Because the price of land is so high, our City Council offered LASD $23 million to help it purchase land for sports facilities that would double as public open space for Mountain View residents when school is out. Additionally, the council authorized the use of Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) to help the Los Altos district generate additional funds to assist in the development of a new school in the San Antonio area. TDRs allow the district to sell "unused" development rights on its property to other developers which can then be added to another development elsewhere in the city. The TDRs for the Safeway site may be worth as much as $80 million.
During a recent City Council meeting on whether to permit the use of TDRs, only two council members insisted that the new school must be a neighborhood school, open to Mountain View residents living in the area. While others expressed a "preference" for a neighborhood school, in doing so they left the option open for LASD to fulfill its legal obligations to build the Bullis Charter School (BCS) campus on the Safeway site, instead of a neighborhood school. I'm a fan of BCS in its own right, and while I don't pretend to understand much about charter schools, suffice it to say that BCS does not meet the needs of Mountain View school children.
I have heard from several credible sources that there is a strong possibility that LASD is inclined to build something other than a neighborhood school in Mountain View, possibly a charter school, which seems to be its highest priority. And why not? If the Mountain View City Council isn't going to require a neighborhood school for its residents in exchange for a financial package worth $100 million, why not fulfill its legal obligation with these resources? This is, in my opinion, an unacceptable outcome.
The Mountain View community has made it clear that a new neighborhood school in the San Antonio area is a very high priority. It must be a school that serves the needs of Mountain View children as well as others within the LASD. A charter school does not meet these essential needs of Mountain View families.
So, when the Mountain View City Council takes up these issues later this month, its members should not make any agreements with LASD regarding TDRs, memorandums of understanding, open space or anything else until such time as the LASD commits to building a neighborhood school that will serve Mountain View residents. Mountain View must get this commitment before city officials make any further decisions regarding the city's financial support of the LASD project. To do otherwise will signal to the LASD trustees that the City Council isn't serious about the need for a neighborhood school.
What can you do? Call, meet with or write to the Mountain View City Council as well as the LASD trustees and let them know what you think. Your input matters!
This story contains 616 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.