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Voter guide: LASD candidates call for consensus-building in divisive times

Four vying for three school board seats in Los Altos School District

The Los Altos School District, one of the top-performing districts in the Bay Area, has an education model focused on small neighborhood schools and an emphasis on safe routes for children to walk and bike to class.

Along with the sterling reputation, however, the school district has faced a series of challenges in recent years, including an unorthodox and expensive real estate deal for a new campus in Mountain View that has divided the community. And the district's long-standing feud with Bullis Charter School -- which quieted down under an agreement set to expire next year -- has threatened to resurface as mediated negotiations fell apart in the spring.

Both incumbents Vladimir Ivanovic and Bryan Johnson are seeking re-election this year to see through the plans they helped set in motion. The two challengers in the race are Vaishali "Shali" Sirkay and Ying Liu, both of whom are parents with children in the district. Board member Sangeeth Peruri, who opted not to run for re-election, holds the third of the three seats up for election on Nov. 6.

All the candidates agree that building consensus and finding common ground between the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School is the best path forward for the greater district community, noting that the weak lines of communication between the two parties need fixing. Three of the candidates said they strongly believe buying land for a new school is the best use of the district's $150 million in Measure N funds, while Liu has reservations about any land acquisition that would consume all of the bond funds, leaving nothing for existing campuses.

Candidates have varying views about how the new 10th school site, if purchased, would best be used as a new elementary school.

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All four candidates acknowledged that teaching staff have difficulty paying for the high cost of living on the district's salary schedule, and generally agreed that teachers should get paid as well as they can while maintaining fiscal stability. Johnson and Sirkay said they would back teacher housing efforts, including a recent proposal by county Supervisor Joe Simitian to build teacher housing in Palo Alto; Liu said she would support partnerships that provide teachers with commuter bus services, low-cost rental housing or flexible hours to ease the difficulty getting to and from work.

Bryan Johnson

Age: 44

Occupation: Retired software engineer, homemaker

Education: B.S. and M.S. in computer science from Stanford University

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Years in the district: 12

Website: BryanJohnsonForLASD.com

Bryan Johnson is a fairly new addition to the board of trustees, in 2016 taking over for former board member Tamara Logan, who resigned partway through her term. A Santa Rita parent who spends a great deal of time in the world of civic engagement, Johnson has sought to make himself an easy-to-reach community liaison for the board, with "office hours" and numerous opportunities to talk to local residents.

On the academic side, he said he supported efforts to increase teacher collaboration and instructional support staff, and helped initiate a summer school program aimed at "targeted" instruction for underserved students. Johnson said he believes his community engagement and role in partnering with the city of Mountain View to address enrollment growth are clear signs that he's the right choice to continue leading the school district for a full, four-year term.

Johnson said he believes the district has done its due diligence finding the right site for a new school, and that the slow and methodical process may pay off -- through a partnership with Mountain View, $150 million in bond funds is going to be effectively leveraged into $250 million in funding to buy land and build a new campus in the northern end of the school district.

Johnson describes the location as an the right place for a campus, which he believes will serve Mountain View residents.

"This will not only provide important community facilities and open space to the surrounding neighborhood, it will ensure that the district will have the capacity to serve the children who will live in the thousands of new apartments that will be built in that area over the next couple of decades," Johnson said.

Similar to his approach during recent school board discussions, Johnson reaffirmed that he wasn't prepared to make a decision on how to use the new school. In general, he said his decision would seek to "minimize negative impacts" to educational programs and surrounding neighborhoods, and that he and fellow trustees must grapple with the potential drawback that a neighborhood school would concentrate most of the district's low-income and English learner students on one campus.

Johnson pointed out that Bullis Charter School has shown an interest in serving low-income families in the neighboring Mountain View Whisman School District, and looks forward to discussing whether the charter school would be willing to further that goal by serving socio-economically disadvantaged students from the San Antonio area on the new campus.

While recent news has shown the relationship between the school district and Bullis Charter School is threatening to unravel, Johnson said he has made a concerted effort to bring both parties together over the last two years and would intend to continue that work if re-elected. He is currently among the small group of people tasked with negotiating a new facilities agreement with the charter school.

"I look forward both to better understanding the BCS vision for how they fit into LASD, and to working collaboratively to find a long-term facilities solution that will benefit both of our educational programs and all of our school communities," he said.

Top priorities for Johnson include seeing the 10th site acquisition to completion, boosting education programs with instructional support for teachers and supplemental summer school academics, and strengthening the district's financial position in a way that braces for an eventual economic downturn.

Ying Liu

Age: 45

Occupation: Mother, former senior director at Apple

Education: B.E. in industrial management and trade; MBA from Michigan State University

Years in the district: 4 years

Website: yingforlasd.com

Ying Liu, a parent of children attending Bullis Charter School, refers to herself as a candidate with the open-mindedness and collaborative spirit required to bring the Los Altos School District community together during divisive times. She said she's not an insider with the charter school or LASD leadership, and has spent her years in the district -- and lately on the campaign trail -- talking to hundreds of parents about the best path forward for the district.

Liu describes herself as a strong advocate for public education and feels strongly that both the charter school and district-run schools in Los Altos are exceptional, picking the former because of the allure of a Madarin language program for her children. She believes her experience as a Chinese teacher in upstate New York, followed by an oversight role at Apple for procurement and facility projects, puts her in a good position to lead the school district.

Liu said she appreciates the massive amount of work that has gone into the district's facilities planning, including how to spend the Measure N bond money, but she worries that the school board took too narrow of an approach to the problem by focusing solely on land acquisition. By not exploring and fleshing out details of the alternatives, she said the school district set the stage for a deeply divisive debate over how to best spend the bond funds, which threatens to continue a feud between the district and the charter school that goes back 15 years.

She said the possibility of alternatives -- upgrading existing school sites instead of buying new real estate -- looks even more appealing now, given that enrollment has declined by hundreds of students in recent years.

If the district does move forward on a San Antonio school, which she said she could be amenable to if the purchase price is "reasonable" and offset by financial support from the city of Mountain View, she would prefer using the site for a neighborhood school. The area already has just under 700 students, a number that is expected to grow, and it would unite the neighborhood and give it a stronger sense of community.

"It is a golden opportunity to demonstrate that our district can support all children," Liu said.

Although the area has a majority of the district's low-income and non-English speaking families, Liu argues that's hardly a strike against a neighborhood school -- the children will be motivated to thrive and succeed academically if given the right resources, and she "sincerely doubts" that the families would be unwilling or unable to contribute funding and volunteer at the school.

As a trustee, Liu said she would be effectively bridge communications between the charter school and the district, which could be done through frequent one-on-one meetings with board members, parent representatives and "thought leaders" from both. She said focusing on the facts, setting clear goals and analyzing pros and cons should be central to the ongoing debates about charter school facilities, enrollment growth and other major issues.

If elected, Liu said her priorities would include preparing children to "excel as global citizens," in part through curriculum development focused on STEM, arts, foreign language and social studies, and that she would bridge the district's communities in order to tackle "difficult problems" facing the community. She said she would also seek to spend Meausure N money wisely, and make sure the bond funds benefit every school.

Vaishali "Shali" Sirkay

Age: 45

Occupation: Community relations specialist

Education: M.P.H. in community health and development from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, B.A. in anthropology from Barnard College

Years in the district: 11

Website: Sirkay.com

Vaishali Sirkay, better known as Shali, has immersed herself in community organizations and school campaign efforts in both Mountain View and Los Altos in recent years. She's carrying out concurrent roles on the board of directors for the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), the Los Altos Community Coalition and the Los Altos School District's Citizen Advisory Committee on Finance, and has a seat on the steering committee for Los Altos Forward.

Calling herself a community builder with a rich history serving local schools, Sirkay said she believes she has honed a leadership style ideal for serving on the school board, focused on collaboration and bringing diverse groups together towards a common goal. Her prominent roles on the campaigns to pass Measure N and the Measure GG parcel tax involved rallying both district and charter school families behind a common cause, which backs her resume as a consensus builder.

Those skills, along with strong networking in the community, would be a solid asset on the board of trustees, she said.

It's been a long process figuring out how to spend Measure N bond money, but Sirkay said she believes the school district's slow and deliberate approach to spending $150 million has shown trustees are "excellent stewards" of public funds. Instead of buying "subpar" parcels out the gate and building a school on an expedited timeline, she said trustees instead searched for the best option and put together a plan with the city of Mountain View that will stretch the bond funds to the fullest extent. Her views are mostly consistent with the consensus among current school board members.

"We simply cannot look at easy fixes that will get us through the next three to five years," she said. "Let's look at the next 10, 15, 20 years."

Sirkay said she acknowledges the traffic and safety risks of students crossing El Camino Real, but stopped short of advocating for a specific site use at a future school in Mountain View. She said the school could be occupied by either a neighborhood school or Bullis Charter, and she hopes that -- if Bullis is placed at the site -- that the charter school would choose to give priority enrollment to families in the area.

Disputes between the school district and the charter school over facilities -- along with planning for future growth -- require a good working relationship that goes both ways, Sirkay said. She believes the recent face-to-face meetings between board members from both sides are a good step in the right direction, and that she would seek to understand what issues are "most critical" to charter school families.

"Both sides need to understand each other's motivations in order to move forward together," she said.

If elected, Sirkay said her top goals would be to support teachers so they can continue to provide a high quality education; address enrollment growth that focuses on long-term needs and a permanent home for Bullis; and embracing a "community-based" approach to supporting education goals of children and families.

Vladimir Ivanovic

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired software and computer engineer, manager and "marketeer"

Education: B.S. in computer science from Union College; M.S. in computer engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Years in the district: 9

Website: go.reelectivanovic2lasdboard.org

Board member Vladimir Ivanovic, a Gardner Bullis parent, cut his teeth on school district governance by carefully monitoring the district's financial health for two years before joining the school board in 2014. At the time, he vowed to solve the district's long-running problem of having no school in Mountain View's San Antonio area, while also putting the district on track with a stable, long-term financial plan.

Ivanovic's four-year term involved working to reach the first goal, and the district appears closer than ever to finally having a school in the area. The second goal is an ongoing challenge, given the limits on state funding and the lower rate of revenue growth relative to neighboring districts, but Ivanovic said he's happy to see so much interest by prospective teachers to join the Los Altos School District.

"We still get many applicants who specifically want to work in the Los Altos School District," he said. "This is proof that despite severe budget constraints, LASD is a great place to work. I want to make sure that continues to be true."

Despite criticisms about the planning and use of Measure N funds, Ivanovic said the district has an indisputable track record of being transparent and seeking public input over the last six years. Study groups, forums, discussion groups and online surveys all played into the decisions being considered today, he said, many of which were open to the public.

Where the district fell short, Ivanovic said, was convincing a "minority" of district residents that it makes no sense to develop specific plans for constructing a new school on land that the district doesn't even own yet.

"LASD will not be able to accommodate the students coming out of new developments in the North of El Camino area without a new school site," he said. "A 10th school site in NEC is our last best hope of buying a suitably large parcel at a very low cost."

Ivanovic's preference is to open a school in the San Antonio neighborhood that serves the families living in the traditionally underserved area, but he said he needs to keep an open mind and consider the "educational outcomes" of the decision and how it would affect all students in the district. He has argued for putting the brakes on a decision at least until the land has been purchased.

The relationship between the district and the charter school requires a lot of trust-building, which Ivanovic described as tenuous and risks being "destroyed with just one ill-conceived action or comment." Still, Ivanovic said the expiring five-year agreement and shared campaigning and interest in the Measure N bond and Measure GG parcel tax show signs that both groups can build trust.

"I have made some specific proposals to the BCS leadership on how to collaborate and cooperate, and they are evaluating them seriously," Ivanovic said.

Among his top priorities, Ivanovic said he wants to improve the district's curriculum and teaching practices; buy the 10th school site and ensure safe routes to school around Egan; and establish high-quality after-school programs for students seeking remedial and accelerated instruction.

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Voter guide: LASD candidates call for consensus-building in divisive times

Four vying for three school board seats in Los Altos School District

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 19, 2018, 10:01 am

The Los Altos School District, one of the top-performing districts in the Bay Area, has an education model focused on small neighborhood schools and an emphasis on safe routes for children to walk and bike to class.

Along with the sterling reputation, however, the school district has faced a series of challenges in recent years, including an unorthodox and expensive real estate deal for a new campus in Mountain View that has divided the community. And the district's long-standing feud with Bullis Charter School -- which quieted down under an agreement set to expire next year -- has threatened to resurface as mediated negotiations fell apart in the spring.

Both incumbents Vladimir Ivanovic and Bryan Johnson are seeking re-election this year to see through the plans they helped set in motion. The two challengers in the race are Vaishali "Shali" Sirkay and Ying Liu, both of whom are parents with children in the district. Board member Sangeeth Peruri, who opted not to run for re-election, holds the third of the three seats up for election on Nov. 6.

All the candidates agree that building consensus and finding common ground between the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School is the best path forward for the greater district community, noting that the weak lines of communication between the two parties need fixing. Three of the candidates said they strongly believe buying land for a new school is the best use of the district's $150 million in Measure N funds, while Liu has reservations about any land acquisition that would consume all of the bond funds, leaving nothing for existing campuses.

Candidates have varying views about how the new 10th school site, if purchased, would best be used as a new elementary school.

All four candidates acknowledged that teaching staff have difficulty paying for the high cost of living on the district's salary schedule, and generally agreed that teachers should get paid as well as they can while maintaining fiscal stability. Johnson and Sirkay said they would back teacher housing efforts, including a recent proposal by county Supervisor Joe Simitian to build teacher housing in Palo Alto; Liu said she would support partnerships that provide teachers with commuter bus services, low-cost rental housing or flexible hours to ease the difficulty getting to and from work.

Bryan Johnson

Age: 44

Occupation: Retired software engineer, homemaker

Education: B.S. and M.S. in computer science from Stanford University

Years in the district: 12

Website: BryanJohnsonForLASD.com

Bryan Johnson is a fairly new addition to the board of trustees, in 2016 taking over for former board member Tamara Logan, who resigned partway through her term. A Santa Rita parent who spends a great deal of time in the world of civic engagement, Johnson has sought to make himself an easy-to-reach community liaison for the board, with "office hours" and numerous opportunities to talk to local residents.

On the academic side, he said he supported efforts to increase teacher collaboration and instructional support staff, and helped initiate a summer school program aimed at "targeted" instruction for underserved students. Johnson said he believes his community engagement and role in partnering with the city of Mountain View to address enrollment growth are clear signs that he's the right choice to continue leading the school district for a full, four-year term.

Johnson said he believes the district has done its due diligence finding the right site for a new school, and that the slow and methodical process may pay off -- through a partnership with Mountain View, $150 million in bond funds is going to be effectively leveraged into $250 million in funding to buy land and build a new campus in the northern end of the school district.

Johnson describes the location as an the right place for a campus, which he believes will serve Mountain View residents.

"This will not only provide important community facilities and open space to the surrounding neighborhood, it will ensure that the district will have the capacity to serve the children who will live in the thousands of new apartments that will be built in that area over the next couple of decades," Johnson said.

Similar to his approach during recent school board discussions, Johnson reaffirmed that he wasn't prepared to make a decision on how to use the new school. In general, he said his decision would seek to "minimize negative impacts" to educational programs and surrounding neighborhoods, and that he and fellow trustees must grapple with the potential drawback that a neighborhood school would concentrate most of the district's low-income and English learner students on one campus.

Johnson pointed out that Bullis Charter School has shown an interest in serving low-income families in the neighboring Mountain View Whisman School District, and looks forward to discussing whether the charter school would be willing to further that goal by serving socio-economically disadvantaged students from the San Antonio area on the new campus.

While recent news has shown the relationship between the school district and Bullis Charter School is threatening to unravel, Johnson said he has made a concerted effort to bring both parties together over the last two years and would intend to continue that work if re-elected. He is currently among the small group of people tasked with negotiating a new facilities agreement with the charter school.

"I look forward both to better understanding the BCS vision for how they fit into LASD, and to working collaboratively to find a long-term facilities solution that will benefit both of our educational programs and all of our school communities," he said.

Top priorities for Johnson include seeing the 10th site acquisition to completion, boosting education programs with instructional support for teachers and supplemental summer school academics, and strengthening the district's financial position in a way that braces for an eventual economic downturn.

Ying Liu

Age: 45

Occupation: Mother, former senior director at Apple

Education: B.E. in industrial management and trade; MBA from Michigan State University

Years in the district: 4 years

Website: yingforlasd.com

Ying Liu, a parent of children attending Bullis Charter School, refers to herself as a candidate with the open-mindedness and collaborative spirit required to bring the Los Altos School District community together during divisive times. She said she's not an insider with the charter school or LASD leadership, and has spent her years in the district -- and lately on the campaign trail -- talking to hundreds of parents about the best path forward for the district.

Liu describes herself as a strong advocate for public education and feels strongly that both the charter school and district-run schools in Los Altos are exceptional, picking the former because of the allure of a Madarin language program for her children. She believes her experience as a Chinese teacher in upstate New York, followed by an oversight role at Apple for procurement and facility projects, puts her in a good position to lead the school district.

Liu said she appreciates the massive amount of work that has gone into the district's facilities planning, including how to spend the Measure N bond money, but she worries that the school board took too narrow of an approach to the problem by focusing solely on land acquisition. By not exploring and fleshing out details of the alternatives, she said the school district set the stage for a deeply divisive debate over how to best spend the bond funds, which threatens to continue a feud between the district and the charter school that goes back 15 years.

She said the possibility of alternatives -- upgrading existing school sites instead of buying new real estate -- looks even more appealing now, given that enrollment has declined by hundreds of students in recent years.

If the district does move forward on a San Antonio school, which she said she could be amenable to if the purchase price is "reasonable" and offset by financial support from the city of Mountain View, she would prefer using the site for a neighborhood school. The area already has just under 700 students, a number that is expected to grow, and it would unite the neighborhood and give it a stronger sense of community.

"It is a golden opportunity to demonstrate that our district can support all children," Liu said.

Although the area has a majority of the district's low-income and non-English speaking families, Liu argues that's hardly a strike against a neighborhood school -- the children will be motivated to thrive and succeed academically if given the right resources, and she "sincerely doubts" that the families would be unwilling or unable to contribute funding and volunteer at the school.

As a trustee, Liu said she would be effectively bridge communications between the charter school and the district, which could be done through frequent one-on-one meetings with board members, parent representatives and "thought leaders" from both. She said focusing on the facts, setting clear goals and analyzing pros and cons should be central to the ongoing debates about charter school facilities, enrollment growth and other major issues.

If elected, Liu said her priorities would include preparing children to "excel as global citizens," in part through curriculum development focused on STEM, arts, foreign language and social studies, and that she would bridge the district's communities in order to tackle "difficult problems" facing the community. She said she would also seek to spend Meausure N money wisely, and make sure the bond funds benefit every school.

Vaishali "Shali" Sirkay

Age: 45

Occupation: Community relations specialist

Education: M.P.H. in community health and development from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, B.A. in anthropology from Barnard College

Years in the district: 11

Website: Sirkay.com

Vaishali Sirkay, better known as Shali, has immersed herself in community organizations and school campaign efforts in both Mountain View and Los Altos in recent years. She's carrying out concurrent roles on the board of directors for the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), the Los Altos Community Coalition and the Los Altos School District's Citizen Advisory Committee on Finance, and has a seat on the steering committee for Los Altos Forward.

Calling herself a community builder with a rich history serving local schools, Sirkay said she believes she has honed a leadership style ideal for serving on the school board, focused on collaboration and bringing diverse groups together towards a common goal. Her prominent roles on the campaigns to pass Measure N and the Measure GG parcel tax involved rallying both district and charter school families behind a common cause, which backs her resume as a consensus builder.

Those skills, along with strong networking in the community, would be a solid asset on the board of trustees, she said.

It's been a long process figuring out how to spend Measure N bond money, but Sirkay said she believes the school district's slow and deliberate approach to spending $150 million has shown trustees are "excellent stewards" of public funds. Instead of buying "subpar" parcels out the gate and building a school on an expedited timeline, she said trustees instead searched for the best option and put together a plan with the city of Mountain View that will stretch the bond funds to the fullest extent. Her views are mostly consistent with the consensus among current school board members.

"We simply cannot look at easy fixes that will get us through the next three to five years," she said. "Let's look at the next 10, 15, 20 years."

Sirkay said she acknowledges the traffic and safety risks of students crossing El Camino Real, but stopped short of advocating for a specific site use at a future school in Mountain View. She said the school could be occupied by either a neighborhood school or Bullis Charter, and she hopes that -- if Bullis is placed at the site -- that the charter school would choose to give priority enrollment to families in the area.

Disputes between the school district and the charter school over facilities -- along with planning for future growth -- require a good working relationship that goes both ways, Sirkay said. She believes the recent face-to-face meetings between board members from both sides are a good step in the right direction, and that she would seek to understand what issues are "most critical" to charter school families.

"Both sides need to understand each other's motivations in order to move forward together," she said.

If elected, Sirkay said her top goals would be to support teachers so they can continue to provide a high quality education; address enrollment growth that focuses on long-term needs and a permanent home for Bullis; and embracing a "community-based" approach to supporting education goals of children and families.

Vladimir Ivanovic

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired software and computer engineer, manager and "marketeer"

Education: B.S. in computer science from Union College; M.S. in computer engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Years in the district: 9

Website: go.reelectivanovic2lasdboard.org

Board member Vladimir Ivanovic, a Gardner Bullis parent, cut his teeth on school district governance by carefully monitoring the district's financial health for two years before joining the school board in 2014. At the time, he vowed to solve the district's long-running problem of having no school in Mountain View's San Antonio area, while also putting the district on track with a stable, long-term financial plan.

Ivanovic's four-year term involved working to reach the first goal, and the district appears closer than ever to finally having a school in the area. The second goal is an ongoing challenge, given the limits on state funding and the lower rate of revenue growth relative to neighboring districts, but Ivanovic said he's happy to see so much interest by prospective teachers to join the Los Altos School District.

"We still get many applicants who specifically want to work in the Los Altos School District," he said. "This is proof that despite severe budget constraints, LASD is a great place to work. I want to make sure that continues to be true."

Despite criticisms about the planning and use of Measure N funds, Ivanovic said the district has an indisputable track record of being transparent and seeking public input over the last six years. Study groups, forums, discussion groups and online surveys all played into the decisions being considered today, he said, many of which were open to the public.

Where the district fell short, Ivanovic said, was convincing a "minority" of district residents that it makes no sense to develop specific plans for constructing a new school on land that the district doesn't even own yet.

"LASD will not be able to accommodate the students coming out of new developments in the North of El Camino area without a new school site," he said. "A 10th school site in NEC is our last best hope of buying a suitably large parcel at a very low cost."

Ivanovic's preference is to open a school in the San Antonio neighborhood that serves the families living in the traditionally underserved area, but he said he needs to keep an open mind and consider the "educational outcomes" of the decision and how it would affect all students in the district. He has argued for putting the brakes on a decision at least until the land has been purchased.

The relationship between the district and the charter school requires a lot of trust-building, which Ivanovic described as tenuous and risks being "destroyed with just one ill-conceived action or comment." Still, Ivanovic said the expiring five-year agreement and shared campaigning and interest in the Measure N bond and Measure GG parcel tax show signs that both groups can build trust.

"I have made some specific proposals to the BCS leadership on how to collaborate and cooperate, and they are evaluating them seriously," Ivanovic said.

Among his top priorities, Ivanovic said he wants to improve the district's curriculum and teaching practices; buy the 10th school site and ensure safe routes to school around Egan; and establish high-quality after-school programs for students seeking remedial and accelerated instruction.

Comments

Seth
Sylvan Park
on Oct 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm
Seth, Sylvan Park
on Oct 19, 2018 at 7:48 pm

I was visiting friends in Los Altos last week in the evening. Their doorbell rang and a campaigner from the "Ying for LASD" group was at the door. My friend asked the man (Ying's husband) several questions. He didn't know how to answer. They were basic questions. My friend's wife (who happens to be a LASD employee) asked him some more questions, he grabbed to pamphlet he handed us and left. Our questions were very basic and not threatening. The "Ying for LASD" group is not in it for all the students in the district....just the charter school.


@seth
another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm
@seth , another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 8:41 pm

You are absolutely right. She’s team Bullis, a mile if you will.
An agenda that only has the priorities of BCS on it, nothing else.


Ooos^^^
another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 8:42 pm
Ooos^^^, another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 8:42 pm

MOLE, sorry. Couldn’t be more of a mole for BCS. Stares she’s not in this article but it’s easy to see right through that even in her bio.


Ying Liu
another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 10:16 pm
Ying Liu, another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 10:16 pm

@Seth,

What made your friend believe the person rang the bell was my husband? I am very certain the person you met with was not my husband because my husband had to mind our kids.

I am not sure what kind of questions your friend asked. Yesterday I was told by one of our volunteers that someone asked hime about whom I voted for in the last presidential election. The volunteer could not answer.

By any means, I collected quite some questions and posted answers on my website: Web Link

Please feel free to check them out or reach out to me directly [email protected]

Here is another report about candidates. It is quite revealing about the animosity in this district spread by the current board member. People may want to pay attention to:
Web Link


Grow Up
Registered user
another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 10:23 pm
Grow Up, another community
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2018 at 10:23 pm

So, let me get this straight. Because Ying is not a LASD parent, she is only looking out for BCS? Do you have proof of that? Grow up. Seth, you tell only one side of the story. Maybe a bunch of LASD people were attacking the man at the door. Who knows. So he walked away and based on that you decide that Ying is only looking out for the charter school. Seems like you are very short sighted.

Funny that Vladimir said this:The relationship between the district and the charter school requires a lot of trust-building, which Ivanovic described as tenuous and risks being "destroyed with just one ill-conceived action or comment." He must have forgotten that already based on his performance campaigning in the LASD schools and creating drama to perpetuate the animosity toward BCS in our community just this week. Now there is a smart cookie. Why would I want this person serving on a school board (again) when there are other options.


More fun with Vladimir
Registered user
another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 10:53 pm
More fun with Vladimir, another community
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Another enjoyable action brought forth by our current school board trustee who believes he can be re-elected. He might join the guy in the White House instead and bully together.

In a postscript, Ivanovic corrected a grammatical error in Liu’s email signature, which identifies her as a school board candidate and a “Parent of Los Altos School District.” “In your signature, you probably mean, ‘Parent in the Los Altos School District,’ but that’s technically incorrect,” Ivanovic wrote. “You reside in the Los Altos School District, but you would — I’m guessing — rather die than send your children to LASD schools.”

Web Link

It is a REALLY BIG DEAL in little old Los Altos if a child of a candidate does not attend LASD schools. The end of the world, eh? Assuring death would occur if there were not a choice in our district other than the district schools. Kinda extreme from an elected school official. Vote this guy out. Elect people who are open minded and understand we live in a society where we do have choices and should not penalized for making a particular choice where to send our kids to school.


De-Speiser
another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 11:49 pm
De-Speiser, another community
on Oct 19, 2018 at 11:49 pm

That's rich for Trustee Ivanovic to say something like that about where someone would send their kids. Trustee Speiser sends her kid to Gideon Hauser instead of LASD. What does he say about her? He's quite a piece of work.


A Volunteer
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 12:08 am
A Volunteer, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 12:08 am

Hello Seth,

I am one of the volunteers walking the streets and reaching out to our neighbors on behalf of Ying. I’ve met a lot of people in the past a few weeks, including long time residents, young families that just moved in, and everyone in between, as well as their guests and friends.

With every door that opened, I was able to share the information, listen to the questions, and provide my answers. I am obviously not as knowledgeable as Ying herself, but in almost all cases, people felt the facts and data I provided were useful, and they were better informed after my visit. Some people asked me whether I was thirsty and offered water. Others recommended better walking shoes. Even people who disagreed with me waved goodbye to me and wished me good luck with my canvassing. I truly appreciated how rational and respectful our community is.

I don’t know what questions your friends asked my fellow volunteer, or, as you called, “the man.” I also don’t know whether you and your friends bothered to listen, or you just wanted to interrogate. It did appear that the three of you got the basic fact wrong. The volunteer you were talking to was not Ying’s husband.

The more I walk around and hear from people in our community, the more I believe our school board needs someone like Ying, who is unbiased and will serve the kids of our town. If you haven’t seen this, I recommend that you walk around and ask.


kehlar
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 1:39 am
kehlar, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 1:39 am

I've read Ying's posts on Nextdoor. She's clearly in it only for BCS. Do not vote for her if you care about the future of LASD.


Not a BCS Parent
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:05 am
Not a BCS Parent, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:05 am

The 10th site acquisition of the Kohl's site is going to be an absolute disaster for LASD and Ying is the only candidate who is opposed to that.

Don't buy overpriced land which we don't need. Make better use of the land we already have. I will be voting for Ying and only for Ying.


J
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:32 am
J, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:32 am

It’s never good to have one single school in your favor.

Only Ying cites one particular school in her bio.

It’s best to have your eyes on multiple schools, I.e. the entire district.

I will vote anyone but Ying.

She seemed to decide to run at the very last minute and I don’t believe has any actual knowledge/experience with school districts other than being a parent with specific interests for her specific kids (which we all have— but hat certainly doesn’t make me a candidate).


Ying Liu
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:22 am
Ying Liu, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:22 am

@J,

I am an interim chair of Education Committee of Los Altos Hills and on Education Committee of League of Women Voters, and am an AVID mentor for Los Altos High. My vested interest is far beyond my kid's school. If you would like to get to know about me, I suggest we meet in person. Please feel free to reach out by email or phone posted on my website: www.yingforlasd.com

For those of you who cannot see my Nextdoor post, I pasted it here:

Thank you, the Covington PTA, for organizing such a great candidate forum today. I was glad to see many familiar faces from the current LASD board and the Covington parent community. I was also glad that I had the opportunity to meet with people who asked me questions on Nextdoor and answer questions in person.

I posted my answers on my website.

Web Link

Also Palo Alto Daily Post and Mountain View Voice have recently published candidates guide. People can cross check my consistency in answering questions and also get a sense of the sentiment from the current LASD board.

Web Link

Web Link

Given the increasing negative campaign against me as a BCS parent running for LASD board, I want to make a clear statement publicly to state my positions.

I am advocating for:
--Responsible stewardship of public funds: We need to have a detailed plan for the $150M Measure N use for all public school. No new bond or parcel tax.

--Building 10th site for a neighborhood school in NEC If the price is reasonable and the new school site passes California school selection criteria

--Maintaining neighborhood school model, solving BCS permanent site issue creatively and practically

--Investing in teachers, in facilities, in technologies, in programs for all schools instead of in politics, in lawsuits, in a battle that will never end.

Throughout my campaign, I have been deeply humbled by the people I met with. John Radford, Mayor of Los Altos Hills, Jane Reed, Marge Bruno, two former mayors of Los Altos, Margaret Abe-Koga, city council member of Mountain View are among many current and past elected officials who have extended their support for my candidacy. Looking up to these inspirational leaders in our community, I am highly motivated to volunteer my time, my energy and my experience to make the entire school district more financially sustainable, more collaboratively respectful of each other, and help the district make fair and fiscally sound decisions for the future of our children in Los Altos School District.


@Ying
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:42 am
@Ying, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:42 am

Hi Ying,
Thank you for your response. I have already voted via mail. Take care,
J.


President
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:03 am
President, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:03 am

During yesterday's Covington PTA open forum, Vladimir, Bryan and Shali clearly demonstrated that they have immersed themselves in serving our communities, understanding the teachers, students and community's needs and having well-thought through plans. Ying showed no insights on any of these. She has corporate background but very little experience or know-how when it comes to children's education, hence disqualifying her from an educational board position in my opinion.

Here are some questions and answers from the PTA forum:

- What’s your plan to recruit and retain good quality teachers for our school district?

Vladimir, Bryan and Shali focused on affordable housing, professional development, better facilities and instructional support for teachers, Ying offered to have 1-1s and group meetings with the teachers. (It will probably take her a year to first understand what our teachers' needs are. )

- What are your views on serving the whole community especially the special needs (SPN) children and low income families?

Vladimir, Bryan and Shali talked about education outcome for all children; more resources for special needs & low income students; Summer program for at-risk and low performance kids, Hired special need director, Co-teach model: pair special needs teacher & subject expert teacher in one class; Ying offered to set individual goals for these children and shared that she heard in Oak or Springer the buddy program will help these children to have a sense of community.

- No one wants to pay bond or tax more than its needed. Knowing the expense of education continues to increase and the community is still evolving and growing, what's your commitment to the community in terms of new bond issues and parcel tax?

Shali who helped to apply for Measure N 4 years ago explained that measure N was applied to address enrollment growth and hence its potential use on purchasing the 10th site; Bryan shared parcel tax is to pay for academic program improvements and teachers salary. And bond money is to spend on upgrading facilities - our buildings' lifetime is about 30-40 years - so new bond will be needed in about 15 years' time for campus that was upgraded around 2000. Ying said measure N was passed for immediate school upgrade and that she demands a itemized detailed plan to see how this 150M will be spent. And that she is committed to no new bond or parcel tax, without explaining how teacher salaries and academic program improvement will be paid.

- Describe one area to focus for the students in their curriculum?

Vladimir focused on educational outcomes, Bryan mentioned to start foreign language early, more project based learning, Shali emphasized on after school programs both academically and non-academically, Ying said she will focus on teaching the students the concept of global citizenship and empathy.

- Please describe best practices you’ve seen implemented or would like to see implemented to encourage differentiations for our students including the stronger ones. What are your thoughts on competency based curriculum?

Sahli mentioned Individualized instruction plan can help those students, and mental and emotional needs of all our students; Vladimir wants to pay more attention to low income students. Bryan shared the district started workshop model last year to solve this issue and how it worked in the English classroom. Ying said 1. we need to do 360 degree assessment for each students and 2. set personalized learning goals.

- What is the problem unique to Covington as opposed to the district that board can address?
Valdimir and Shali said to protect Covington and make sure Covington has a neighborhood school, Bryan said talk to MV city to provide school transportation services, Ying said to improve water quality and do a safety assessment. (many Covington parents in the audience said they have never heard that there was a water problem)


psr
The Crossings
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:39 am
psr, The Crossings
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:39 am

A person came to my door representing Ying Liu as well. They carry shiny bright and expensive printed materials, no doubt paid for by the Bullis Foundation. I also notice that she has very expensive multi-color yard signs, no doubt financed the same way. None of the other candidates are spending money so lavishly.

Do you want to know the thing I have found most interesting about her materials? No place in them is it mentioned ANYWHERE that her children attend Bullis and that her ONLY knowledge of schools in this area come from being a parent at the charter school. She has absolutely no first-hand knowledge of the district as a parent, which the other candidates do. At least some of the previous Bullis-backed candidates had children who attended LASD schools, although no for any extended time. There is no evidence that Ying Liu's children have attended for even a single day.

We do not need a Bullis parent on the LASD board. The Bullis board is appointed, not elected (so much for it being a "public school" with an elected board), so why don't they appoint an LASD parent? Because they don't want the information from their meeting getting to the district. Why should the district have a mole embedded to send their private information directly to Bullis? No way.

Every Bullis-backed candidate has followed the same pattern. Lavish campaign materials, none of which say anything about the person's connection to the charter school. The dishonesty is obvious. If you are so proud of your connection, then tell the truth. You are hiding you connection to the charter, as well as the actual reason you are running. Why should anyone vote for such a devious candidate?


Voter
Cuesta Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 2:53 pm
Voter, Cuesta Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 2:53 pm

I am not able to apprehend how somebody whose own kids r not in neighbourhood public school can understand the problems of neighbourhood public school. I am not against charter school but definately would like to vote for someone who has/had exeperiance in community (like did volunteer for neighborhood). So plz vote wisley !!!!


Hint of emerging discrimingation
The Crossings
on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm
Hint of emerging discrimingation, The Crossings
on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

I think it's incredibly noble that Ying is giving it a go but she really has no chance. There's been a lot of attacks on her for everything from being a Chinese spy to speaking poor Chinese to other things you simply can't print. When races get tight and a lot is on the line, unfortunately, we've learned that politics in America tends to devolve into race. And in this case, the bulk of the LA/MV constituency is not prepared to vote in a remarkable woman who stands for so much of what makes America really great into a role such as this. This will no doubt have a dampening effect on other Americans who emigrated from China from running for political office. Welcome to Los Altos Ying. Don't you love your neighbors?


Don't go low
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:43 pm
Don't go low, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:43 pm

Grabbing a flyer from someone is plain rude and indefensible. Instead of apologizing, Ying and a few of her so-called volunteers here chose to spin the conversation into something else. It only makes them look worse. Seth, thank you for sharing your story.


Community member
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm
Community member, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm

I have met Ying in person a couple of times and had high hopes, but to my disappointment, she doesn't understand our local school issues, doesn't know our teachers' needs, showed little knowledge of the backgrounds behind the parcel tax, bond yet committed to 'No bond No parcel tax' with not back up plans. She tailors her stands on 10th site and Covington depends on her audience, and has never been clear on exactly what her recommendations are for solving the campus issues, and what she will be doing for the school district. Her supporter said she cannot influence BCS board, and LASD didn't need someone who knew only BCS. Not sure why she is even running for this election?

After listened to her opinions extensively, I came to a conclusion that she has nothing remarkable to offer for our district and this has nothing to do with her race, purely to do with her capability. Even her supporters couldn't tell what she stands for, and always ask people who are interested about her proposals to 'Ask Ying yourself'.

What a shame.


A Chinese neighbor
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm
A Chinese neighbor, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Wow, I didn't know that in the US when you a short of reasons, you can use racial discriminations to put down other people's different opinions. nice one! Thank God that I am Chinese and I should definitely acquire this secret weapon. Cheers mate.


No Trojan Horses
St. Francis Acres
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:20 pm
No Trojan Horses, St. Francis Acres
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:20 pm

Every election, BCS tries to put somebody on the LASD board. That person scrupulously avoids mention of her connection to BCS, so it’s up to the voters to figure out who it is each time. This time, it’s Ying Liu.

BCS parents say pay taxes like every other taxpayer in LASD and are entitled to representation on the school board. There are two issues with this:
1. No other school in LASD is guaranteed a seat on the board, and BCS is no exception.
2. BCS is not a public school. It is not run by LASD, and the taxpayers of LASD do not get to elect BCS board members. There is nothing public about the charter school except that it receives public funding and uses LASD facilities. It is a private school being run at public expense.

What’s the problem with having somebody from BCS on the board? The problem is that the BCS candidate is interested only in BCS, and trying to take over Covington. Ying’s responses in the candidate forum betrayed her lack of knowledge of issues affecting the entire LASD district. Putting aside the whole BCS/LASD conflict, would you vote for a school board candidate who knows only about her school?



Discrimination?!
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:26 pm
Discrimination?! , another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:26 pm

I have never heard a hint of discrimination at all in this election. To imply so is disgusting.

Please know we are all better than to pick on a candidate due to race. Besides, they are all of a different race and we each support one or more, correct?


Local resident
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:27 pm
Local resident, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:27 pm

Well said @No Trojan Horses!

Ying has made clear comments on nextdoor 1. she against the purchase of 10th site, 2. she proposes to split covington and adding 900 BCS students to Covington. She has modified her answers depending who is asking and where/when. A few parents who went to both Los Altos library forum and Covington PTA forum commented last Friday that her answers on the same subjects were different.

I heard from multiple neighbors saying that her supporters have gone around our neighborhood to tell people who voted for 'Yes on C' must vote 'Ying for LASD' because these two votes are connected. I don't think such behaviors represent 'a remarkable woman who stands for so much of what makes America really great'. It is just laughable.


Discrimination
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:57 pm
Discrimination, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:57 pm

There have been a lot of people living near Covington who are paranoid that they will have to share the site with BCS. Lately there has been a woman speaking at every opportunity and posting on nextdoor about this possibility. I just don't see it happening the way she envisions. The problem is that LASD is fixated on opening a 10th site, but that will take until 2022 at the earliest. In 2019, BCS will have 1060 students. So what MIGHT happen is that Covington would open as a THIRD shared site for BCS, with initially 160 or so kids and then grow to 300 kids.

But the district could elect instead to do this at Almond or Loyola. Almond has the advantage that it has none of its land leased out to a private preschool. Of course Covington has 2 such private preschools already sharing that site, but Covington is 16 acres of land with a 6 acre Los Altos Park as a buffer between the school and many of the neighbors, and a church on another side. I can see the source of the Paranoia. Covington is over supplied with open land and it would be a good place, but logistically, it would not add 900 kids, not ever.

Any new board member would be just 1 out of 5 votes for the solution for NEXT YEAR growth by BCS. It's going to get all political regarding where to locate the 160 student growth (and then 50 more added the following year). But this is growing toward 300 added kids (1200 total) NOT 900. Covington has historically been over represented on the board, usually having 2 neighbors elect to the Board of Trustees ( out of 7 school zones and 5 board members) but Taglio and Peruri are retiring this year and they live by Covington. So the area will only be represented by Jessica Speiser.

For the first time, each trustee will live in a different school attendance area except that Ying lives in the Covington catchment area. So the only way Covington could get 2 ties to the board is if Ying Liu is elected. So what these people gabbing here are saying is "Ying Liu is not biased against full use of Covington as Peruri, Taglio and Speiser have been heretofor." So what?

Since Loyola and Oak both have no one on the board, my money's on the 3rd BCS site being at one of those sites. It doesn't matter if Ivanovic is not reelected and Gardner is left bare of entrenched representation on the board. Gardner is just the one site that due to TOPOLOGY would not work for sharing between a large private preschool, an existing LASD school, and a SHARD of BCS. We don't have to fear about GB. It's safe not to support Ivanovic if that's your concern.


Observer
another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:53 pm
Observer, another community
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:53 pm

The women who spoke first about Covington has to share site with BCS is Ying Liu herself. Thanks for pointing this out.

Here are quotes copied from Ying's next-door post:

LASD can easily.

1. Split Covington (16 acres) to house both a k-5 neighborhood school and a K-8 charter school
2. Move 6th grade to middle schools
3. Spent the $150M on improving the all 9 schools (116acres) in LASD

Web Link


LASD Parent
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:39 am
LASD Parent, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:39 am

To be on a board running an organization I would want to see first hand knowledge of that organization. Shali,Vladimir and Jessica all had extensive multi-year experience working with the district on advisory and auditing committees, attending all board meetings (full meetings, not just the exciting agenda items) and volunteering in the schools for years before ever running for the board. You do not need to be an LASD parent to do these things and I think they are basic minimal qualifications for running the district. The quality of LASD is certainly in good part thanks to the incredibly qualified and committed people we have running it.

The previous BCS candidates had these basic qualifications but I don't see Ying having any of these. Volunteering would let you know first hand, for example, that LASD does already work with students to set and work toward personalized learning goals. The only school Ying has direct knowledge of is one that LASD by law has no involvement with other than providing facilities. Shali worked to form BCS+LASD collaboration on Measure N and to have BCS included in Measure GG; she is a true bridge builder and peacemaker. Ying's very antagonistic comments on NextDoor towards the LASD board members she will have to work with, and towards Covington, do not show qualifications as a the peacemaker she claims she will be. I also find it ironic that Ying claims superiority on wise expenditures and yet has the fanciest campaign materials, including a mailer sent to every house in the district that alone was probably more than the total spending of the other candidates. Previous BCS candidates for the LASD board have significantly over-spent non-BCS candidates and I'm wondering if we are on track for the same here.

So glad we have great candidates in Shali, Bryan and Vladimir who are deeply knowledgeable about the issues in the district, do not pretend that these long-standing issues are "easy", and are committed to put in the time and effort for great solutions. I also support Neysa (BCS Parent) for Los Altos City Council - directly qualified, thoughtful, listens well and pulls great ideas out of differing opinions.


psr-please-be-careful
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:40 am
psr-please-be-careful, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:40 am

psr - You are a living example of why the Internet is full of lies. But you went too far even by that wild standard. You are literally bordering on a cause of action of libel.

- "no doubt paid for by the Bullis Foundation"
- "no doubt financed the same way"

Which Bullis Foundation were you referring to? There is only one Bullis Foundation as we know it, and that, as any such education-affiliated Foundation that you can imagine, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (see: Web Link). And a 501(c)(3) is strictly prohibited by IRS rules from supporting a public office candidate.

Your false accusation has met every essential element of a libel lawsuit, and don't think you can hide behind your computer, even on an otherwise wild Internet.

And shall I tell you your other ridiculous accusations such as "very expensive multi-color yard signs" show nothing but your ignorance? This is 2018, multi-color yard signs are not that expensive, at least not to a procurement expert such as Ying Liu, who was a senior director of Procurement and Operation at Apple. In fact, she got those signs at a unit price lower than most 2-color signs. Perhaps you are too used to spending taxpayers' money in lavish ways and can't help but thinking everyone is that irresponsible, if not outright dumb. No, that kind of problem is exactly what Ying wants to fix once elected - spending taxpayers' money wisely. But thank you for highlighting her skills and strength.


Supporter of Ying
The Crossings
on Oct 21, 2018 at 1:15 am
Supporter of Ying, The Crossings
on Oct 21, 2018 at 1:15 am

It’s easy to identify the ones who are planning an organized attack.

1. None of the candidates need to disclose their school affiliations in their flyer. None of the current LASD board members are being attacked for sending their kids to private school. Why does Ying has to list that info on her flyer, as if it is a crime and she has to disclose this by law?

2. While Ying’s civilized supporters tirelessly knock on neighbors door and approach voters with face-to-fave conversations, a few individuals chose instead to sit at home, do nothing and hide behind comouter screens and attack and bad mouth on things Ying is doing better than other candidates. It tells a lot about the personalities and practice of her opponents - they cannot tolerate differences and will do everything they can to kill opposing voices. Is that the kind of leaders we want for our school district?

3. The 5-year agreement between LASD and BCS was enacted in 2013 as a gesture of partnership, to declare a temporary ceasefire, putting a stop on the two-way lawsuits that had drained most of LASD’s reserves. If we do not vote for candidates that are collaborative (but instead keen on attacking BCS), we will sure to see many more bond measures to pay for the many spectacular litigations to come in the next few years as LASD continues to ignore the request for a school site since 2004.


Amanda
The Crossings
on Oct 21, 2018 at 6:24 am
Amanda, The Crossings
on Oct 21, 2018 at 6:24 am

Ying is a BCS supporter in disguise. She is endorsed by former failed and abrasive BCS candidate Tayna Raschke who ran two years ago. She's even pictured in Ying's flyer so it's really disingenuous to suggest otherwise. It's just a shame that Mountain View residents in the LASD school district can't get a candidate on the ballot that is not affiliated with the cancer that BCS has become to the district.


Again
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:49 am
Again, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:49 am

Clearly Ying's supporter and the person threats law suits are the same people who attack different opinions on wechat and other social groups. They insult and threatens people whenever being questioned. And they shame people when they are simply raising a different voice. The fact that these two comments between mid night to 7am have tirelessly collected same no. Of likes shows how insecure they are.


Growing Up
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:49 am
Growing Up, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:49 am

BCS has a really big support base now. Some ardent critics in the old Facebook groups now have kids at BCS. Many LASD families have kids that have long since 'graduated' from BCS. There is a solid voting population in support of BCS. Tactics like calling BCS a cancer (Ivanovic actually started that type of rhetoric) are not conducive to building community.

The 'war' is over. Joan J Strong is gone. People like Pattie S Rotondo like to infer bad intentions, spread old rumors, and repeat complaints from families who suffered from Lyme disease. There are always two sides to every story.

The new president of the BCS board is a black man who served in the Obama administration. Stop looking at BCS as a problem, and start looking at it as a World-class amenity.


BCS President...
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 9:42 am
BCS President..., another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 9:42 am

The new BCS president, during Oct 8 board meeting, talked only about BCS enrollment growth of 1200 students and no cap for the future, demanded a centrally located large campus in Los Altos, these two conditions were mutually exclusive.

He showed no concerns about the impact of a mega school will have on our local community, he focused on growth and growth only. He couldn't give an answer when asked if BCS parents also want a mega school. This is the new president of BCS.

And there is really nothing to do with race: Chinese, African, Hispanics... are all the same respectful people in our community. Let's move beyond talking about race please.


Reflecting
Bailey Park
on Oct 21, 2018 at 10:08 am
Reflecting , Bailey Park
on Oct 21, 2018 at 10:08 am

This thread is beginning to spiral out of control. Yes, let’s be respectful. Now people are going after the BCS President. People around here seem to be very proud of themselves for targeting individuals. Pathetic really. Aren’t we adults? Our kids are likely more mature than the people on this thread. A reminder every election season. Why the small town of Los Altos takes their elections so seriously and stoops so low to picking sides and attacking each other is truly bizarre.


Hidden School Affiliations
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm
Hidden School Affiliations, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

For the record, here are the stealth school affiliations of the current LASD Board.

Jessica Speiser -- lives in the Covington area, has sent kids to Covington
Sangeeth Peruri -- lives in the Covington area, has sent kids to Covington
Steve Taglio -- lives in the Covington area, has sent kids to Covington
Bryan Johnson -- lives in the Santa Rita area, has sent kids to Covington
Vlad Ivanovic -- lives in the Gardner Bullis area, has sent kids to Covington

During NONE of their campaigns did they spread the word of their affiliations for one particular school over another, but they all had such biases.


LASD Resident
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 1:04 pm
LASD Resident, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 1:04 pm

On the BCS President, you can bet he watches all the LASD Board meetings on the video after they are over as do many of the local press. You don't have to go to the meetings to see the Shenanigans. For example, I too watched them and I saw the LASD Board members receive the report from their Demographer back in the Spring. I saw them hear how BCS had alerted the district back then that over the next 3 to 5 years it would grow to 1200 students, and I even saw the projections made by the Demographer about growth starting next year. I didn't see them show any interest in having more input from the Charter School at that time.

Then more recently I saw them make a show out of having no idea that BCS would be growing in 2019, and accusing the BCS organization of sneaking up on them. When the BCS Board President was at their meeting recently they said to him something like he should have let them know more officially than sending them word in writing about the specific growth plans. Huh????

Of course, they should also know that they had an expiring agreement with a temporary cap that had contrained BCS growth in the past. No wonder the school would be growing.


$150M Measure N fund?
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 2:27 pm
$150M Measure N fund?, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 2:27 pm

In response to President's comment on Measure N bond fund - it wasn't a strong win, some people were hoping it would buy a facility for the 10th site, while others hoped it would help fund upgrades and repairs. On the Measure N ballot it clearly stated the money will be used for additional classrooms AND repairs AND upgrade AND safety. Ying has rightfully asked for itemized detail plan on the use of Measure N fund. Here is the original text on the ballot:

1. Prevent overcrowding by providing additional classrooms and educational facilities to accommodate growing enrollment

2. Make basic repairs to keep our schools safe, clean and well maintained

3. Upgrade aging classrooms and science labs

4. Improve safety and traffic flow around schools

5. Update classroom technology to prepare students for future success

6. Measure N will directly support our local elementary and junior high school students--not one penny can be taken by the state

7. Independent citizens' oversight and annual audits ensure that all funds are spent as promised

8. No money can be used for administrators' salaries or benefits

9. Measure N qualifies our schools for state matching funds


Covington Board
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm
Covington Board, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Why vote for Shali Sirkay who is endorsed by all of the current trustees if she doesn’t have any experience with Covington? The lone one on their ticket who doesn’t have any affiliation with Covington. They must have run out of hand picked Covington die hards to run for the Board. How horrible! If she actually wins, will they force her to move her family to the fortress?


Observer
another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:37 pm
Observer, another community
on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:37 pm

Vlad and Bryan have no affiliation with Covington. Their kids went to GB and Santa Rita.


Joseph
The Crossings
on Oct 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm
Joseph, The Crossings
on Oct 21, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Ying has no connection to LASD and her loyalties lie with BCS. As an LASD parent why on earth would I want Ying to have a say in my child's education. Keep her away from the LASD board.


LASD-parent
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:01 am
LASD-parent, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

@Hidden school Affiliations

Your claims are false!
Bryan Johnson has been a Santa Rita parent since his oldest was in Kindergarten; Same for Vladmir and Gardner Bullis


More than facilities
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:06 am
More than facilities, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:06 am

Of course any person who is an LASD taxpayer has a right to run for the schoolboard. But it doesn’t mean they should. Every election, BCS puts up a candidate. It seems obvious why a parent who has chosen to send their kid to BCS from day 1 will not have a vested interest in how the kids in LASD schools are educated. The board discusses other things besides facilities issues. Members need to be people who are not looking out for a different school.


Lame trickery
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:03 am
Lame trickery , another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:03 am

Looks like the bots have been employed to “like” Ying-supportin comments. I would bet $1,000 on the fact that the likes on comments with 150+ “likes” are made by bots.

Nice work, Ying. Where’s he eye roll emoji.


Yes on Shali
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:58 am
Yes on Shali, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:58 am

I am parent of a freshman at LAHS and a family whose son has been through the LASD K-8 system. I have know Shali since our first days of Kinder garden in Almond where both our kids started. Shali has truly immersed herself into our schools, the school district and the Los Altos community. She started by volunteering her time in the classroom, then volunteering her time in school and them helping run campaign to pass the Measure N bond for the school district. She has stepped up to every roll with a smile and with her full enthusiasm. She chose to run the bond measure since she believed that the school district needed the money to a new school and that the current schools needed some improvements. She worked with LASD community as well as BCS community to pass the this bond measure. She truly united these communities on a common goal. This proves that she has the right temperament to bring these communities together. She then worked on the Measure GG parcel tax measure, making sure that GG does not only benefit the LASD student but also provided benefit to the the BCS students. This show she cares about all the children in our community - LASD or BCS. Shali’s service to our community is not just to our kid in our community, she has been working on senior issues, teacher housing issues and a host of other issues that benefit our community. I sometime wonder how she has the energy to do so much.

I believe that experience is the only thing that matters when it comes to choosing our school board member, I see it similar to a resume when applying for a job. I think that Shali has the right experience and I don’t believe that Ying has any such experience. Lets step back and compare these two candidates

1) Shali has proven to be a community builder and a tireless advocate for our kids and their education. Working on Measure has given her that experience. Ying has nowhere close to the experience that Shali does, what has she done for our community and what direct experience does she have. In my world - none

2) Shali has the understanding of what makes LASD such a good education for our kids - our teachers - she has worked with them in the classroom, worked to give them more tools by working on funding and now is working on teacher housing. Ying has no such experience, she has no direct experience volunteering her time in our class rooms or at the school level. Have 100 of coffees with families is not the same. How many LASD teachers has she sat down with to understand their challenges - None I would reckon.

3) Ying claims she know how to drive a bargain via negotiations as skill she has picked up in the corporate world. Well, in my world that is a great skill to have but the more important to understand the issues that you are tying to drive a bargain for. I also believe that Ying will have a hard time driving the right kind of bargain for the LASD students and it will be in direct conflict with her kids interest at BCS. I don’t see how someone with such a conflict of interest can drive the right bargain for all our children. Shali does not have this conflict, her kid is not in any LASD school. She has no such conflict.

I know that is sounds negative towards Ying. But it is more to compare and contrast.

Finally, I want to say that this. Shali’s would never stoop to the level of negativity that has been displayed on the post above. She is true believer in the positive in people and making a positive impact on a community and not dividing it. She is the kind of healer that we need during such trying times. I will VOTE for Shali who has the experience and the community building.

PS: I love her slogan - collaborative, committed & community oriented leadership. That is indeed her in a nutshell. Nice slogan Shali.


Board Qualifications
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm
Board Qualifications, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm

You're nuts if you think the school board really runs LASD and makes all the decisions. The shots are called from behind the scenes by Randy Kenyon and Jeff Baier. The board is challenged to even critique what they do. There are always mysterious points of knowledge that these Superintendents hold over the board to get their way. The supers work all day every day on the distsrict so that's a big advantage in dominating the board. They have a staff to support them as well, and information systems to keep things organized. The board only shares in what the supers choose to share.

So you're deluding yourselves if you think a new board member coming in can just willy nilly wrest control from this machine. What you['re talking about is to suppress critical thought and a different point of view from board deliberations. For example, the charter sent the district a letter about enrollment and the board claims not to have received it. Actually they did see it in a report. It was buried and they paid no attention and forgot about. It was the duty of the supers to keep them reminded of the facts as time went on.

Naturally, the board spends more time talking about facilities than the topic merits, because this is something that they can busy themselves with without needing an education degree. The boards familiarity with particular schools has little benefit to the discussion. After all, they can each typically only know 1 school and maybe a junior high. There are 9 total, some some schools go unrepresented.

What would be good would be to have one member familiar with the charter school because unlike the other schools, it is different. Just being different doesn't give it an edge, but obviously the district doesn't pay much attention to it. Many times in board meetings something just plain wrong is said about the charter school, and there's no one there to give the true facts.

It really says something that people are so fearful that they thing NO ONE on the board should know what's going on in the charter school. The district would be better off with a little more understanding. Isn't that obvious? Does the board vote 1 to 4 to do with the 1 says?


LASD needs a change
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:12 pm
LASD needs a change, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Regarding conflict of interests, let's look at some facts first:
- 90% of BCS kids reside in LASD. They completely rely on LASD to provide facilities. They are sharing campus with other LASD kids.
- 90% of BCS parents are taxpayers in LASD. Their property taxes are used to fund all LASD schools, like all LASD residents.

As a matter of fact, BCS is part of LASD, and BCS families are an integral of the community. It is fundamentally wrong to think that BCS has no common interests with LASD, or BCS has to be the enemy. The 'conflict of interests' thinking is quite narrow-minded and backward-looking.

Therefore I don't see any problem for a BCS parent to run for 1 seat on LASD. There are in total 5 seats in LASD.

In addition, I actually think Ying has the unique advantages in the following areas
- Bring both sides together to find collaborative solutions. We have waited for too long for the current LASD to solve this. No more lawsuit, no more divided community
- Apply unraveled expertise to help LASD to be financially responsible and sustainable. This is good news for all taxpayers
- Bring fresh perspectives to LASD to imporve school quality. While the other 3 candidates think alike on most topics, Ying is not! And I believe different opinions only triggers better debates!


Who's behind the scene
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm
Who's behind the scene, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:30 pm

This is what I heard in the LASD candidate forum @ Los Altos library
- Vladimir, Johnson, and Shali's campaign are funded by California Teacher's Union
- Ying's campaign is funded by herself (95%) and her supporters (5%)

This means, all the flyers and yard signs that you see from Vladimir, Johnson, and Shali are paid eventually by you, taxpayers. On the contrary, Ying pays out of her pocket, because she's a grassroot, because she's independent, and because she believes in what she does.

For this, I give Ying a thumb up!


I'm done
Rex Manor
on Oct 22, 2018 at 7:34 pm
I'm done, Rex Manor
on Oct 22, 2018 at 7:34 pm

and so the bloody saga continues with more hate and animosity- And like the middle east there will never be peace and we'll wonder why can't people just get along.

LASD parents will never accept BCS as a legit Los Altos public school.

BCS Parents will always feel they pay taxes and high rents like their neighbors but their kids still go to classes in portables with no decent sports fields or facilities of their own.

So go ahead and fight and bring both sides down. You'll be happy if your side prevails but our kids overall will all be losers!


Voice of people
The Crossings
on Oct 22, 2018 at 9:50 pm
Voice of people, The Crossings
on Oct 22, 2018 at 9:50 pm

1. Ying doesn't understand our LASD teachers' needs until she heard the answers from other candidates recently;
2. Ying lives on Los altos hills and traffics happening down the hill is not her problem, she wants to add 1200+ BCS kids to our current campus and local community without any considerations of its impact - she calls that creative and practical solutions;
3. Ying said publicly she was more qualified than other candidates who were software engineer and marketer - such arrogance is not what we look for in a board candidate.


Qualifications First
another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:43 am
Qualifications First, another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:43 am

I would love to see collaboration between the BCS and LASD board but enabling that takes more than just being from BCS. The arguments about a BCS candidate here are really irrelevant since Ying doesn't have any direct knowledge or experience working with LASD. You can be different and yet still experienced.

Ying has all the pitfalls of previous BCS candidates (no value on small neighborhood schools, wanting to change LASD programs to enable BCS preferred faculties options) and yet none of the LASD experience of previous BCS candidates. Nothing about Ying encourages me that she would lead to "no more lawsuits". Ying's supporters threatened a poster on this thread with lawsuits for ignorance. So far what I have seen from Ying seems to be just BCS positions, not compromises.

In the meantime, the LASD candidates have been getting a lot more centered so at least the community message seems to be getting through.


Observer
another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 10:32 am
Observer, another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 10:32 am

LASD can still have small schools AND solve the BCS problem AND not waste the Measure N bond funds.

Step 1 - Close Covington and move BCS to that campus
Step 2 - Move 6th grade to Egan/Blach
Step 3 - Spend Measure N bond funds to upgrade existing schools

If you want the above to happen, don't vote for Bryan, Vlad, or Shali


Another Observer
another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:50 pm
Another Observer, another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:50 pm

Waste is a matter of perception. LASD has kind of locked itself into buying that land at Kohl's already, which is sad. They didn't think about this well. They were operating as if it were 2015 and they still had time to provide it to BCS and make some sort of deal. This was before the cry had become so clear that everyone in Mountain View sees that as a needed local neighborhood school if purchased. Now they are pretty much stuck. So how to recover?

1) Buy the land if it can be bought for under $20 MIllion in land cost (as was promised).

2) Build on it a small neighborhood school (where'd we hear that before?). But only build permanent buildings for part of the school. Build a $30 Million set of buildings some with 2 stories and then add in enough portable buildings to make a school big enough to serve 450 kids from that side of San Antonio plus accept transfers from the other side of San Antonio (otherwise kids there go to Santa Rita).

3) Now both Covington and Almond will shrink by 200 kids each. At each of those two sites construct a new school for BCS. Possibly look at still using Egan's 7 acre site where BCS is now as well. Maybe the Almond site is just a new camp school site while a new school is constructed on the Egan site (temporary 3-way split then Blach, Almond, Covington). Ultimately serve at Covington 350 local kids in one school and 600 to 800 BCS kids at a second school site mostly of permanent buildings.

4) The temporary expansion site for BCS next year needs to be constructed for 200-300 kids at Almond next year, so get going. Then when Almond's local enrollment 1/3 relocates to the new Kohl's school there will be room for BCS expansion in 2023 and beyond.

This is all very complicated but that's cause by the board dragging it's feet about making a plan so far.


Vote only Ying Liu
another community
on Oct 25, 2018 at 4:23 pm
Vote only Ying Liu, another community
on Oct 25, 2018 at 4:23 pm

@Another Observer - Really?? You're going to go through buying land, constructing a new school, reconfiguring 2 more schools and administrating an additional (unneeded) elementary school at great expense just to avoid relocating the Covington kids to their original, small, neighborhood schools? And then keep BCS in portables for an additional indefinite number of years? Seriously?

This whole plan is absolutely ridiculous. If an NEC school is opened then one of the other schools need to close which would obviously be Covington since they already have other neighborhood schools. There's not enrollment to justify an 8th elementary school - in fact, there isn't enrollment to even justify 7 elementary schools especially with BCS growing and district wide enrollment declining. If 6th grade moves to middle school all the schools stay small, no 10th site is needed, BCS gets Covington school and the bond money can be used to improve all schools.

The only reason this doesn't happen is because the incumbent LASD board members and a contingent of the community are committed to continuing the BCS/LASD feud at any cost to taxpayers. My kids are grown so I have no stake in this fight but the continuing squandering of my tax dollars angers me. Covington parents, put on your big boy/big girl pants and move down the street to a different excellent school and let BCS be. You shouldn't be bothered by their alternative program since you love your neighborhood schools. They don't affect you - at least not yet. You could negotiate Covington in exchange for a BCS enrollment cap but if you continue this fight BCS might continue to grow until they need more than one full campus. Don't cut off your noses to spite your face.


Look at the faces
Blossom Valley
on Oct 26, 2018 at 6:12 pm
Look at the faces, Blossom Valley
on Oct 26, 2018 at 6:12 pm

This is all about race. BCS President is african american. The supposed BCS candidate to the school board is a Chinese immigrant. Looks like a bunch of Caucasians on the LASD board (with the exception of a token Indian who came and went with 1 term). The unions want homogeneity and if you look at their make-up it is dominated in our multi-cultural Los Altos community by one common racial denominator.


Local Resident
another community
on Oct 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm
Local Resident, another community
on Oct 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT YING LIU IS A BCS PARENT. WE DO NOT NEED BULLIS CHARTER SCHOOL INFILTRATING OUR LASD SCHOOL BOARD.


Please remember
another community
on Oct 29, 2018 at 7:58 pm
Please remember, another community
on Oct 29, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Please remember that 4000 voters are parents of BCS students and former students. The LASD constantly fumbles badly at understanding BCS which is an award winning public school that has kids from another 800 families on its waiting list. How big does it have to grow before the LASD board gets a clue? Maybe try a rep on the board 1 of 5.


More to realize
another community
on Oct 29, 2018 at 8:39 pm
More to realize, another community
on Oct 29, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Did you know that the entire LASD board and ALL of the candidates are biased against equal treatment for Mountain View kids? You might want to vote for Ying Liu due to that. She has no such bias. She's the only one who has come out and said that if LASD buys that special site of Kohl's and surrounding businesses, then that site needs to be used for a local neighborhood school to serve that area.

Currently the kids around there are split 3-ways to bulk up the enrollment at 3 of LASD's 7 elementary schools. These are Santa Rita, Covington and Almond. Well you know, funny thing. ALL of the LASD board members have specific vested interests in those 3 schools! They don't want to be faced with having just 300 kids from Los Altos if the MV kids get their own schools.

Worse still, this is true about the other new candidate too. She's an Almond parent. What would Almond be like with only 280 kids absent the Mountain View kids? Would it be able to remain operating? So she too has this bias AGAINST equal treatment for the Mountain View kids.

So, remember this too, when you make your vote. Mountain View voters should keep in mind equal treatment for their kids. LASD held citizen meetings and got roundly told that the people in the area want the site to be used for a LOCAL school. Will they act properly on this input?


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