Editor's Note: The following is an opinion letter, submitted to Milpitas Patch.
Do you know when the last time school zone boundaries were evaluated?
Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) has never redrawn the schools' boundary zones, and does not have a process to evaluate and redraw them.
Milpitas' population has grown from 26,561 in 1970, to 67,476 in 2011. (For references to this information, visit here and here.)
In other words, while the population of the city grew steadily over the decades, the school boundary zones went unevaluated, and the student counts in the schools have been left to grow without proper evaluation.
The result is the following:
- Travel distance for a lot of the kids is much more than what it would otherwise be with proper zoning.
- Poor Learning: Students as little as 5 years old, spend more time on the sidewalk amid dangerous traffic. This makes them tired before they reach school, resulting in poor learning and lower API scores for the schools.
- Reduced Traffic Safety: Morning drive times increase congestion on already busy roads, reducing safety to students. Longer distances to drive add to this reduced safety on Milpitas roads.
- Noncompliance to MUSD policy, section 5116: This section mandates regular review of school attendance boundaries. MUSD has never considered a full review with rationales including student safety, educational programs, and home-to-school distance.
- Loss of Funding: The above factors have forced many parents to choose private schools, and thus reduce state funding for MUSD schools.
One of the secrets of MUSD school attendance zoning is that the map showing attendance figures is only available at the MUSD office, and not online, like in Fremont and other cities. Fremont and other cities also periodically evaluate attendance zones to better reflect the population growth.
A few communities have approached MUSD to ask them to consider this request, and they were turned down with the response, "MUSD has never done this before, and will not consider it now".
The MUSD school board and superintendent should not take the easy way out, and instead should make the right decision for Milpitas communities.
It it high time to change this, and evaluate the school attendance zones and boundaries in MUSD to improve the quality of education for Milpitas students, as well as the quality of life for Milpitas residents.
Pavan Basetty, a resident of the Reflections community
Rohit Sharma, a resident of Images Circle
Rakesh Shah, Images Circle