Town Square

Bullis board skeptical of San Antonio school plans

Original post made on Oct 4, 2018

Bullis Charter School board members weighed in with a hearty dose of skepticism Monday night on whether the Los Altos School District's plan to buy land for a new campus in Mountain View is the right path forward.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 4, 2018, 12:25 PM


Posted by Everybody Knows Now
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 4, 2018 at 12:54 pm

The Mountain View City Council can no longer pretend that the plan of the Los Altos School District for the new school site is uncertain. The district's plan is to unload BCS at the site. It is not for a neighborhood school in Mountain View.

Posted by This is SO stupid
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm

Who actually wants a school here? Anyone?? Not the school that's supposed to go there, not the neighbors who will live nearby.

The only ones who do are LASD Board members who will live far away and have no further concern for the traffic and the loss of a neighborhood school that could have been built in the NEC and will become more difficult if not impossible is BCS is there.

Why is MV enabling this mess? Why were they so concerned for the Slater neighborhood's rights to have a school of their own but so indifferent about the NEC situation?

This is a totally ridiculous waste of time and money and pretending to all get along and dance around each other is a farce.

Posted by Los Altos go home
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2018 at 1:25 pm

The can't do anything town can go not do it in their own town.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Bullis has every right to be skeptical. The plan is dodgy at best, it's a horrible location, and there's far too little land to allow for the school, parking, and adequate playgrounds and recreational space. Also, isn't LASD planning to use eminent domain to acquire that commercially zoned parcel? That could cause some "interesting" legal problems, to say the least.

Posted by Pot
a resident of another community
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Pot is a registered user.

MVCC voted to place a pot dispensary at the San Antonio Center. Next to this potential school site. LASD, this scheme to place BCS or any school at this site is a BAD idea. You can use our tax dollars to build fences and hire security but it is time you realize this is not going to work. Please use the 110 acres you have and show us the actual numbers to build a school on a current site instead of throwing random numbers in the air.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:38 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

@Pot: Well spoken. Dispensaries don't belong within walking distance of any school. They should be out of the way and hard to get to.

Posted by MVFlyer
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 4, 2018 at 2:44 pm

LASD considers Bullis a thorn in its side (and perhaps they are, but that's not the point). LASD would love to unload Bullis onto Mtn View, and keep the Los Altos schools and land for Los Altos kids. And there is no guarantee that MV kids will qualify to go to Bullis (or even want to). So why are we in MV allowing this????

And MV has offered $23M in parks funds? Did I read that right? $23M for what exactly?????

Posted by Vote YING LIU
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2018 at 8:58 pm

Vote YING LIU is a registered user.

Remember - if you want reason to prevail vote for Ying Liu and only Ying so you don’t delete her votes. The LASD BOT needs BCS representation- BCS parents are, after all, LASD taxpayers and should have a voice in the LASD shenanigans. Ivanovic and Johnson will just continue with the current tactic of “screw BCS at any cost and both the taxpayers and the LASD kids lose. VOTE Iconovic and Johnson OUT. They care about their own agenda, not the kids.

Posted by Vote YING LIU
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2018 at 9:03 am

Vote YING LIU is a registered user.

@Pot - they don’t need to build another school. If they move 6th grade to middle school, give Covington to BCS and redistribute the Covington kids to their other neighborhood schools (Covington was built as a middle school) all schools remain small and the $150M bond money can be used to improve ALL schools. That solves the problems without squandering the taxpayers money.

Posted by @Ying
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2018 at 10:31 am

Ok, you can stop being political and lining for Ying.

We. Don’t. Want. Middle. Schools. 7-8 is what makes Los Altos special. You (Bullis) have K-8. Awesome! You enjoy that and let us enjoy 7-8. Thanks.

Posted by Santa Rita Parent
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2018 at 11:30 am

If one were to actually survey LASD parents on the question of moving to the Middle School model, my guess is that at least 75% would be in favor of such a move.

Of course, LASD will never undertake any such survey because they need 6th grade to be in the elementary schools in order to bolster their "all of our schools are full" argument.

Posted by LASD Reality
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm

Springer's not full. They only have 2 K classes this year, and a very small (14) TK. They've bumped kids in K over to Almond and maybe Loyola to bolster those schools. If the current K size holds each year going forward, in 6 years Springer will be down to 46 times 7 or 322 students. This is a school that has reached 600 in the past.

Enrollment is declining.

Oh another thing. The charter school board says Springer is one of the 2 lowest interest schools for enrolling in the charter. So there's that too.

It doesn't really mater if Springer drops to 322 or 275. Both are way small. Maybe it will be a bit larger. Maybe it will be 300 without 6th and 350 with 6th. Still not much difference.

Adding or taking away 6th grade doesn't really make that much difference in the enrollments.

Posted by LASD Reality
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Look at the 2 schools that serve the growing areas North of El Camino in Mountain View. That would be Santa Rita and Almond. Covington only serves the Crossings and Old Mill Condos which are built to capacity with no new housing possible. So the LASD hope lies in the growth coming allegedly at Santa Rita and Almond.

Both are DOWN this year. Almond is 488 (once was 575) and Santa Rita is 524. Both down from last year. Both were once much larger, Santa Rita reached 580 at a point.

Not only that, but the charter school took no new students at grades 1-6 this year, as they had reached their agreed limit in those grades (105 students each, same this year and last year). So we're seeing a decline even in the so called hotbeds of unrestrained growth caused by those bogeymen on the MV City Council.


Posted by LASD Reality
a resident of another community
on Oct 5, 2018 at 2:57 pm

Here's a bright idea. Move 7th grade to elementary school. Have Egan by an all-8 campus, and use Blach to house the charter school. It's sized for 711 in permanent buildings and has 300 space in portables for the charter school already. So that makes over 1000 without adding any portables, and there's room to put more there. Plus, 711 is grades 7 to 8. You can probably use the existing Blach buildings for more than 711 grades K-8. I bet it has equivalent space for 1200 students K8 easily, with no new construction.

Need to bulk up those elementary schools. They are just too small to operate.

Posted by Dhruva Herle
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm

Dhruva Herle is a registered user.

JUST GODDAMN MAKE YOUR MINDS UP! This argument has been going nowhere for the past few years. We are sick & tired of just not getting answers. BCS or Neighbourhood K-8 school. Neighbourhood school, duh! That was the original plan and will be paid for w/ our tax dollars. Better be something of use for us. Then we'd be wasting the little money we have on the rich who have plenty! NOT THE WAY TO GO! Also, LASD hasn't done anything about measure N (for a new BCS site). IT'S PURELY THEIR FAULT AND WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO SUFFER!!! This is not fair as they're not letting our voices being heard and it's a bunch of board members who just don't goddamn care about us suffering cause it has no impact on them. I am truly pissed of about this and they should let the public speak up. These are our future generations and THEY MATTER MOST. Speak up, this is our future and the only opportunity to make a school for us! WHY USE OUR TAX DOLLARS, MV's PARK FUNDS, AND OUR LAND ON THE RICH!? This in itself is discrimination as most of the people living in my area being Latinos who would be forced to use what they have on rich caucasian kids who have richer families due to the wage gap. NO! Tell your local governments about this and SPEAK UP! IT MATTERS!

Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Doug Pearson is a registered user.

Some of the comments touch on the points I have no knowledge of: What is the current enrollment in each existing school, and what grades does it teach. What is the total district enrollment and how is it expected to change in the next few years?

Is Bullis really at 900 enrollment already? What grades does it teach? Does the expected increase in enrollment come from students who would otherwise attend other LASD schools? From the expected increase in total LASD enrollment? From adding grades, eg, 7 and 8?

In other words, is Bullis enrollment going up while other LASD school enrollments are going sideways or down?

Posted by Getting On With it
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 3:24 pm

Well, keep in mind that this new school won't open until 2022. So what's the rush to decide how to assign its use? Well, Bullis is indeed at 908 students this year and has slots for 1060 next year. The enrollment for 2018-2019 finalizes this week with the 1060 slots being assigned Saturday in a random lottery. Usually there are 1000 students on the wait list. Almost all students are LASD residents but others can get in if there is an open slot at the lottery. Usually the openings for non-LASD are in grades 7 and 8. This year the charter added slots from a new class in each grade K-6.

The reason there was little growth this year was that the 5 year constraints placed in a deal with LASD expire after the current year, so no growth was left for this year. The idea appears to be to make up for that by 2 years worth of growth next year. This year just 1 8th grade class was added.

Still, this no growth year in grades K-6 is that it is interesting to see LASD drop by 160 students with only 20 of the drop coming from grades 7 and 8. With Bullis frozen, grades K-6 dropped 140. There is every reason to believe that if Bullis were frozen next year (t's not) the drop would be about the same AGAIN in LASD. But if Bullis grows 160 in grades K-6, the total added drop next year should be 300 in LASD.

LASD has dropped for several years now. Last year it had 4403 in the Fall. This year it's 4243., Bullis 908. Next year that's projected to be 3940 LASD, 1060 Bullis.

The good news is that the Bulls board is interested in remaining right where they are at Egan going forward. They aren't asking for any new buildings, etc. That's a myth. At the same time, Egan enrollment is starting to drop too. Egan is about 100 more students than Blach though Blach is built for more than Egan. So one way the district could deal with the Bulls growth is to switch more Egan students to Blach and grow Bullis at Egan.

Posted by Getting On
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 3:26 pm

About 75% of the Egan students arrive each day by car. Many are in the Blach attendance area which means all of those Blach-livers are in cars driving to Egan. So, switching them to Blach where they are assigned would help reduce car trips.

Posted by Getting On
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 3:36 pm

By 2021, the enrollment is likely to be 1200 at Bullis and 3600 at the 9 traditional LASD schools. The Junior High will be about 450 students on average and the elementary schools will be 380 or so. At that point, Bulls will be 1200 students, or about 3 times the size of the average traditional LASD school. So the push to squeeze 900 new spaces out on new land is pretty rich. Instead, it will be easy to leave Bullis where they are on Junior High sites, but expand the one at Blach to match the size of the one at Egan. Problem solved.

Nothing says that new classrooms permanent built are needed by the charter, and certainly not that 100% should be permanent. But LASD has this 5 year old plan that sought to quarantined Bullis on new land, at the expense of the local kids in the San Antonio area. Those kids fill out 3 of the LASD schools to keep the average school size for K-6 up at 380 students. Otherwise, it would be much lower.

Posted by @ getting on (first post)
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Where do you find the data about 75% of Egan kids arrive by car?? Have you seen the bike traffic in the morning, and the full multiple bike cages? My kids walk so they don’t even account for that. Egan consists of kids from Santa Rita (all in those boundaries can and usually bike or walk), Almond (most bike) and Covington (I personally know many who bike and others who drive). I’m curious where you get this 75% are driven as I would guess 25% drive. No one in 7-8th grade wants mommy driving them to school, trust me!

Posted by Egan Parent
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 10:03 pm

I agree that LASD should do more to balance attendance between Egan and Blach. The notion that LAHS bound students have to attend Egan and MVHS bound students have to attend Blach is nonsense.

Posted by WoW numbers
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2018 at 10:52 pm

There's a lot of misimpression out there about the LASD schools being largely served by Walk Or (bicycle) Wheels methods of student transport. The last studies that LASD has been relying on are 5 years old from Greentown Los Altos in 2013. Since then the population of Egan has grown and a lot of the has been the students from the other side of El Camino Real. Consider that there are more students in both 7th and 8th grade than in any other grade found at the elementary schools. This was not always true. A reasonable estimate is that 200 of the NEC kids must commute to Egan from the other side of El Camino Real, and the vast majority of them are driven to school, whether they like Mommy doing it or not. Maybe Daddy does it. Some do carpool. Anyway, I think it's reasonable to conclude that more are coming via private auto than did back in 2013. Egan serves kids from every elementary school in LASD aside from Oak Avenue. This fact has been attested to in court filings regarding to equivalent facilities for BCS, where the applicable area is the Junior High area for Egan and the elementary schools that feed it. Also, keep in mind that besides Mommy and Daddy, some of these kids are probably driven by paid staff, nannies, au pair, what have you. Of course Egan serves the entire Gardner Bullis attendance area which is a long ways away. It also serves parts of Loyola and Springer, also far away. Older siblings attending Los Altos High School are legally permitted to drive their younger brothers and sisters to Egan.

Anyway, back in 2013, the Greentown numbers have 81% of Covington students being driven to that school, 75% of Loyola kids coming in cars, 64% of Springer, 69% of Oak, 69% of Almond, 73% of Santa Rita and 88% of Gardner Bullis, NONE of the LASD elementary schools is a majority WoW school. For Blach, the Car numbers are 52% by Car as of 2013, and for Egan it was surveyed at 60% by car in 2013. I believe the district has purposely allowed more kids assigned to Blach to elect to go to Egan instead since 2013, about 50 more such kids. I think they ALL come via car. So this coupled with the NEC increases says to me that 75% of Egan kids come by car. Basically LASD gave up on the surveys after the WoW numbers declined compared to 2012 in the 2013 figures. We don't know, but perhaps WoW for Blach is up but not likely from the reputation of that drop off area. The neighbors swear it has gotten worse.

At Egan it's certainly not 25%. It has not gone DOWN since 2013. Just look at the drop off area any day. You'll see the chaos of all those kids arriving in cars with coffee drinking harried parents and others at the wheel.

Posted by @wow
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 8:49 am

I think you’re confusing many of those cars with Bullis Charter. That seems to be 90% drop off, absolutely. I’ll give you that!

Posted by One more for @WoW
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 8:52 am

I find it really hard to believe that there are a lot of students coming to Egan from Oak, Springer, and Loyola. I do not know a single one. Why would they choose to commute to Egan? That literally makes no sense.
Additionally, the district just announced their numbers at each site and Egan only serves about 30 more students than Blach. This makes sense as Santa Rita and Almond are bigger than Oak and Loyola.
To me, your posts are pure speculation. The numbers add up and math doesn’t lie.

Posted by Vote YING LIU
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Vote YING LIU is a registered user.

@ @Ying

“Ok, you can stop being political and lining for Ying.”
I’m not being political- I don’t have kids in school, have no affiliation with BCS and don’t know Ying. I’m just a taxpayer that’s sick of watching the LASD BoT squander my tax dollars on ridiculous plans and feuds with BCS. Therefore Ivanovic and Johnson need to go. Ying Liu is not invested in the feud- she will help to move things forward in a more reasonable way.

“We. Don’t. Want. Middle. Schools. 7-8 is what makes Los Altos special.”
You should really do some research on the 6-8 model. It’s a better academic program with no negative social ramifications. LASD 7-8 is not special, it’s backward. And it’s a waste of money when creating a 6-8 school could eliminate the need for buying land and constructing an entire school. As a said before, I’m a taxpayer...

Posted by No on Ying
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 1:26 pm

Ok, well our votes will cancel each other’s out :). Ying is a mole for Bullis and only cares for BCS, not your tax dollars.

Posted by Drop Off
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:09 pm

Most students who had attended Loyola and Springer attend Blach in Junior High. But there are a number of those who SHOULD attend Blach who instead transfer to Egan. As such they live farthest from Egan and they come in cars. It's not that complicated.

Also, a number of those assigned to Covington in elementary school are in this category too. They should be attending Blach but they opt for Egan instead. Covington didn't exist when the MVLA attendance boundaries were defined, and it straddles them.

As for the fact that most LASD schools have 75% arriving in cars, and Bullis may have slightly more, well, so what? It's not a very big difference at all.

Posted by Vote YING LIU
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:33 pm

Vote YING LIU is a registered user.

@no on Ying - it sounds like you also are invested in the decade-old feud with BCS. So sad that your group can’t accept that a fair (and growing) number of parents like the school and that it’s here to stay. Accept it, move on and stop squandering our tax dollars on things that don’t benefit any of the kids.