Voice editorial endorsement: Yes on Measure N


Enrollment in the Los Altos School District has burgeoned in recent years, and continues to grow. At 5,380 students, it is the highest it's been in 40 years, according to a task force that studied enrollment growth and reviewed options to address it. The big difference in the enrollment situation the district was in 40 years ago and that which it finds itself in today is that in the 1970s, the district had 12 schools to house its students. Today, it has only nine.

Voters this fall will be asked to approve Measure N, a $150 million bond measure that would go far in addressing the district's enrollment dilemma. Along with helping to fund acquisition of a new school site and creation of new space on existing campuses, the passage of bond Measure N might even strengthen a now-tenuous new detente between the district and Bullis Charter School, which have locked horns in recent years over the housing of the charter school. Officials and parents of both the district and Bullis have joined forces to campaign for the bond measure's passage.

If Measure N passes, property owners would annually pay $30 per $100,000 of assessed value on their property. The district has in place a 28-member committee charged with identifying potential facilities projects to be financed with bond revenue, should the measure pass. The committee includes district parents, representatives of community organizations, and residents of all three towns within the district boundaries: Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

The time has come to address current and near-future overcrowding on the district's nine campuses. The Voice urges Los Altos School District voters to support Measure N.

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6 people like this
Posted by mtnviewhomeowner
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm

How did the district go from 12 to 9 schools? Did it sell off school sites?
When that happens, do homeowners get a credit on their property taxes?

4 people like this
Posted by NO
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 14, 2014 at 3:50 pm

To all new taxes!!

We are already taxed to much!!

4 people like this
Posted by @ NO
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I don't think you will be voting on this. It is for Los Altos District Voters only.

Lucky you!

4 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm

@NO: If you would actually had an education, you would have avoided "We are already taxed *to* much", now wouldn't you?

People like you should be given a stupidity tax.

5 people like this
Posted by Katrina
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 14, 2014 at 6:13 pm

@Stop the trolls: I'm all for good grammar, but you might want to double-check your own before posting a criticism of someone else.

3 people like this
Posted by Stop the Trolls
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 14, 2014 at 6:31 pm

@Katrina: There is a difference between faulty spelling and faulty grammar. If you are unable to tell the difference, that is ENTIRELY on you.

5 people like this
Posted by 12 to 9 schools
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm

to mtnviewhomeowner: The Los Altos School District used to have three elementary schools in Los Altos Hills, but they sold two of them in the 1970s when they ran into financial trouble and needed cash:

(1) Purissima Elementary was closed and the students were moved to Bullis to become Bullis-Purissima. The former Purissima land and buildings were sold to a developer, who created the subdivision in the Green Hills Court area of Los Altos Hills.

(2) Eastbrook Elementary was closed and LASD sold all of its fields and much of its land to a developer. A few of the classroom buildings were retained and leased to the Waldorf School, who currently occupies the (much smaller) site. Waldorf has the option to buy the site for $1 (one dollar) in a few years when its lease expires.

I think the third school site that LASD abandoned was Hillview, now the Hillview Community Center for Los Altos. But I don't know when that happened.

5 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:34 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

The other schools that have closed over the years include (In PAUSD Los Altos Hills) an elementary school site now on a long term lease to Pinewood. In the south Palo Alto area served by Cupertino Union, besides Miramonte, which now serves both sides of Foothill Expressway, there used to be a separate elementary school at what is now Grant Park. Within LASD territory in Los Altos, the 2 from the last poster in Los Altos Hills were sites through the 60's and into the 70's. In addition, Los Altos has closed 2 schools near Hillview. One was directly on San Antonio Road and became the real estate offices that are there today. The second fell into disuse due to its small size and became district offices. The district tried to sell it off for housing development due to requests from the neighbors to not have offices there too. The city intervened and bought this 7 acres of land to add on to the existing Civic center, and it became Hillview Community Center. At the same time, the district closed what had been the 3rd Jr High School, Covington, and leased it out for 25 years. The remaining elementary schools that LASD closed as they found they could not afford such small schools after Prop 13 were Portola Elementary and Carmel Elementary. In both cases, it it was a situation much like Miramonte/Grant Park. Two very small schools served both sides of a major thoroughfare and the district could not longer afford to operate two undersized schools. Portola Elementary served parts of both sides of El Camino Real and students were consolidated into the adjacent Almond Elementary which served most of the are on the Los Altos side. Carmel Elementary served those portions of what is now Oak on the Blach Jr High side of Grant Road. The portions between Stevens Creek and Grant Road are a very small area which no longer generate enough students to populate a school, and they were originally the only students at Oak Avenue Elementary, which was then a very small school, even smaller than Hillview had been when it was closed due to its size, but it did have more empty land.

4 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

You have to doubt arguments in favor of a school addition based on the number of schools back in the 60's. Even then the schools varied in size and some were too small to be operated today. One of the schools back at the peak was a 3rd Jr High which is just unaffordable and too small to work with modern middle school practices of having 800-1000 students normally.

Back then they would operate a below average school in some cases when the area was isolated in some form, but we can't afford that today. However, it's worth noting that the San Antonio Center area has had over 400 student (now 600 or so) for the past 10 years. It's past time to justify breaking that group of students up and splitting them across 3 distant schools in Los Altos. Each is further than Portola had been when it was closed. The goals for the San Antonio center area should be to have available a closer school which would be prioritized for San Antonio Center students not wanting to travel and wanting a school belonging to their neighborhood (and possibly serving part of Los Altos too, like Portola did. In every LASD attendance area 10% or more of students choose to attend other LASD schools, and San Antonio would be no different. Right now they are being badly discriminated against by not having a nearby neighborhood school even though they are 600 kids in a small quarter square mile area.

4 people like this
Posted by LASD Voter
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2014 at 11:22 am

I am voting No. There is some funny business going on here.

Main donars are the very contractors that stand to make millions.
The Hutts - a group of very self serving parents from Covington and Gardner that want to keep their schools empty while Almond, Santa Rita, BCS are very very crowded. Are the biggest contributors. They want that money spent at Covington - for skylights.
300 million in projects promised for 150 million bond.
Identified school site for an NEC school is only 4 acres, much too small to site an entire school.
No real plan to spend the funds on addressing enrollment growth.

3 people like this
Posted by Another LASD voter
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2014 at 3:55 pm

I'm voting Yes. We need to maintain and prepare for expansion. The MV part of LASD is going super-high density and will bring in hundreds if not thousands of children over the next 4-10 years. Expansion cannot happen overnight and it will be impossible to negotiate for any potential new campuses without the 'line of credit' that this bond will provide.

But how much will this cost me? Well, on my million-dollar assessed home, this will cost all of FIVE DOLLARS/WEEK!!! That is the dirty little secret that the No on N trolls don't want you to know. It's chump change.

I urge you to Vote Yes and support our public educational system.

4 people like this
Posted by Outside Inside
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:00 pm

I'd rather pay my $5 per week knowing exactly what we will get for it. With $300 million in projects identified, some things will not get funded. What will it be? Who will decide? We don't know because a majority of trustees is up for grabs. Come back in 2016 with a real plan.

I'm voting 'NO'

3 people like this
Posted by Wait
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm

I'm voting No, because I think we should wait until property values are double what they are today and bond interest rates double-digit. That way, we can bankrupt homeowners with a much higher bond measure than N. Ideally, the economy would be in decline too.

That would be the smart thing to do, right?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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