Schools

Los Altos School District – Consider Sunnyvale for BCS Site

Raynor School - considered for Bullis Charter School - is about a mile from the future Apple HQ building
Raynor School - considered for Bullis Charter School - is about a mile from the future Apple HQ building
Written by lalahpolitico
Raynor School - considered for Bullis Charter School -  is about a mile from the future Apple HQ building

Raynor School – considered for Bullis Charter School – is about a mile from the future Apple HQ building

At its Monday Dec. 10 meeting, the LASD board has narrowed its Prop 39 2013-14 offer options to just three. In doing its winnowing of options, it considered the emotional input of several hundred parents who attended discussion sessions over the last month.

The most likely Prop 39 offer is the same as now… on Egan and Blach again, perhaps with a a bit of space at Covington

The most likely Prop 39 offer is the same as now… on Egan and Blach again, perhaps with a a bit of space at Covington thrown in too, by reassigning the Mountain View Crossings families closer to home. What’s new is that the second choice on the table  is a leasing/buying a 10th site for BCS to occupy. LASD has expressed interest to the Sunnyvale School District  in leasing/buying Raynor School, which is near Wolfe Road and El Camino. It’s available now and next fall. Nearby landmarks include Full Circle Farms and the futuristic new Apple campus. The third choice Prop 39 offer — which the board says it feels it must include because BCS named it its Prop 39 request document — is all of Covington.  The board says that site swap would not be as bad as other possible site swaps, because some of the current Covington students live in North Mountain View.  Attending the Egan Camp site would actually reduce their commute.

What’s new is that the second choice on the table  is a leasing/buying a 10th site for BCS to occupy. LASD has expressed interest to the Sunnyvale School District  in leasing/buying Raynor School

[Lalahpolitico: this Covington option seems very unlikely. BCS would have to take over the LASD contract with the county for education our district’s special needs kids with medium and severe cognitive disabilities.  Covington is the ONLY school which has the specialized facilities to meet their special needs. All our medium and severely disabled kids attend Covington. The other schools handle only mild special needs – largely speech therapy or some physical disabilities].

Covington is the ONLY school which has the specialized facilities to meet their special needs. All our medium and severely disabled kids attend Covington

Location of the Raynor School - considered for Bullis Charter Prop 39 2013-2014

Location of the Raynor School – considered for Bullis Charter Prop 39 2013-2014 – El Camino and Lawrence Expwy.

Raynor School has double or triple the Commute for Current BCS Families

From Google maps, the distance from Egan Jr. High ( BCS current location) to Raynor school, very near El Camino and Lawrence Expressway,  is 8 miles. The recommended route is El Camino all the way, and the travel time is just under 20 minutes.  The distance from  Gardener Bullis School to Raynor School is 11 miles. The recommended route is 280 to the Wolfe Road exit ( the new Apple campus), and the travel time is just under 20 minutes.  The current median travel distance for current families is probably less than 2-3 miles and under 10 minutes.  [Lalahpolitico: So is  this is going to be popular? With Whom? Do you wonder why this is being proposed? ]

Taskforce Process – Data Gathering, Questioning Policies

Duncan MacVicar, the representative of the City of Los Altos on Superintendent Baier’s Taskforce on Enrollment, made an oral report to the city council on Dec. 11, 2012.  He was very hopeful that the group would be able to come up with a workable solution to the facilities quagmire. He said the Taskforce members were asking for lots of data and were questioning the WHY behind board policies.  Why 600 students per school? Why one story?

The attractive front of Raynor School in Sunnyvale - considered by LASD for Bullis Charter School

The attractive front of Raynor School in Sunnyvale – considered by LASD for Bullis Charter School

Predetermined Taskforce Outcomes? No, not yet

Council member Megan Satterlee asked MacVicar if he felt the taskforce’s research was being constrained. He say no, that everything was on the table.  She asked him to tell Council when and if there started to be constraints on solutions imposed by the Board or LASD staff.

Future Growth May Turn Santa Rita and Almond into MV Only Schools

He said the preliminary data show that in 1970 LASD had 12 sites and 5,000 students.  In 1983 LASD had 8 sites and 2,500 students. Today LASD has 9 sites and 5,000 students. About 600 LASD students live in the Mountain View rectangle east of El Camino – enough to form an entire school!

MacVicar thought that everyone on the taskforce believes 1,000 or even 2,000 new housing units could be built in north Mountain View and near El Camino in the next decade.  The student population would likely continue to climb, not level off.  When that happens, the district’s northernmost schools like Santa Rita and Almond would have to have their attendance areas redrawn — they wouldn’t be serving the immediate neighbors anymore. They would be full up with kids living east of Pine.

The Raynor School - considered by LASD for BCS - is in a pleasant neighborhood

The Raynor School – considered by LASD for BCS – is in a pleasant neighborhood

Representativeness, Transparency of Taskforce Meetings – good so far

MacVicar did not know if any Mountain View parents were represented on the Enrollment Taskforce. Jeannie Bruins, new Los Altos City Council member, thought it was important that there be at least one.  It was revealed that the City of Mountain View had not yet selected a representative but was still expected to do so. Then there would be a total of 13 members. Very small slivers of Palo Alto and Sunnyvale actually lie within LASD boundaries as does a county area called Loyola, but it was considered unnecessary to involve those areas on the Taskforce.

Bullis Charter School is represented by Fred Gallagher a BCS Founder and husband of a BCS board member.  John Swan, the representative of the City of Los Altos Hills is also a BCS Founder and parent of a former BCS student.

Council member Val Carpenter asked MacVicar about public access to the meeting. He said the meetings were not being taped in any way.  The handwritten notes of the facilitator would be distributed as would any data, charts, tables and such.  Look on the LASD website. Also look on LASDVoices.  MacVicar  reported that about 10 people were watching the Taskforce. No LASD trustees were present. Huttlinger was there, the press was there, as were two members of MacVicar’s City of Los Altos backup team.

Private School Enrollment Down? – TBD, means what?

MacVicar continued saying that perhaps the hardest data question the Taskforce members asked was for a time series of how many kids in the LASD district go to private school vs. enroll in LASD. He said the idea was to see if the percent going to private school was declining since 2004. If so the presumed reason would be BCS. [Lalahpolitico: Wrong. Bad sociology. ]

Making Lifelong School Friends – Need a neighborhood?

Once the topic of private schools was brought up, Val Carpenter made an observation that living within the same square mile, the same neighborhood is not a necessity for forming lifelong school friendships for kids or their parents.  Her kids went to private school and made many lifelong friends with students from Fremont, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, and of course Los Altos.  After 27 years she is still in a book club with one Palo Alto parent from those days.

Neighborhood Schools –  Less a Logical issue than an Emotional one

MacVicar said that the 50 parents who spoke at the LASD board meeting were quite united in the idea that it was a mistake to “close a high performing neighborhood school” and that such a closing 9 years ago was the cause of the current situation.  He thought the neighborhood issue was less of a logical issue, but rather an emotional one. “It’s very strong with them to defend this neighborhood school concept,” he said.

About the author

lalahpolitico

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 only became fascinated with business of local politics only in the past couple of years.