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Measure N vote too close to call

Original post made on Nov 5, 2014

Early election results show Measure N is just 1 percent shy of the 55 percent of the vote needed to pass the $150 million Los Altos School District bond in the Nov. 4 election.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 12:36 AM

Comments (35)

Posted by Lesson Learned
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 6:13 am

Yes on N only garnered 54.9%. That's a stunning defeat and they came oh, so close. The results showed that the School board and the planning committee volunteers did a poor job managing expectations, communicating effectively, and overly fixating on improvements to existing facilities versus providing guidance on new sites, new schools, and redistricting. Here's hoping they learn from their mistakes, lick their wounds and get focused on the 2016 measure. This was not the fault of the Yes on N campaigners - they did a great job canvassing the community, but there just wasn't any there-there. What a way for Goines and Smith to go out - how unfortunate...


Posted by Outside Inside
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:10 am

Maybe next time they won't plan $300M in projects for $150M in funds. The pollsters told them to be vague. They took that way too far.

Time for a new Superintendent?


Posted by Voters Have Spoken
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:17 am

The LASD BoT needs to find a solution which does not require the taxpayers to write them a $150M blank check.


Posted by Dave Cortright
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 8:49 am

These are unofficial, preliminary results. There are still votes that remain to be counted. Including mine, which is "Yes".

And anyone commenting anonymously on such divisive issues is cowardly. It's easy to throw stones under the veil of darkness. Put your personal reputation behind the statements, and though I may still disagree with you, I will have a hell of a lot more respect.


Posted by Deeply dissapointing
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 8:58 am

David Roode and the rest of the "No on N" crowd are a blight on this community. They have effectively endangered the long term peace agreement with BCS and putt our high quality schools at risk. Given how close this vote was, Roode & Co. only needed to deceive a small number of voters with their lies and deceptive advertising. Looks like they succeeded. They *should* be deeply ashamed of themselves, but I'm sure instead are patting themselves on the back...


Posted by mixedFeelings
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2014 at 10:43 am

'blight on the community' is a bit strong... I voted yes for N, but the no crowd (in my view) had no ulterior motives, they just don't like voting for bond measures that are so intentionally vague. The problem is that the wounds from years of lawsuits between LASD and BCS are still fresh. $150M is not enough to build two new schools and address the facilities disparities on all the campuses. Committing to a specific plan within the $150M cap means alienating a large chunk of voters... the district knew this and decided being vague presented a better chance of the bond passing. I agree with that belief. If the measure spelled out a new school for BCS, it would have surely failed... if it spelled out a new school for north san antonio, it would have failed (alienating many BCS supporters that had hoped for a new school, as well as many LASD parents that just want to see the lawsuits end). If it spelled out two new schools, one for BCS and one for NSA, there would be no $ left to bring the schools to an even facilities stance... rightly or wrongly, this would have alienated lots of parents. This was the best approach to passing a $150M bond measure that (if successful) would have never please everyone. The only question in my mind is... could this have been foreseen and the expense and effort spared for another year or two? I think pursuing this bond measure was the correct approach, and hope two years from now is not too late to avoid some impacts of enrollment growth. I just hope the demographers were wrong on the growth and that we'll be leveling off for a few yrs.


Posted by Proud
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:05 am

Wow. I'm really proud of our district that, despite the huge, expensive propaganda campaign that the Yes on N folks waged, there were enough right- thinking voters to shut this bond down. We need truthful dissemination of the facts, reasonable solutions to overcrowding (like giving Covington to BCS, moving to K-5/ 6-8 programs and reshuffling the kids) and thoughtful planning of upgrades that' would indeed enhance the educational experience of all LASD kids. Let's do that before 2016 and maybe then we can pass a bond.

@david cortright- how do you know your vote hasn't been counted yet? That makes me worried that somebody's planning on rigging the election.


Posted by No way!
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

@mixed feelings I have great difficulty accepting your position that the only way to pass a bond is to intentionally deceive the voters by being vague! I agree with you as to why the trustees were vague in that you're right- the different factions would have opposed. But isn't that our right as voters? Aren't we voting on whether or not to spend our money on projects that we support? This infers that the trustees "know what's best for us" so we should trust that they'll spend our money appropriately. That's not how democracy should work. The taxpayers have a right to decide whether or not to tax themselves. And remember that there are many of us whom are just taxpayers with no dog in the LASD vs BCS fight. We can decide for ourselves where to spend our money.


Posted by Lots of time for changes
a resident of Bailey Park
on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:17 am

Actually, a revocation of BCS's charter would be the greatest single benefit to the entire district and the vast majority of it's kids. I'll support that in any way I can.


Posted by Sigh
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:36 am

So that the thousands of parents that prefer BCS (700 enrolled + at least 2800 that didn't get in on the lottery) have no choice but to send their kids to the less progressive LASD schools. That would indeed be a benefit...


Posted by mixedFeelings
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:49 am

@No way!
They certainly could have been more open about the reason for vagueness, but the decisions on how to spend the bond money were yet to be made... the path forward would include input and consideration from all involved parties. This is not intentional deception, for the decisions had truly not been made. Even clearly communicating 'concrete' options for resolving the capacity issues would have turned off many voters and had unintended consequences if the measure passed... identify a site location for a new school in the measure's language? that property just increased in value. As far as trusting the trustees to spend money appropriately? I hear what you are saying, but isn't that pretty much the definition of a TRUSTEE? The fact of the matter is, that trust has been broken, and that is the real problem.


Posted by Joan Strong
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I'm not anonymous. I'm not Dave Cortright.

I think the problem was all the slick mailers that the district put out pushing the bond (5 or so) and then that was followed by another 7 or so pieces of literature from the Yes on N committee. It looked like they were trying to put something over on the voters. That's my take.

And it's terrible.


Posted by No way!
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

@mixed feelings- if that's true- that the trustees simply haven't had time to explore their options and make decisions- then there is no problem. They have until 2016 to come up with a plan. If its a good one, I'll vote for it. If its still cloaked in mystery then I won't. Blank checks aren't something I'll ever be comfortable issuing. No trustee deserves that much trust.


Posted by it's not over, people
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

It's not over, people. There are over 100,000 votes in the county that haven't been counted yet. If anyone submitted an absentee ballot, it probably hasn't been counted yet. It's too early to say that Measure N passed/didn't pass. You can check to see if your ballot has been counted yet at the Santa Clara website: Web Link


Posted by Sorry
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm

It's over. There are no "absentee" ballots anymore. Ever hear of vote by mail? All ballots required to be received by 8pm yesterday. They have been counted.


Posted by Not Over
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm

@Sorry is wrong. Vote by mail ballots handed in on election day are counted starting the day after the election. May not be fully counted until Friday. See the SCC Registrar of Voters site: Web Link


Posted by Not Over
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Though I think '@It's not over, people' is also wrong in thinking there are over 100,000 ballots yet to be counted. There were only 168,298 mail in ballots up to 11/3. Web Link

The count for 11/4 is not available, but the count for 11/3 was only 17,703, so the number arriving on 11/4 is likely to be less than 20,000 and those are mostly not in the LASD. However, with only an 8 vote margin needed for passing N, a change is very possible.


Posted by mixedFeelings
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Provisional ballots are yet to be counted as well... I was at the precinct for 5 minutes and two people asked for provisional ballots (although it seemed this was the first of the day for the precinct @ ~1PM).


Posted by mixedFeelings
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 5, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Update #1 at 5PM today... Measure N now passing with 55.14% of the vote... daily 5PM updates from SCC for the next week or two.


Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:21 pm

This is a nail biter, but I really hope that this doesn't get passed.
The Bullis Charter School is a far superior program. More money is spent on each student than LASD spends on theirs. Wouldn't it be great to have the school buildings fall down???!!!

Bonds are unfair to Bullis Charter School parents, since it not a fixed amount per home, but rather a percentage. We are far more wealthy than the average LASD parent, so BCS parents will each pay more money than LASD parents. Yet the money would go to LASD schools! How is that fair?!


Posted by Voters Have Spoken
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 7:34 pm

If it does pass (and I really hope it doesn't) I am glad that at least John Swan will be on the Board now to ensure that the funds are spent responsibly!


Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Agreed! Swan is only one vote, but I'm sure he will really cause some pain there. Even though LASD is a top ranked school district, I'm sure he can disrupt things enough to knock them down a peg or two.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of another community

on Nov 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Still Waiting
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2014 at 7:45 am

Santa Clara County election debacle! These idiots don't have a system in place to count all of the ballots in a timely manner. We may not know the final results for TWO MORE WEEKS! I read one article that said there were still 169,000 uncounted ballots sitting at the Registrar. Ridiculous! Also, the website problems lead one to question the accuracy of the whole process. Who has confidence they will get the votes counted correctly?


Posted by Interesting
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2014 at 10:23 am

It's interesting to note from the election map: Web Link, that the No votes come in primarily from the wealthier areas of LASD, with special emphasis on the Bullis-Purrisma area. So, once again the charter people are trying to screw over a high performing public school system.

Sigh...


Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

Interesting that Doug Smith would make a statement that is a year off. The current agreement with Bullis Charter runs THROUGH 2018-2019's school year. The need for a better solution is for the 2019-2020 school year.

There are a lot of things that LASD can do with this ballot failing. They can revise their plan to be more pleasing to the voters and come back to us in June 2016. That's pretty soon. Not only that, but they can solve this growth for a lot less than $150 Million. They were angling toward only spending $75 Million on a new school. Surely it would be easier to pass a smaller bond than a larger one. These kind of comments on the part of the district just prove the deception they used in proposing the bond, which is why it may have failed.


Posted by JimB
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2014 at 7:40 am

JimB is a registered user.

The organizers of the campaign against measure N (David Roode, John Inks, and Rob Fagen the lead local ballot signatures) should be ashamed of themselves for all the lies and misrepresentation they tried to spread around town. That includes the shady tactic of illegally posting signs throughout Los Altos. A central theme of their slogan was a 'no senior exemption', which is a complete distortion since school bonds are forbidden by California law to have senior exemptions. All the committees and the language of the bond measure are more involved and more detailed than any recent local school bond measure. $150 Million is not enough to solve the enrollment growth and modernize existing facilities, but the school district is already deep into the first stages of prioritizing. Everything has been completely transparent and involving public input.

Whether or not the bond passes, those three and the rest of the shadowy group that David Roode represents have caused so much harm to a community that is finally seeing a fragile cooperation between LASD and BCS to improve the quality of education of their kids. They lack the willingness to participate in any LASD or BCS committees, or even involve themselves in any public discussion, to be a part of the solution. I feel sorry for them.


Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2014 at 2:07 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

The district made the lack of senior exemption an issue by their false claims in supporting literature that this measure would not affect any existing exemptions. This was a an attempt to trick seniors into thinking there was an exemption and had to be countered. The district does exempt seniors from its $10 Million annual collection of supplemental parcel taxes, but Measure N was different from Measure E which passed the last bump to those parcel taxes just back in 2011.

The district had many other deceiving facts on its list of talking points, oft repeated. The Measure N opponents collected ALL the facts and reported them all on the No on N Web Site. This is not misleading. This is complete information.


Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

Various factors presented included:

More Transparency and Stronger Cost Controls

Use Existing School Sites More Efficiently

LASD is 50% Underutilized on a Student-To-Acreage Metric as Compared with its Adjacent Palo Alto Unified School District

Create K-5 and 6-8 Schools

Stop Out-Of-District Admissions

Rebalance and Redraw Attendance Boundaries to Relieve Traffic Congestion

LASD's Growth Figures Based on Aggressive Assumptions

Millions Spent on Litigation - Not on Children

LASD Has Not Analyzed Whether it can Afford to Open Another Elementary School Site

Mismanagement of Assets, E.G., Selling a Former School for $1

LASD is Threatening Eminent Domain in Order to Obtain Regional Retail Property for a School That Will Inevitably Result in Approximately a 2% Budget Shortfall

The Cost to Acquire 10 Acres and Construct an Average Elementary School Will Consume Most of the Bond - At Least $126 Million Dollars That Does not Include Loss of Goodwill for Displacing Regional Tenants.

LASD Bond Capacity Maxed Out

Adding School Sites Increases Administrative Expenses Whereas Efficiently Using Existing Land Does Not


Posted by JimB
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2014 at 3:54 pm

JimB is a registered user.

Your statements are misleading or outright false and demonstrates how you have hidden yourself from publicly engaging with the school district, parents, and community on the issues. It's as though you have never participated in how our schools educate the kids and why they are so successful. When will you step forward and be a part of the process, because as it is now no one takes your illogical streams as anything more than a crank. Do you want to be taken seriously or as a troll?

David, it was also your choice to spend your retirement money buying a million dollar house on Mayer Ct in Los Altos, so stop complaining about having to pay bond taxes as a senior citizen when you know full where there is and never was promised an exemption.


Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2014 at 5:50 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

Mr Jim B. I would like to meet with you to discuss your misimpressions. How can this be arranged?


Posted by JimB
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm

JimB is a registered user.

Come to Monday evenings LASD board meeting. Many would like to meet with you to discuss your misrepresentations. Will you be there?


Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

What's your last name Jim?


Posted by JimB
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

JimB is a registered user.

Bock, and that interests you why? I'd like to know if you will show up Monday night and give your "commentary" above and engage in some dialog for once.


Posted by JimB
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 8:00 pm

JimB is a registered user.

My Dear Roode you didn't show up and offer your insights how I an others have misimpressions about the bond? Another wasted opportunity on your part. No wonder no one believed the hype you wrote all over the nolasdbond site.


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