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Keep Our Children in Their Neighborhood Schools

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Keep Our Children in Their Neighborhood School


This March, the Larkspur Corte Madera School District plans to hold a lottery that will force some children who live on the west side of highway 101 to attend elementary school across the freeway, even though there is room for them at their neighborhood school, Neil Cummins.  We believe this is contrary to long standing school policies, is unnecessary, and unfair.  It will also negatively impact property values and will hurt home sales in the area.  We ask the Board to stop this lottery and let our children stay in their neighborhood school.


1.    The lottery is contrary to school policies.  When this District asked the people of the Twin Cities for $26 million to build a new school, the expressed purpose was to reduce overcrowding and to foster “neighborhood schools.”  The District and the Board repeatedly endorsed the idea that having young children attend school within their neighborhood fosters community and educational well-being.  The District has committed extensive resources to promote walking and biking to school, teaching our kids to be sensitive to the environment and to prioritize a healthy lifestyle.  The lottery undermines these efforts and means that some kids, who currently walk or bike to school, will be singled out to commute across town by car unlike their neighbors and friends.


2.    The lottery is unnecessary.  The School District built the new Cove School to reduce overcrowding at Neil Cummins, and to give children on the east side of 101 a neighborhood school.  This has been accomplished.  Children living in the eastern neighborhoods combined with those who opted to attend the Cove School will reduce Neil Cummins’ enrollment by about 30%, bringing enrollment well within the school’s capacity.  In other words, there is room for every child on the west side who wishes to attend Neil Cummins.


3.    The lottery is unfair and discriminatory.  This lottery will needlessly hurt a small group of elementary school children.  Currently, most can walk or bike to school with neighborhood friends.  Parents who drive their kids to school can carpool with neighbors.  This lottery will single out an unlucky few who will be forced to commute out of their neighborhoods in heavy traffic.


4.    The lottery will hurt home sales and values. Many people move to Marin for the schools.  A benefit of living in Larkspur and Corte Madera is the certainty that your child can attend a neighborhood school, which is not the case in cities like San Francisco and Mill Valley that use lottery systems.  One of the very first questions these home buyers ask is “What school will my child attend?”  If this lottery goes forward, people selling their homes will be forced to say, “Who knows?  Instead of attending the local elementary school 3 blocks from your house, you might have to drive your child across the highway to another town.”  Obviously, this is not an answer anyone wants to give a prospective buyer.


We, the undersigned, are vehemently opposed to a District policy that forces  children to attend school outside their neighborhood---especially when there is room for them to attend Neil Cummins.  Moreover, as home owners (and voters), we do not want to see our property values affected by a destructive policy that will make our school system and our homes less desirable. We respectfully request that the School Board reconsider its plan to transfer students away from their neighborhood schools.



Very truly yours,

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