I read the Voice's issue of July 4 regarding the Village at San Antonio Center development with interest. Agreed, Mountain View has a growing jobs-housing imbalance issue. But it also has a housing-schools imbalance that is equally, perhaps even more, urgent.
Where exactly do the proponents of adding more housing in this increasingly dense and redeveloping part of Mountain View propose to school the kids of families moving into all those new large apartment/condo complexes in this and nearby projects? This section of the city experiencing new high-density redevelopment extends well beyond the Village. It encompasses the length of San Antonio between El Camino and Caltrain, extending several blocks east to Showers and west to Palo Alto on either side of San Antonio. Multiple hundreds of new and under-construction housing units have been and continue to be added.
This particular part of Mountain View lies within the Los Altos Elementary School District. The two nearest LASD schools, Santa Rita and Almond, which serve the children of this area, are already impacted and over-capacity (as is every one of the other six LASD schools). Getting to Santa Rita and Almond schools for Mountain View kids in this neighborhood entails risk and inconvenience. It means crossing El Camino twice each day, and walking considerable distances without school bus service a considerable burden on their working parents.
Adding ever more high-density housing in this north-of-El Camino neighborhood without adding a local neighborhood school to serve these kids shirks responsibility. Unfortunately, Mountain View seems to have side-stepped this issue. Was this need considered or even discussed by anybody in Mountain View? Lenny Siegel and his housing proponents? Planning staff and commission? City management and council? Developers? The Voice? Anyone?
LASD, including Bullis Charter, does a great job educating Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills kids. But only Springer is located within the city of Mountain View. Mountain View needs to step up and work together with LASD, to help LASD find another suitable school location within this higher-growth part of the city. The burden of solving this ever-growing capacity issue should not fall on Los Altos alone.
Frank Verlot is a former city councilman and mayor of Los Altos.