Los Altos City Council member Ron Packard said that the two school boards had whipped up parental passions before the May 29 Joint City School Meeting. He said that at that May meeting, LASD trustees and some parents presented the idea of Hillview being “needed for a school site” as a foregone conclusion. He felt that the City Council had been “ambushed” at that meeting. David Casas said he too was disappointed in both boards and had expected “Collaboration, not Dictation.”
At the regular City Council Meeting of Tuesday August 28, as the council discussed …what meetings it might have or not have with the trustees of LASD and BCS this fall…what they thought of the LASD Superintendent Baier’s new Task Force on Enrollment Growth…what issues should be on the next bi-monthly City-School sub-committee meeting — they also directed staff to locate for hire a consultant skilled in demographics and real estate. This City consultant would evaluate the big question of whether LASD needed another site and where it could be located.
This City consultant would evaluate the big question of whether LASD needed another site and where it could be located.
Above is a lightly edited version of about 25 minutes of the discussion among the all the council members.
Four of the five council members did not seem to trust LASD’s data or assertions on the matter of the 10th site. Ron Packard said he hoped the expert the City hired would work for “Peace, but also Protection…for Solutions, but also for Defense.” Mr. Packard said the City needed to be prepared if LASD took “precipitous action’ to condemn Hillview for eminent domain. He suggested the City should expect to pay $200,000 for such a consultant, “an expert witness” who would find “solutions,” but also be ready to tell the City’s side to a “judge and jury” if there were to be a LASD lawsuit.
be prepared if an LASD lawsuit took “precipitous action” to condemn Hillview for eminent domain
Below is a 4 minute video of what Ron Packard said as he opened the discussion on school items – 17, 18 and 19 combined. It lays out his perception of the problem and the hoped for solution. [This clip is the first 4 minutes of the longer 25 minute video above.]
Satterlee’s Concerns – Duplication of Effort, No Authority, No Educational Expertise
Megan Satterlee played her ususal role – the one who raises misgivings. She wondered why – given that LASD was hiring a consultant – the City also would hire a consultant. It seemed duplicative to her. She worried that the City looked like it was trying to set LASD policy — which it has no authority to do. She was concerned that the expert also would have to do research on educational best practices — and that LASD had its own policy guidance on things like middle school vs. junior high grade configuration… like optimal school size, etc.
Val Carpenter Warns – Don’t let the Solution be the Null Set!
Val Carpenter made an interesting observation. She found that in her work with teams in the private section, if a problem was set up with too many fixed and unmovable constraints – the solution was the null set. She thought LASD might have been pursuing that approach to the problem for a number of years.
Here are some choice word from the discussion
I dont know what the truth is…if they need a 10th site or not
I wouldn’t even rule out Hillview…
The trustees have successfully demonized the charter school…and they are beginning to demonize this council…
How can the City be a force for solutions…
If they throw darts…we’ll just smile and keep moving along…
a precipitous decision to condemn…
relying on their data puts us at risk
I’ve decided to say this publicly, although we could have planned this in closed session…
the trustees have undoubtedly had many discussions under the cloak of closed session
I am concerned about trustee compliance with the Brown Act…with Conflict of Interest law…
The City hiring this consultant is a big deal
When LASD trustees told us we should not meet with a non-elected board (BCS)…that didn’t sit well with me
What are the facts…vs. the perceived facts about the charter school