Belmont schools consider changing boundaries

March 30, 2011 5:58:25 PM PDT
On the peninsula dozens of parents are expected to pack tonight's school board meeting. At issue is the possibility of creating new boundaries that would push some kids out of their neighborhood schools.

It is no secret that parents and families move to Belmont for the schools. So when the school districts even mention the possibility of redrawing school lines, parents understandably get upset.

Central Elementary in Belmont is a top performing school -- one very much in demand. While nearby Nesbit Elementary doesn't have the same scores and has low enrollment. The Belmont-Redwood Shores School District says this is a problem since they expect more kids to sign up at their neighborhood schools.

"So because we are running out of space in some of our schools, we are being forced to look at boundaries as one of the options to help solve this overcapacity," said School Board President Andy Stulbarg.

So the district is looking at the idea of possibly moving a section of the kids who live near Central over to Nesbit. This would affect about 150 families.

"It would be very harmful for many children to be uprooted from their neighborhood school and to have to go across three major intersections in order to go to school in another neighborhood," said parent Therese Dunne.

No decision has been made on what to do about the kids already enrolled at Central. They may be grandfathered in.

"The larger picture is all the kids whose families have moved to Belmont strictly for their education, who has kids who are 3-years-old and are looking maybe in two years to be able to have their kids in kindergarten," said parent Dana Carrillo.

But parents from Central Elementary aren't the only ones who may be affected. Some families in the Cipriani Elementary School area may also be forced to go to another school.

Plans to possibly redraw school lines are tied to a $29 million bond which was passed last November. The school district wants to maximize those dollars by putting more money in the schools like Nesbit that have the capacity to expand.

"We have to decide on how much modernization we want and how much new construction we want to do," said Stulbarg.

Homeowners anticipate this will all impact the value of many homes here.

"People are willing to pay a little more to get their kids into this school because there is such a commitment from the parents," said Carrillo.

No decision will be made tonight, the school board just wants to hear from parents. They will have to have some kind of plan in place before September.

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