City Council Schools

Is the school bond really going to be on the ballot?

school board members around the semi circle table
LASD School board in July 2014
Written by lalahpolitico

Summer politics seems to be in a lull as our city council and other district boards take time off.  But there is lots of maneuvering behind the curtain. We all are waiting to see who and what will be on our Nov. 4 ballot. In particular, will there be a $150 million LASD school bond? Can the LASD board get enough positive “juice” going to get it passed? Or not.

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Vote tonight – 5-year District-Charter agreement

 Tonite the LASD board is meeting 1) to “consider” approving the medium-term, five-year agreement with the charter school, wherein the charter remains split on Egan and Blach junior high school sites and caps charter enrollment growth to 900 students. In other words, there is likely to be a vote tonight.

Next 2) there will be a discussion of the city-school talks wherein the city has offered to lease lands on Rosita Park (Covington neighborhood) or MacKensie Park ( Loyola neighborhood).

LASDBoard_forJuly28Loganx600-50

We expect the District board discussion tonite of sites to reiterate Tamara Logan‘s July 25 MV-Voice quote where she rules out both North of El Camino and Hillview as a prospective new school site at this time. Also she says that if the $150 million bond passes the charter would “likely” get its own site. http://www.mv-voice.com/news/2014/07/25/lasd-bond-measure-on-the-horizon

 

“Logan said, a new school campus in Mountain View is not likely. She said the district has asked the Mountain View City Council on multiple occasions to help establish a school in the region, but haven’t received a positive response.

 Logan said the district is not considering the Hillview Community Center as an option for a new school site. She said the city of Los Altos has other uses for the area, including a senior center, a library and a sports field. She said the city does not believe it’s feasible to have school facilities at that location.

If the district succeeds in passing a bond measure for new facilities, Logan said, Bullis Charter School would be likely get its own school. She said that a separate campus would alleviate a lot of disputes that go on between the charter school and the district.

“The school district needs more space, and shared-space facilities makes things difficult,” Logan said.

The final substantive item 3) for discussion tonite will be further review of the District’s Facilities Master Plan. In the prior meeting some LASD board members had asked Randy Kenyon to prepare some estimates of payback periods or ROI for the various projects being considered – especially the building/roof insulations and also the solar.

LALAHPOLITCO: We think the board will PRIORITIZE the projects tonite in discussion, but not PROMISE any projects or any order of execution projects. They will say, “things could change.” And if you look at the draft bond language, all 11 pages of it, you will see exigencies clauses and the like.

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The Draft Bond Language – in brief

Nonetheless, providing reasonably equivalent facilties to the charter IS PART of draft bond language item ” I – projects to avoid school overcrowding and accommodate growing student enrollment.”  The Draft Bond.

Excerpt from Page 8 of 11, “Specific projects to be funded by the bond measure include, without limitation, the following:

I. PROJECTS TO AVOID SCHOOL OVERCROWDING AND ACCOMMODATE GROWING STUDENT ENROLLMENT

 Expand existing school facilities to accommodate growing student enrollment. Construct new classrooms, libraries, multipurpose buildings, and other essential buildings for the purpose of housing students on new or leased land acquired by the District, to accommodate growing student enrollment and avoid school overcrowding

 Add restrooms to accommodate enrollment growth on existing campuses.

 Expand libraries, flexible classrooms, science, engineering, technology and math classrooms (STEM) and other educational facilities to accommodate enrollment growth on existing campuses.

 Consistent with the District’s obligation under Education Code section 47614, acquire, construct, develop, redevelop and/or reconfigure sites and/or facilities, including furnishings and equipment, to house students attending Bullis Charter School in conditions reasonably equivalent to those attending regular District schools.

 Make site improvements associated with expanding existing campuses, accommodating new or expanded facilities or constructing campus facilities, including utilities, hardcourts, roadways, parking lots, paving, fields and outdoor learning areas and equip and furnish all such projects.”

Ballot Summary is Cryptic

It is interesting that the draft Ballot Measure SUMMARY makes no EXPLICIT mention of the charter, or new sites. Oh, wait there is the tricky verbiage ” …acquiring, constructing…facilities and sites…”

 Ballot Summary of Measure

“To accommodate growing student enrollment and avoid elementary and junior high school overcrowding by expanding and upgrading schools, preserving high quality small neighborhood schools, upgrading classrooms and labs to keep them safe, clean and in good repair, updating learning technology, maximizing energy efficiency and acquiring, constructing or equipping classrooms, facilities and sites, shall the Los Altos School District issue $150 million in bonds at legal rates, with independent citizens’ oversight, annual audits and no money for administrators’ salaries?”

Lalahpolitico: John Radford of LAH worried last November that the LASD board was starting too late in trying to launch a bond that could pass. I agreed.  We’ll see tonite if the the board has succeeded with the key NECESSARY CONDITION to pass a bond – a truce with the charter. If that falls into place because both parties sign the 5 year deal which ends all litigation, then there is a chance for passage. We’ll worry about the rest later.

 

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.

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