Time for direct conversations on Measure N | September 21, 2018 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

Opinion - September 21, 2018

Time for direct conversations on Measure N

by Joe Hurd

There is growing concern over the designation of the $150 million school bond passed in 2014, and rightfully so. Nearly four years ago, Los Altos and Mountain View voters came together to support the Los Altos School District's desire to purchase more land to address enrollment growth. Now, we're faced with declining LASD enrollment, an expensive potential land purchase that will do nothing to serve LASD's only neighborhood without its own school, and a community frayed by years of debate and little action.

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17 people like this
Posted by Kudos
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2018 at 8:15 pm

Kudos is a registered user.

Kudos, Joe Hurd! Thank you for doing what is right and addressing the drama. Hopefully, LASD trustees can be more mature about the situation and attend the Oct. 1 meeting with BCS. Mud slinging and accusations thrown at BCS at the last LASD meeting by LASD trustees on 9/10 were uncalled for and extremely unprofessional. Grow up.

14 people like this
Posted by NLosAltosResident
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Thank you Joe for clearing up the confusion. As a tax payer who lives within the LASD boundary, I was very concerned about Measure N. I have always voted for every single school bond, as I am proud to live in a community that values schools and our future. However, Measure N was ridiculously vague, and felt like writing a blank check to a group of "officials" who have hidden (often private) agendas with blatant disregard to their fiduciary responsibilities as an elected official to do the right thing for the entire community. Enough with the craziness -- LASD, please treat this money like it's money from your own pocket, and use it wisely in a way that benefits all children, not wanton spending that leads to more lawsuits. In no way does it make sense to house a large school like BCS on the target land you have identified. Do your math and reconfigure your existing resources!

16 people like this
Posted by Hank Coleman
a resident of another community
on Sep 23, 2018 at 9:41 pm

Let me get this straight. Enrollment at Los Altos schools has been declining and the LASD trustees want to spend taxpayer money to purchase a new site in MV?! The only area that's still affordable for young families and therefore increasing in enrollment is in MV, but instead of creating a neighborhood school for MV residents, the LASD trustees want to place BCS there without even asking if this move would be acceptable to BCS families?!

What I don't understand is how elected officials can be conscionable fiduciaries of public funds when it seems to me that they are always just trying to stick it to BCS. Instead of acting in the public interest of ALL public school students, these trustees want to keep treating BCS students as second class citizens, simply because their parents have decided not to enroll their students in LASD schools and instead have chosen to go to BCS.

There have been no shortage of creative facilities ideas (Web Link). Yes, some of them involve sharing and there might have to be a re-boundary, but it's time to get creative! BCS has been sharing space with other schools for the last 14 years. All the LASD schools need renovations. Why not continue what has been working and share the $150mn in a manner fair to ALL public school students. I, for one as a taxpayer, am demanding it!

4 people like this
Posted by Wow, important data!
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 23, 2018 at 9:59 pm

@Hank, thank you so much for that useful link. I encourage all readers to check out this presentation. It is illuminating! Web Link

Our LASD trustees have been failing our community big time. I’m so disappointed right now.

16 people like this
Posted by Busted Again
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 24, 2018 at 5:45 am

Why must LASD always try to hide the ball when it plays politics with BCS? You're repeatedly getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar and this latest attempt to pin the impasse at BCS is even more embarrassing for you than the last one. What was a mistake by the original LASD board decades ago which led to the formation of BCS is now being perpetuated by yet another LASD board except the stakes keep getting hire. It's like watching a bad game of World of Poker where LASD keeps going all in because is has a big financial sponsor (eg, the Mob, the Unions, etc). And LASD keeps losing. At what point does the general LASD constituent (ie, all of us residents) get so frustrated that we drain the swamp.

Lying about BCS is technique #1 for LASD board members. Taglio and Ivanovic are black belts in it and now Speiser and Johnson are getting into the action. Peruri was just one and done (now that his Covington kids will not impacted during their years there). Good for him, sucks for Almond and Santa Rita, but hey, NIMBY fellow schools.

No LASD board member will show up for this BCS meeting. I'm calling it right here. All of this back and forth in the press is a waste of time. Can we just go straight to the courts? Yes, this is like Creed 2. We've gone through Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, son of Balboa, son of Creed and now we are on to the Nth legal fight. But the current LASD board knows that it will be another few years before it gets resolved. So while the litigation kicks off with information requests, depositions, witness identification, mediation will come back into play as another stop-gap measure.

Maybe we get another 5 years; maybe we get 3. But your Bond is just flailing in the wind and tons of families will be unable to plan. Local politics is just grand, isn't it?

8 people like this
Posted by Lynn
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 8:37 am

I’ve watched the LASD board minimize BCS’s public school students for 14 years. LASD board member’s continuing hostility, back-room agreements and crazy scheme to place BCS on the Kohl’s site will only land them back in court. Please consider making your voice heard when you VOTE in November. Will you elect a hand-picked LASD candidate or choose an outsider such as Ying Liu, who can hold the board accountable and bring peace and balance to the community. She definitely has my vote!

15 people like this
Posted by McAllister's relationship with LASD
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:22 am

It's also the MV CC or at least those willing to give away $$$ without requiring much in return. If LASD steams ahead, it should be a neighborhood school. Period.
I understand the strong desire for park space, but MV is offering up so much that it should also stipulate that a new school will be a neighborhood school. Best for the students, best for traffic and best for MV.
Why is McAllister voting on this? His preschool, Stepping Stones, has a below market rate deal with LASD at Covington. Whether or not that is a "technical" conflict is to be seen, but it sure is an ethical one. If LASD does not site BCS at the new location, then sharing the 20 acres of Covington is a logical alternative. Then Stepping Stones may need to find a new home. That's a conflict for McAllister. He should RECUSE himself from any of these discussions

7 people like this
Posted by LASD games: No interest in a NEC district school
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 11:28 am

to McAllister's Relationship with LASD:
Yes, you are correct. McAllister should recuse. But LASD is playing even more games. LASD has NO INTEREST in providing a NEC school for it's students. None. If the MVCC stipulates that, you will see interest in that site disappear by the LASD board. Then no park space coming from the school (though perhaps still via other mechanisms). LASD is playing the MV CC.
If LASD cannot plus BCS there, far on the edges of the district thus making it an amazing hassle for families that choose BCS, then all of sudden the need for a 10th site is gone. You can count on that....
Everyone should be outraged!

10 people like this
Posted by Just Curious
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Could both BCS and LASD publish their current enrollment per grade AND numbers of out of District students?

20 people like this
Posted by @ Just Curious
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 12:40 pm

The data you're asking for is publicly available.
Web Link

It's also on this presentation:
Web Link

Not sure why LASD trustees were putting on that bad community theatre at the last LASD Board meeting about BCS enrollment numbers when the BCS enrollment figures and projections were shared with THEIR demographer years ago. Something smells rotten!

5 people like this
Posted by @ @ Just Curious
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 12:48 pm

LATC article regardingh enrollment.

Web Link

Here's the bad theatre from LASD trustees where they are feigning their ignorance of BCS enrollment projections:
Web Link
(start at 2:20)

10 people like this
Posted by @ Just Curious 2
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 1:11 pm

Take a look at the agenda package with regard to the 10th site for LASD which is full of outdated, incomplete information. It has old enrollment numbers, old transit information, etc. It is not just sloppy it is purposefully incorrect, inaccurate information no doubt with the blessing of Randy Kenyon -- the same Randy Kenyon who was called out by the courts for misleading depositions and testimony. They never learn because there are no consequences for their actions. Time to hold them accountable for all the wasted money and acrimony.

Skip to Item H.2 on the 10th site:

Web Link

9 people like this
Posted by Facts Boiled down.
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 2:10 pm

The district enrollment this year is down another 200 kids this year. LASD graduated 565 8th graders last year and only took in 400 kindergarteners. Pre-K, 6th grade, and other grades are also down as well. Meanwhile Bullis only grew by 20 new students. It's the POPULATION which has declined, not moved to Bullis.

So, this building of a new school for 900 on California Avenue is even more wasteful than the district has admitted previously.

The problem is indeed that they are making decisions based on 6 year old data and disproven population growth estimates. Look at the numbers for kids coming under the own steam to the charter school. Those numbers are from 2012, before BCS even had the Blach campus going. Those numbers really need to be updated. Even more so schools like Santa Rita and Almond are likely seeing more kids being driven in owing to increased populations 1.5 miles away North of El Camino Real. This 100 new kids have partly offset the drop in students who live nearby.

So if accurate data were used, LASD would only consider a school for the normal 550 students on California Avenue. That could alternatively be used someday for a local schools erving some of those nearby residents. But LASD will never open one of their schools to serve the area in a facility built for 900.

In information processing terms, it's garbage data in, garbage conclusions out.

6 people like this
Posted by Facts Boiled Down.
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Another way to look at this is that the plan was predetermined. They are making decisions now about a school set to open in 4 years based on 6 year old data.
QUICK! The folly will be obvious if we wait and make a sane analysis.

10 people like this
Posted by Furious
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Of course it was predetermined! Taglio even said it out loud! LASD can NOT afford to run ANOTHER school. This certainly isn't news to the district. All along, they have designed this plan to shove BCS there. Mountian View should insist that if they put this deal together with LASD, the MV campus has the same population cap on it as ALL other LASD schools*--I believe that number is currently 500 students per campus.

LASD would run away from the deal so fast they would leave skid marks. This whole folly only works if it is BCS placed on the new site.

* Except the charter, of course, which is perfectly happy to educate anyone who applies if LASD would give them space.

5 people like this
Posted by Robyn
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 3:10 pm

How about returning the money to the property owners who pay for it every year in our annual tax bills?

6 people like this
Posted by MV Strong
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 24, 2018 at 6:19 pm

MVCC and any other MV governmental body should stay strong and not be strong armed by Rich Kid Tactics from LASD. We should only give up our precious development rights and land for a school that truly benefits MV constituents. I don't see how BCS w/ just a minority of students from MV is deserving of our gratitude and support. I would rather see our schools focused on serving our residents and our students. LASD needs to solve their issues with BCS within the Los Altos geographic boundaries. Last time I checked there is more abundant land over in them hills and there is more money there too. Why must you invade MV and dump your toxic waste (BCS) on us?

Stay strong public officials of MV or face the consequence in the next set of elections.

6 people like this
Posted by Ted
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 24, 2018 at 6:46 pm

We now know about Councilman John McAlister and his conflict of interest. But what about those other members of the City Council that have been playing footsie with the LASD? Councilman Ken Rosenberg's lives in the LASD. What is his interest?

3 people like this
Posted by @Ted
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 8:06 pm

@Ted is a registered user.

That's a visual I don't want to even imagine.

9 people like this
Posted by Mountain View Tax Payer
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 24, 2018 at 8:53 pm

Kohl’s place is not a suitable school place anyway.

1. In the center of a shopping center with higher crime rate
2. close to the transition of buses, caltrain which have higher traffic flow of people and vehicle, not safe for young kids, and bring traffic challenge

As a Tax payer in Mountain View, we should not allow the fight between BCS and LASD ending up more tax from Mountain View residence.

6 people like this
Posted by Dual Concerns
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 9:36 pm

LASD has dual concerns. They want more land. They want to sock it to the charter school. There thinking is this new school will meet the law, but will be bad for the charter school. To ensure this, they are planning to build a much worse type layout of school than any other school. Originally they were looking for as little as 4 acres of land, and that begat the bizarre dense school layout. Such a layout
is totally not needed now that they have glommed onto this 9.6 acre site courtesy of Mountain View's financial aid.

So the real question is, the citizens of both Mountain View and LASD will have to live with this school once it gets built. It will differ from every other LASD school on the excuse that this is an "urban" location. To me Urban just means it needs to have a fence around it. After all, even Egan has a fence around it, and that's not Urban. There's a fence around Blach. One the site is fenced off so access can be controlled, these scare tactics about homeless people bumping into school kids are ruled inapplicable. So, yes, it needs a fence. But do we need to see a school facility which lacks outdoor play/recess area equal to the other LASD schools, e.g. about 3.5 acres, scaled up from 2.5 at the 550 student schools? Grass dies when kids tramp around on it for lunch and recess, and the LASD schools have grass too, but they still set aside a good 2.5 acres for blacktop.

So the real worry in that in its zeal to sock it to the charter school, LASD will create an expensive white elephant school that the district has to live with going forward. What if they succeed in their goal to eliminate the charter school, by making parents unwilling to choose it when they could have a nicely landscaped LASD school instead?

Well, one possibility is that the site will be rented out. LASD is demonstrably shrinking over the next 10 years. This is an unneeded site. So we have this really odd dynamic transpiring. LASD wants to get free land, but they don't really need the free land, except to use it to beat the charter school into submission.

Ironic. Could be some concern to the citizens of Mountain View too. Interesting. Maybe LASD will rent it out to the tenants MVWSD has on the Whisman campus. Then MVWSD can use that site for its own growth, which is going to happen even as LASD shrinks owing to the type of housing projects being planned in each district.

3 people like this
Posted by WillMissKohls
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2018 at 9:58 pm

I am annoyed about a school going on the Kohl’s site. It is a very handy store with better clothes selection than Target and saves having to drive to Sunnyvale or Stanford Macy’s. I will miss Kohl’s in Mtn View if it goes.

10 people like this
Posted by LASD boad president can
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2018 at 6:02 am

The board president of the LASD may of his own authority, call a Special Meeting of the members for a joint meeting with the BCS board. I would advise Mr. Hurd to go to the LASD Board and make the invitation personally, besides a letter. And then if no RSVP reply, just hold a Special Meeting with whoever shows up.

When was the last time a minority, or a NEC (North of El Camino) trustee was elected to the LASD board? Isn't this a problem, as one commentator mentioned?

9 people like this
Posted by At-large is the problem
a resident of another community
on Sep 26, 2018 at 7:43 am

Here is the article about PAUSD being threatened with a lawsuit because they also only have "at-large" elections:

Web Link

LASD should really change this practice. A quorum of Board members from Covington is going to cost us taxpayers heavily, because they won't do the logical thing and use their existing land efficiently. BCS should be placed there and the shrinking LASD schools should be consolidated. Purchasing the Kohls site is a ridiculous idea.

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

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