Is LASD neglecting needed repairs on 9 schools?

Los Altos School District, repairs needed at 9 existing schools
Let's remember to spread the Measure N bond money around among ALL the schools
Written by lalahpolitico

People can agree to disagree about whether the District really “needs to acquire new land” for a 10th school, but it’s been clear since 2013 that there are $150+M worth of needed repairs on the 9 existing schools. The data below is from LASD’s most recent Asset Reserve Analysis (ARA) study dated September, 2013.

In 2014-15, the Facilities Master Plan Committee (FMPC) considered the ARA report on the $150+M repairs and combined it with a PTA council report on $150+M of desired infrastructure improvements at the existing schools. This means that the FMPC has documented ~$300M of needs and wants at existing schools, BEFORE considering costs of acquiring new land and replacing BCS portables with construction.  Where is the budget, the planning for $300M?  What happened to prioritization of repairs vs. new projects?

Table:  Repairs by School over 30 years

LASD repairs table 30 years

Present value of 30 years of anticipated repairs costs

The present value of anticipated repairs is $159M and exceeds the size of the $150M Measure N bond passed in 2014. Not surprisingly, the largest sites, the junior high sized campuses – Blach 24. 5, Covington 24.7 , and Egan 24.0 — need the most repairs.  Among the oldest k-6 sites, Almond 20.8  and Springer 17.3 are rather needy.

Noteworthy is that Covington — which is a jr. high campus being run as a k-6 — has outsized repairs per student: $44M per student compared to next highest – Springer – at $34M per student. Lalahpolitico has complained about “Covington Privledge” many times before, and I’ll call it out again right here.

Chart: Repairs by School over 30 years,  $Millions

Million of dollars of anticipated maintenance per school over 30 years.


Table: Repairs by School by decade

Time line of needed repairs. The columns are cumulative.

Because of inflation of money and because of deterioration of assets with age, it is not surprising that the value of needed repairs increase by decade. The table rows values are cumulative.  For example for Almond in the first decade there are 3.8M of repairs, in the second decade 5.7M of repairs, and in the third decade 11.3M of repairs, for a 30 year total of $20.8M.

Chart: Asset – Acres per site

The junior high sized campuses – Blach, Covington and Egan are pretty much equal in acres. Covington Jr. High was closed as a school in the 1970’s, but LASD  rented it out to preschools till early 1990’s.  That’s when Covington was remodeled and reopened as a k-6.   The City cooperated with the reopening 1)  by buying the land a Catholic school gym used to stand on thereby creating the ~3 acre Rosita Park adjacent to Covington and 2) by  allowing LASD to moving its storage yard from Covington to the City yard on Fremont. [Update Jan. 21, 2018: The history of the storage yard has been corrected with the help of a reader.]

According to the consultant who prepared the ARA report, the k-6 schools are all nearly identical in acres. [Lalahpolitico: I have seen Gardner reported as less than 9 acres. Unlike the other schools, Gardner is on a hill, so perhaps there are useable vs, unuseable sq. feet?]

Table: Worksheet – Enrollment, Assets

Recent enrollment, Growth rate of enrollment, stock of capital assets – land, buildings, turf, blacktop – needing maintenance. Does NOT include portables.

As LosAltosPolitico has reported here and here, enrollments are pretty much flat at LASD schools and way up at Bullis Charter School. In the table above it is interesting to look at the assets — acres, building, turf, blacktop — at each school. These are the assets that need repairs and maintenance over the decades.


Chart: Asset – Permanent Buildings, excludes portables

Although among the k-6 schools there is acre equality, apparently there is a difference in buildings. My information is that this does not include portables, which I understand are considered consumables, not assets.


Table: MV Whisman School District Flat Enrollment

Mountain View is also experiencing flat enrollments. We do not have info on their assets at this time.

It is interesting to see that MV Whisman has even flatter enrollment than LASD. Less child bearing? More private school attendance? Rents and housing prices too high to afford family formation? Who knows? It is clear that the office and jobs growth in MV so far has not created a big jump in student enrollment. However, the district has opened a former closed school and done some redraw of attendance areas. It is unclear how that affects the situation.

Lalahpolitico Analysis

Two Points – 1.Budget Contraints on repairs or on new projects? 2.Forecast Doubt?

1.This post is a reminder to all citizens  that the $150 Measure N bond money budget needs to spread around to existing schools.  The $300M magnitude of the repairs, needs and wants the FMPC found at the 9 existing schools does make the idea of resuse the existing 116 acres land and the redraw of attendance boundaries sound sane.

On the other hand, if LASD can get the Old-Mill Safeway for nearly freewell let’s see. If LASD is going to need an army of expensive lawyers…well let’s see.

2.The flat enrollments in MVWhisman make we wonder if the LASD demographer’s “F High” forecasts are going to occur. Perhaps the “F Low” line is happening. Why not just keep the NEC students spread among the 3 schools – Santa Rita, Almond, Covington/Springer – like now?

#LASDk8 student enrollment forecast, Los Altos School District, 10th site,

In 2014, in the run up to the $150m Measure N bond election, the consulting demographer made 3 forecast scenarios– blue, red, green



.xls spreadsheet LaLa Data


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.