Schools

Community Thoughts on LASD Facilities Scenarios

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - a small group works on it's proposed options for facilities
LASD April 22 Community Meeting - a small group works on it's proposed options for facilities
Written by lalahpolitico

On April 22, LASD held a focus group style meeting at Los Altos Youth Center to collect the public’s reactions to 3 different options for expanding new school facilities, options defined by the Board of Trustees.  An account of that meeting, which was attended by about 100, is here.  This post expands on that one by presenting a broad sample of  attendees’ unfettered “thoughts” about alternative scenarios to the 3 pre-defined LASD Facilities Scenarios.  As explained in the prior article, attendees make comments by pinning cards on their group’s poster of a speedboat and may annotate those with post-it notes. There were 10 to 12 small groups of about 8 to 10 persons participating.

In the “Option 4” exercise, attendees were invited to brainstorm and craft alternative “facilities” scenarios and identify their potential drawbacks.  Probably most attendees arrived with their favorite scenario firmly in mind. Attendees were overwhelmingly persons who have followed the “Facilities Issue” [code words “enrollment growth,” “Bullis Charter School”] very closely for years.

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Attendee’s Thoughts – the good, the bad, and the ugly

As the option 4 exercise drew to a close that evening, Lalahpolitico raced around with her camera and tried to capture as many of the attendee’s scribblings as possible. I include as many photos as were legible and I transcribe as best I can the thoughts expresssed that I could read under magnification.  Lalahpolitico did not practice any calculated censorship, but sadly  I did not get photos of all groups posters.  [If you would like larger versions of the photos, email nschroder@losaltpolitico.com]

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

LASD Facilities Scenarios Transcribed

Here is Lalahpolitico’s transcription of legible comments. 

Give Covington $50M …… to do as they want and to make room for BCS on that site. [ Lalahpolitico: I guess the Covington staff would decide FOR the charter what kinds of buildings to build and where those building should be on the Covington campus. And the remainder of the money, if any, would be spend on Covington School improvements?]

Do not provide preschools on District land. This makes facilities unavailable for public school students. [Lalahpolitico: this idea seems to be gaining traction.]

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

The 3 cities – LA LAH MV – should help out finding a parcel of land, i.e., Hillview.

Give BCS $100M and ask them to acquire land and build the school they want. [Lalahpolitico: this is a new one.]

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Leave BCS at Egan and Blach. And redraw the school boundaries to make the enrollments more equal and to allow for anticipated growth of each elementary school.

Keep the [?grade] configurations [?and locations] as is, but build two stories for growth, and funds can be used across all campuses fairly. Use funds for state of the art curriculum. Focus on innovation. [Lalahpolitico:  I guess this means that any new construction, such as for the charter or for a North of El Camino school, or for placing sixth grade on Egan should be 2-story?]

Treat all district children equally

Share the disruptive change equally through out the district, whether it be
-middle school change to 6-8
-redistricting
-relocation

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Plan for the future. Demographics goes through cycles. the current peak is transitory and will be followed by a trough. Don’t over invest in capacity such that by the time it will be completed it is underutilized.

Considering all schools are high performing – I opt for little/no change in school configuration. Build 2 story buildings to accommodate growth. Give BCS permanent buildings at Egan and Blach ( if that’s what they want), build state of the art labs at all schools.

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LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Buy an office building, turn it into school [Lalahpolitico: By the way, did you notice that  LASD is negotiating for Old Mill Offices at 201 S. San Antonio Circle Mountain View. But LASD is also ” negotiating” with the City of Los Altos to share public lands, including perhaps the City’s Hillview parcel downtown.]

Create satellite school(s): k-2, 2-5, or 6-8. Use smaller sites like Waldorf at the now leased- out LASD Eastbrook site. Could be magnet schools.

Opportunity to develop with City of Los Altos for a new community/school site on 18 plus acres at Hillview [ Lalahpolitico: this person means the entire 18 acre civic center with city hall, police, library, history museum, theatre, community center.]

City to trade or sell its land at Hillview for 4 acres at Egan and 4 acres at Blach. City gets 8 acres, LASD gets 4 acres [actually Hillview is 6 acres? check.  This person means to provide a north AND a  south community center. ]

Take the current police station, senior citizens center, youth center, and move them to smaller sites purchased with bond money. User the larger site to house new school (while preserving remaining orchard.) …..[Lalahpolitico: it will take a lot of time and money before all those functions can be rehoused on multiple land to be found and purchased. A multiple years set of projects.]

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Use CSMA site combined with surrounding land (need to acquire) to make music/arts focused magnet school. Move existing CSMA and combine with redevelopment of Hillview/City Hall to create a civic/performing arts center downtown. [Lalahpolitico: Is CSMA willing to move? Let the city decide the architecture for the performing arts center? Would CSMA own part of the civic center then? land and building like they do now on San Antonio?]

Look for land that we can lease long-term. May need to develop agreements on who owns the building on that land. However, this is cheaper than buying land.
-subcomment: industrial space a possiblity
-subcomment post-it note: Good idea maybe lease to own.

As a Santa Clara County School, BCS can move outside of LASD. There are many more sites available outside of our school district, like Grant school on Holt(?) Road and pretty affordable. [Lalahpolitico: 3 Pinnochios. LASD can provide Prop 39 facilities to BCS only WITHIN the LASD boundaries or on a contiguous  out-of-LASD site. ]

Just below the above… Give them $100M to acquire land and go build the school they want.
Post it: Be sure to first deduct all of the LASD court and attorney fees before giving them any $$$.

just below that “ BCS can’t move outside of the district….’ [illegible]

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LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Build small NEC school as STEM or G/T magnet and BCS to accommodate growth and encourage event more innovation.

Take over preschool and other private schools on LASD land like the Waldorf private school and Stepping Stones pre-school to use for District offices or small District magnet schools.

Build new site for BCS on 1 piece of land

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

LASD Trustee’s Scenario 3  PLUS purchase of Rosita.

Reboundary whole school district so Los Altos=LASD, Mountain View = MV schools [?MVWhisman?] Cupertino = Cupertino schools. [Lalahpolitico: This person must be from the East Coast and not be familiar with State of California Dept. of Education and how Municipalities are created. Dear Partcipant: Please  Buy this Voter Guide to get grounded in how California government is organized.]

Use Hillview or ALL existing city owned property

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LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

 

Scenario A: Look at existing land that district already owns and is leasing to other private entities. Think creatively. Could move District and special needs and pre-school and full day TK to…

Below the above: if can’t put a full school there could supplement other scenarios to create space for a new site or could be the new site.

Reclaim land leased out by LASD ( Waldorf, private preschools)

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Reclaim Hillview: share Hillview, central location, minimizes crowding

School – add community school in LA MV

Reconfigue grade leveling at campus for k-5 and for 6-8

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Partner with Los Altos – Build on the 18 acres, balance a new school and a community center. Attendee Comments : 1) This serves all community because the fight will end. 2) Access, Traffic Parking?  3) Community center needs to serve all the community: recreation, pool, senior; then is there room for a school? 4) Put some of that community use at underutilized Grant Park.

Build a permanent school on Egan/Blach [or?] : this doesn’t disrupt any families [Lalahpolitico: except BCS families]

Convert to 6,7,8 at Egan,Covington,Blach; put BCS [?alone?] at 1 of Egan,Covington,Blach. Redraw attendance boundaries for the 5 remaining tk-5 schools [tk is transitional kindergarten, the year before kindergarten]

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Move District Offices to Waldorf {Eastbrook site } or the Egan Camp site.

Covington kids shouldn’t be displaced for BCS; Many school communities will be  disrupted. [Lalahpolitco: most scenarios placing BCS at Covington leave the Covington community there, and advocate for only dividing the land and are not disrupting the Covington Community except for noise during construction.  Could that be mostly during a summer? ]

Rosita Park = School Site. Comments: need community support; open to sharing Rosita Park even during school hours; Neighbors will object; bureaucracy.

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Build small NEC school as STEM or G/T magnet AND BCS to accommodate growth

Take back all preschool is on LASD, like Waldorf, use for district offices or small magnet school.

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

Reboundary whole school district so that City of Los Altos = LASD, City of MV – MVWhisman, Cupertino = Cupertino.

Have City Council and School District work together to solve this issue.

Take over Hillview or all of exisiting city owned property {? the whole civic center 18 acres. }

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

CONCLUSIONS:

This focus group approach has forced particpants to present their often complex multipart scenario on a little card and even littler post it notes. The District says, “Keep it to 30 words folk!” Please, please at least give people a microphone and powerpoint and 2- 5 minutes! Lalahpolitico and the public at large deserve to hear the complete story each person could tell, not these little teasers.  These teasers are way less informative than an elevator pitch!

Lalahpolitico is so sad that the “Town Hall on Measure N” that John Swan first proposed in March in a guest column in the Los Altos Town Crier was replaced by this April 22 Conteneo carnival cruise.  Thank you to all participants for showing up for the carnival cruise. I wrote this post in an attempt to honor your participation.  Soon your efforts will put in the Conteneo analysis blender: Lalahpolitco wonders what kind of  “findings” cocktail the public will be served.

LASD April 22 Community Meeting - another small group works on it's proposed options for facilities

LASD April 22 Community Meeting – another small group works on it’s proposed options for facilities

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

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