Op-ed: Who's thinking about increased housing's impact on schools?

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.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Jul 15, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Robert is a registered user.

I would expect nothing less from a Los Altan than the poor us attitude expressed by Mr.Verlot. This attitude is not new, as Los Altan's have long bemoaned the fact that their children must go to school with "those" Mountain View children. I don't hear any complaints from Los Altans regarding the tax revenue they receive for their schools from the businesses in San Antonio Center and other surrounding areas inside the school districts boundary. Now,with the new revitalized shopping center, there will be even greater revenue.
May I suggest that we simply redraw the school boundary to coincide with that of the city. Doing that one simple thing will keep Mountain View's children and tax dollars in Mountain View.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Jul 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Robert is a registered user.

One last thing. Thank you Mr. Verlot for pointing out all of Mountain View's problems for us. I don't see how we've been able to survive for so long without guidance from Los Altan's like yourself.

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Posted by Bobby
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm

@Robert -- I live in the LASD section of Mountain View and sent my kids to elementary school, junior high, and now Los Altos High and have never once, in the last 12 years heard a Los Altos parent "bemoan" the fact that their kids have to attend school with "those" Mountain View kids. Not once. I have found the LASD community to be tight knit and very inclusive. The only thing this piece proposed, is that the MV City Council work with the district to help solve some of the problems their growth and development agenda have create. Get over yourself.

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Posted by MV Mom
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

How about building a new school as part of the development plan? Another school within walking distance of so many families would also help alleviate overcrowding at Castro School. The district has been trying to find alternatives for the growing numbers of kids at Castro so this could be a good solution that is near the Castro school neighborhood.

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Posted by It's not only the schools
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:48 pm

It's not only the schools, but our whole infrastructure, our water, sewage, police, fire department, everything will be stressed.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

@It's not only the schools

Do go on, tell me about the time you turned down a job offer somewhere because you didn't want to put additional stress on infrastructure, water consumption, contribute to traffic, etc?

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Posted by TIC
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm

This is NOT an issue. Look it's simple. The people who can afford these new places are going to be DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids). So schools won't be an issue for at least 5 years. By then we'll have a new Coty Council and a whole new School Board.

The residents of these overpriced "homes", along with the ciurtent residents who feel left out, will rise up and create a couple of new charter schools to "educate the under served children" in this area. They can then just demand that the LASD give them the space they need, all in one campus. After about 7 years of lawsuits, the whole thing will be negotiated in a back room and the issue will be solved.

Now before you all start objecting to this, remember that TIC stands for Tongue In Cheek!

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Posted by HotCarl
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm

The answer is no one. The people on the city council have no worries. They get paid(under the table), from all of the builders and investors. They don't care. What we need is a big earthquake to scare people away. Then we can have our Mt. View back.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Jul 15, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Robert is a registered user.

Bobby, you appear to live in Blossom Valley, and not on the north side of El Camino. Your school experiences also appear to be different from those I've talked with who live north of El Camino. Congratulations, you've arrived!

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Posted by Bobby
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm

@Robert, so you're claiming that this alleged discrimination by LASD parents makes the subtle distinction between MV residents in one part of the community vs another? I'm sorry. I don't see it. Not at all.

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Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

Did anyone else see that the new Safeway in Los Altos is opening this week? Tons of traffic added to the area. What were they thinking?

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Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Frank Verlot wrote, "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?"

I'm happy to answer Mr. Verlot's question. Lenny Siegel, now a candidate for Mountain View City Council, who has lobbied City Council to delay approval of San Antonio Phase 2 development until the San Antonio Precise Plan was completed, *specifically* advised City Council to add land for a new Mountain View elementary school to the Precise Plan. At meetings of the Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View group, members have discussed how to work with the San Antonio School District, the Mountain View City Council, and private developers to make a new school happen.

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Posted by What new school district
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

"San Antonio School District"

What is this? A new school district?

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Posted by Dinner at 4:30
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Frank doesn't understand about running a vibtrant, growing city. He knows aboutsleepy bedroom communities comprised of a continuously aging population and prop 13 houses, but he doesn't know about vibrant growth.
Its amusing he wrote this article to prove it to the public.

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Posted by Dinner at 9:30pm
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 5:43 am

We need buses for the students who live in the San Antonio now. LASD has them sent to 4 different schools in Los Altos. Until or unless something changes, at least there should be school buses run to lessen the traffic impacts on everyone.

A school in the area would be nice, but the problem is that the LASD schools would drop down to 300 students in some cases without the kids from the San Antonio area. 300 students? Come on? It kind of makes sense what LASD is doing, or else it would need to close one of the Los Altos schools. But there should be some buses!

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