Nelson still unhappy with bond spending plan | December 6, 2013 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

Opinion - December 6, 2013

Nelson still unhappy with bond spending plan

by Steven Nelson

I hope all local elected public officials, like City Council member Margaret Abe-Koga, will continue to address the public on items that have been previously voted on. Her views and opinions on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) (published in the Voice on Nov. 8) are still relevant to public policy discussion and debate — even if her view did not gain a majority in a recent City Council vote.

School board issues that will come up for a further vote also, in my opinion, deserve equal freedom of public debate, for they will come up for future discussion and votes. After all, spending public tax money on schools is also a public policy issue, just like spending on streets.

From the large to the small: Is it good that performing arts is a "huge driver" of the anticipated facilities spending for the middle schools? An administrator of the Mountain View Whisman district spoke those words at a recent school board facilities committee meeting.

The process for facilities spending is now correspondingly at a point where 40 percent of the Graham bond money is to be committed to performing arts-related projects. And that school's budget will be almost $2 million over the bond funding. A survey at that school allocated matching teacher interest to technology improvements and to performing arts improvements. For, while 60 percent of the students do take performing arts there, 400 percent take science, math, English and social studies classes combined.

It's like the bus lane-car lane argument on BRT down El Camino, or the high-speed rail project at the state level. Just because administrators at the VTA, or HSR or the school district have pushed a particular emphasis does not mean we, elected school board members, cannot reconsider and maybe avoid expensive errors in long-term public investments.

For Crittenden Middle School, the school board chose, when given options, to elevate and increase new library facilities above new locker-room facilities. Somehow, at Graham Middle School, I feel we have lost our way. The administration has recently recommended what I call "gut and swap." Gut the insides of a 5,000-square-foot library, and swap it with the 3,000 square foot administration. Two million dollars. Swapping a student library enlarged (2002) with the last bond's money, and moving it into smaller space. It still escapes me how that helps students.

As Margaret Abe-Koga was elected to vote and debate on fiduciary issues of our city, I was elected to vote and debate on fiduciary issues of the Mountain View Whisman School District.

Steven Nelson is a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood and a member of the Mountain View Whisman School District.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Top restaurants to check out

Mountain View Voice readers have officially decided. See which local restaurants and businesses can now claim the title — Best Of Mountain View 2017.

View Winners