prime a Real estate investment haven! You can’t go wrong investing money in Redwood City. We are a great investment in Real estate, right in the middle of the peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose on the El Camino Real! We have have two bridges to cross over the bay. We have access to three airports, we have two NFL football teams, we have two Major League Baseball teams, we have NBA basket ball and Hockey. Let all new development pay more to be here or let them go some where else like Stockton! Cutting back on the funding and quality of Redwood City’s future citizens via education makes no sense to me. But I will finish this as I started, I don’t understand how things like this work. Concerned Redwood City Citizen stuck in more traffic.

  7. Redeemer Lutheran is a FANTASTIC private school in Redwood City, and almost every grade from k-8 has 4-5 openings, at $800 a month per child, you can’t do better. I highly recommend it not for the great education, but also the nice families and faculty. yes you learn a bit about the Bible, but in the end is that really a bad thing? Give it a chance! https://www.redeemer-school.org/

  8. People are not “escaping” the high cost of living, people are being displaced by the gentrification of the community and the preference of money/business over people.

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