Let's consider the validity of arguments made by the North of El Camino Association (NEC).
• These parents knew they would have to provide transportation for their children to and from school when they purchased (or rented) their homes. This decision was made so their children could benefit from high-quality schools, many without paying into the property tax base and school bond assessments. A similar example could be people who move into a home close to an airport, or freeway, and then complain that there is too much noise and others should be inconvenienced or pay the cost to mitigate their situation.
• The NEC families, by necessity in most cases, are already driving their children to and from school. Yes, it is inconvenient to drive six to eight minutes longer, but this does not dramatically increase traffic and congestion (as does redistricting students who can now safely walk to school).
• The NEC is not a contiguous boundary. It is separated, in most areas, by very large commercial development.
• As to economic and social diversity, it would seem that disbursing students from north of El Camino among multiple schools (more than two) is much more desirable. This is not a matter of discrimination. It is a matter of common sense.
I am particularly concerned about the effect of redistricting on neighborhoods where kids currently can walk to school, such as the Hollingsworth to Gilmore area of Mountain View, the Monroe Park area of Palo Alto, and the neighborhood south of Santa Rita in Los Altos.
Having lived on Almond Avenue for nearly 30 years, I have watched school traffic increase and have observed vehicle-versus-pedestrian accidents. How can any Los Altos resident condone increased traffic congestion at or around our schools?
At a time when we are encouraging children and their parents to conserve energy, reduce pollution, get more exercise, and reduce childhood obesity problems, redistricting youngsters who can safely walk wastes energy, increases pollution and deprives both children and adults of an opportunity for regular, healthy exercise.
I urge the Los Altos School District board to see through the political games offered by some district residents. Make the important principles — safety, health and minimizing total traffic — central to the redistricting decision.
Jarin Feldstein lives on Almond Avenue in Los Altos.