Doug Smith – The LASD BCS Long-term Tentative Agreement

Doug Smith Present the tentative Framework LASD - BCS Agreement
Written by lalahpolitico

Doug Smith Present the tentative Framework LASD - BCS Agreement

Audio with Video. Doug Smith, VP of the LASD board, presented a framework for a tentative  LASD BCS agreement, that, once its details are finalized and it is signed, would be in place for 10 years. This is the long-term solution. Smith said it allows LASD to focus on curriculum innovation, rather than yearly facilities negotiations. LASD enrollment [including BCS ] is now at 5,000 students, 1,000 more than a decade ago. This will be a 10 year plus agreement.

Almond, Gardner Bullis, Santa Rita, or Covington (only 10.5 acres )

“Upon passage of the bond [November 2012], at the beginning of the next school year [August 2013], BCS would be moved to one of these four LASD campuses – Almond, Gardner Bullis, Santa Rita, or Covington (10.5 acres of the site). If the bond does not pass by August, 2014 [fails to pass in a June, 2014 election], then [in August of 2014] LASD would consolidate onto 8 sites, and BCS would occupy one of the four sites.”

This means than no later than August 2014, whenever or whether “the” bond passes, BCS will move into one of the four sites.

In the tentative LASD BCS agreement, BCS guarantees it will enroll at least 400 students each year. BCS can grow its enrollment. After the first 10 years, BCS has 5-year options to remain on the site. BCS will not ask for more or different space for 10 years.

BCS agrees to work for passage of the bond. The bond would pay for both a) a refresh of all sites and b) for building a brand new LASD campus. The location is unspecified, but Mountain View seems to be the current front-runner location. The “refresh” includes items such as 1) replacing portables with permanent buildings, 2) installation of solar power to save $500K annually, 3) other facilities work [repair/upgrade] as needed.

Smith continued, “Yes, BCS will remain on Egan until we transition them to their new site. The footprint of that will be as previously discussed [the April map of the Egan grounds], there would be some additional buildings provided to them so they could house their additional students … The encroachment on the Egan campus would not increase any further.”

BCS will remain on Egan until we transition them to their new site

Smith added, “Still a lot of detail, still a lot of work to go. We believe this conceptual framework is firm enough that it is something we wanted to bring to the public. This really begins the public part of this process. We really want to hear what people have to say about this, how they feel about it. What it is we need to do to make this fully supported. It is critical to us in the district pass a bond. We have 10 programs on 9 sites. We have 5,000 students. Do the math. If you want to have kids with about 500 kids per school, then we need a 10th site.”

“This the conceptual framework we have worked very hard to achieve.” There were sessions as long as 12 hours. “There has been a lot of blood and sweat in this.” Thanks to everyone for their involvement

“Some one once told me that compromise involves everyone flexing a little bit.There has been a lot of it. And I appreciate it.”

“What do we want the new campus to be? If your school is one of the schools on the list, start envisioning the 21st century school. What would the 21st century school look like.”


If you need to know more, do watch the video which captures the sincerity of Mr. Smith, someone who has been the pugnacious litigator for, is it eight years? He wears his new role of conciliator well. It also contains comments by all of the LASD board. Mark Goines, President of the board, utters the famous words, “… forget about what we could have won or lost, or gained or given, and think about where we’ll be in two years time … To me, we need 10 schools … Let’s find the 10th school together …”

Covington site would be the best choice for both LASD and for BCS

Los Altos Politico believes that the Covington site would be the best choice for both LASD and BCS.  It has much less  neighborhood history than the other site. Actually, Covington Elementary is it a very recent addition, having been a closed Junior High for quite a few years. It will be the least-missed elementary school by LASD parents because it is so new as an elementary location. For BCS parents, it is reasonably close to its current students. For the BCS board and administration, it  has  lots of room for enrollment expansion, is 7th and 8th grade friendly, and  is better located for attracting new LASD students from south Los Altos over a 10 year planning horizon.

We think it is not necessary to tell long-term established LASD schools like Santa Rita to vacate. See the angst from a Santa Rita PTA member, special ed parent,  in this very recent blog article.  And BCS definitely should not be “awarded” the sexiest, newest 21st century site (a positive) even if it is located in Mountain View (a rather long commute  for the current BCS parents).

We understand the BCS contracts with the County for Special Ed service provisioning. We would hope that BCS delivery of this service would improve over time.

10th Mountain View School – Combo NEIGHBORHOOD / MAGNET school

The most likely site for the 10th school is MountainView.  As Mayor Val Carpenter has been pointing out for some time, this is where the bulk of the future growth is anticipated. The City of Mountain View has approved major multi-family housing at the old Sears site at San Antonio and El Camino.  Also, the City of Los Altos, in its contribution to regional in-fill, has located those developments along the El Camino corridor, where there is proximity to public transportation.

Los Altos Politico, believes it is not necessary to put the four schools on notice that one them might “have to” move to Mountain View! Even with Mayor Val Carpenter planning to start a school busing program, this sure sounds distasteful to us. Los Altos Politico prefers incentives. Why not make this 21st Century School in Mountain View part neighborhood schoo, and part K-6 or even K-8 MAGNET school. Make it a science-tech magnet, a language magnet, an alternative curriculum school. Compete directly with this  choice as an alternative  to the choices that BCS now offers. Maybe this is a good time  for LASD to experiment with getting off the “Common Program?”

The San Jose Mercury-News had an article on the Bourn Lab at Castellja where girls build tangible things. It’s sort of like a Makers’ Faire at your school every day. Bourn is taking its program beyond elite Castellja to East Palo Alto Academy. It is also looking to expand into public schools — how about a nice new Mountain View School? We’re pretty sure there are many other private-public options to create magnet school elements! Hey, Doug, how about some curriculum innovation?

We realize that some parents will not be pleased by this solution.  For them, we recommend Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

We encourage these parents to move to stage 5 as quickly as possible.

About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.