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Incumbents lead in LASD school board race

Original post made on Nov 6, 2018

Residents happy with the leadership of the Los Altos School District can rejoice, as incumbents Vladimir Ivanovic and Bryan Johnson -- along with candidate Shali Sirkay -- took a lead in the race for the district's school board Tuesday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, November 6, 2018, 10:26 PM

Comments (18)

7 people like this
Posted by Everyone loses
a resident of another community
on Nov 6, 2018 at 11:26 pm

It’s unfortunate that LASD sadists do not seem to understand that more of the same is not working. Get ready to spend another decade in litigation battles... The sad thing is that if Tonya had been elected last go around, I bet you the LASD trustees could have convinced many BCS families to go for the tenth site in Mountain View. I hope parents in Mountain View School District learn from their dumber cousins in Los Altos....You reap what you sow.

14 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2018 at 12:02 am

That typical BCS style, "Everyone loses", threaten and insult everyone to try and get what you want for your private school on public dollars. How has that worked out for you so far?

11 people like this
Posted by Sad Parent
a resident of The Crossings
on Nov 7, 2018 at 8:58 am

:( that people still say that BCS is threatening and insulting anyone and abusing power. It's LASD who has the power here - they 100% control the allocation of facilities that BCS needs to teach 1000+ in-district children. For 14 years LASD has delayed and refused to provide the at-par facilities that BCS is legally and morally entitled to (these facilities are for children!). On top of that LASD has continually stuck a foot out to trip up BCS.

Now we're seeing a new low from the entrenched LASD bloc - they've been intentionally misrepresenting BCS in a way that incites outrage and threats of violence (to "save Egan!"). Vladimir said that BCS is "a cancer." Unfortunately this shows that demagoguery is alive and well - and effective. They've learned well from the playbooks of current world "leaders." I can only hope that more people learn to see through this sort of manipulation.

Like this comment
Posted by Ivan the Terrible
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2018 at 10:43 am

Vladimir really had that comment, "a cancer"? Oh well. Guess he is reelected. But at least he did not get top vote.

In the end, stupid public policy purveyors, like Ivan the Terrible, will be overcome by the legal system. The state court system will require Ivan and friends to back off. After paying more millions to BCS for legal costs, and for paying the LASD's own legal costs.

14 people like this
Posted by Ellen
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2018 at 11:18 am

Enough of this Bullis nonsense . It's a private school for people who can well afford a private school. Stop taking money away from the schools and students that really need help. It's certainly not the Bullis parents.

Like this comment
Posted by Such BS
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Ivanovic would be there without the money. The district always has the fix in on the candidates it wants to win, and they always do.

What's will be interesting will be to see if the new composition on the MV City council will now require that the location be a neighborhood school to go along with the $100 Million city subsidy to LASD's purchase. LASD tries to have it both ways, but regardless of what Ivanovic says, this won't be a neighborhood school unless the city requires it to be one.

1 person likes this
Posted by Such BS
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Of course, the biggest factor in the outcome cost nothing. It was the lying press release put out by Jeff Baier, claiming that Bullis was going to close the district's larger of two Junior High Schools. It was clumsily worded and inaccurate, but got a lot of traction within the district. People are pretty easy to manipulate. But you can't say that required spending money. The media ate it up and the fake news spread. It is interesting to see fake news operate within our small local community.
The only possible different outcome would have been Liu over Sirkay, and I think that would have happened without the election interference from the staff of the school district.

It would be interesting to know if Baier had any approval from the Board President (Ivanovic) about issuing this press release.

9 people like this
Posted by @ Such BS
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm

I have to disagree with you. First, everyone in LASD was going to vote for anyone but Ying looooong before any press release came out. I’d bet you less than half the parents even read it.

Second, while a concern to some, most families don’t believe that Evan will be taken away. BCS seems to think Egan parents are incensed but I promise you they are not. They’re letting the district protect Egan, not taking it upon themselves as some rumors suggest.

Third, the district has no say in who people vote for. There is literally no speaking of candidates whatsoever at all. Could I guess who they’d like to win? Sure, the same people parents at LASD schools would like. But to say they dictate our votes is absolutely ludicrous and inflammatory.

7 people like this
Posted by kehlar
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2018 at 2:16 pm

kehlar is a registered user.

Tonya was a respectable candidate, but Ying was just a pathetic choice. I'm genuinely surprised that BCS couldn't find anyone with more credibility and credential. Even if BCS/LASD was not an issue, I would not have voted for Ying based on her lack of experience in primary education.

2 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm

"Sad parent", how else do you characterize " I hope parents in Mountain View School District learn from their dumber cousins in Los Altos....You reap what you sow" if not threatening and insulting? Seems like BCS folks just like to play victim with their private-school-on-public-dollars.

6 people like this
Posted by Egan Parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 11:05 am

BCS leadership probably cost Ying the election with their Prop 39 request asking for full and exclusive use of the Egan campus. I voted for her by mail before all of this was announced last week. I would not have voted for her had I known they were asking for Egan.

5 people like this
Posted by A possible future Egan parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Thank you Egan Parent for your accurate description of BCS's request ("full and exclusive use of the Egan campus."). The word "campus" is important because in the worst case scenario, Egan would simply be relocated, and even that is 100% within the control of LASD. The "Save Egan" petition inaccurately said that BCS requested to "close" Egan. There is a big distinction between students having to go to a different location to attend Egan and "closing" Egan which implies that Egan will cease to exist and that the students will have to transfer to a different school entirely, with different administration, staff, curriculum, student body, friendships, and so on. The inaccurate description set off an angry mob of 2600+ who signed the petition.

The LASD press release is even more inaccurate. The primary meaning of "evict" is the expelling of a tenant by a landlord, conjuring up images of homelessness and powerlessness. LASD is not powerless by any means. When it comes to facilities allocation, it wields 100% of the power. So, even by analogy, the "landlord" here is LASD, not BCS. If there's an "eviction", it would be done by LASD. There were many other inaccurate and incendiary words:

“BCS demands...LASD close its top-ranked Egan Junior High School and turn over the entire campus to BCS ...BCS does not state where LASD should place the nearly 600 junior high school students who would be evicted imminently from the Egan campus.”

One, the Prop 39 request is not a "demand". Two, the use of words "turn over" implies there is some sort of coercion or force, which is obviously untrue. Three, it's not within BCS's power to say where Egan students should go. LASD has 100% authority and responsibility to make that determination. To put the onus on BCS shows a lack of leadership.

In general, the press release had a tone of "the aliens are coming to get us" which in turned created panic in the LASD community and resulted in a hostile environment for BCS.

Almost all BCS students are residents of LASD. If LASD recognizes that fact and simply stated that it received a facility request, that more LASD residents have chosen to enroll in BCS, that it has an obligation to provide equivalent facilities to all LASD residents, and while that it may cause hardship to some students, there will be collaboration with BCS to make sure that there is minimal impact to "all" students, and that no student needs to worry. The panic and anger in the "Save Egan" petition would not have happened.

So, I think it's the inaccurate "characterization" of the Prop 39 request by the press release and not the Prop 39 request itself that possibly cost Ying the election.

Disclosure: I'm a current BCS parent and a possible future Egan parent. I think highly of Egan. We live very close to Egan, so I am not necessarily an advocate for the relocation of Egan. What I am an advocate for is the recognition that BCS is part of the community, that many BCS families are either current LASD families or may become one in the near future. This aliens/BCS are coming to get and destroy LASD tone of the press release is shameful rhetoric that incites hate.

Every student has a right to learn in a safe and non-hostile environment. Educational institutions have a strong obligation to investigate certain incidents of hostility. Needless to say, it should not be the "source" of hostility, which it was, in this instance, by the issuance of the press release. We don't need to teach the children of our community to hate each other. What does it saying about us as a community when the source of hate is our school administration and board?

5 people like this
Posted by @ possible future Egan parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 1:01 pm

I’m sorry that you felt the press release made out BCS to be aliens coming to get LASD. I didn’t feel that way at all. We can’t control how others feel, and this is an example of that.
I’m not sure of the hostility you speak of though. Most of my neighbors are BCS students. My children attend LASD elementary & junior high. Do you think I’m hostile to them? They’re kids. We (as LASD parents) don’t let lawsuits get in the way of loving children.

3 people like this
Posted by A possible future Egan parent
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm

@ possible future Egan parent - Thank you for your post. I am heartened by the fact that there is such good people in our community. I wish people like you are the kind of people that are on the LASD school board. Here's a sampling of comments from the Save Egan petition (see below). I don't know if they are written by Egan families, but it made me very sad to read it, to think that's how my young child is perceived by the LASD community - simply because we chose BCS a few years ago.

Comments from Save Egan petition:

Scary anger towards BCS:
fxxx bullis, bullys, charter schools, and privatization in general.

BCS is a villan:
I am distressed by the myopic selfishness of this move. Egan serves the community.
I believe in the value of Egan, and I believe the Charter school is a private school in sheep's clothing. The Charter School needs to find its own land!!
I'm sick of BCS' arrogant greed. They are wasting time, money, and what little community goodwill they might have once had in pursuit of their divisive goals.
I am outraged that BCS has the audacity to try to close down one of the TWO LASD fine Junior High Schools. This is beyond ridiculous.
14 years of ripping our community apart and still at it! Don’t touch our top-rated Jr. High School.

BCS deserves inferior facilities (even though almost all of us are LA residents):
All of LASD schools, Egan included, are high performing. There is no need to close down any of them for a charter school. BCS received its charter from the Santa Clara County Office of Education; therefore, the school can be located anywhere within Santa Clara County. If BCS insists on being located within LASD boundaries, it can share an existing campus or move to the 10th site.
This is ridiculous. Egan is HOSTING Bullis Charter School, not the other way around.
BCS should find their own property - not to continue to be a parasite on the property of another school that is high performing and has served the community for decades. If they want to expand they should do so...somewhere else!
Egan is a fantastic, highly rated public middle school. We shouldn’t even be having a discussion about giving any land to Bullis *Private* School.

BCS shouldn't exist:
I am signing this because it unfair that there is even a Bullis Charter School. They are not truthful in the data they present and are not a true representative of a Los Altos public school.
Billie Charter School doesn’t need to exist in the first place. It certainly doesn’t need to continue poaching land and resources from our excellent public schools.
We never needed a charter school in the first place.

5 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2018 at 10:13 am

Given the growth of BCS in recent years, it is surprising that Ying could not muster enough votes to at least take 3rd place. You would think that with the number of current, former, and future BCS families in the district that this would not be too hard to do. Either a lot of BCS families didn't vote or they didn't vote for Ying.

4 people like this
Posted by @Observer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm

There are many parallels between the LASD election and the vote on Measure C. Appealing to emotions work, particularly negative emotions of hate/anger/fear. Measure C is about "Saving the Parks". Many people felt misled into signing the petition and asked to withdraw their names...because who can possibly be against "saving the parks"? That such an extreme Measure lost only by 48% to 52% speaks volumes about such tactics.

The LASD election was helped by similar tactics. The Save Egan petition, launched shortly after the press release and because of the press release, is titled "Save Egan and Our Los Altos Community". Who in Los Altos can possibly be against saving the "Los Altos Community"? It garnered almost 3000 signatures. Of course, Egan never needed to be saved because there is 0% chance of Egan being closed. And just in case the fear of closing Egan wasn't enough to launch voters into panic mode, the petition added that it was the entire "Los Altos community" that needed to be saved. Fearmongering works.

Of course, these tactics only work if the people behind it are willing to "bend" the truth to elicit strong hate/anger/fear. The Prop 39 request was due on Nov. 1, which is why BCS submitted it then, and LASD must have known. The fact that they were willing to use it to fabricate imaginary fear which launched the community into panic mode right before the election (to the tune of 2000+ signatures) speak volumes to their character as individuals. The fact that they were willing to stoop so low as to pit two groups of children against each other (BCS v Egan) should be a cause of great concern for anyone who cares about Los Altos.

8 people like this
Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2018 at 7:55 pm

BCS board has never made a convincing argument why they now need to grow to a mega 1200 school size on a single campus. Just because people apply does not mean BCS must accommodate as many applicants as possible. Applying is no cost, nothing lost. As long as BCS and LASD are top schools people will apply.

BCS needs to focus on a their great educational model. At one point it was for small school. Then it claimed a 600 student model was necessary. Followed by a 900 student model. Now it’s 1200?

It’s extemely obvious the size is not for the student success but there only to find a way to force LASD to give up a particular school site. Close, displace, whatever you want to call it... you are disrupting a many decades old community when a whole active school site is “requested”. You may say it’s just step one in a negotiation, that actual facilities are all in LASD control. We could almost beleive that if it wasn’t for the history of the BCS board suing LASD for a specific school site, more than once.

This is why we are concerned, and why we will petition and thankful for open communication from LASD about the “harmless request.

3 people like this
Posted by @DavidR
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2018 at 9:17 pm

BCS is growing to 1200 because there is a huge demand. I'd like to turn that question around and ask: "Why is LASD so resistant to giving more LASD families choice?" Palo Alto and MV both have choice schools. As for the facilities request, personally, my child has been in portable facilities since her first day at BCS. We've been happy with things the way they are. But, the BCS board has an obligation to serve their students – to request equivalent facilities under Prop 39.

It appears to me that the community sentiment is that BCS deserves inferior facilities. Here's a comment from the "Save Egan" petition:

"This is ridiculous. Egan is HOSTING Bullis Charter School, not the other way around."

There were many many more similar comments. That's when I started to ask myself, why is it that my child deserves inferior facilities because we opted for BCS instead of LASD? There are 2 classes of residents in Los Altos? It's truly an outrage.

If BCS is under the control of the LASD trustees, I would venture to guess that there would be no doubt that a neighborhood school would be closed because it's standard practice to redraw attendance boundaries. In that scenario, they would simply say that BCS enrollment has increased, it's a simple allocation of resources issue, and that there would be minimal impact on the students and so forth.

But, because LASD wants power and control, they are creating this scenario of BCS v Egan. In their quest for power and control, BCS has been made out to be public enemy #1. The sentiment is that BCS is out to ruin the Los Altos community, that now needs to be “saved” (according to the Save Egan petition). Do the 1200 children of BCS (almost all are Los Altos residents) suddenly cease to be part of the Los Altos community as soon as they choose BCS? Is it fair to have my child and 1000+ BCS children learn in that environment? All children love their school – who wants their school be perceived as the school that is out to destroy the Los Altos community?

The LASD families are truly wonderful and friendly people - they are our neighbors. We trick-or-treat at their houses, they trick-or-treat at ours. The LASD administration and trustees? Not so much, to put it mildly. Shame on them for making BCS families the target of anger and hate in their quest for power and control.

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