News


LASD bond measure on the horizon

New school campus a possibility, but likely not in Mountain View

Faced with growing enrollment, packed campuses and difficult shared-space agreements with Bullis Charter School, the Los Altos School District is looking to the November ballot for some relief.

Over the next two weeks, the district will finalize the language of a bond measure, to be voted on in the November election, that would allow the district to build new facilities -- including a new school site. The bond amount is likely to be $145 million, with a maximum of $30 per $100,000 of assessed value per parcel.

The district board will vote on placing the measure on the ballot, and the specific ballot language, on Aug. 4.

The district will also hold two special meetings, on July 28 and July 30, to discuss the bond language. The July 28 meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the district office, and will include a vote to approve a proposed five-year agreement with Bullis Charter School.

Board President Tamara Logan said district staff looked at a wide range of options for a new school site. She said that while there is no readily available or perfect site for a new school, the city of Los Altos has offered up a few potential spots. McKenzie Park, near Loyola Elementary School, and Rosita Park are sites that are on the table as of July 22.

Logan said ideally she would want the new campus to be located in Mountain View, where the school district is experiencing the highest level of growth. She said Mountain View students within the Los Altos School District have to cross El Camino Real to get to school, and have the hardest time with transportation.

Despite the circumstances, Logan said, a new school campus in Mountain View is not likely. She said the district has asked the Mountain View City Council on multiple occasions to help establish a school in the region, but haven't received a positive response.

Logan said the district is not considering the Hillview Community Center as an option for a new school site. She said the city of Los Altos has other uses for the area, including a senior center, a library and a sports field. She said the city does not believe it's feasible to have school facilities at that location.

If the district succeeds in passing a bond measure for new facilities, Logan said, Bullis Charter School would be likely get its own school. She said that a separate campus would alleviate a lot of disputes that go on between the charter school and the district.

"The school district needs more space, and shared-space facilities makes things difficult," Logan said.

It is still unclear whether the charter school would get the new campus or an existing school site.

District staff members do not think the school district can afford two new schools with a bond measure due to high costs. Instead, options might include one new school and new facilities at existing schools, or one new school and a switch to grades K-5 elementary schools and 6-8 middle schools.

Putting the bond measure on the November ballot will be a collaborative effort between the school district and the charter school, according to a proposed five-year agreement between the two parties.

Though both boards still need to approve the agreement, which was drafted earlier this month, the terms include Bullis' cooperation with the district to place a measure on the ballot, and both parties' working together "to draft and finalize the ballot language."

A Bullis representative was not immediately available to comment on the charter school's role in drafting the bond measure.

The July 28 district meeting will include not only a discussion about bond language, but a vote to approve the terms of the five-year agreement between the district and the charter school. Among other things, the agreement would end all litigation between the two parties, end disputes over enrollment numbers and open up new space at Blach for the charter school.

Logan said the five-year agreement does not hinge on voters passing the bond measure this November.

"The bond is a solution to problems that go beyond those five years," Logan said.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by LASD tax payer
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

It all sounds great at the high level. What's lacking is some substantive details on how that money will be used. Also not spoken out loud is the fact that property owners in the LASD boundary are still paying approximately $57 per $100,000 AV for the previous bond passed in 1998. So this new bond will bring the total LASD bond tax to $87 per $100,000 AV, in addition to nearly $1000 in parcel taxes, of which nearly half are permanent.
So for the voters in the area to pass this, we need more specific details on how the money will be spent - beyond the flowery language in the resolution or the bond language. The voters should ask for the comprehensive master plan - and be convinced that the money will be used wisely. We as voters are owed that specificity and assurance before agreeing to tax ourselves $87 per $100,000 of our homes' assessed value.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by new-LASDschool-MountainView
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 11:46 am


A great opportunity for a new LASD school on the Mountain View side
of San Antonio Road. Why wouldn't the city of Mountain View
support it? This should be a top priority for MV and its residents.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Los Altos Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Enrollment is not growing and the existing campuses are not at capacity. Perhaps a few are but most are not! Vote NO on the bond boondoggle!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

So, $30 per 100k in ASSESSED (prop 13 protected) value.

Long-time Los Altos residents are going to pay less than dinner for two at Los Altos Grill once a year to bring our schools much-needed facilities help, which will enhance the value of our homes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Or they can risk the value of their home falling to levels below that of Sunnyvalue and Cupertino (viz. -40%) as we are eclipsed by neighboring towns that HAVE supported their local public schools.

It's a no-brainer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

It's about time Mt. View stepped up to the plate with some land for a school! 25% of elementary students going to LA Schools are from Mt. View--that's enough for an entire school! Doesn't MV have a spine to force developers to stop the greed and contribute to community?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by new-LASDschool-MountainView
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 10:14 am


Yes, it is time for Mountain View residents to join hands and make sure land is made available on Mountain View side for schools. For one thing having the school around San Antonio Road on Mountain View side will make
the commute safer for MV school kids. It will also remove the congestion
at the El Camino intersection because most kids will coming from MV side.

The old safeway on California Avenue or even part of phase-2 will
make a great location for a school. MV city needs to plan for the
future of MV Kids instead of focusing on building high-density
offices everywhere.

Schools are more important than cinema, hotel and office buildings.
First things first! Good schools make a good livable community.
Not hotels, cinemas and office buildings.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by new-LASDschool-MountainView
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 10:47 am

Since MV likes high density, building a school in high-density format
should work. A multi-story school building with multi-level
underground parking appears to be suitable for Mountain View. If land
is a premium, MV could include all the classrooms, 2 or 3 floors of gym,
in-door sports, a complete library, etc. all in the same building.

Once you embrace high-density, everything including high-density schools
become a possibility.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Get a clue buckaroo
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:34 am

Los Altos has áreas that are high density. Over on the south side in the area surrounding Trader Joes, there are multi story apartments and an entire neighborhood of duplexes, in Los Altos. Hey maybe Los Altos could buy up the Trader Joes center and turn it over to the Cupertino School District. After all a quarter of Los Altos attends Cupertino Schools and there is only one CUSD school in Los Altos. Los Altos needs to do a better job of providing space for Los Altos students that go to Cupertino Schools.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by new-LASDschool-MountainView
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:59 am


The Los Altos part on Homestead -- that area has nothing like the
high density we see in San Antonio Phase-1 and MV is generating
even more of it at break-neck speed on San Antonio Road.

Anyone that knows that part of Los Altos would not call it
even medium density. You see fancy condos and a very lowkey
shopping center, a delight to visit!

Never seen any complaints from Cupertino about Los Altos :-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by You still need a clue buckaroo
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

Wow, not getting it.

Here is an idea - Let Waverly Park students that attend MV schools attend Oak.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Why?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

Look buckaroo banzai, it's not clear what problem you are trying to solve with your big "idea". Much of the growth in LASD attendance has been, and is projected to be, from the NEC area where there is much development. We need a school in THAT part of the district which will only happen with the active participation and support of the MV City Council. Why should they re-draw the boundaries as you are suggesting?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:16 am

This $145M "bond" should be renamed as the Gardner Bullis tax. This huge tax is to be levied on the property owners of LASD because of the school board's penny-wise pound-foolish decision not to hand over Gardner to the charter school several years ago when doing so would have permanently solved the problem. I ask you, is it worth $145M to keep Gardner Bullis as an under-utilized neighborhood school?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:19 am

Could be that Buckaroo is trying to point out that you are completely clueless.
Not sure but that is my take on it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:22 am

@ Reader

Don't forget Covington. It's a Covington tax as well.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:23 am

It's also a save The District Office Tax.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

It's sad to hear from the people who have been living under a rock for six years who still think BCS can be solved by just handing over the little school in the Hills.

Gardner Bullis has ~300 students and is at capacity. BCS has committed to grow to 900 students.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

JJS, exactly. By not nipping this in the bud when BCS was a much smaller school (which could have been accommodated at Gardner), LASD has created a monster which will cost LASD taxpayers dearly to build a new school for.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan is the man...
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Such clear, compelling, reasoned arguments from @Dan. Could it be that you simply don't feel like ponying up a few extra dollars to help preserve the outstanding schools we have today? Give up a couple of your non-fat, no-foam, half-caf, carmel mocha frappuchino's every week and it would be a push. Cheapskate...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Consider that the median home sale price in Los Altos these days is well north of $2M. The additional tax on $2M would be $600 per year! Hardly "a few extra dollars" that the bond proponents would like you to think it is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

@Reader -- We're building a new school because we have +1000 students since BCS started. Giving BCS Gardner would mean that they would have kept their school at 150 students, making things WORSE for everybody else and INCREASING the need for more campus space.

And yes, a few extra dollars: that same homeowner is paying about $22,000 for property taxes, and probably about $80,000 for income taxes. Oh yeah, another $600 will be crippling for THEM.

The price on this bond is so low that it's moronic NOT to pass it, given the potential downsides if we don't.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV lasd taxpayer
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I am voting no on the bond. lasd could care less about it's mv students. They moved my kids from Almond after they had been there for 5 years. They did that to protect Covington and Gardner. I am voting no on the bond. I think we need one big k - 12 district. I am tired of mv paying all the taxes and Los Altos getting all the benefits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MV lasd taxpayer
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I am voting no on the bond. lasd could care less about it's mv students. They moved my kids from Almond after they had been there for 5 years. They did that to protect Covington and Gardner. I am voting no on the bond. I think we need one big k - 12 district. I am tired of mv paying all the taxes and Los Altos getting all the benefits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 2:28 pm

If LASD schools are so crowded why is LASD moving from half-day to full-day kindergarten? Its because kinder enrollment is actually plummeting and LASD needs to move to full day kinder to promote the illusion of overcrowding!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 2:31 pm

The LASD sold property years ago when they should have kept it. It is the school board's responsibility to find a new site(s) and purchase it. I don't think that the Mountain View or Los Altos City Council's should be responsible for LASD's lack of vision.
There does need to be a bond measure to raise enough money to either purchase land and build a new school or to start campus' with two or three story buildings.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Cuesta Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

I'm OK with the measure except it must exclude maintenance of facilities from the use of proceeds language, and earmark proceeds ONLY for expansion and improvements. Maintenance activities must be funded in current operating budgets. Adding maintenance to the use of proceeds language is an old trick public agencies use to under fund and defer needed current maintenance activities and redeploy the funds to pet projects.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by local realtor
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

@Joan J Strong: "Or they can risk the value of their home falling to levels below that of Sunnyvalue and Cupertino (viz. -40%) as we are eclipsed by neighboring towns that HAVE supported their local public schools"

PLEASE stop with the ridiculous fear mongering. Failing to pass a bond in Los Altos will not drop property values. Los Altos is an affluent, educated community and school scores will always be high regardless of the number of kids in each school. You think Sunnyvale and Cupertino are doing better jobs of educating and supporting their kids than Los Altos? Some of their elementary schools have 800-1200 kids enrolled. I don't think we have to worry about Los Altos properties being passed over by people seeking better education in Sunnyvale. There are arguments pro and con for the bond but property values are not dependent upon the outcome.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Here is an idea
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

How about have the parents pay for some of this, so called little extra money? No need for bond, as more kids come in, more money would be gained.

Anyway, schools will be the thing of the past with the internet schooling system.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

MV LASD Taxpayer - you are right MV does pay more in property and parcel taxes than does Los Altos.

Low density + High Percentage of Retirees = Less property tax and parcel tax per acre in Los Altos.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm

@ local realtor -
Interesting, thanks for pointing that out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan's wrong
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

The taxes are different between LASD and MVWSD, not between Mountain View and Los Altos. An LASD resident inside of Mountain View pays EXACTLY the same as an LASD resident of Los Altos, Palo Alto or Los Altos Hills.

Dan's logic is hard to follow but if he refers to the fact that senior citizens can exempt themselves from LASD's parcel tax, well so too can they exempt themselves from MVWSD's. The LASD parcel taxes though are 15 times higher.... I imagine that motivates more exemption applications.

Before you consider Parcel taxes consider also that LASD has more ordinary regular property tax revenue as an elementary school district per student than does MVWSD. This is because LASD has 500 fewer students and about the same overall assessed value base. The fact that the base in MVWSD is much higher in business property as a fraction doesn't change the total. LASD still manages to collect very similar property tax revenue based mostly on residential valuations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

@local RE -- Your aren't doing your profession much credit there. Price pressure is not a black/white thing. Our real estate values here are HEAVILY dependent on our schools, and narrowing the gap between us and our neighbors means narrowing the gap in our home prices as well.

A 10% drop (or failure to appreciate) in our home values in the LASD area is worth about $5 billion. The bond is $150 million.

As always, this should be about our children and our future, but in our area the numbers make a bond like this a no-brainer. Even if you dislike children and have no interest in their future, there's reason for you to vote yes.

Oh, and Sunnyvale and Cupertino passed--by landslides--big school bonds recently as well:

Sunnyvale: Web Link

Cupertino: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Huh? I was comparing the proportion of taxes paid by LASD MV residents vs LASD LA residents. MV takes in more tax dollars per acre of land does LA.


Let's be clear - Los Altos has a bunch of old track homes that are currently owned by seniors. They do not pay much in taxes. The MV sections of LASD have more houses per acre and younger occupants that pay way more in taxes. Tax dollars/acre is much greater in MV. Regardless of school district.

You can vote for the bond if you want to - but I am not going to. I already pay enough in taxes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Better Solutions
a resident of Gemello
on Jul 28, 2014 at 10:00 pm

I just listened to the LASD Board meeting. There were many Los Altos residents speaking about protecting parks next to their house. I guess the possible new school will not go in a Los Altos park. They also signed a 5 year agreement with BCS that places BCS at the middle schools for the next 5 years. That leaves the option of buying up property in the NEC for an NEC school. That's too bad. To be the best option always involved moving six graders to the middle schools and redrawing attendance lines. Doing that could free up a campus for the charter and free up space for a school placed at the current BCS site. In fact I continue to think that best option might be building a new and better middle school at the current Covington site, move BCS to the current Egan campus and build a new NEC school next door. It's close to El Camino. Covington area students could go to Almond, Loyola, Gardner and Springer. Seems like a better solution:
1. NEC gets a school
2. Covington students all have a neighborhood school to attend, Crossings kids would get a brand new school closer to home.
3. District gets a brand new Middle school, with more modern facilities.
4. Schools stay small - even the middle schools - 700 kids is a very small middle school.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan's wrong not
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:51 pm

When you put it that way, I see what you mean. The NEC area of LASD is only about 1/3 of a square mile. That's tiny. But there is alot of density there. Consider that a chunk of the LASD area NEC is in Palo Alto. Yep, the MV portions are high value high tax base contributors to LASD's coffers. LASD gets too much money. They have wasted it in too many ways to count. It's aggravating. They are more of a drain on LASD property values than an asset. Joan Strong like Mr. Magoo in being blind and walking around stumbling into trouble.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BetterIdea
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 3:08 am

De-certify and dis-band the charter school to re-consolidate the district. That will save a lot of space that is wasted by having all the extra administrators duplicating LASD work.

How can we get this done?

Joan Strong: On a related note, do you have any numbers to show the legal costs incurred by LASD to fight off the BCS onslaught?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Best Idea for San Antonio
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 5:24 am

Until LASD makes changes such as building a closer school for them, the kids who live in San Antonio's area South of Central Expressway who are asked to travel a mile or more to reach a school South of El Camino need bus service! All the other school districts around here provide such a program in such cases, so LASD should just get with that. It's better for the environment. I think Balanced Mountain View should work on this as an interim improvement for the 500 kids in this situation. The 100 or so who attend Egan Jr High are okay, because that's not so far away from their homes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bus Service?
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 7:03 am

Are you willing to pay for bus service? Families in Palo Alto who use the bus service have to pay a fee (which just went up last year). There are also limited stops (I believe only two pickup locations). Not sure how a bus service would work if the busses need to go to 4 different schools. Just some considerations to think about if you really want to advocate for bus service.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dawn
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

Why do we pay with higher property axes to build and fund public schools for rich people who are too greedy to send their offspring to private schools. This is ROBIN HOOD IN REVERSE. I suppose the rich have always used government to get richer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Vote for Martha
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:23 am

I am voting for Martha. She will look out for the interests of all LASD students. Especially those that do not live near a current school campus.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No on Martha
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:28 am

Until BCS actually elects their board members, and until the chartering authority is transferred to LASD, there is no place for a BCS insider on the LASD Board of Trustees. The 5 year facilities agreement was just ratified which is a great first step. Let's see how the cooperation progresses on the bond before we vote in a potential Manchurian Candidate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:37 am

It is disappointing to see that BCS has ratified the 5 year agreement and will support the bond. It used to be that you could count on the charter school crowd to oppose wasteful government spending. Now they have got their hands out just like everyone else. They are no better than the teachers unions they claim to despise.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Voter
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I am a parent and I am leaning on voting no. The District was willing to go on spending tax payers money on lawyers, instead of just settling with BCS. In fact they could have had this very same agreement a year and half ago. I don't trust the current board to do a good job with the bond money. At the end of the school year they were doing a G
oodies for you school tour. That is not acceptable. They need to build one new school, for either BCS or the NEC and then do critical updates. Instead we have a lists of nice to haves that have little to do with education including:

!. Media Centers - what is this? 1994? News flash - high powered, expensive computers now come in laptop form. You don't need a computer room. Buy some carts - move them around as needed. Books can stay in the library.
2. Performing Arts Center - again you don't need this Almond. What that end of the district needs is a new school.
3. Sky lights - yep they cheaped it out at the schools that didn't have a board member in the last bond - Springer and Covington didn't get sky lights, which is sad but not worth spending money on.
4. 20 million for solar! Are you kidding me? That is completely ridiculous. If you want to save money on energy replace portables. If you want to be green, start using buses, since so many LASD parents drive to school you will greatly cut down on car trips.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Voter
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 12:44 pm

I should also had that lap tops can also be inexpensive if slightly less than the high powered, but fantastic for student use computers. Buy carts, don't build media centers. Sad that Gardner is doing this, it really makes me wonder about Google.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Are you referring to the private preschool has the only patch of grass, so let's move the buildings and call it a media center project?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 1:29 pm

Or maybe its the Billionaire doesn't like cars so is trying to improve the school project?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Could be the suss be quiet project as in,

"Suss be quiet we don't use half our campus in order to keep our school tiny and but would really like some grass at the bottom level project"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I think it might be the, "if people figured out that we really could use more of our campus we might need to have more kids here from the GASP north side of Foothill Expressway project".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Really it should just be called the

Save Covington, Gardner and the District Office project.

Because that is what this really all about. It's what all of this is really all about. If you like it the district wants you to pass a bond this fall. Most of it will go to doing some sort of "necessary" upgrades on …..Covington.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I wonder
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm

I wonder how LASD will get this bond passed?

BCS is supposed to support it, but they can't make their parents vote for it, and unless BCS will see some relief I doubt they will.

Gardner is already getting theirs - so no reason to run out and vote for it - and with such high assessed home values thats quite a bit of change they will be dropping on the bond ----- 5 million is assessed value = $3000/ year.

2 million in assessed value? If you just purchased your home that's a likely number. $1200 more per year. Is it worth it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 6:27 pm

LASD's strategy is going to be to put as much pork as possible into the bond so there is something in it for everyone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Packed Schools?
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm

No one has pointed out that LASD's schools are hardly packed with students. Here are the enrollment numbers from last October 2013 for the LASD schools:
K-6 sites
Almond 510 - 22 classes of 23.16 average size
Gardner 318 - 14 classes of 22.71 average size
Covington 512 - 25 classes of 20.48 average size
Loyola 542 - 24 classes of 22.58 average size
Oak Avenue 506 - 21 classes of 24.10 average size
Santa Rita 561 - 24 classes of 23.396 average size
Springer 522 - 23 classes of 22.70 average size

Do the above schools look "packed" to anyone?

Jr High (7-8) sites
Blach 512 students
Egan 560 students

Calling these schools crowded is a deception of the highest caliber.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crowded House
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Yep LASD schools are in no way crowded. BCS is crowded.

.

640 students 28 classes 22.9 students/class.

Next year on the BCS Egan campus there will be -


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 9:02 pm

What's even worse is that new families who move to LASD are often told that their nearby neighborhood school is "full" (even though it is not) and LASD tries to funnel them to another school in need of an enrollment boost. Many of these families become so disenchanted with LASD that they go to BCS and BCS welcomes them with open arms.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BetterIdea
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:56 am

De-certify and dis-band the charter school to re-consolidate the district. That will save a lot of space that is wasted by having all the extra administrators duplicating LASD work.

How can we get this done?

Joan Strong: On a related note, do you have any numbers to show the legal costs incurred by LASD to fight off the BCS onslaught?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Apparently BetterIdea is a big fan of tax dollar wasting Big Brother. Decisions about your child's education should be left to government no reason why you should have any say in the matter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 2:07 pm

BadIdea - you might want to reword your question as -

On a related note, do you have any numbers to show the legal costs incurred by the LASD BOT's trying to get rid of the perfectly legal public school competition?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Example of Waste
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm

LASD has this list of over $300 Million they would like to do in the way of upgrades. The list is chock full of pet projects that aren't justifiable in terms of need. This is underestimating the potential cost of new schools in reaching the total on that list. They think they can squeeze the 900 student charter school onto 8 acres of land and the same 40,000 square feet of building spaced used by their 500 student elementary schools.

But look at the $188 Million they'd like to spend on existing schools. What are some of the un-needed projects. Well, at Almond elementary they want to spend $8 Million on a leapfrog redesign that goes like this. Move out of the 4000 square foot library into the current 5000 square foot Auditorium and remodel it to be a library/media center. Remodel the current library into classrooms. Build a brand spanking new 6000 square foot THEATER AUDITORIUM for a 500 student elementary school, with all the bells and whistles.

Stuff like this is on the list at all of the schools. Over at Santa Rita, they also want a new 6000 square foot MPR, because when they have music concerts a few nights a year, not all the parents can fit in. (Couldn't they have the concerts over at Egan's MPR? It's very nearby and idle most evenings.) At Santa Rita they have "fallen in love with" the idea of remodeling the current 4000 square foot high quality modular building MPR into a "garden library" over in their wooded area.

Give us a break. Should retired seniors be paying for such unneeded luxuries?


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm

LASD and the Big Lie:

"We need a bond because without it all the schools will have 800 or 900 kids, so we need to buy new land for a school.

you don't need to take a park away or the community center. You don't need new land.

Move six grade to the middle schools.
Combine Gardner and Covington.
Move the charter to the campus that they least want ( either Gardner or Covington - you can choose.)

Yep the middle schools will have around 800 kids - but they can tough that out.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 8:41 pm

@Example of Waste (aka David Roode, since you spewed the exact same words on Next Door). As a retired senior in the community, perhaps you should spend some of that ample time and talk with the PTA of the schools that contributed to that facility list. They know quite a lot more than a retire senior who has no kids in our schools or any understanding of our needs. Having a library in a cramped portable is far from ideal. Moving the library to a current Almond MPR is highly needed and will make it the cornerstone of the school that a library deserves to be. All of our kids and schools deserve the best, and we realize not everything will be met.

David Roode, if you want to be involved in the school community then stop naively treating our kids like numbers and stop attacking our schools with blatant lies through your political action committee. Take the effort to learn what makes an excellent school and participate in the process to formulate a bond that will be the best for all.


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Posted by Local realtor
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:14 pm

@Joan Strong - you're still fear mongering and there is absolutely no basis for your argument that failure to pass a bond will drop property values. Yes, quality of schools drive property values and the measure of quality most commonly used is school scores. I assure you that a failed bond attempt will not drop school scores and it will not drop property values. The competition to purchase homes in Los Altos (for many reasons, not just the schools) is at an all time high with no respite in sight. Anybody wanting smaller schools would have to go private because the schools in the neighboring districts are just as large (but mostly larger).

And a failed bond attempt doesn't necessarily mean a failure to support children or schools - it could mean that taxpayers want to see the district accountable for the money they spend and a judicious use of the money and facilities that they already have.


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Thank you Local Realtor for being awesome.


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Posted by Listening
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Better Solutions has the best ideas. I'd like to see the district seriously review those options. I've always felt that the district could better use their existing facilities (or at least seriously examine the possibilities) rather than running off to build new schools on parks so that locals don't have to experience boundary changes (or cede to the "other" group in town). Suck it up people - you're not going to die if you have to switch to a school a half mile away and the politics surrounding the schools have gone way too far. The answer to the LASD / BCS standoff is not to require the taxpayers to eat another parcel tax so that neither group has to back down.

I read this today (Web Link)
and it made me think that LASD has been mismanaging their funds for a long time and passing another bond (particularly one that's so vaguely written) could end up with huge parcel taxes, money squandered, no home for BCS and continued taxpayer funded litigation.


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Posted by Patricia
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:41 pm

This measure is preposterous.There are closed school sites in both Los Altos and Mountain View. Money is no object for public school officials when it is not (yet) their money.


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:46 pm

Some fantastic posts here tonight.


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Posted by Listening
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Sorry - I meant to post this link as well. It shows the history of the spending of the 1999 bond. The money never went to te places for which it was supposedly intended. Web Link


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Posted by Bond Planning
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Taken all together, the attitude in the LASD Board meetings toward the bond are not favorable to getting voters to pass it. They say they need a bond for growth, and yet they favor small schools. They look at a list of $188 Million in improvements to existing schools, and yet they do not want to increase the number of students attending those schools. Well, in that case, then how is this bond directed at growth? They talk about spending $50 million on a new school at some mythical undisclosed location together with around $10 Million in extra classrooms at the Jr Highs, in the way of growth.

That's a very small estimate. What can you buy with that sum, in the way of new school space for growth?


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 1:58 pm

You get this bond to pass, and they actually build a new school in the NEC you will have two very small schools at two large campuses.

Covington - Crossings = 350
Gardner - 300

Hmmmm maybe they don't really want an NEC school. I wonder who will go along with too tiny schools?


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Actually two too tiny schools
bye bye either Covington or Gardner - you served your purpose but it didn't work.


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Posted by Stephanie
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Why does LASD need to use a park if the schools are so small? What's wrong with having 4 classes per grade? Having 80 to 100 kids per grade seems big - but I think it change a bit, depending on the age of kids in an area. Sometimes the number of classes per grade goes down doesn't it?

I think that there is something fishy going on here. It seems to be that they are using growth as an excuse to pass a bond. I would like to see a really detailed list of what they are going to do first and how much it is going to cost.

So far I'll I have heard about is some pie and sky new school with no location and a bunch of projects at each school of dubious merit.

If I am going to pay $1000 a year or so for this bond, I want it to actually benefit students. Right now it seems like there plan is to take a park and plop yet another school in central Los Altos or spend all the money trying to buy the Target or Safeway site.


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Lee is a registered user.

I think that we might need a new school, or we need to move six graders to the middle schools. Either one of these could help relieve anticipated crowding in the north end and open up a site up BCS. Any new school with require redrawing attendance lines. I wonder it people would rather have small schools or keep the current attendance line boundaries? I think it going to be one or the other but you can't do both.


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Posted by Bart Carey
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm

It's nice that BCS-LASD have finally agreed to a truce in their legal battles. But this is something that should have been done many years ago, not as a push for votes for a bond measure and a new campus. It is irresponsible that this obvious step was resisted so hard in the past (mainly by BCS).

There are real needs this bond measure may fulfill, the most expensive of these building a new campus for BCS.

Therein is the dilemma. As much as I support the idea of a new campus for BCS, I also support the concept of public control of public money and assets. The BCS board is self-appointed--there are no open elections, not even from within the BCS community. A BCS parent can run for the LASD board, but can't do the same for a spot on the board controlling their child's own school.

I don't think it is a good idea for a "private" board to run a public school, and the public assets of that school. Along with the push for this bond and a new campus, it is time BCS board members were democratically elected. It is not reasonable for the public to approve a new $50M asset to be run by a self-appointed board (that itself answers to no one in our community, only the SCCOE).


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Posted by Campus for NEC
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm

@Bart -- I don't disagree with your points, but I think with the 5 year agreement to expand and improve on the *two* BCS campuses (Egan & Blach)the LASD trustees should shift their focus vis. a new campus to the NEC part of the District. To quote BCS board member Francis LaPoll at the public long term facilities negotiations: "We're not asking for a shiny new campus."

BCS no longer needs a new campus, but we will likely see significant future growth in NEC and the students who are there today are spread across multiple campuses far away. It's time for the District to work with the city of Mountain View to bring a LASD campus to NEC


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Posted by You are so very wrong Bart.
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Bart - I was starting to agree with what you wrote but when I got to the part about all this was caused by BCS I just about lost it. If we are ever going to get anything done here we need to accept the fact that our beloved LASD School Board along with Mr. Kenyon and a few other assorted characters, I believe that in fact you are one of them, did everything they possibly could to try and GET RID OF BCS and spent our tax dollars to do it. Do you want a list? It might be kind of embarrassing.

Here are a few zingers -

Two years, yes two years ago, there was an agreement, that LASD BACKED OUT OF IT.
A year and a half ago BCS offered THIS EXACT SAME AGREEMENT.
A year ago LASD locked BCS Teachers OUT OF THEIR CLASSROOMS.
LAST FALL it was offered again by BCS.
LAST FALL the LASD board CONFINED BCS students to a small patch of land - leaving them no room to play or exercise while most of Blach campus sat empty.

Every single year LASD lowballs the BCS in district student count in k-5 every year they shorted BCS at least one classroom.

What actions could BCS take to make sure that their school could open and have enough room? You might think they could sit and discuss it with LASD. LASD REFUSED TO DO SO. That left litigation as they only recourse for BCS. Which was a okay with the LASD Board because they used it as a way to put off making any decisions.

The reason that we have this agreement right now? LASD was forced, by the court, to sit down and work it out with BCS. So please lets get this straight:

The LASD BOTs are the ones that delayed this decision. Not BCS.


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Posted by NEC Campus?
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I agree we need a campus for the NEC. The perfect place to put that campus is at the current BCS site. As Francis LaPoll said, BCS doesn't need a new shinny campus. An older site either Covington or Gardner could work to site all of BCS. I think there is some room for classrooms at the back of Gardner.


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Posted by Reality Check
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:52 pm

@NEC Campus? -- First, the existing BCS site at Egan isn't actually *North* of El Camino, so it's hardly a "perfect" site. Second, do you not have any understanding of the history of this conflict??? The one thing, the ONLY thing, in fact that the entire LASD community agrees on is that no LASD campus should be closed down and handed over to BCS. The continued demands for this scenario by fringe-dwelling, hard core BCS fanatics is the root cause of 90% of the opposition to BCS by LASD parents. I personally think there are even bigger issues with the ongoing enrollment discrimination, but the fastest way to get the LASD community to rise up in unified opposition to BCS is to demand an existing campus be turned over to them. IT. WILL. NEVER. HAPPEN. Get a grip and help find a solution that won't further divide our community.


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Posted by Campus needed in the North
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm

It should be called the NE campus. We need a campus in the NE not necessarily to NEC. The town houses at the LA garden center are going to add many students very quickly. They are located SEC. What we really need is a campus that is close to NEC and the Egan Camp Site aka Bullis Charter School lower campus is likely the best bet. Putting a campus there can serve the Crossings and Old Mill that now go all the way across town to Covington. It can also serve the north end of Los Altos, on both sides of El Camino as well as the MV El Camino Corridor. Almond and Santa Rita would also serve a portion of the NEC under this scenario. Creating a better balance and relieve crowding.


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Posted by Bart Carey
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

Dear "You are so very wrong Bart,"
You bring up some good points (though not the one about me being one of the "few other assorted characters," or the one about "all this was caused by BCS"...). And no doubt the current mess can be attributed to both BCS and LASD. Understand that the comments you found objectionable were more limited--in regard to the truce in litigation. This is an old concept, and years ago in discussing this with both BCS and LASD Trustees, one side was strongly opposed. What has changed the equation now is the bond measure. Agree or disagree I respect your opinion.

I am glad you were starting to agree about the important point--a public school should not be controlled by a private board.

Agree that the NEC area should have a campus. But I think that "shiny new campus" mentioned for BCS will be part of the bond measure--which would be great if they also had a democratically elected board, like our other public schools.


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Posted by David Roode
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

My name has been taken in vain in an above comment, so let me put out my beliefs about the LASD Board and it's proposed bond measure.

The LASD board recently spent something like $50,000 mailing out a 4 page glossy brochure to all the voters in the district. The emphasis on the need for the bond is clearly their claim of existing overcrowding based on high growth over the last 10 years. That's demonstrably not the case at the existing elementary schools. I published the numbers from LASD's financial reports that show the enrollments at each school back in 2002-2003 and you can see they are mostly the same, some up, some down. This is deceptive on the part of LASD, just based on the specific facts. People who don't normally pay attention to the LASD Board's actions should take concern about their recent focus on taking over city property to build schools. They should also look at this kind of false claim that Almond, Santa Rita, Covington, Oak, Springer, Gardner and Loyola are more crowded or even differently loaded now than they were back in 2002. It's just not true, except that Covington hadn't been opened yet. When they opened Covington they remodeled it sufficiently to hold 650 students in permanent classrooms and other facilities. That happened after they point to which they compare. They don't mention the charter school at all, which is another deception. The charter school handled 580 of the in district students last year and they have permission to grow each year until they reach 900, which also helps take load off the other schools.

Here are the actual numbers of LASD School loading from 11 years ago compared to last year, based on the standard 11th day of enrollment numbers for each year:

2002-2003 v. 2013-2014 Growth in LASD Elementary Schools

Almond 579 510 Chg: -69
Gardner 341 318 Chg: -23
Covington 0 512 Chg +512 (New School Opened after $20M remodeling done in 2000-2002)
Loyola 560 542 Chg -18
Oak 458 506 Chg +48
Santa Rita 519 561 Chg +42
Springer 619 522 Chg -97



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Posted by You are so very wrong Bart.
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm

I don't agree with you. I agree with Reed Hastings, the Netflix CEO, who said that the biggest problem that we have in education today, is not teachers or school administrators, its Elected School Boards. Our LASD Board of Trustees is the prime example. They are completely inept and afraid to make any decision. They run off on their own silly tangents, like trying to buy an old school site out of the district to send BCS packing.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 9:38 pm

All this talk about NEC needing a school, has anyone ask NEC residents what they really want? Someone mentioned in a different forum that a group of NEC residents claimed having a school of their own in their neighborhood is not the priority.


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Posted by Worth trying
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Tom is right on. I've heard that many families in NEC would actually like to experience Gardner Bullis or Oak or Loyola or Covington. They're tired of Almond and Santa Rita because they end up staying in their own cliques and microcommunities and not really assimilating into the school. They like new facilities and Gardner offers that. Given that LASD has staked a lot of their rhetoric to diversity (language and income), then Gardner should set the example (esp with their new labs and facilities) and welcome NEC families that way. It's not like neighborhood schools really exist anyway.


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Posted by Jus' the facts...
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm

@Worth trying -- so you've "heard that many families in NEC would like to experience Gardner Bullis or Oak"? Rubbish. You're either making that up or have a sample size of one. Tom's point is valid to the extent that it would be worth the effort to poll the families in NEC who either currently attend LASD schools, or have children who soon will, and get their perspective. But the notion of people (especially families with dual working parents) actually wanting to commute from NEC to either LAH (Gardner) or South Los Altos (Oak) simply because "they like new facilities" stretches credulity to say the least. I think the majority of NEC families would love to have an outstanding LASD school in their neighborhood. But hey, I guess there's a microscopic chance that you're not completely full of it, so the Board should authorize a poll to prove it one way or the other.


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Posted by buses
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Build a school at least closer to NEC or else provide school bus service for the 500 K-6 kids. Wherever they go there should be many buses running, not requiring private car trips.


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Posted by No new schools
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 9:49 am

At first i agreed that adding a aecond school to Egan for the NEC kids would be a great solution but the more I think about this I'm really wondering if we need a new school at all. All this talk about overcrowding doesn't seem to pan out when you look at the numbers. If the 6th graders are moved to the middle schools it would open up about 70 spaces per school at each elementary school. Covington could be given to BCS and those kids redistributed to the other schools. This would bring all of the schools back up to (approximately) their current size of ~550 kids each and the middle schools would still be reasonably sized (for middle schools) with plenty of capacity to house them. Why does the district want to waste millions of dollars creating a new school when enrollment projections show a modest increase for the future? And not to mention the operating costs of running an additional school- where's the money for that going to come from? And- the elephant in the room that nobody's mentioning is that a new school for just the NEC kids is going to be a much lower scoring school and lots of the NEC parents are not going to like that.

It seems to me that this whole push for a new school is ONLY political so that LASD doesn't have to give in to BCS's request for one of the campuses. What's good for the kids has been completely lost in this battle of the parents as closing one school and redrawing the boundaries is not going to hurt the kids. As a taxpayer I'm not interested in their fight nor in protecting egos. I'd like the local kids to have great educations and I'd like the district to spend my money wisely and efficiently. Can't they all act like grown-ups, set good examples for their kids regarding compromise, and move on for the benefit of all of us?


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Posted by Phase in
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

That idea could work if you phased it in. BCS has agreed to stay at the two campuses for five years, making a phase in doable. The last time students were moved around, it was very abrupt, with only six graders able to remain at their current schools. Here is how it could work:

1. Gradually add in a BCS preference area to the current Covington attendance area. As Gardner goes down in preference spots - Covington goes up. This gives families in that attendance area - including Crossings/Old Mill.
2. Plan for the middle school transition in this bond. Including new classrooms that will be needed at Egan and Blach.
3. Let Covington students pick any school to move to, including BCS when the school is finally turned over to BCS. They could start doing this right away. It might mean adding extra teachers or smaller classes at some of the schools.
4. Start a bus system for LASD/BCS students. It could be funded as a community effort.
5 Add in six graders gradually to the middle school. Start with the students that need a more advanced math placement first or let parents choose.
6. As time goes on add in the BCS preference attendance areas of crowded schools.

As BCS goes up in population the other schools will stay the same or go down. Unless the district grows by more than 300 students if that happens consider opening a district wide magnet school at a campus that is not seeing growth or declining in growth - Oak, Gardner, Loyola, Springer etc. The magnet school could share the site with the neighborhood school.


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Posted by exasperated
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Sadly it's been obvious for many years that the most logical solution would have been to move BCS to Gardner, initially, or to Covington, now that it has grown, plus adopting a 6-8 middle school configuration.

It's ironic that one of the stumbling blocks to doing that now is the presence of the district offices at Covington. Money spent on those offices plus opening a new school there absorbed money from the last bond that could otherwise have been used to update Gardner. Closing Gardner started the process that resulted in the establishment of BCS and years of litigation, poor decisions and impacted 7-8 grade sites. But the staff has fancy new offices.

The board has pledged not to go after the two Los Altos parks. By the time of the election I imagine it will have also renewed its promise not to close a school, thus further tying itself in knots and limiting its options.

The board appears to listen mostly to staff and loud current parents, forgetting that most voters don't have children in K-8 but are still concerned about the strength and financial stability of the district without being so emotionally wedded to a physical site.

I expect the vague, ill-formed bond to fail. I know that this will be the first time I have ever voted against money for schools. I imagine I will not be alone. Perhaps a loss will spur whoever is on the new board to think outside the box.


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Posted by Marion
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

This is a great plan that could help the bond to pass. There will be few that don't like it but so many more will love it that might be just what we need to get the bond through

This plan will:

1. Leaves enough funds to do all the needed projects and some of the like to have projects as well.
2. Rooms opens up at every school, less portable classrooms needed.
3. BCS helps balance district enrollment so that attendance lines don't have to be sifted every few years.
4. Covington gets a preference area for BCS.
5. Current students at Covington, more than any other school have another neighborhood school close by.
6. It is a clear plan not a general plan to build a school that might not even be needed.
7. It keeps the parks and Hillview from being used as a school.
8. It gives six graders access to more age appropriate facilities giving them access to a more challenging curriculum especially in the areas of STEM and the Visual and Performing Arts.
9. It will be phased in over a period of years, giving everyone time to adjust.


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Posted by Exasperated? Try infuriated
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Make no mistake. All this noise from a few very vocal posters (using far more aliases than actual individual people) are all about one thing. The hard core BCS fringe still desperately covets an existing neighborhood school. What they continually fail to understand is that the bedrock principal of ANY peace accord between LASD and BCS is that no LASD school will EVER be closed and handed over to BCS. Ever.

There is nothing in the 5 year agreement, and nothing in the bond language that even implies such a possibility. Francis LaPoll himself said clearly in the long term facility discussions early this year that BCS did not demand an dedicated campus, just their "fair share". Secondly, any suggestion of changing to a K-5 configuration should be based purely on specific educational benefits, and with the full support of the LASD community, not simply to save a few dollars, or free up a bit of space (presumably allowing a boundary re-draw to give an existing school to BCS).

The best use of these bond funds would be to develop a LASD neighborhood school in NEC to serve the growing student population there, and use the remainder to upgrade the other campuses (including BCS at Egan/Blach) as much as possible. YES to the bond, NO to fanatical BCS zealots focused solely on their selfish objectives.


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Posted by Exasperated? Try infuriated
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Oh, and any current or prospective LASD trustee who values their political lives, already fully understands the points I outlined above.


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Posted by Exasperated
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 6:38 pm

And there you have it folks. Disagree with those wedded to their favorite campus and you'll be labeled a BCS zealot.

This is one reason the bond is likely to fail.


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Posted by No new schools
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Exactly! I believe there is a very, very vocal minority of BCS haters that are so vindictive (and infuriated!) that they can't see straight and can't bear the idea of "losing" to BCS. It has nothing to do with the kids. And we the taxpayers are being held hostage to their childish battle. I say enough to their bullying - I'd like to see the entire district polled on their attitudes toward giving Covington to BCS (it's not really closing a school- it's just redrawing boundaries and allowing a different set of IN DISTRICT students to attend there) and moving forward with existing facilities. I'm betting we won't need an additional school.

As for Covington kids getting BCS preference I agree for the near neighborhood Covington kids because it would allow them to walk to school. However I don't think the NEC kids should get preference because there's no logical reason for it and there's such demand for BCS that it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the district families.

As for phasing in, I think the 6th graders should move immediately to Blach and Egan to make room in the elementary schools for the migrating Covington kids. Perhaps the current Covington kids could pick their new schools but I think the boundaries should be redrawn now and phased in within a few years. After that they should be required to attend their assigned schools. Otherwise we could have extremely unbalanced enrollments.

Before voting for a bond, I want specifics on how the money will be spent and I don't support building a new school for political reasons- only for a demonstrated need. Show me the numbers! Right now the numbers aren't there... And by the way, I'm hardly a "hard core BCS fringe zealot". My children are grown and I have no allegiance to any school. I'm just a concerned taxpayer that opposes wasteful spending.


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Posted by Exasperated
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 7:55 am

I,too, do not have school age children... but I've been paying taxes to support good LASD schools for years.

It's not just about not wasteful spending - by dividing up the campuses at Egan and Blach, it's making it more difficult to move to a K-5, 6-8 split. When such a split was discussed a few years ago, there was mention of the current challenge the district has in attracting 6th grade teachers, since many of them prefer working in a 6-8 grade environment rather than one with younger grades. The contortions the district has taken to avoid offending some parents has limited options in other areas.

I'm not sure why parents cling to some schools but are fine with impacting the Blach and Egan sites themselves as well as the neighborhoods around them. When Egan was first used as surge space during the period of construction at the elementary schools, neighbors were promised that the disruption caused by the added traffic was temporary, and that the camp school would be taken down once the elementary schools were ready. Instead there are traffic jams around the campus and too often unpleasant tensions on it.

Come up with a plan to move BCS to Covington and do needed upgrades on all the schools and I'll happily support a bond measure. The last bond was supposed to replace the portables on campuses but didn't - do it this time. Don't spend any more money on reconfiguring Blach and Egan for what are unstable splits or waste any more time looking for some mythical - and expensive - new campus.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 8:35 am

@exasperated?try infuriated - I'm trying to understand your rationale - maybe you can explain. You seem to be saying that for political reasons you are opposed to turning over one of the existing campuses to BCS. Is that correct? If so, it appears that the bond money would be spent to build BCS a new campus to avoid such a turnover. Is that what your contingent is supporting? If this is the case it's hard to understand how/why that's a more desirable alternative (even politically).

It seems to me that even most Covington parents would support the above plan because:
1. With a BCS preference the Covington kids could remain within walking distance to their schools and with the popularity of the BCS program many would be thrilled to get preferential enrollment status.
2. If they were not interested in attending BCS most kids would be within a similar distance to their new schools (many of the kids would be just as close or closer to Almond, Springer, Loyola, Santa Rita) or could enjoy the fancy digs & small size of Garner.
3. The district appears to want to upgrade lots of facilities at all the schools. If the bond money is spent building and operating a new school there will not be anything left for these "want to have" upgrades.
4. It appears that the Covington campus is large enough to allow BCS to expand. If BCS expands, the other campuses shrink which allows the other district schools to remain small.

To me, this scenario seems to be a win/win for everybody.


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Posted by Exasperated? Try infuriated
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 9:04 am

@Julie -- BCS already has two campuses. With the appropriate future facilities allocations, along with some enhancements from the bond funds, there is no reason why those two sites cannot be considered permanent. As BCS has grown, other schools have not shrunk. BCS has simply absorbed much of the net growth in students within the district. The priority should be a new school in NEC along with a redrawing of district boundaries to re-balance for future growth.

Finally, your assumption that Covington families would be "thrilled" with the chance to join BCS, or at a minimum, wouldn't really mind seeing their school community broken up and cast to the four winds has no basis in reality. The one comment above that I agree with is that the District should poll current LASD parents on these various options to get real data on what people would or would not be willing to accept (including a K-5/6-8 split). The rest is baseless speculation.


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Posted by Exasperated
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

@Exasperated? Try infuriated

said

"The one comment above that I agree with is that the District should poll current LASD parents on these various options to get real data on what people would or would not be willing to accept (including a K-5/6-8 split). The rest is baseless speculation."

The earlier comment suggested that the entire district be polled .. not just current parents. The majority of voters in the district are not current parents ... we're just the taxpayers who you are expecting to continue to fund the results of your feud.

I have a lot of problems with charter schools in general - and BCS in particular - primarily focused around their treatment of special needs and low income students. I think in general charters do more damage than good and that they are a way for private interests to get their hands on all the public money, reminiscent of the way much of our defense budget now goes to Halliburton and friends.

That said .. BCS is obviously here to stay. It could have been avoided or at least contained, but it wasn't. Now the LASD trustees should be focused on looking at why BCS is seen as so desirable rather than spending their time and our money carving up our middle school campuses to avoid offending some vocal parents.


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Posted by Exasperated? Try infuriated
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

@Exasperated -- I have no problem with the notion of polling all voters within LASD. Either way, we should get actual data on the subject vs warring opinions on forums like this. And for the record, my kids are out of LASD schools now as well. However, I still believe that the neighborhood school model that exists today is part of what makes this area desirable and keeps home values high, and that these schools are part of the fabric of the community to a greater extent than any other local institution. Hence my interest in preserving that even if it means paying a bit of a premium in terms of bond funding.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:19 am

Okay now I understand your thinking but it doesn't make sense financially or morally. I'm not sure what you mean exactly by appropriate future facilities allocations + enhancements with bond funds but if a new school is built, especially NEC which would require exercising eminent domain (think legal battles) to purchase premium land at a very high cost, there won't be any bond money left to enhance existing facilities. Plus to leave the largest (and growing) school in the district permanently in portables seems morally wrong to me and inefficient when the existing facilities are capable of housing them in a real school (and the portables are expensive to rent). Maybe some feel that leaving them in portables is their "punishment" for creating a charter school but it's time to let that go. It's my understanding that the 5 year truce is just that- 5 years and if they're still in portables after all that time, especially after building a new school, the litigation is just going to begin again costing the district more $$$.

I wasn't suggesting that Covington parents would be thrilled to lose their school. I said I thought that most would support it if it meant that their schools would have better facilities as a result of spending the bond money on upgrades rather than on an additional school. There are trade-offs with any plan. Like it or not, the enrollment and waiting list statistics at BCS show that it is extremely popular so I do think that a considerable number of parents would be glad to receive preferential treatment. And de facto, the neighborhood schools are effectively shrinking if BCS is absorbing all of the growth. If it weren't for BCS the other schools would be much larger.

I haven't heard any discussion of where the operating funds for an additional school would come from but I would think that it would constrain the budget which might require increasing class sizes at all the schools to keep the teacher salaries under control. That would impact education far more than having to switch to a new school.

There are lots of things to consider before building a new school willy-nilly. I support the schools but I won't vote for a bond without a reasonable plan in place. The first thing to do is to move 6th grade to the Jr Highs. I haven't heard any good arguments against that and there are many educational and financial reasons to support it. Once that move is made we can look at the demographics at the elementary schools and decide how to best spend our money. I don't want to see a debacle similar to when the last bond was passed.


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Posted by No new schools
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

I agree with Exasperated that LASD should be examining the programs at BCS since the district parents are clearly enamored with them. The current parents had no part in the feud that originally created the school, they're just drawn to the alternative program - so much so that they're willing to drive their kids to school, put up with portables and split campuses and donate money to the school to keep it running. BCS must be doing something right and LASD should be figuring out what they're doing wrong.

Nobody is suggesting that a neighborhood school model is unimportant but redistributing Covington kids does not do away with neighborhood schools. All of the kids in that attendance area are close to other neighborhood schools with the exception of the NEC kids and they'll be closer to the other schools since Covington is quite far from them.


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Posted by No new schools
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I've just looked at the numbers. There are 3471 kids currently enrolled in the seven K-6 schools. Approximately 578 of them are 6th graders. If the 6th graders are moved to Blach & Egan creating a 6-8 middle school model (which would only bring those campuses up to 750-850 total), there will be approx 2893 K-5 kids remaining. If you give Covington to BCS and divide the 2893 kids between the remaining six schools there would be approx 482 kids per school. Considering that Gardner has a smaller capacity maybe the other schools would be at ~ 500 per school. That is still well below the 600/school LASD guidelines and below current enrollment so still leaves room for growth.

So why would we build another school?? If you divide the 2893 kids between 7 schools (assuming they built a new NEC school), then the enrollment would be approx 413 kids per school. I don't see that an affordable, reasonable, financially responsible or necessary model.


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Posted by WHO GETS THE MONEY?
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 17, 2014 at 11:27 am

Bond measure money does not go to students or parents or teachers. Their benefit, if any, is indirect and years away. How about an article on just who has received money from the 1998 bond or the two high school district bonds measures?


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