Unanswered Questions – Former MDUSD Board Candidate Posts on Nextdoor
On May 8, 2017 Cherise Khaund, former MDUSD School Board candidate, posted her analysis of the NUSD boundaries on Nextdoor from an interview she conducted with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. While Cherise has claimed to being open to supporting NUSD, she began her District-wide campaign against NUSD back in December, about the same time MDEA, the teacher’s union, vowed to do anything in their power to make sure NUSD fails and the opposition Facebook page was launched.
On Friday May 12, 2017 Marie Rossen (parent) posed several excellent questions to Cherise in the comment section (comment 140) of Cherise’s Nextdoor post. Marie questioned the following:
David vs Goliath – Cherise claims that the notion of a David versus Goliath scenario is a myth when Northgate CAPS speaks of the imbalance of power between the grassroots organization of this community through NCAPS and the opposition that is MDUSD/MDEA.
Marie asked, “When you were talking about the David and Goliath political cartoon, and saying that it isn’t true, you left out some very important entities who are working on MDUSD’s side– MDEA (the MDUSD teacher’s union), MDUSD’s law firm, the MDUSD board and a financial consultant from Eastshore Consulting. MDUSD opened their presentation at the County Board of Education meeting with an attorney from the law firm that represents them followed by a principal from Eastshore Consulting, who I assume were paid out of MDUSD funds to both prepare for and attend the meeting. Do you know how much of the MDUSD budget is going towards these two firms for their efforts regarding NUSD? In contrast, NUSD did not pay anyone to prepare their report or to perform any other services that I know of to date. In addition, MDEA representatives spoke at both the City of Walnut Creek meeting and at the Board of Education meeting. I think we are all aware of the strength of a union.”
Changing the neighborhood feel and commute for Oak Grove Middle School – Cherise claims that there are boundary issues surrounding OGMS that are being created by the NUSD proposal. She attributes these current boundary constraints to NUSD, while the boundaries existing today were created by MDUSD, and are currently maintained by MDUSD.
Marie asked, “In the video you implied through your choice of words that NUSD would change the commute and the neighborhood feel for the remaining students that will still attend Oak Grove Middle School if NUSD materializes. For instance you said, “Oak Grove Middle School students would be coming from across the BART tracks” instead of “the students that live on the other side of the BART tracks will continue to have to cross the BART tracks”. Nothing in the NUSD proposal changes anything for the children that already cross the BART tracks to get to Oak Grove. You also referred to the students having to cross the BART tracks having an effect as it “does not seem like a very friendly neighborhood school” and you later said that having to cross the BART tracks as “really not a neighborhood school situation”. This is the current feeder pattern under MDUSD and this part of Oak Grove’s feeder pattern will not change. How do you propose that MDUSD fix the problem of those children having to cross the BART tracks to get to their neighborhood school since NUSD is not changing the commute for any of those students? Are you currently working with MDUSD to fix what you are alleging is a problem, since it is not being affected by anything that NUSD is doing? In addition, you said “Oak Grove would draw from this whole area over here (while pointing to the BART tracks) but how are they going to get around?” My response is that Oak Grove already draws from the whole area over there and they will get around the same way they got to school yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
The Bancroft Split – Cherise tries to make the problems associated with the Bancroft split an NUSD-created problem. MDUSD has known about the split problem for years and has been non-responsive and unaccountable.
Marie asked, “Another issue you brought up when the camera panned to the house across the street with an NUSD sign is that the students directly across the street from Oak Grove Middle School “would not come across the street to go to middle school.” While this is correct, based on everything I have heard regarding the Bancroft split, chances are very low that those students across the street attend Oak Grove now, even though they are part of the existing feeder pattern. And I don’t believe it is true that they would be excluded from Oak Grove. I believe that part of NUSD’s proposed culture is that they want to allow students to transfer both in and out of the district, and I don’t think that if someone wants to transfer to Oak Grove from NUSD that MDUSD would turn them away. Do you disagree?”
“If NUSD does not happen, would you be against changing the feeder pattern to allow those Bancroft families who are shown in the pink area that you refer to on the map to feed into Foothill and Northgate? Whether NUSD happens or not it is apparent these families are very unhappy with the current situation and something must be done. These parents want their children to feed into Foothill and Northgate with the rest of their friends. It is my understanding that regardless of whether or not NUSD happens most of these families in the pink area want to feed into Foothill and Northgate. Do you not want them to fix the Bancroft split by changing the feeder pattern in this way? Is your proposal for fixing the Bancroft split to have all of Bancroft feed into Oak Grove as I think you mentioned in one of your posts, or did I misunderstand you? This seems in direct contrast to your feelings regarding reducing the student population at Highlands Elementary as a result of NUSD. If you were able to change the feeder pattern and have all Bancroft students attend Oak Grove would you be concerned about the effect that change would have on Foothill similarly to how you are concerned about the effect NUSD will have on the attendance numbers at Highlands? How would you propose to remedy that situation? “
Ethnic Make-up – Cherise speaks to the fact that there are a high percentage of minority students at Ygnacio Valley HS and OGMS. She says that communities need to be mindful of the ethnic make-up of their schools.
Marie asked, “You also talked about the high percentage of minority students at both Oak Grove and Ygnacio Valley HS compared to the schools within NUSD. You said, “You need to be mindful of the ethnic makeup of your schools.” Based on your belief, did you encourage MDUSD to assign the Clayton Valley area students to YVHS, since that move would have helped to balance out the number of minorities in YVHS? Will keeping the Northgate area schools within MDUSD have any significant impact on the ethnic makeup of these schools? If so, what is that impact?”
Traffic – Cherise claims an impact to traffic along Ygnacio Valley Road.
Marie asked, “In addition, you referred to Ygnacio Valley Road as a “highly impacted traffic area”. It seems that historically MDUSD has not been concerned with adding to that congestion. When Crystyl Ranch was built, MDUSD chose to have those students feed into Northgate rather than attend Clayton Valley High School, which at that time was part of MDUSD. Do you have any information about why they decided to go that route? And do you also know why The Crossings was assigned to Foothill and Northgate when Pine Hollow and Clayton Valley are so much closer? I have not been successful with my searches for answers to those questions. Finding the history of these two decisions has proved to be difficult. Perhaps you can help me by talking to some of your contacts at MDUSD. You also say that these families will have to drive over the hill to go to Valley Verde instead of going to Highlands, which is true if they choose not to transfer to MDUSD schools. However, you do not criticize MDUSD for making the original decision to have these families drive over the hill to attend middle and high schools when there were options that were geographically closer to them when these decisions were made. Yes, it will be a change to have the families from the Crossings and Crystyl Ranch drive over the hill to come to either elementary or middle school, but it is very likely that at some point during their commuting years there will be an older sibling or two that is already coming over the hill to either go to Foothill or Northgate based on MDUSD’s current feeder pattern and so dropping the younger sibling off at the elementary or middle school will not be an extra trip for those families.”
To date there has not been a response from Cherise to Marie’s questions on Nextdoor. We will continue to monitor the post and keep you updated regularly. If you log in to Nextdoor and “Thank” Marie’s comment (comment 140) you will automatically receive notifications.