LASD School Board to Ram Through RE Purchase

The LASD School Board is posed to begin purchase of 5150 El Camino
Written by lalahpolitico

Nov. 11, 2016 —  The delay in spending Measuring N capital bond money may be over!  Hurray or not?  The LASD School board delayed, delayed, and delayed until the GG parcel tax passed. They delayed until Bryan Johnson was elected Trustee by what will probably will be a narrow margin of victory over the independent candidate, Tanya Raschke.

[See LATC article at the very end of this post or online]


Sadly, the School Borg is pursuing the too small, inappropriately located 5150 El Camino site.  They have timed this announcement and School Borg open meeting discussion of the item for Monday, Nov. 14. This is when many members of the community may be out of town for an extended Veterans Day weekend.  Sneaky and coldly calculating or not? We have 60 days to “give comment”…60 days when everyone is busy with Thanksgiving and winter religious holidays!

Will they even have a sketch of a plan of what they are going to do with 5150? Will they address simple questions like 1) Are you land banking it and for how long? Will the rent income of the offices cover the holding costs? 2) Is it for a 400-500 student district school for North of El Camino and Almond areas…which will be built when? 3) Is if for a Bullis Charter Schools for 900 students…which will be built asap? 4) or what?  Or are they going to say they need to take 60 days to decide which of the above?  That would be sooooo evasive…again.

The meeting on Monday starts at 7 pm, and the discussion item is likely to start around 8 pm.  Location: Covington School Board Room.  Full Schedule.

Bullis Charter School Tenth Site 5150 El Camino, at 4 acres the smallest site with the worst access every considered

5150 El Camino, at not quite 4 acres the smallest site with the worst traffic access ever considered by LASD, could be completely purchased by mid-January 2017.


 UPDATE Nov. 13, 2016 — More Questions

0. Besides potentially getting the District embroiled in 5150 Elegant Camino purchase, without any long-term plan the covers all campuses…

1. Because the  site is located in the City of Los Altos, the Trustees seem to be walking away from the $26 million in developer “parks” fees, that Mountain View City Council said could be applied to a park at a new LASD school…if it were located in Mountain View of course.

2. Perhaps LASD will try to get the 5150 site which in the City of Los Altos annexed to the City of Mountain View which is on the east boundary of the site.  There is precedent for this land switching cities.  Six homes on Jardin, formerly in the City of Mountain View, switched allegiance to the City of Los Altos a couple of months ago.

3. Although a school district is altogether exempt from city zoning, LASD trustees in the past have made noises that they prefer to be sensitive to local zoning and neighbors.  In the case of 5150 El Camino, if the District were to adhere to Los Altos zoning in place for El Camino, the 3rd and 4th stories of their envisioned 100,000 square foot complex would need a 100 foot rear setback.  Can one get a 100,000 sq. feet on the parcel with that setback?  Perhaps.  Probably any tiny park/playground would be in the rear.  A park like that would not be very useful to the public outside of school hours, because it is quite inaccessible. What do the residential neighbors on Casita think of this?

4.  60 days for the due diligence analysis is rather short.  I suppose the soil testing engineers and labs just keep going through the holidays, so that could work.  But the traffic study that will be required is another matter.

Let me reiterate. Does it make sense to schedule one through the holidays?  And due diligence should include community input, should it not.

Are the trustees chosing the holidays for this gambit in order to suppress community objections?  Of course. The summer and the winter holidays are the worst times to try to get parent or broader community input.  We’re busy! We’re out of town! It is unfair to open this alleged “discussion” with this timing.  Start the 60 days on January 10.

5. What are the total costs of a new school on this site?  The deal will be for $39 million.  If the office tenants need to be removed promptly, it could cost $10 million to buy out their leases?  What are the construction costs? Will there need to be expensive underground parking?  What part of Measure N $150 Million will left to pay for the $300M to $450M of repairs and upgrades on existing campuses?

Purchasing 5150 El E Camino –
Nov. 14 Meeting Agenda Extract

8:00 PM – Real Estate Purchase
Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board of Trustees will consider execution of a purchase and sale agreement for the acquisition of property located at 5150 El Camino Real, Los Altos. If the agreement is approved, the District will have a 60-day period during which the suitability of the property for development as a school site will be evaluated and assessed. Community input regarding these matters will be invited during this feasibility period. Prior to the end of the 60-day period, the District may terminate the agreement and receive the return of its entire deposit. (Mr. Kenyon) [45 minutes – Action]
A. Measure N Update
B. Resolution 16/17-10
C. Purchase and Sale AgreementLalahpolitico:  The School Borg wasted no time in making its move…. after stalling for 6 months waiting till after the election.  They scheduled this very important discussion for next Monday, Nov. 14,  a day many people may take off for an extended Veterans Day weekend.  Somehow the Los Altos Town Crier knew about this agenda item Thursday night, in order to write the article about it.  I checked my email this Friday morning and do not yet have the routine agenda email linking to the agenda for the Monday School Borg meeting. If they announced it to the LATC Thursday, they should have sent out the agenda at the same time so people could change their travel plans.

Line of Credit for 5150 El E Camino Earnest Money –
Nov. 14 Agenda Extract

9:05 PM – Wells Fargo line of credit for RE Purchase
Quick Summary / Abstract:
As required under the “Agreement Between Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School for a Multi-Year Charter School Facilities Solution and for Resolution and Cessation of Existing Legal Proceedings” the District has provided additional facilities for the charter school over the last two years to address enrollment growth. The District previously has used proceeds from a line of credit with Wells Fargo Bank to pay for these facilities and needs additional proceeds to make final payments for the work done this past summer. Additionally the District may need funds for down payment on a site purchase. This resolution enables the District to borrow up to $3 million against the line of credit. (Mr. Kenyon) [10 minutes – Action]
A. Resolution 16/17-09


Bill James, Los Altos School District parent

Bill James harangues City Council members Jan Pepper and Mary Prochow who visited the Almond School multi-purpose room. Show is Jane Reed who was the meeting MC.

Packing the Measure N COC with hard-liners –
Nov. 14 Agenda Extract

9:15 PM – Bill James to replace Speiser on COC for Measure N
Quick Summary / Abstract:
The Board of Trustees will consider the appointment of a nominee to a position on the Citizens Oversight Committee. (Mr. Kenyon) [10 minutes – Action]
Staff recommends appointing Bill James to the district’s bond program Citizens Oversight Committee, as a replacement for Jessica Speiser, in the role of parent who is also an active PTA member.

Left to Right: Jane Reed, Mary Prochow, Jan Pepper. Los Altos School District . Almond School. Los Altos City Council

Left to Right: [Jane Reed,] Mary Prochow, Jan Pepper. Two Los Altos City Council members at Almond School

Lalahpolitico:  Believe me when I say Bill James is a hardliner. For example… last time I saw him was when two LA City Council members visited Almond School, as emissaries of the now defunct Joint City-School Public Lands subcommittee. Bill gave  Jan Pepper and Mary Prochow a real earful.  I expect someday he’ll be “recruited” for the School Borg.

LATC page online as of 8am Nov. 11, 2016

screen shot of an LATC article

About the author


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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