Los Altos School District still plans to send BCS to Sunnyvale
Raynor School vs. Bowman School. Neither is a real option for permanently locating our BCS high-performing public school asset. At the January 28 Los Altos School District board meeting, a lot of time was spent on positioning its draft of a Preliminary Prop 39 Facilities offer for BCS to appear within socially acceptable norms of civility. I was going to celebrate but… what slipped by me was that LASD is still planning to bid for the Sunnyvale Raynor School site. The RFQ paperwork is due in March. Lalahpolitico: As a taxpayer, I don’t want LASD spending $10-20 million or the equivalent lease payments on this folly. I don’t want LASD moving our high-performing public school community asset out of the area for the benefit of Sunnyvale residents rather than my young neighbors here in the LASD jurisdiction.
$10 -$20 million for moving our high-performing public school community asset out of our area for the benefit of Sunnyvale residents
Here is just ok quality audio of about 90 minutes of relevant parts of the the Jan. 28 LASD Board Meeting for download from Soundcloud. Or try out the streaming on Soundcloud. This soundtrack is the Prop 39 offer discussion item and the Sites Subcommittee Progress Report Item.
Here are some statements that were made Jan. 28
New LASD schools must be located within the boundaries of the District. Charter schools must be located within the boundaries of the County. [Lalahpolitico: So it's legal to push your neighbors out of the area, but not consistent with community standards of civility among neighbors in my opinion. It's legal to invest LASD district taxpayers dollars in community assets that are not located for the convenience of LASD district taxpayers.]
Tamara Logan said LASD must explore alternative financing options. [Lalahpolitco: Capital Appreciation Bonds? To finance acquisition of Raynor? FYI, CABs effectively postpone payment of interest until the principal balance is due, usually in the distant future. Meaning future boards will face an enormous balloon payment when they come due.]
Kenyon said LASD refinanced its exisiting debt down to a 1% rate. [Lalahpolitco: This means it has capacity to take on new debt.]
Kenyon said the Blach 2002 temporary camp cost about $2.5 million. He estimated BCS Ken Moore’s proposed 2013-14 configuration for BCS on Blach would cost $1.5 million. Tamara Logan said, “We don’t have that kind of money.” [Lalahpolitco: No money in the operations budget? But LASD will borrow more money? 10M to 20M? or lease equivalent?]
The long-term site some BCS parents seem to prefer – Bowman School and/0r Terman Park off Arastradero in Palo Alto – was dropped off the list by Randy Kenyon as “too inaccesible.” [Lalahpolitico checked it out - I'd call Bowman/Terman infeasible, not inaccessible. Bowman is a great example of new school architecture though. Bowman School is too small for a 10th or 11th site...with only ~18 classrooms. Terman Park is the Terman Middle School's only green space. That's unobtainable. Now Raynor School is a great example of inaccessible. It should be dropped from the list.]
LASD signaled it would like a 2 year Prop 39 configuration, rather than the usual one-year arrangement. LASD said its draft Preliminary Prop 39 offer of grades 6-8 on Blach is designed to cap the burden on Egan. Blach is willing to share buildings like the gym because it is “temporary”.[Lalahpolitico: Would Blach's temporary be for two years?]
LASD is planning to bid in the RFQ process for the Sunnyvale School – Raynor – this March. That site is 22 minutes by car from where the overwhelming majority of current BCS students live. [Lalahpolitico: Kill the planet with the extra gas fumes. Ship my tax dollars to Sunnyvale!? ]
Lalahpolitico: Troubling Questions
Why did no Egan or Blach parents show up at this Prop 39 LASD Board meeting?
Prop 39 is usually a hot topic. Lalahpolitico was very surprised to see no PTA speakers, no Egan or Blach parents at this Board meeting. Apathy? Nah. Certainty. Everybody in the borg must have got the memo on the “plan.” I guess the fix was in.
What is the meaning of the Superintendent’s Task Force on Growth?
It’s public relations. It will make a recommendation that the “approach” is to find find one new site for North of El Camino population and another new site for BCS, trying to minimize commutes for all concerned. The Board and Superintendent will try and try, and then use their “discretion” to rule out Hillview Community Center. But because of their foresight, they will have that lucky option – Raynor School in Sunnyvale – ready to go. They will acquire it quietly, without responding to community and taxpayer input.
LASD invests in foreign real estate?
What will it take for LASD to acquire the Raynor site in March? I estimate the Raynor site is about 10 acres and is probably zoned for community facilities. Because of State law, unused school sites have to be offered first to government jurisdictions before they can be put on the open market. So LASD won’t have to pay the top dollar. Let’s just guess that it would be $10 to $20 million dollars through the RFQ. Maybe they can even get a 20 or 30 year lease instead. It might take two years to do all the paperwork. It’s a lot of money compared to $2.5 million for the whole 2002 Blach temporary camp or the $1.5 million for BCS Ken Moore’s proposed camp. Why do this? Who is pulling the strings?
Lalahpolitico Bottom line:
All I can say is as a taxpayer in the Los Altos School District, I don’t want LASD spending that kind of money to move our high-performing charter school community asset out of the area. Why would we move it to the benefit of the out-of district Sunnyvale community and to the detriment of the in-district Los Altos area community? Why? It is a canard to claim there are not in-district options.
It may be legal to acquire Raynor, but is reprehensible, not transparent, and probably wasteful and risky. Who is pulling the strings?