Merger Issues

Information Regarding the Proposed Merger of MVHS and VMMS

 

(Posted -January 26, 2011)

To the VUSD Board
From: Rob Howard, MVHS Parent

I am writing to ask you to vote no or at least postpone any decision on a school merger with MVHS and VMMS.  I found out about the plans in the North County Times the same day the district informed the parents of the plan in a meeting at MVHS the night of January 26, 2011 (last night!).
 
As a parent and concerned resident, I desire an opportunity to address the budget issues and weigh them against the educational needs of my child and all of the children in the district.
 
The process for communicating the information was, in my opinion, poor and did not allow parents an opportunity to "think outside the box" for solutions.
I believe one of the budget drivers discussed last night, (the 4x4 schedule) needs to be fully evaluated.  One of the district's staff stated last night that the schedule is unsustainable and cost 25% higher based on a comparision of another district's 4x4 schedule.  I believe her reporting of that information showed poor research technique considering our teachers are taking on another class without the cost upgrade resulting in a 20% reduction in cost.  Using only one data point in evaluating information when the subject group (teachers at MVHS) were evaluated for their cost, showed a rush to prove what appeared to already be the opinion of someone in the decision making chain of the district.  This is just one example of what I believe is a rush to act in a crisis without a cool, calm, thought process to address the district's budget issues.
 
I could go on and on about items that did not get communicated clearly last night.  I believe it would be irresponsible for the district to act in such hast to put in motion, a decision that will open numerous legal challenges based on the opinion of the district's attorney.  Remember, attorney's advise but the district is responsible for the decisions they make.
 
I hope you are able to follow my email since I am rushing to get you some information before the meeting.  I assure you, there are a number of other items that need to be vetted before making this decision.  I would be happy to work with district staff, school staff, the PTSA and anyone else interested in taking an overall look at the budget and come up with solutions that can maintain our level of educational excellence while putting us on a path of success as we address the financial crisis.
 
I grew up poor in the south so I know a little about priorities.  Addressing the financial shortfall can be done successfully if we all work together in a transparent manner.  That is not occuring at this time and the board is accountable to ensure that happens.
 
So again, I ask you to either vote no on the districts merger proposal or at a minimum, table the decision until cooler heads can take a look at the issues and come up with a resolution that will take into account the students and the cost of education.
 
I thank you for your time and feel free to call me if you would like to discuss this matter further.

 

(Sent -January 26, 2011)

Dear MVHS Parents,
 
In the event you haven't yet heard...there is a proposal to merge Mission Vista High School and the Vista Magnet Middle School on the table.  It will be presented to the School Board tomorrow night (Thursday, 27 Feb) at 7pm at the Foothill Oaks Elementary School.
 
We've heard many unsubstantiated details which include: VMMS is closing...one way or the other; VMMS students will move onto the MVHS campus creating a 6-12 school; The VMMS principal will be promoted to oversee the merged school & Mr. Goldenberg will have to move elsewhere; and that the 4x4 schedule will be eliminated.
 
These are troubling issues...especially since they came up so rapidly.  This plan has not been socalized with the MVHS staff, there has been no public comment period, and nobody has seen the supporting reasearch or detailed plan.
 
If you are like many other MVHS parents, you likely have many concerns and questions.  I urge you to take a few minutes to send your comments/questions/concerns to the School Board members BEFORE tomorrow night's meeting.  Their email addresses are:
     Steve Lily - stevelilly@vusd.k12.ca.us
     Carol Weise Herrera - flyingnun22@aol.com
     R. Elizabeth Jaka - mailto:ElizabethJaka@vusd.k12.ca.us
     Jim Gibson - mailto:jimgibson@vusd.k12.ca.us
     Angela D. Chunka - mailto:angelachunka@vusd.k12.ca.us

We must stand together and let the School Board know that there is a right way of going about implementing this type of monumental change...but this is not it! 
 
Thank you for taking the time to get involved in your child's education!  Please go to the PTSA Website (www.missionvistaptsa.com) for more information and all the details we have about this issue so far.  We hope to see you at tonight's back-to-school night or tomorrow night's School Board meeting at 7pm at Foothill Oaks Elementary School.
 
Sincerely,
Diane "DJ" Weed
President, Mission Vista PTSA 


(Sent -January 25, 2011)

Dear MVHS PTSA Members, et al.,
 
We received some notes from an individual who attended last night's VMMS parent information meeting.  The notes are in the downloadable Word document below this letter.  I’d particularly like to take a moment to highlight some of those with you in preparation for our own meeting tomorrow night.
 
During the VMMS parent information night, the VMMS principal made some brave and, as far as we know, unsupported statements to include:
-          He stated, as fact, that VMMS will move.  That it will not be opened on its current campus next year for health and safety issues.
-          He also stated that, regardless of the VMMS move, Mission Vista’s 4x4 schedule will not be offered in the coming school year.
 
Again, I know of no information at this time that substantiates either of these statements.  We are very interested to hear the facts as presented by the VUSD, and caution each of you to keep a healthy skepticism when listening to the presenters and to question their “facts” carefully.
 
So far this issue has been framed as one school defending itself against a merger with another school.  While that is perhaps the case to some degree, we as a PTSA need to look at this in the bigger picture.  Our mission is to be a strong advocate for the best interests of each child.  We need to ensure that the decisions being made take into account all the facts and are based on what is best for the students…not individual interests or even the bottom line.  To that end, here are a few questions that come to mind:


·  Historically parents and the site administrator from Vista Magnet Middle School did not want anything to do with sharing space with the high school.  The VMMS principal clearly stated this at a board meeting less than two years ago when MVHS was looking for a temporary campus. Why the sudden change of heart?
·  What are the costs associated with moving VMMS to MVHS? 
     o   Who conducted the business case analysis?
     o   What other alternatives were considered? Why was MVHS selected?
     o   When will that research and analysis be provided for public review?
     o   What is the per-student cost of expanding the IB program to include MVHS and training all MVHS teachers?
     o   How much will it cost VUSD to bus additional students around the district and is there a plan for how it will be done?
·  MVHS was a Vista bond Issue. The public voted to fund the creation of a Dual Magnet High School. How, without public consent and without any public deliberation, can this contract between the people of Vista and VUSD be changed? 
·  The Parents, Students, Teachers and Administrators at MVHS are invested in the existing career pathways, and have a shared vision that includes the 4 x 4 schedule…an issue that we believed had already been settled. What is the impact of this potential merger on the 4x4 schedule?
·  If the schools merge, what is the impact on the curricula of both schools? What is the plan for coordination, integration, standardization and career path generation?
·  How will the school be able to accommodate its growth into a full four-year high school while absorbing 600 or so middle school students? Or does VUSD plan on turning MVHS into another temp-classroom trailer park?
·  How will the bell schedule work when the minutes needed in middle school are different than those required in high school?
·  Are we prepared for the challenges we’ll face when integrating the younger students with the older students? Challenges like…
     o   Having children of differing ages in the gym/locker rooms at the same time during P.E. changeovers…
     o   Having 11-year-olds just entering middle school on the same bus as the 18-year-old students…
     o   Having younger students find condoms or vibrators in bathrooms, or witness random drug use.


This issue raises these and, I’m sure, many more questions.  Until a solid business case can be made, until a full study has been done, until a fully-developed proposal has been presented, until a comprehensive implementation plan is generated…this issue needs to be tabled. 


We look forward to the VUSD presentation on Wednesday night, and to your participation in Thursday night’s board meeting Foothills Elementary. Thanks, to each of you, for your interest, time and engagement in our children’s future.


Sincerely,
Diane “DJ”Weed
Mission Vista High School PTSA President

(Sent - January 24, 2011)

 SUBJECT - Teen Safety and the Future of MVHS will be addressed at
this Wednesday's Back-to-School Night Meeting...Don't Miss it!!!
(Wed, 26 Jan at 5:15pm in the Theater)

I was planning to write you this evening to encourage you to attend our extremely special presentation during Wednesday’s Back-to-School Night beginning at 5:15pm on teen driving, but a newer and possibly more urgent matter has come to our attention…

For those of you who have yet to hear about the proposal that is going to be placed before the School Board this Thursday evening…please read carefully

There is a plan afoot to merge our High School with the Vista Magnet Middle School.

We DO NOT KNOW who came up with this plan, or what research they’ve done.  We DO NOT KNOW what, specifically, the plan entails.  We DO NOT KNOW whether there is any supporting documentation or even a detailed implementation plan. 

All WE DO KNOW is that the Superintendent, Dr. Joyce Bales, published a memo that we’ve attached.

This plan was developed without any input from MVHS’s principal, teachers or community.  The first Mr. Goldenberg, MVHS principal, heard of it was last Friday evening.  This morning, the MVHS staff was informed.  Now, we are bringing this to your attention.

Regarding the issue itself, I imagine there will be mixed reactions from among our members and within the Vista community.  The MVHS PTSA has not yet taken an official position on the merits of this proposed plan; however, we do feel it has been very poorly communicated and contrived. Rest assured, the MVHS PTSA will strongly oppose any plan that puts our high school and its 4x4 schedule at risk.  But at this point, no-one at MVHS even knows what the proposal entails.

We ask for your support in asking the district to table this issue until:

-          A full study on the pros/cons of, ramifications of and alternatives to such an action can be performed;

-          A fully-developed proposal can be socialized;

-          A comprehensive implementation plan can be developed

There is a RIGHT WAY to go about change and this, my friends, is not the RIGHT WAY.  We need more information and believe the School Board does, too, in order to make an informed decision on such a significant issue.

The time has come, yet again, to stand up and speak out.  As I mentioned, this is a proposed plan…it is not a “done deal!” 

You will have two opportunities to learn about this proposal: this Wednesday evening after classroom visits at Back-to-School night and this Thursday evening at 7pm at Foothill Oaks Elementary School when it is being presented to the School Board for approval. 

We encourage you to attend on Wednesday night to hear what they’re proposing.  Then, please take the time to show up to the School Board meeting, to stand up and speak up – demand that this change be pursued in the RIGHT way.

While this issue is one of urgency, it won’t be the only important information you’ll receive Wednesday evening during Back-to-School night.

Beginning at 5:15 pm, back-to-school night will include the opportunity to:

-          FIRST: Benefit from a special parent-oriented presentation that will cover:

o   legal aspects of teenage driving,

o   how you can best perform your role as a parent of a new driver, and

o   ways to keep your kids safe as they and their friends come of driving age

-          SECOND: Meet with all your child’s teachers for the upcoming term AND

-          THIRD: Hear about the merger plan.

DID YOU KNOW?  Distracted driving is the #1 killer of teens age 16-19 in America!

Wednesday’s high-impact program will be a more-parent-oriented version of a program you may recall having heard about that our PTSA organized for our students back in October called Impact Teen Driving.  It was extremely well received by the students and now, we’d like to share it with you!  This program will cover real-world situations and what we as parents can do to help keep our children safe during these critical first three years of driving.  This program might just help to save your child’s life!

Join us for this EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NIGHT…show up and learn how to keep your children safe, learn about their upcoming semester’s schedule and help determine the future of our school!

Please help us get the word out and we will see you Wednesday night!

Sincerely,
Diane "DJ" Weed
President, Mission Vista PTSA
 

 

Merger Fact Sheet (by VUSD Exec. Team).pdf Merger Fact Sheet (by VUSD Exec. Team).pdf
Size : 1569.918 Kb
Type : pdf
VMMS meeting notes.docx VMMS meeting notes.docx
Size : 11.886 Kb
Type : docx

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