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Ivanovic pulls ahead of Swan in LASD race

Original post made on Nov 10, 2014

Sunday's updated election results show that Vladimir Ivanovic has overtaken John Swan in the Los Altos School District election, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, November 9, 2014, 9:06 PM

Comments (78)

6 people like this
Posted by Congratulations
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 10:07 am

Congratulations to Vladimir for sticking it out and seeing the result through. It shows that you can't buy an election in our community. Having said that, as a retiree in town, I'd like to see a more positive, balanced, and welcoming stance from Mr Ivanovic versus what has been attributed to him in the past. In my generation, we had a phrase - "diarrhea of the mouth" - in some regard, he suffers from being a little too frank and now as a voted board member, he needs to dial it down, think before he speaks, and find ways to build a relationship with those he fought so valiantly against. Here's to his election and many years of service and servitude to all in the community (emphasis on the latter).


3 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 11:20 am

It shows you can't buy an election? I'm wondering if that's how he won...


5 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 10, 2014 at 11:24 am

I'm truly disappointed that fear mongering has won out over experience. I believe fiscal responsibility is very important for this district and sincerely hope that the bond can be managed wisely. With the current state of the count of votes, my hopes have fallen to new lows. The current board cannot tolerate anyone that doesn't fall lock-step with them. Why can't we have many different opinions on a board? Why can't we all talk civilly to one another? Why must it always be the other side who is so terrible?


3 people like this
Posted by JJ
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I think it would be great if the Voice would do a graph of how much was spent on each candidate's campaign from all sources - PACs, individual donations, and loans. Let the numbers speak for themselves.


6 people like this
Posted by Accountability Going Forward
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

We can graph the post-mortem on this election but we should also have an ongoing counter tracking how the Board plans to spend the $150M going forward. There should be absolute transparency on their investment decisions - every little solar panel, to MPR to hopefully new sites, etc. They must put the $ to work in the appropriate way because there will be no further bite at the apple down the road and they will forever be known as the 5 people who screwed up something potentially awesome for us all.


7 people like this
Posted by Won't be fooled again...
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Check out Web Link

The California Charter Schools Association gave last minute donations of $22K to the deceptively named LASD Parents for Great Schools (a BCS backer led PAC) and another $6K to John Swan. All told, Swan and McClatchie raised over $100K in their attempt to buy a seat for a BCS backed candidate on the LASD board. Scary how close they came to actually succeeding. Between this PAC and the Each Student Counts PAC led by David Roode and Rob Fagen (who do not disclose the sources of their funding) I think there was huge effort by outside interests to influence the outcome of this election. It's a testament to the intelligence of the LASD voters, and their commitment to our local schools, that these efforts failed.


12 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I wonder if the new board members will do what is best for all of the LASD run schools? What is best for the District is not necessarily what is best for Covington ( now has two board members) or Gardner Bullis. For example building a school for the NEC means lower enrollment at Covington. Moving sixth graders to the middle schools in a good way to reduce crowding and improve things academically but again it reduces enrollment at Covington and Gardner to the point where you might wonder why they are not operating as a single school.

Then there is the problem of where to put BCS. Sharing the Covington campus seems like a good idea - and it would make it possible to move the sixth grader,s but now we have at least three board members who will be against that terrific problem solving idea.

The best thing for Santa Rita and Almond - the two schools bearing the brunt of the new construction and future construction - is for a new school to be built for the NSA area, serving both sides of El Camino and San Antonio and to put the new NEC school at the current BCS site. Almond and Santa Rita are going to become super crowded without a new NEC school, even if you move the sixth graders. But building a new school there means that BCS needs to move some where and despite what you may have heard there is no way to cram 500 - 900 students on four acres on some mythical NEC site, and can you imagine what would happen to the newly elected board members if they built a school in the NEC, the only neighborhood without a school, and then placed BCS there? Not sure that would go over well.

Then there is the problem with 300 million in projects and only 150 million to spend. The measure N folks have promised that the money is to address crowding. Again that's a problem, most schools, except for the two BCS campuses don't really have crowding yet. Santa Rita and Almond will soon be crowded. Buying property in the NEC to build one new school seems to be were we are headed.

There are several problems with Real Estate Tycon Idea, not enough land, not for sale, very expensive. Using existing LASD land at the Covington District Office site and at Egan seems like a better solution. If you don't by land then you have more money to spend at the existing school sites. Everyone was promised something, and they are waiting with palms out. The problem is that Covington is not at all interested in sharing their very large site,so funds will be spent trying to move BCS elsewhere. Great for Covington, terrible for everyone else.

One other problem - "bringing buildings up to code" will now take a front seat to crowding. This means skylights at Covington because somehow this very new school just isn't up to code and if you need to make some repairs skylights can be added while you are doing it. I would ask - are these buildings dangerous in anyway? About to fall in an earthquake? Burn down because of faulty wiring? The answer to both of those is of course not. Codes may have changed a tiny bit, but it does not make Covington unsafe.

IMHO 40 million is too much to spend on skylights.

If I where at Almond, Springer, Oak, Loyola or even Santa Rita I would be watching this new board like a hawk. They might do things that are not in your best interest. If you value sticking it to BCS over the needs of your own school, then you might be happy. If you think that most important thing if for Covington to not have to share it's site then you will likely be okay. If you were hoping for a new MPR or media center at your school, tough luck. If you were hoping that the District would enter to the 21st century and move the sixth graders to the middles - you are out of luck there as well.


11 people like this
Posted by mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Well said Lee - you hit every nail on the head. It's disappointing that the town just elected the status quo because now there will likely be more fighting with poor outcomes, taxpayer money wasted and continued hostilities. Too bad... but it will be interesting to see how they approach solutions after being so vocal about solving "overcrowding". I'm with you- the whole problem is solved by giving Covington to BCS, moving 6th grade to middle schools and using Egan/current BCS to alleviate NEC overcrowding. Simple solutions but I think they'd rather stick it to BCS (at taxpayer expense).


6 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

As I was reading the previous two comments (Lee and Mary), all sorts of questions about what really motivates them started to form. However, after finishing, only one question remains regarding both of them.

How long have your children been attending BCS?


10 people like this
Posted by mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 6:51 pm

@psr - It's funny- anytime anybody suggests a practical solution to a problem we get attacked as being BCS parents (as if that's a bad thing but that's another subject)or BCS fanatics, etc. It's too bad the haters can't just focus on what's being said and whether the solutions work. I'm not a BCS parent, never was, never had kids in the system at all and just became aware of the BCS v LASD battle last year when reading all the comments on the blogs. But I'm a taxpayer that supports excellence in education AND expects responsible spending by our trustees. The ongoing battle, watching from the outside, looks so ridiculous and juvenile that it's hard to believe that intelligent adults behave this way and can't get past the origins of the problem and move on for the good of all LASD residents. The parents that now choose BCS do so because they prefer the alternative program. Why do you resent them for that and why do you want to punish their children? I'd like to think that both groups could live side by side, respecting the others choice. In a grown up world.


7 people like this
Posted by mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

Furthermore, I only know one family that sends their kids to BCS so I don't even have friends at BCS. I don't know anybody involved in the battle on either side. This is an objective observation.


10 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 8:42 pm

You know what motivates me? I want the best for all of our public school students in the Los Altos School District. I want six graders to grow and stretch and be challenged at the middles schools. I want all of the LASD students, not just those at BCS to have a great program that includes foreign language in the k- 6, I want all kids to spend more time on being creative and less time on test prep. I want all students to have fair access to facilities. I want the bond money to be spent on kids in classrooms, kids in new classrooms because growth is the problem. I want the remaining money spent on innovative projects that will directly result in improving student achievement. I fear instead that it will spent on skylights, outdated media centers, solar panels, trying to stick it to BCS and here's the big one - Real Estate.

I want the parents of our district to stop hating and teaching their children to hate others because they chose a different educational program.

I want all of the schools to share in the bond, but I want the bond to address what it is supposed to address - crowding - the best solution may involve moving six graders to the middles, moving BCS to Covington and building a school for a portion of the NEC at the current BCS site. It is the cheapest plan and leaves extra funds for all the nice to have projects. That's what motivates me, doing the most good for the largest amount of students.

Skylights at Covington isn't doing the most good, and isn't addressing growth. Keeping Gardner and Covington empty as the middles, Almond and Santa Rita get more and more crowded isn't doing the most good. In fact it is just wrong on so many levels.

So what motivates me is the desire for our Trustees to do the right thing - part of that is pointing out what can and probably will go wrong, so we can try and avoid it. Here's hoping that I am wrong.


8 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:24 am

As an actual LASD parent (unlike John Swan, a founder of BCS, a person who advocated LAH separating from district and a person who has not had a child in a district school since 2003) and an actual supporter of their programs (unlike Martha McClatchie, who led a protest against the district because she didn't like way school capacity was allocated), I think you both have a great deal of unwarranted animosity against the district.

I don't have problem with charter schools in general or even BCS, as long as their version of choice isn't cause for suffering for the other children in the district. Why should the small school model that LASD has and parents prefer be sacrificed for the benefit of the charter or because YOU think things should be done a different way? Suppose the parents LIKE K-6 and don't want their sixth graders in middle school? I certainly prefer it the way it is and I know others do as well. If changes are to happen, the PARENTS should be involved, not a bunch of disinterested observers who are in no way affected by the decisions. Children should not be shuffled because you think they should be. Moving ANY child from their school community should NEVER be done unless THEY approve. You are in no position to presume you know what's best for any child but your own.

I notice you think that John Swan would have been a good choice for the LASD board. Why? As a vocal adversary of the district, what does he bring to the table? Why would you prefer a man whose campaign literature skated past his connections to BCS in an attempt to mask the connection? The same can be said of Martha McClatchie. Her literature touted her connection to Oak in the distant past but didn't mention her BCS connections. If they are so proud of the school and their connections, why the deception? Why do they continually refer to themselves as "LASD parents" when their children don't attend LASD schools?

I am perfectly happy to peacefully exist with BCS. I think choice is a great thing and we should have more of it rather than less. However, until such time that an LASD parent is allowed on the board of BCS or that they have open elections of trustees rather than private appointments that are not even an election by the BCS parent population, I don't believe that it is in the best interest of my child or any other district taught child to have a BCS parent on the school board, especially one who hides their connections. If the person is deceptive while running for the office, I have no confidence in their ability to be honest and open otherwise.


6 people like this
Posted by Here's why
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:20 am

@psr, here's why I like John Swan for LASD board.

1. No kid currently in LASD - so he offers perspective not a "*my* school first mentality" plus he wasn't running just because he has kids in elementary school.
2. Experience managing large sums of money.

As for a "LASD" candidate on the BCS board, who do you suggest? Someone who wants to shut down BCS? Someone who blogs about how awful BCS is? Someone who, like you, theoretically likes charter schools, just not the local one in our neighborhood?


5 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:49 am

@ Here's Why

If you were okay with Mr. Swan being on the LASD board, then it is perfectly reasonable for ay LASD parent, no matter how hostile to BCS, to be on the BCS board.

Mr. Swan, as a founder of BCS and a known adversary of LASD due to his bad experience, is no different in the reverse situation. It is laughable to suggest that Mr. Swan does NOT have a "my school first" attitude about BCS. After all, he is a founder of BCS. Do you, somehow, think he no longer cares about what happens there? Also, he has NO experience in education other than his involvement with the charter and, therefore, is no more or less qualified than any other individual.

As for his experience in managing large sums of money, I fail to see how Mr. Swan is any more qualified than MANY of the people who live in our area. Do you assume that the people who do not reside in LAH don't ALSO have and/or manage large sums of money?

As for the aspersions you cast upon my attitude toward the charter, you are very much off base. There are a number of charters in the county that do a fine job of educating children, BCS included. The difference is that those other charters do not spend their resources in protracted hostile action toward the district where they are located, but rather spend their money on educating the children in their charge.

I am very hopeful that, since the litigation has been halted, we can find some peace actually working together. My deepest concern is that the litigation will immediately recommence should the county grant an extension of BCS's charter. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen. I have friends whose children attend BCS and we and our children all manage to get along. I hope that circle of cooperation and respect can broaden. However, that needs to be done by open and honest relationships and projects, not covert takeover operations.


3 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

To clarify, when I was talking of my concern about litigation happening again, What I hope doesn't happen is the LITIGATION, not the charter renewal.


7 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

@psr - the taxpayers in town aren't exactly "disinterested observers". When the "parents" start solely supporting the district schools (financially) then they can have total control. As long as the schools are being supported by all the taxpayers, we have a voice. There is no animosity here- that's a cop-out response so as to not analyse the proposal (we're back to the "you're just a BCS parent, or a BCS fanatic, or an anti-LASD response rather than responding to the message). I'm supporting practical solutions. The plan proposed, switching to a K-5/ 6-8 program, is educationally sound, employed by most districts throughout the country and financially prudent. Moving 6th grade to middle and placing BCS at Covington preserves the small neighborhood schools. With the exception of the NEC kids (that don't belong there anyway because they're so far), almost all kids are as close to another neighborhood school and all are as close as many other district kids are from their neighborhood schools. Covington was never designed as a neighborhood elementary school in the first place, it was a middle school.

The reshuffling of the kids isn't being done for the benefit of the charter - it would be done to avoid wasteful spending on the purchase and construction of an additional school when currently enough land and space to accommodate everybody already exists. Your idea that NO child should be moved unless the parent approves sounds like the rantings of a spoiled child. Boundary changes are a fact of life. Sometimes kids get moved to a different school. It won't be detrimental to their well being unless their parents teach them to resent the move.


7 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

@psr - I still have a question. Your resentment of BCS is obvious but I'm wondering how you feel that the existence of that school detracts from your child's experience at his LASD school (other than the wasted litigation expenses) Currently BCS is a large school and growing so they're absorbing the growth. If BCS didn't exist, the approx 700 kids attending would be spread over the LASD schools. That would make them too crowded so the same problems (and solutions) still apply. To make room for them you'd need to move the 6th graders to the large middle school campuses and you'd need to redraw the boundaries. Or you'd need to build a new school and boundaries would still need to be redrawn. In any case, some kids would be required to move to a new school.

You keep talking about litigation money being wasted on BCS battles when the money could have been spent on the kids. I agree - it fries my cookies that my taxpayer dollars are being wasted on this frivolous battle. But unlike you, I can't blame it all on BCS. It takes two to tango and if LASD had just given BCS the Gardner Bullis campus years ago, this fiasco would have been nipped in the bud. Likewise, when they got too big for Gardner, the district could have given them Covington. LASD chose to prolong the battle. The idea that all those kids should exist in portables, forever, is kind of ridiculous. Give them the school and move on. Our lives (and pocketbooks) will all be better for it. If they don't give them a school we will be back in court wasting more money. You will have yourselves to blame for that, not BCS.


5 people like this
Posted by Practicality
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

@Mary -- You keep claiming that you are only pushing for a "practical" solution but you're not considering all the factors. While what you suggest is mathematically feasible, you clearly don't have a sense of the impact that would have on the families currently at Covington. Re-drawing attendance boundaries is necessary and does impact a large number of people, but it doesn't completely destroy and entire school community. The neighborhood schools are the cornerstone of community building in this town and killing off Covington would affect hundreds of families and destroy a mutually supportive, tight knit group of students and parents. And yes, it would be for the benefit of the charter. I think there is a chance for long term peace between LASD and BCS (and I certainly hope for that), but giving Covington to the charter school would absolutely destroy those prospects. The bitterness and resentment that would cause would make the last 10 years look like a picnic. Consider that too please when thinking about what is "practical"


4 people like this
Posted by Practicality
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

@Mary -- You keep claiming that you are only pushing for a "practical" solution but you're not considering all the factors. While what you suggest is mathematically feasible, you clearly don't have a sense of the impact that would have on the families currently at Covington. Re-drawing attendance boundaries is necessary and does impact a large number of people, but it doesn't completely destroy and entire school community. The neighborhood schools are the cornerstone of community building in this town and killing off Covington would affect hundreds of families and destroy a mutually supportive, tight knit group of students and parents. And yes, it would be for the benefit of the charter. I think there is a chance for long term peace between LASD and BCS (and I certainly hope for that), but giving Covington to the charter school would absolutely destroy those prospects. The bitterness and resentment that would cause would make the last 10 years look like a picnic. Consider that too please when thinking about what is "practical"


4 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Looks like the last-minute ads from "LASD Parents for Great Schools" PAC did much more harm than good, as they are deceitful and underestimate the intelligence of voters. It's a similar tactic to the last-minute Ro Khanna PAC ads from Texas donors purported as a Californian organization, which failed as well. When you lose essential honesty you lose credibility, no matter what the message is.


6 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:39 pm

@practicality - I really think that's a bit dramatic. The Covington children would move, with many of their fellow families, to a new building not more than one mile away, where they would continue to build their community or would build a new community. I believe ALL the LASD elementary communities feel they are mutually supportive and tight knit groups and, being nice people, surely would welcome Covingtons into their fold. These moves will happen to many families in the district when boundaries are redrawn, under any circumstance. What makes those Covington children who would not be subject to the move, more special than the others? If relocating Covington kids in order to save $150M of taxpayer money would destroy the prospect of peace, then that's a huge statement about the (lack of) character and immaturity of that group of people. Really sad that folks would choose bitterness and resentment over enjoying their new school community (and the savings that might allow the district to instead create some cool upgrades for the schools). And supporting that mindset is akin to giving into a child's temper tantrum. Your first sentence said it- it's mathematically feasible. Grown ups should be able to deal with the emotional aspects and should be teaching their kids how to deal positively with less than ideal situations when they're "practical".


4 people like this
Posted by BvP
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Why does BCS have their own board? Aren't they part of LASD? Do each of the LASD schools have their own boards?

If they want current or former BCS parents on the LASD board, then why not allow non-BCS folks on the BCS board?

Finally, an old question that has never been answered adequately: why are taxpayers supporting what is essentially a private school?


4 people like this
Posted by Whoever
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Every Charter school operating within LASD has its own board, but this is not required. They can't be run by the LASD Trustees, however. BCS could open a 2nd charter school or a 3rd and it could be run by the one same board. A charter school organization with a board in Santa Clara could open a school in LASD, and that school would not have its own board.

Why does Los Altos have its own city council? Couldn't we just use the LAH city council for both cities?


4 people like this
Posted by BvP
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

LA and LAH are different municipalities, therefore they have their own city council, just as Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, etc each have their own city councils. One could argue that the County of Santa Clara could govern all. In which case, LASD would act as the "county" for all schools within the district.

Looking at the charter school, particularly BCS, it's difficult to look at it as a public school. The system is being played. If people don't like the district, send your kids to private school, there are quite a few very good ones in the area. If you don't like any of those either, start your own school. But it doesn't seem reasonable to expect the taxpayers to pay for you. My two cents.


4 people like this
Posted by Practicality
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm

@Mary -- your reaction shows that you have not been part of a school community around here and don't fully understand the imapct your suggestion would have. Certainly the Covington families would be unhappy, but just because the other schools didn't get shut down, don't think for a second many others wouldn't have deep frustration with BCS on behalf of their friends at Covington. This has long been one of the things unifying the LASD schools in the BCS conflict -- that no existing school should be shut down for the benefit of the charter.

A better approach (IMHO) would be to secure a full size site in NEC (8-10 acres) and develop a new school there for BCS. The charter school could then offer an admission preference to NEC students, and if BCS ever closed it could be easily converted to an NEC neighborhood school. Certainly attendance boundaries would need to be redrawn, but no one school would find itself scattered to the four winds. This would provide the needed near term capacity increase and allow for a more thoughtful transition to K-5 / 6-8 in the future. I know finding a NEC site is easier said than done, but it is a better long term solution and doesn't screw over a large chunk of existing families who have huge amounts invested in their kids current school.


8 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm

NEC kids are the ones who have been scattered to the four winds ... Almond, Santa Rita, Covington and, sometimes, BCS. The suggestion that money be spent in the NEC area to house BCS rather than NEC kids is absurd, and all to protect a school that has existed as an elementary school for only ten years or so. That's not exactly a long history. I can just see it now .. some NEC kids could bike/walk/drive past Almond plus a new BCS school on their way to Covington. So much for "LASD values neighborhood schools."

Dispersing Covington kids to other nearby schools would still have them closer than the current commute NEC kids make to Covington. Place BCS at Covington, move 6th grade to the now peaceful Egan and Blach campuses, and buy/build a campus for NEC.


6 people like this
Posted by Better yet...
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Just de-certify BCS and open up a school in NEC for NEC. Re-draw boundaries to balance things a bit better, and still have money left over for significant renovations.


5 people like this
Posted by Better yet...
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Just de-certify BCS and open up a school in NEC for NEC. Re-draw boundaries to balance things a bit better, and still have money left over for significant renovations.


5 people like this
Posted by Better yet...
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Just de-certify BCS and open up a school in NEC for NEC. Re-draw boundaries to balance things a bit better, and still have money left over for significant renovations.


3 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

@Mary - I find your statement about how awful it is that the BCS kids have to have their classes in portables hilarious. Exactly why is that such a problem? As an actual LASD parent from the NEC area with a child at Santa Rita, I can't possibly do anything but laugh at that statement. MANY of the classrooms at Santa Rita are portables, including the MPR and the library. I have yet to see a child harmed by their being seated in a portable. They learn there just fine.

What "fries" MY cookies is the fact that, rather than being able to make sure facilities at all the schools can be roughly equivalent, LASD has had to spend money litigating with BCS because BCS can't deal with having facilities allocated to them just like everybody else. Each time they go to court, they are told the facility allocation is fair, but it doesn't stop the lawsuits and it doesn't save my money.

If LASD just gave in, as you suggest, the lawsuits wouldn't stop. Do you really believe that if BCS was given the Gardner Bullis site that they would stop the lawsuits? There is no way 900 kids would fit on that site. They would just sue to get more and nothing is gained. Why should the Gardner Bullis families sacrifice for the charter's benefit? What does the charter give up in return?

Since the bond has passed, I would like to see BOTH boards working together to find a solution that doesn't require more pain for one group for the benefit of the other. BOTH sides could benefit if they cooperate. When that happens, BCS should agree to NO further suits. Period. The money spent is better used for the kids. ALL of them. Rather than litigate, spend the money to build what they want for EVERYONE to use. If they are a public school, then start acting like it.


6 people like this
Posted by Tough Choices Ahead
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Tammy Logan said that BCS needs to be given their own campus. So either they spend the full $150M acquiring land and building a new campus for BCS or they close Covington and give that campus to BCS.


5 people like this
Posted by Tough Choices Indeed
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

This psr person likens having a campus with 1/2 the ground space as equal to having the full amount (6 acres vs 11.5 acres for Santa Rita). Well, it the space is immaterial, why does Santa Rita have so much?

BCS's MPR is in portables too, and they are not a nice portable with HVAC quietly on the roof like at Santa Rita. Furthermore, LASD did NOT EVER provide ANY MPR (3800 sq ft) to BCS! They offered a 1900 sq ft MPR. What crap. Is 3800 equal to 1900? Is 3800 equal to zero?

And then, Santa Rita does have an office and a library and numerous classrooms which are in permanent buildings. It has many classrooms with features like covered walkways joining them all and landscaping all around the numerous windows.

If Santa Rita is equal facilities to BCS, then just swap! BCS is closer to a lot of Santa Rita's students since 200 of them come from the other side of San Antonio. So it would be better to just swap.


5 people like this
Posted by Tough Choices Indeed
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Wasn't clear up there-- BCS got donations and spent $1 Million to buy its own MPR of 3840 square feet. LASD never provided them ANY MPR until much later when they offered a 1920 sq foot former music room from Egan to BCS to use as an MPR.

Recently Gardner Bullis parents spend $2.5 Million to create a 3000 square foot Student Center for their students there, so the students can socialize at lunch in the student center. So you can bet the BCS MPR is not lavish even if self provided. Gardner Bullis already has a 5000 square foot MPR with a large anteroom and adjacent facilities including an outdoor stage adjoining the MPR with an outdoor assembly area. This set up probably cost $6 Million to build back in 2008.


6 people like this
Posted by LASD PARENT
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm

BCS SHOULD BE CLOSED PERMANENT!


4 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Tough, you are very confused.

Santa Rita's library is in a portable, as are the STEM and computer labs, The first grade classrooms and the transitional kindergarten. There are also upwards of 600 kids on the campus vs the BCS space at Egan and Blach. Not sure of the total count, but there are 125 new families this year due to all the new buildings in the NEC area.

The point I'm making is that nobody at Santa Rita is whining about what we have vs everybody else, though if the district hadn't been paying for litigation defense, which the parents want them to do, they probably would have gotten some new buildings by now.

You certainly think that everybody should just give up their site for the benefit of BCS. Sorry, but the parents made it very clear to the board that we don't want any of the schools closed to give to BCS. They are doing as they should and serving their community. I'm sorry that's not to your liking.


5 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Although I was against N, I agree that since LASD now has the money it should open a school north of El Camino for BCS, which then should give preference to kids in that area.

BCS in that area is exactly the charter school law was designed to accomplish - to provide kids in less affluent areas opportunities for better education.


9 people like this
Posted by You don't get it
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

@psr - yes we know many many kids in LASD go to school in portables. We've heard this story before that BCS is just whiney because others have to be in portables too. @psr you just gloss over the fact that Santa Rita actually has buildings too. You gloss over the fact that the square footage of your campus doesn't include the spaces under your buildings as play space (that's how LASD counted blacktop for the BCS multipurpose room - that BCS had to provide for themselves). You gloss over the fact that you have trees on your campus. You gloss over the fact you have multiple grassy areas for your kids to play in. You gloss over the fact that you have picnic tables for lunch away from a busy street. You gloss over the fact that the portables that BCS has are from over 15 years ago when the site was set up as a camp school while the other schools in the district were upgraded.

There are valid reasons that the BCS families feel they are short changed in this district but there is no higher authority to go to for mediation other than the courts. This is why the litigation happens. Because initially BCS was given ZERO grass, ZERO MPR, ZERO playspace that isn't blacktop. If there was no litigation then I seriously doubt that LASD would have ever shared even the convoluted space they came up with.

So you laugh at BCS for it's whining and say suck it up. This is why it's so challenging to come together as a community - an utter lack of empathy about anyone but your own kids, your own school and enough money behind you to get whatever you want.


3 people like this
Posted by Whoever
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:58 pm

@m2grs: Broaden your horizons. The San Antonio Center area of Mountain View is not a "less fortunate area." Where do you get that? There are million dollar condos in that area and the ongoing development is raising the property values in all of LASD. Your view is biased and prejudiced in the extreme.


3 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:50 am

@Whoever, where do you live? Texas?


4 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:50 am

@M2grs

Ummmmm so I guess your statement:
"BCS in that area is exactly the charter school law was designed to accomplish - to provide kids in less affluent areas opportunities for better education."

Means that BCS provides a better education that LASD run schools?

LASD should be providing a neighborhood school to these students, they are not. Placing BCS there doesn't solve that.

I sort of agree with adding in a preference for at least some of that area - the preference for BCS might be for anyone that lives more the 3/4 of a mile from their assigned LASD school.

Adding a preference for an area with a high amount of rentals might cause some problems for LASD run programs. If the chances of getting into BCS are high - people in other areas of the district and in other communities might start renting out apartments, just to get in to the BCS. They won't live in them, they will sublet it, maybe to another family with children that will send their kids to an LASD school. In addition out of district families will rent an apartment, maybe with another family and try and get kids into BCS, another out of district family might use the same address to send their kids to an LASD school. It could increase enrollment in already crowded LASD schools.

One other problem is LASD paying for out of district students at BCS. Once students are in a charter school, they are allowed to move and keep their place in that charter, so LASD could end up paying for more than a few out of district students.


6 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

@practicality- you're right, I have not been part of a school community around here but there is nothing "unique" about this community in terms of building relationships around schools. People all over the country bond with fellow parents in elementary school- then they move on to middle and high schools forming new bonds. We're talking about moving to a school half a mile away where a child spends max of 7 years (hopefully 6 in the future). No friendships need be severed. The crux of this is your final statement "one of the things unifying the LASD schools in the BCS conflict -- that no existing school should be shut down for the benefit of the charter. ". How sad that what's unifying some people within LASD is a common hatred for BCS.

First, this arrangement isn't for the benefit of BCS. It benefits the taxpayers as well as ALL of the kids within LASD, including the BCS kids because it allows for small neighborhood schools within the district budget. The only problem the K-5/ 6-8 + moving BCS to Covington solution does not solve is the need for a certain group to punish BCS. Which is what is obviously behind your ridiculous plan of placing BCS NEC (at the expense of the NEC kids and the taxpayers). Yes, let's buy the most expensive land possible, build a school that the neighborhood kids can't attend (oh wait- we're going to kick out all the existing BCS students and replace them with NEC kids, so not a problem). And you say you'd like to coexist in peace with BCS? These are precisely the kinds of plans that fuel the fight and the litigation that the taxpayers pay for. It's soooo disappointing that you can't all grow up.

Second, getting rid of BCS (which is obviously never going to happen but seems to be the goal of some people) doesn't solve any issues since the BCS kids would then be distributed throughout the other district schools which would make them overcrowded. BCS is big which allows the other schools to stay small. If you get rid of BCS you'll need to build another school but where? Rosita, McKenzie and senior center are not options and NEC land is unavailable and unaffordable. And building a new school costs lots of money. It gets back to being practical. K-5/ 6-8 + move BCS to Covington + possible addition of small school at Egan for NEC solves all the problems. Instead of fueling animosity toward. BCS maybe your tight knit school communities should spend their time talking about the feasibility of this plan and how in the end it's the best solution for the kids and for living in peace with BCS. Walk the talk.

@pcr - please don't compare Santa Rita portables to the BCS camp school. There's a huge difference between having a school building with playgrounds, green space, some portables and autonomous use of all their space and the BCS situation where they have only portables and allotted minimal usage of the Egan/ Blach facilities. No comparison.


3 people like this
Posted by m2grs
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:10 am

m2grs is a registered user.

@Lee, of course a new elementary school in that area is better, because there is none. Neighborhood school helps to build the community. I didn't say BCS provides better education than other LASD schools.

Renting is fine. People rent all the time in order to get their kids into good schools. Palo Alto has many such renters. So do many other good school districts. BCS is not *that* special. Eventually market will balance itself.

As for moving in/out of LASD there are laws and regulations, and I don't think it matters where BCS is located.


6 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:11 am

Another possibility for alleviating annoyance of Covington families being relocated to other schools is for BCS preference to be given to a very small radius around Covington school where the kids are MUCH closer to Covington than to the new school. Just a thought... It would raise their property values so maybe that would offset their anger 😊.


6 people like this
Posted by Huh?
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:26 am

@m2grs - "BCS in that area is exactly the charter school law was designed to accomplish - to provide kids in less affluent areas opportunities for better education". Since the NEC kids already attend LASD your statement does infer that BCS would provide better education.

BCS is very popular so no geographic area should be given preference but why would you want to place a charter school, that draws from all over the city, in the least central spot? It would create a traffic nightmare in an already over-congested area.


3 people like this
Posted by David @ Mayer
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:31 am

These issues of portables is a red herring. Obviously the portables at BCS did not affect them from getting a National Blue Ribbon academic award this year. Therefore it's the parents who are feeling slighted and jealous, not the kids.


7 people like this
Posted by Ironic
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

@psr - "If LASD just gave in, as you suggest, the lawsuits wouldn't stop. Do you really believe that if BCS was given the Gardner Bullis site that they would stop the lawsuits? There is no way 900 kids would fit on that site. They would just sue to get more and nothing is gained. Why should the Gardner Bullis families sacrifice for the charter's benefit? What does the charter give up in return?"

You're right, there is no way that 900 kids will fit on the Gardner Bullis site so that is no longer an option. But when BCS began there weren't 900 kids, they were very small and they asked for Gardner Bullis when the school was EMPTY so they wouldn't have displaced anybody. LASD could have given them that campus and nipped this in the bud way back then but they didn't. It's likely that BCS would have remained small if they'd been given Bullis- it would just have been an alternative LAH school for those families that didn't want to drive to Covington. LASD blew it and in doing so they grew the problem. Apparently they've never been able to admit their mistake and "dug" in. The deeper they dug, the more anger they fueled until both sides became entrenched in this war.

What I find ironic is that the origin of this battle was the closing of a neighborhood school for which the rest of the community apparently had no empathy. Now, faced with the proposal that Covington convert to BCS, even though Covington is surrounded by other neighborhood schools (it was never designed to be a neighborhood elementary in the first place) some of the community members are up in arms over the possibility of losing that school. It seems weird to me that they hate BCS for reacting to the same situation that they so strongly oppose. More of NIMBY?


7 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:26 am

@David - by that line of reasoning, since the LASD schools are also excellent and clearly doing well, we didn't need to pass a bond to upgrade or expand facilities. The kids are fine - it was just the parents that are feeling slighted and jealous and want the extras. The taxpayers just got hosed!


6 people like this
Posted by Whenever
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:44 am

Interesting point Mary. The entire set of children who attend LASD schools is overall highly privileged and they will do well even if they have LOUSY teachers and a TERRIBLE set of facilities. Some of the parents want them to have highly specialized and expensive school campuses. Some of the things that have been requested include "outdoor learning experiences" for recess and permanent shade structures for eating lunch with permanent concrete picnic tables. Los Altos School District schools have never had fancy lunch areas enough for the whole school population. They have done just fine. Furthermore, children under age 11 don't need "student centers" like a college would have. It's all a load of frills to make the parents feel like their privileged highly capable students have whizzbangs like a rich kid should for his school.

Meanwhile, at the charter school, they are denied even as many classrooms per student as the LASD schools routinely get, with portables added. Last summer they added 20 portables for a growth at elementary school of under 50 students. Wow. Will they get 2 blue ribbons for this?


4 people like this
Posted by Whenever
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:47 am

Whats striking about LASD schools is that they have more deluxe facilities than Pinewood, a Private school in the city of Los Altos. Yes, pinewood has indoor facilities that are equal or better, but what LASD spends its money on mostly is on very expensive OUTDOOR facilities which are not helping the educational process. They cost big bucks though. The difference between Pinewood and LASD is striking. The kids at LASD schools have much more expensive facilities than do the private school students.


6 people like this
Posted by Whoever
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:54 am

@m2grs: Where do you live? Hillsborough? Woodside? Portola Valley? The San Antonio area is NOT an underprivileged area. You know those new Carmel apartments? Do you know what they rent for? $4000 for a 1 bedroom apartment. Man, such a deal. That's cheap livin'.

You are probably confused because adjacent to the San Antonio area is the attendance area for Castro School, in MVWSD. In THAT school, they have 50% low income students and 50% ELL speakers, children of uneducated parents. I'd call that an underprivileged area. But LASD's territory only includes a token few such underprivileged students. It's not the same at all. You are showing your lack of pereception in terming the San Antonio area of LASD to be "less privileged." It's a hodge podge, but so is Santa Rita's area over in Los Altos. You don't need $500K annual income to avoid being considered "less privileged."


7 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Something that I have observed over the last three or four months is that the term neighborhood school changed to small neighborhood school. It seems that now, perhaps when faced with actually creating a small neighborhood school for the NEC,( and giving up on punishing BCS?) that the term has changed to just small school. Interesting!

Of course if punishing BCS is your main goal, then the trade off will be that some schools will be large (over 600 students) small schools. Guess you could go back to calling them neighborhood schools even if the NEC doesn't have one. Or maybe you could come up with a new name? Full adherence to the ed code schools? Schools managed by an elected school board? CTA schools?


8 people like this
Posted by Face the Reality
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Covington's days are numbered. It really did not matter whether the bond passed or not. BCS will get the Covington campus. The $150M is not going to a shiny new campus for BCS. Odds are that a big chunk of the money will go towards a new school for NEC at the current Egan camp site. The rest of the money will be split among the other schools for capital improvements.


3 people like this
Posted by Bullis supporter
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

My son enjoyed the benefits of being in our excellent charter school and I am very disappointed that this bond measure passed. One point that was hammered into myself and other parents is the primary benefit of our private school is it's exclusivity. After the board of supervisors told us that we have to let other less affluent students into our school or risk being de-certified, I feel that our charter is advantage is at risk.

We all know that students do better when they are challenged by their peers. If we cannot lock down most of our enrollment to the most affluent portion of LASD, then our kids are going to be mixing with kids that won't challenge them as much. Even worse, what about the students from the lower zipcodes? They are going to be very frustrated and maybe even askew academic achievement.

What does this have to do with Measure N? With this bond money available, the district will be able to build a campus to handle growth without disrupting the highly performing schools of LASD. What was hammered into us is that this is unacceptable. The school district needs to feel the pain that the Bullis-Gardener parents went through, when their school was closed down. Until this happens, what is to keep them from doing it to us in the future? An eye-for-an-eye works.


9 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm

@ Face the reality -
Why not just share the Covington/DO space? Move the district office to another location - it doesn't need to be at a school.

@ Fake BCS person. Please stop, have your friends and love ones intercede if needed.


@ The Almond, Springer, Loyola, Oak communities. Please watch out, it is likely that it will be suggested by members of the Covington, Santa Rita and Gardner communities that one of your schools should be turned over to BCS. In fact it was already added in a few years ago - remember how Almond was thrown in there for no apparent reason? Then last year Doug suggested that the most likely place to locate BCS was Oak. Dumb idea, as it solves nothing and makes many more students travel even further to school. Something needs to be done or Almond and Santa Rita are going to overflow. Apparently the Santa Rita in crowd is still more interested attacking BCS. I guess leaders there are looking more towards crowding at the Egan site and now our less concerned about what happens to SR.

Time to decide- is punishing BCS more important to you than solving this problem by using the biggest chunks of unused district property? Covington should put up with sharing so that the rest of the district doesn't have to be moved all around. Let's see if they will do it.


3 people like this
Posted by Bullis supporter
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Lee is absolutely correct when he wrote: "Covington should put up with sharing so that the rest of the district doesn't have to be moved all around. "

Bullis wants a unified campus and we are not going to wait around for the bond money to build one. We want one of LASD's larger campuses and do not care at all about the students of the affected school(s).

Lee! Keep up the great work!


9 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Fake Bullis Person..... you just don't get it.

Here are the choices:

!. Leave things the way they are. BCS grows to 400 at Blach, holds steady at about 500 at Egan. This means that you can't move six graders to the middles - all of the other campuses will grow. A few, Almond, and Santa Rita will burst at the seems. So attendance boundaries will be redrawn. Large parts of the Santa Rita area - very close to Santa Rita will be moved to Gardner and um.... I guess Covington. Parts of the Almond area - close to Almond and maybe in the NEC will be sent to covington and Springer. Parts of springer will be shifted to Loyola parts of Loyola will be shifted to Oak..... It's 2007 all over again. Nothing done to help with growth except moving things around.

2. Open a new school for the NEC in the NEC. Very expensive, not much property for sale. Students come from Covington, Santa Rita and Almond. reduces attendance at two of the crowded schools and at least crowded school. Creates a school with somewhat different demographics than the rest of the LASD schools. Good test of the LASD program, is it program that creates great test scores, or is it demographics. If MV and Sunnyvale are a test of this it is the later and not the former, interesting to see what happen in LASD. ( of course the number of low income is still very small compared to the neighboring districts. Although it would nice for this area to have a school, the cost of real estate makes this option a bad idea for every other school who wants any benefits from this bond. Redrawing attendance boundaries for SR, Covington and Almond.

3. Move six graders to the middles BCS to a new school in the NEC. Not such a great idea - BCS is very large and needs a very large campus. Also why oh why would you spend all that money on real estate? Again the cost of this option pretty much forcludes any other projects happening. Attendance boundaries stay the same - Almond and Santa Rita get very large.

4. Move BCS to Covington ( share!) Move the six graders to the middles. ( all schools get smaller that way) If needed build a small school for the north San Antonio area at the current BCS site. This school is located right were a school is needed. Doing this leaves money to spend on projects at the other schools. SR, Covington, and Almond have slight attendance boundary changes.


So which one seems the best to you? If you want to prevent boundary redraws then number 1 is out - that one pretty much moves everyone around. 2 -4 have the least effect. If you want money for all of the other schools then go with 4.


8 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

@Lee - I agree with everything you say except sharing Covington. BCS is planning to expand to 900 - they need the whole school. Adding another 300-400 LASD kids thru that campus would create a traffic nightmare and would overcrowd both groups. It's best to redraw the boundaries now and not have to do it again in a few years. Covington isn't needed if 6th grade is moved to Egan & Blach. Plus it's expensive to be administrating so many schools. If they run an elementary at Covington plus a new NEC school at Egan the cost of administration will be huge. Since LASD is on a fixed budget that will likely mean increasing class size or reducing programs for all the kids. Typically when schools get too small they get closed. Lets not set ourselves up for closing another school in a few years.

I hope that the desire to punish BCS isn't so great that the haters shoot the whole district in the foot and create some cockamamie scheme to avoid giving Covington to BCS. That would just waste a bunch of taxpayer money.


3 people like this
Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2014 at 11:53 pm

We want Covington and until we get it, we will fight tooth and nail to damage LASD. David Roode will continue to post under multiple aliases, which unfortunately will damage the validity of the debate. Please sir, just post under one name. You embarrass us all.


7 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2014 at 8:12 am

Does BCS want Covington? I think they are happy with the 5 year agreement.
The question is, what does the rest of the District want?

1. Stay on the same path - ending with a massive redrawing of attendance boundaries, attendance boundaries that will in no way have anything to do with what school you live closest to? Even with jerrymandering still ending up with 2 or 3 mega schools?
2. Use existing District owned property to it's fullest capacity while preserving small schools and current attedance boundaries?
or
?


3 people like this
Posted by BCS Supporter
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2014 at 10:21 am

Yes, we are VERY happy with the agreement. Without it, our foundation might keep up these frivolous lawsuits and get our charter decertified. It's unfortunate that we made so many enemies of votes in LASD, but if we can do a more coordinated campaign next time and leave out the craziness of David Roode, we will stand a much better chance of taking control of the district.

Lee, the arguments you are making around fiscal responsibility are not effective. It's clear that the LASD voters care more for the education of our next generation than saving a few bucks a year in taxes. I think the best platform for our arguments are with the board of trustees. Let's go to the meetings, speak up and make a difference!


7 people like this
Posted by Whoever
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

The fake Bullis supporter is getting to be certifiable.

I don't think it matters one bit whether or not the bond passed for the issue of finding a home for Bullis. What matters the most is how much additional growth there really turns out to occur in LASD over the next 4 years. The Measure N justification has relied on the idea that the pace of growth will continue or increase. This might or might not happen. If there is really a lot of growth, then all the schools will see more students. The LASD planning for the future has been abysmal. People like Fake BCS Parent (FBP) ought to consider that. If FBP would pay attention and talk to his friends about the failure to make a strategic long term plan, then we might see improvements for the whole district. FBP does't appreciate that whether BCS receives a dedicated site or continues to share the Jr High campuses (a precedent that LASD has legally established and which will be difficult if not impossible to change without BCS's agreement), LASD is counting on being able to increase the size of the existing schools by enrolling more students at each. A lot of people don't realize this.

If the existing schools get more students, it's not clear this will be even at all the schools. Covington might even shrink in size. If Santa Rita and Almond increase to 680 students, and Covington shrinks to 380, then it won't be such a stretch for Covington to share with BCS on that existing 16 acres. What Randy Kenyon doesn't want is to move his office, which would free an extra 2 acres out of the 16. The layout is inefficient and wasteful at Covington. There is lots of room for fitting more students. If they should be able to add 3-5 acres onto that site, then the situation will be very clear. Covington used to have the Parochial School on the Rosita Park site right next to it. You could fit 2 schools there, even if one is large.


6 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2014 at 10:06 pm

@whoever - the problem with that plan is that it does nothing to alleviate the crowding at Almond and Santa Rita due to NEC. It makes more sense to give all of Covington to BCS and to put the new school at Egan. The demographics do not support 2 new schools and if there were excess space at Covington maybe BCS could be allowed to grow bigger than 900. That would allow the LASD schools to remain even smaller.


4 people like this
Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2014 at 1:34 am

BCS students are suoerior to the public school kids. Test scores cannot lie. They deserve to kick the Covington kids out and take over their campus.

Our charter is an elite private school and we should get the best. Parents are paying 5,000+ each year for the privilege. How much do the public school kids pay???


8 people like this
Posted by Is it a parrot?
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2014 at 8:31 am

Let's hope both the BCS and the LASD kids are superior to the mental midget that poses as BCS parent/supporter. He's like a parrot that only knows a few words.


7 people like this
Posted by Lee
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2014 at 9:24 am

The FBP has got it all wrong anyway........

LASD is the big tax hog. Taxpayers shell out 12,000 dollars for every LASD student. BCS kids around $6000. In fact as a basic aid district with parcel taxes and bond funds LASD students are getting double the tax payer dollars of the average Californian public school student.

District wide the real decision is: Should the largest share of the funds be spent on Covington Community or not? That is really what this is about. If we buy real estate ( assuming there is any) then that is at least 70 million down the drain. Add in 30 million or so for buildings and you have already spent 2/3 of the funds. Then here's the kicker - the second priority after addressing crowding is to do needed up grades to bring buildings up to code - about 40 million or so. These buildings? You might think they are portables but actually it is the classrooms at Covington. That's it bonds done. Nothing for anyone else. Yay for Covington. Go Hutts.

Or choose a more responsible path, one that uses existing real estate.


6 people like this
Posted by LASD & BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

LASD & BCS Parent is a registered user.

This has been an interesting discussion (except for the person posing as a BCS parent - dear sir/mam, what are you trying to accomplish? Propose something intelligent to help solve the problem. Ask a question about another's proposal. Offer an improvement. Let's be productive. The election and war is over - there is a 5 year truce. Let's move forward. Enough Already.)

As a parent with a child who graduated from Almond and is now at Egan and with another who moved from Almond to BCS a little over a year ago, I have great difficulty understanding what is so complicated or undesirable about reconfiguring and SHARING the Covington campus as Lee suggests above. Is it really that people just want to stick it to BCS? It just is incredible to me that folks would expend so much energy to ... be...so vengeful.

Is it about the traffic? Let's pilot some buses. In Year 1, BCS Pilot Bus 1 could shuttle kids from LAH City Hall and/or Purissima Baseball Fields to BCS @ Covington; and BCS/Covington Pilot Bus 2 could shuttle kids from the NEC/San Antonio Center/Target area to BCS @ Covington and Covington. In Year 2, reassess and see where the kids with the longest commutes are coming from... this is not rocket science, people! Palo Alto Unified School District has limited bus service. Surely, we can do the same - charge a fee for those who can afford it. Kids who qualify for free or reduced school lunch get to ride the bus for free! Partner with Google and see if we can use some of their city shuttles. Apply for a grant. This seems really do-able and should really help!

Is it about the acreage/space and location? Covington is perfect for the charter school because it is IN district and in a central location. The latter is important because BCS draws from all over the district. The former is important because of the Raynor decision. If LASD thinks they are going to offer BCS a site that is out of district or barely "adjacent," they may want to be sure that there is no property available that is adjacent to say Covington or another LASD campus. I don't think the community can handle any more - let's see if we can stick BCS at Raynor or as far away from the center of the district as possible kind of actions.

It appears that there is plenty of space with some reconfiguring of the campus and the use of 2 story modules for BCS at Covington. As mentioned above, Covington also houses the District offices and has maintenance areas nearby that do not need to be at Covington. If there is a concern that it will be too crowded with BCS and Covington Elementary at the Covington location, then simply move the District offices and/or maintenance facilities to another location. For example, the district offices could easily be moved to the BCS @ Egan site or BCS @ Blach site and the traffic problems that the Egan/BCS/Portola and Blach/BCI areas currently experience could be dramatically eased. This is not just a nicety - this a serious safety concern. We have seen far too many kids (pedestrians and cyclists) involved in traffic accidents near our schools. We need to stop being vindictive and start thinking about how we improve safety for all our kids - regardless of whether they are charter or LASD kids (or MVLA!).

In addition, Covington has the added benefit of being next to Rosita park - Los Altos City Council is willing to talk with LASD about LASD (Covington/BCS) using the park during school hours. How much more space do we need?

How much more perfect could the Covington location be for sharing? Well, if Covington, BCS and the District Offices were all to co-exist at the Covington site - think about the wonderful collaboration that could result. Noetic math contests, spelling contests, etc. could be held at one location for all of the school children to participate. LASD teachers and BCS teachers could share ideas and teaching techniques. Jeff and Wanny could have a weekly lunch. Life could be grand.

It makes no sense to me to spend taxpayer money on a site that BCS may not even want when you have space at Covington - in the center of the district - and room for district 6th graders at Blach and Egan... (and legitimate pedagogical reasons for sending them there).

This should be a simple, scarce resource allocation matter - let's study Lee's proposal carefully and tweak it if need be and email the trustees with our thoughts. Just because Measure N passed and the district is flush with cash doesn't mean we need to buy a site. Demand a well thought out plan.


3 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

LASD & BCS, How do you drop your child off at BCS or LASD? Do you stay for the morning assembly or drop and run? I have come to learn that the schools are a community and many parents choose to stick around during dropoff. Even with some amount of busing I do believe a 1500 kid campus will still highly impact the surrounding traffic. A few years ago the local neighborhood spoke out against such a megacampus for reasons other than traffic concerns.

I would like to see BCS get their own isolated campus where no other school has to be impacted with a sharing. A sharing of Covington will ultimately impact BCS too. There is plenty of room in Los Altos Hills for BCS, which is where they originally wanted to be, and affordable with the bond.


4 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 1:57 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

FYI, there are 2 DavidR's registered on the Voice website. This is quite odd.


6 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

I don't consider that Covington would have 1500 students if BCS were located there. Covington has historically had only 500 students and the district locates many district-wide services there. It's sort of obvious that if BCS were to be located at Covington these district-wide services should go elsewhere. You have traveling PE, Music and Art teachers who based at Covington. You have pre-school special education classes there as well. You have a community preschool located there which could be relocated as well. It all adds up. Any elementary school in the district could serve as the base for the traveling teachers and that would move a lot of coming and going traffic from the Covington area. In fact, the current selection of Covington has been because it has superior road access. Well, luckily all the other existing elementary schools have sufficient road access for the traveling teachers, or to operate the preschool special education services... even Blach.

I can't believe that there would be any problem with a few BCS parents coming to the campus and remaining for a while after the drop off point. Surely with 900 students in grades TK through 8 you would not find a consistent presence of parents remaining every day after drop off. The other DavidR doesn't know that BCS already has different start times for different grade levels, but this helps too. None of the LASD schools stagger start times like this. It certainly helps the traffic a lot, automatically. I also know from published facts that BCS does not have a morning assembly of the whole school except once per week and very incidental scheduled special days.

So I don't know what stupid joke this other DavidR is playing but it's not good info. It sounds like Fake BCS Parent who is just causing trouble with false facts and (fake) innuendo...


3 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

[Post removed due to violation of terms of use]


6 people like this
Posted by LASD & BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm

LASD & BCS Parent is a registered user.

@ David R (#1). Thanks for your comment re my bus suggestion - busing is not for everyone - I never said it should be mandatory. However, I do believe it should be available especially for families where (i) both parents work or for single working parents or simply parents who have multiple kids/drop-offs or want to run to Zumba; and/or (ii) home is more than a comfortable or safe biking distance away (so for 1st grade - 1 mile or so?). I think this would especially be helpful for working parents who live in the NEC and attend Covington and/or LAH and attend BCS.

In my experience, at Almond we had 1 assembly per week (several years ago it was 2x a week). I agree that attending morning assembly and hanging out at school after drop-off is a lovely thing to do but it is a luxury for some families. Folks who work full-time may not be able to attend these assemblies or the PTA meetings which are typically scheduled for 8:30 a.m. This is too bad.

So perhaps bus ridership would be less on assembly days. We could still take a lot of cars off of the road. I think we need to be creative and think outside-the-box.


3 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

Perhaps you are David Rand then. In any event you are silly. One site does not allow bcs unlimited growth and right now they have two, each planned to hold a full sized LASD school worth of bcs students. Sure they are temporarily smaller in land and buildings but that agreement expires in 2019. No 10 acre site could replace what they have now, let alone provide for more growth. So you are mistaken. A lot will change by 2019, including revenue growth per LASD student to unheard of levels like $15k each. If bcs were to grow that could reach $16k or $17k for LASD kids. Wow. What axe will you grind THEN....


6 people like this
Posted by LASD & BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm

LASD & BCS Parent is a registered user.

@ David R (#1) - I believe that per the 5 year truce, BCS enrollment is capped at 900. I have a feeling that LASD would negotiate that BCS stay around 900 before it would give it a new campus or shared campus... don't you think?

I don't quite understand how BCS growing impacts a "growing high functioning school." Blach and Egan seem to be doing quite well with BCS on their sites - at least academically. In fact, I believe BCS, Blach and Egan were just recognized as some of the best schools in the U.S.A. In addition, I believe BCS growing is helping the LASD small school model by helping with the overflow. Namely, I heard that approximately 120 Almond kids are at BCS this year. That is a lot of kids! Imagine if all of those kids were back at Almond... Could you please explain what you mean?


4 people like this
Posted by LASD & BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2014 at 7:15 am

LASD & BCS Parent is a registered user.

@ DavidR (#2) Good points... but just to clarify. Schools like Almond do have multiple start and end times (for example, kindy used to start at 8:15 (15 min before 1-6 graders), and there were multiple release times for a.m. kindy (11:35 but now they have full-day kindy so I'm not sure whether they get out with 1-2 or 1-3 graders), 1-3 (used to get out at 2:25), 4-6 (used to get out at 2:45) and afternoon kindy (used to get out sometime after 3 p.m.). The parking lot drop-off/pick-up situation worked very well (even though so many parents drive to this neighborhood school).

The use of multiple start and end times would greatly ease traffic congestion and is for some reason lacking at BCS @ Egan and @ Egan this year. Egan has 619 7th and 8th graders dismissed at 2:55 p.m. BCS has around 400 (?) 1-5th graders all dismissed at 3:15 p.m. (although for parts of the year BCS kids are there early or late for extracurriculars like chorus, the play, etc.) I think multiple start and end times are an easy to implement, low-cost and no-brainer traffic calming option for all LASD schools.

Lastly, I challenge folks to find a "small," k-5 or k-6, "neighborhood" school (approx. 500 kids or so) that does not have a traffic/congestion problem around pick-up or drop-off time (and is not a boarding school). If you find such a school, please let me know because I would love to know how they do it!


7 people like this
Posted by SQW
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2014 at 8:54 pm

SQW is a registered user.

Those are some great ideas.... the problem is that we have a town full of very selfish parents, several of which were just elected to the LASD board of Trustees. They are going to make sure that:

1. Covington stays EXACTLY the way it is. No sharing, no moving the district office.
2. Gardner stays EXACTLY the way it is. No expansion, no using the upper levels.
3. Blach, Egan, and BCS stay exactly the same.

Yep, that is what Vlad ran on. Everything staying the same at least for Gardner and Covington.

You know what the trouble with that is? Six graders will remain the elementary but that is okay just as long as Covington doesn't have to share. And well moving six graders will make Gardner too small ( like it isn't already)

And well we are going to try super hard ( but not really that hard) to purchase land for an NEC school. Then instead we will spend it on sky lights and solar panels for Covington. Maybe SR can get something too - those gals worked super hard.

Anyway looks like trouble ahead - with no real plan - except one school/ one site - we are really in a pickle. It's okay Almond and Santa Rita have some extra room, 700 kids at one school isn't so bad is it? Just remember how proud you will feel, SR and Almond, for taking one for the team.... and LASD parents it is okay if your sixth graders to languish at the k-6 school - you can just send them to kumon, and some fun stuff after school... All is well nothing to see here move along.


3 people like this
Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm

BCS Parent is a registered user.

SQW is completely correct when he wrote that, "...we have a town full of very selfish parents." The LASD voters have refused to elect a board that is willing to destroy public school education and lay down to our elite charter school. We demand the Covnington campus for our program and we will accept nothing less.

Sure, we could have had a unified campus THIS YEAR if we didn't go to court to block LASD from acquiring a campus in Sunnyvale. But, that is not what we want. We want a solution that will disrupt LASD schools.

Those "very selfish parents" and their lower ranking public schools dare defy us. Ridiculous!


6 people like this
Posted by LASD & BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2014 at 6:22 am

LASD & BCS Parent is a registered user.

@ "BCS" Parent - I see you are back! So, I drive to basketball practice in Sunnyvale at least 2x a week, and it is a huge pain. Why is it selfish (like in a bad way) not to want to do that 10x a week?

Although you like to call yourself BCS Parent, you surely have not even tried to walk a mile in those shoes... take a step back, visit BCS at Egan and BCS at Blach - are we being selfish?

Heck ya... I am selfish. I do not want to DRIVE my kids to school in Sunnyvale or even to the other side of Mountain View. I want to walk or bike with them to school and luckily I can do that whenever I want NOW. I can not bike with my kids or walk to SUNNYVALE. I can't get excited about that... and if you are a parent of one or more LASD or even MVLA kids, I doubt that you could, too.

I wish folks, just for the sake of argument, would try to picture their kids at BCS - do you really think that we have a nifty "campus" right now? Would you trade your campus for our split campus? BCS folks make the most of it but I believe the crowded conditions, crappy basketball courts/playground/library, etc. are getting old. And so are your unhelpful, unproductive comments.


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