Schools

10th Site Advisory Task Force – Data Diggers, not Advisors

Board hopes to distract the public with the antics of yet another 10th site committee - even more powerless than all the others.
Written by lalahpolitico

The highlight of the Jan. 22, 2018 Los Altos School District trustee meeting was discussion of the formation of a “10th site Advisory Task Force.” There will be two 10th site processes moving forward in parallel to rivet the public’s attention.  1) The process of purchase  /or eminent domain to acquire the Old Mill Safeway site. 2) A string of meetings of a brand new “10th Site Advisory Task Force” to help assess uses/occupants of the site.

Superintendent Jeff Baier was seeking the Trustees input on how he should assemble a 10th site Advisory Task Force group of 8 members to help review the design possibilities for the selected 10th site – Old Mill Safeway.  Their deliverable would NOT BE A RECOMMENDATION, but rather a “data set” that would inform the board.  The deliverable would not be “pros and cons” because according to Superintendent Baier, those are ”too emotional.”

Later on the board will use the 10th site Advisory Task Force dataset(s), but also other “pieces of new data”,  to reach a design decision on the use of the 10th site, Old Mill Safeway. Other “pieces of data” might include another round of online Conteneo surveys as suggested by Trustee Sangeeth Peruri. Board Chair Vladamir Ivanovich suggested looking at other “online apps which allow entities to ask complicated questions of the general public. “We can chose how to frame things and how to craft the lead-up to the questions.”

Trustee Vladimir Ivanovich, thought the 10th site Advisory Task Force should use Rosenberg’s rules of order so that “everyone would be heard.”  But Superintendent Baier and the rest of the board agreed that a “skilled facilitator” could ensure that as well; and importantly, a facilitator could prevent members doing “oration” to an audience.


FOUR DESIGN OPTIONS
for Old Mill Safeway

Four “design” options  as suggested in the staff report are

1) NEC neighborhood school

2) Bullis Charter School

3) a magnet school

4) other alternatives including combinations of the above

Trustee Vladimir Ivanovich imagined an interesting alternative — a “community school.”  It would provide a longer school day, a longer school year with “wrap around around services.”  Trustee Sangeeth Peruri elaborated…it could be a neighborhood school but with many more after school services and even  “social services.” [Lalahpolitico: I suppose these would be county-provided intervention services? Free daycare of course. Free student breakfasts and lunches?  A basic family health-wellness clinic with immunizations? Parenting classes? Substance abuse prevention & treatment? Domestic violence prevention & counseling? ]

Lalahpolitco: Emeryville, Ca. built such a school for its “demographic” that included student & parent health services, right at the school.


LASD trustees expressed repeatedly how important “equity” is to LASD. Lalahpolitico: I fear that equity is in the eye of the beholder. Will we know it when we see it? Photo: LatinBayArea.com. A Day of the Dead event.

Equity, Demographics, NEC focus, Latino

Trustee Vladimir Ivanovich suggested asking City of MV to help reach out to the Latino community to inform them about the Trustees upcoming deliberations.

Trustee Sangeeth Perui wanted the District to do a survey of current LASD parents residing in NEC who are now sending their kids to Almond, Santa Rita and Covington.  “Do they prefer a neighborhood school there or not?”

Trustee Vladamir Ivanovich felt this list of potential member types on the 10th Site Advisory Task Force was “too light” on persons from the NEC area.

Trustee Bryan Johnson wanted the City Council of MV to select not just a  MV City-wide rep [Lalahpolitico: perhaps one from the MVWhisman area which is “receiving” the TDR growth]  but also to select the MV NEC rep.

Lalahpolitico: Bryan’s idea to let the City of MV pick the NEC person sounds good to me. The staff document that plans for the 10th site Advisory Task Force suggests that to represent the NEC area  the District select someone from an neighborhood association where the name written in the staff report does not exist. Staff probably meant the Greater San Antonio Community Assn.  – which is a misnomer as that association represents only about ¼ of the area of NEC. GSACA is  packed with persons who have since 2012 have been busy tilting the “enrollment growth” solution process in ways that protect its Home Owners Association property interests. See map below.

Map of the boundaries of the Greater San Antonio Association relative to the NEC part of the Los Altos School District LASD

The green shaded areas are residential parts of NEC that are NOT included in the 2014 resident survey created by the GSACA. FYI, LASD boundaries in NEC are Ortega to the east, the railroad to the north, and Monroe to the west. Some of Monroe is City of Palo Alto. GSACA should not be representing the NEC, because they don’t!  They are more affluent and better educated than some of the “demographic.”

Steve Taglio disagreed with Peruri that a survey should be done of NEC parents. Instead he recommended reaching out to citizens of MV using online Conteneo – which he described as  a “facilitated” approach. [Lalahpolitico: you know, an approach which gets the answers the bosses wants.]


Recalling “Issues” with the FMPC

Several board members as well as staff reminisced about “issues” with Facilities Master Plan Committee of 2014-2015.

LASD Superintent Baier proposes 8 members for the 10th Site Advisory Task Force. Staff represented by Randy Kenyon, a person chosen by the City MV, a person chosen by Bullis Charter, a person chosen by a the Greater San Antonio (!) Community Association. Plus 4 more chosen by the Board.

Right Sizing

1.With 30 members, the FMPC  was “too big”.  Lesson Learned: for the 10th Site Advisory group,  Superintendent Jeff Baier suggested 8 members, but agreed 6 to 10 could be workable.  Vladimir Ivanovich suggested cutting the BCS rep because “they don’t have the best interests of the district in mind.”

Sangeeth Peruri disagreed with Vladamir Ivanovich. “I don’t fault BCS for that.  It’s their job to look at their own interests. The district has to be aware of how what we do may affect the interests of other entities like the City of MV and BCS.”

Steve Taglio said,  “If we add a rep, we have to drop a rep.”

Sangeeth Peruri suggested doubling up roles… that the “Los Altos School District parent rep” could also be a person who represented LAEF . [Lalahpolitico: Perhaps choose Laura Texler, VP of the LAEF board, who made a public comment at the meeting suggesting LAEF should have a rep.]

Carol Simpson, CartoonWorks,com

LASD Board members agreed they don’t want any dissenting opinion from the upcoming 10th Site Advisory Committee. Actually they don’t want any opinion, nor any listing of pros & cons. They only want datasets. Lalahpolitico: Can 8 people agree on what the non-fake, accurate, representative, and complete “data” really are?

Distracting “Minority” Noise

2.Peruri asked for clarification if there would be a minority report  out of this new 10th site Advisory Task Force or not. The 2014-15 FMPC committee had filed a “minority report” saying  more or less “We did not agree to that! “ [Lalahpolticio: The FMPC  facilitators were skilled but only local volunteers and staff. The minority was able to push back with “We want to be heard.” The substance of what the minority report says is that the District should evaluate and pursue a 10th site, but in parallel to also evaluate using existing land – perhaps Covington, Egan Blach]

 

Sangeeth Peruri continued, “Suppose a minority said we prefer you put a circus there vs. X. ” Are we going to accept that?

Superintendent Jeff Baier assured Sangeeth Peruri and the rest of the board that the 10th site Advisory Task Force deliverable was only “datasets,” not recommendations, because the latter are “too emotional.”  Thus, there is no way to receive a minority report.

Peruri continued, asking for clarification on the deliverables. “ Perhaps some site designs increase traffic a lot.”  Perhaps some don’t.  Superintendent Jeff Baier again clarified that the Task Force mission was to create data, not recommendations. In the case of traffic, the 10th Site Advisory Task Force could delineate traffic mitigations, those are data.  Lalahpolitico: There still is no plan for a real traffic engineering measurement/assessment–not at Old Mill Safeway, not at an alternative backup site like Covington School. The TDR – Eminent Domain gambit could fail. But what, me worry? Nah.

Mitigations for traffic can be listed by the Task Force for each of the 4 or 5 use designs for Old Mill Safeway. But there is no plan to consult a traffic engineering professional for a real study.

Sangeeth Peruri’s “Data Sets” Wish List

Sangeeth Peruri then rattled off a long list of subjects where the 10th site Advisory Task Force could potentially provide/develop data:

Logistics –  how to transition from now to the 3, 4 or 5 alternatives, i.e., staging, including possibly moving to a middle school model at Egan and Blach

Timing –  which transitions are shorter or longer duration

Capital cost – [lalah: using up of Measure N funds]

Operating costs – [lalah: who pays for keeping the lights on at Old Mill Safeway? They used to say it cost $300K a year to keep a school open. Perhaps it is lower now because of the new solar power arrays. ]

Changes to existing Los Altos School District communities – reboundarying




Equity impact – [lalah: impact on vulnerable groups?]

Demographic impact – [lalah: almost the same as equity?]

oh and traffic mitigations – [ lalah: but there is to be no attempt to measure traffic and say one option has more traffic than the other and that that difference is important. The board will judge what is important and what is not. ]

Obtain detailed historical BCS enrollment by home address – Sangeeth Peruri: “BCS has been in 2 and 3 different [location/grade] configurations [over the last decade] in LASD…how has that affected where attendance is coming from in each of those years? That affects traffic.” [Lalahpolitico: Los Altos School District will probably need to subpoena the County for those old, old lists. If those haven’t been tossed by a 2 yr. retention policy? Privacy, privacy, privacy.  BCS already supplies current enrollment by address info to the District for the purposes of sharing in the GG parcel tax.

10th Site Traffic Mitigation Proposed by Lalahpolitico

Gray circles are exisitng driveways onto the site. But LaLahPolitico suggests using the driveway along Pachetti Way. If a driver avoids San Antonio, El Camino and California Street, he will avoid much of the congestion.

 

Single Majority? Consensus? Version of Whole Truth

3. Peruri complained,  “People tell me all the time that they don’t remember the FMPC saying this or that.  ‘ I don’t remember it that way.  You are mischaracterizing the process and the result.'” Therefore Peruri, wants a very public record this time around.

LASD Trustee Peruri wants the 10th Site Advisory Committee Meeting to be video and audio taped. Other board members agree.

Sangeeth Peruri’s Transparency Wish List

Peruri went on to ask that — unlike with the FMPC —  with this new task force, all data and materials will be available online, not just on paper.  Superintendent Jeff Baier gently pointed out that in fact everything from the FMPC had been posted digitally online at the time and is still online. [Lalahpolitico: It is true that Los Altos School District meeting material was posted online after, generally not before meetings.  Posting afterwards is not unusual with an ad hoc committees. I don’t think we should expect them to adhere to the Brown Act?]  All that tons of stuff is now here.

Peruri went on to request that unlike with the FMPC, the meetings be videoed and audio taped.

Lalahpolitico wants to point out to Peruri that I shot video of several of the final meetings and they are here. The associated posts are in the online LosAltosPolitico archive if you search.


FMPC Meeting Dec. 3, 2014

This is a video of the activity of the LASD FMPC at it’s 7th meeting Dec. 2, 2014. It is my first in about two years and shows rusty videography skills. My second video of the Dec. 17 meeting is much better technically and has an interesting “brainstorming” session. If you just want a…

LASD Facilities Master Plan Committee – Meeting Dec. 3, 2014 from Norma Schroder on Vimeo.


 

FMPC Meeting Dec. 17, 2014

This is the proceedings of the eighth meeting of the committee, including an interesting brainstorming session, review of the timeline for the bond sale and schedule for hiring of project professionals and for the finalizing of the Citizens’ Oversight Committee (Bond Measure N). RECOMMENDED VIEWING 27:10

Los Altos School District – Facilities Master Plan Committee – Dec. 17, 2014 Meeting from Norma Schroder on Vimeo.


Meeting Jan. 7, 2015

At the prior meeting, parent, resident and staff participants brainstormed a couple dozen new facilities solution ideas. At this meeting, committee participants “pitched their favorite brainstormed facilities “solution ideas” to the whole committee. Then committee members cast five votes…

Los Altos School District FMPC Meeting Jan, 8, 2015 from Norma Schroder on Vimeo.

 


Jan. 21, 2015 meeting

10th meeting of the Facilities Master Plan Committee (FMPC) on Jan. 21, 2015 in Los Altos, California. SUMMARY: Apparently word got out to the public about the results of the 9th meeting, wherein the “committee voted” to pursue evaluation of just 4 “brainstormed” options for accommodating…

 


Resources:

LASD Materials from the FMPC as saved by LASD. https://www.lasdschools.org/District/7239-Facilities-Master-Plan-Committee-Meetings.html

Here is the LASD FMP Committee Meeting Page.  The early meetings were mainly “lectures” from various experts…for training, information, “data” delivery to the 30 volunteers. Sept., 10,  Sept. 24, Oct. 15, Oct 22,  Nov. 12, Nov. 19. Lalahpolitico believes these were “factual” in nature.

Lalahpolitico: Starting with the Dec. 3 meeting, the District starts putting the choke collars on the volunteers.  The volunteers deliberation process for “exploring options for accommodating growth” starts to be very, very, very tightly managed by the facilitators…look for yourself on these videos. Yes I left out parts of the meeting – the paint drying parts where individual members walked around writing on post notes, pasting them on relevant poster boards, and reading other members post it notes already on the boards.

Sadly the FMPC committee process devolved into everyone being heard by post-it note. –Lalahpolitico

 


NEXT STEPS for formation of
the 10th Site Advisory Task Force

 

Steve Taglio LASD trustee

Steve Taglio

Trustees Steve Taglio and Vladamir Ivanovich with work with Superintendent Baier to revise the 10th Site Advisory Task Force planning document – defining its purpose, deliverables, selection of the members mix, etc.   The revised document will be circulated to the City of Mountain View and to Bullis Charter School for their input, and then the document will return to an upcoming board meeting for final approval and implementation.

Lalahpoltico: Bullis Charter School may want to bow out of joining this Task Force. I mean why ask a Charter School rep to design a school to be run by LASD? To design a neighborhood school or a magnet school, or a year-round school with county social services? That’s the purview of the LASD trustees. When the trustees – in their great wisdom – decide/admit that the Old Mill Safeway site should be for all or part of the 900 plus student community, well then of course BCS needs to be involved in planning.

Vladimir Ivanovich LASD Trustee

Vladimir Ivanovich LASD Trustee Los Altos Public Lands Commitee

An Aside: Ivanovich volunteered for the assignment to work with Baier to revise the 10th site Advisory Task Force plan.  Peruri begged off the assignment explaining that “I’m not recusing myself from this, I’m just concerned by the optics.” Then Taglio was drafted.

[Lalahpolitco: As for “optics”, read about Peruri’s 2016 real estate purchase near Old Mill Safeway].  It is interesting that County Supervisor Joe Simitian is pitching a  “teacher housing project” in the Palo Alto, CA area. That suggests to me  that Peruri’s parcel, [and/or another parcel there on Lafayette which like Peruri’s also has Hetch Hetchy easements] could perhaps someday, someway, serve that teacher housing purpose too.  Rentals? Condos with Landed.com financing?]

 

 

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.