Schools

LASD 10th Site Advisory Task Force – singing same old songs

10th Site Advisory Task Force
The 10th Site Advisory Task Force room shortly before its first meeting
Written by lalahpolitico

Was anyone in the community really expecting anything different than the same old songs? The LASD 10th Site Advisory Task Force held their first two marathon meetings on Friday, May 11, 2018  – 9 am to 3:45 pm and on Saturday, May 12, 2018, from 9 am to 11:45 am. The Saturday meeting was cut short when member Joe Seither – a long-time LASD loyalist –  had to leave for a noon appointment.  The 9 task force members spent a great deal of time in three 3-person sub-groups. When Joe Seither had to leave, the Sat. meeting was ended rather than continued into the scheduled afternoon session with an incomplete subgroup.

Lalahpolitico has links to the audio files which you can download in a google folder.  But I don’t really recommend listening to them.  There are many small group breakouts, many people talking at once, and other audio chaos.  Yet it’s all there for download.  Google Drive folder with .mp3  files.


Key Takeaways from the
First 2 days of the 10th Site
Advisory Task Force

Let me remind readers that the LASD 10th Site Advisory Task Force is supposed to “collect data” so that the trustees can decide between 4 uses for the Safeway/Old Mill site in Mountain View at the corner of San Antonio Road and California Street.  The four uses: 1) Bullis Charter School 900+ students, 2) an LASD run North of El Camino (NEC) neighborhood school with 400 -500 students, 3) a LASD magnet school with 400-500 students, 4) other – perhaps not just a school but other uses. [Read about Task Force Members and the facilitator]

Sandra McGonagle, LASD Superintendent for Instruction, said: “I don’t want to manage a magnet school.”  Lalahpolitico: Oh, so I guess that magnet school option is unlikely to be chosen, eh?

Randy Kenyon. Los Altos School District Superintendent for Business. Los Altos School District, LASD tenth site BCS decision

Randy Kenyon. Los Altos School District Superintendent for Business. Leads discussion of Criteria for 10th School Site selection and setting deadlines for Board decisions

Randy Kenyon, Superintendent for Business, said, “ We can’t have a neighborhood school there because there are too many lower socioeconomic students there.”  Paraphrasing…The school test scores there would be significantly lower than at the other six k-5/6 neighborhood schools.  And furthermore, these kinds of kids do better when mixed in with the better -off kids. [Lalahpolitico note: socioeconomic status is measured by percent of students who are English Language Learners, especially of Spanish, and/or by the percent of students taking a Reduced Price Lunch]. Lalahpolitico: Oh, so I guess that the NEC neighborhood school option is unlikely to be chosen, eh?

Lara Daetz, the last member to join the LASD 10th Site Advisory Task Force, repeatedly told her story of how horrible it was to have her kids’ attendance area change again and again.  She lives in the Mountain View Crossings HOA, and experienced the 3 redraws — from Santa Rita, to Almond, to Covington.  Lalahpolitico: Interesting that Tanya Raschke — 2016 BCS candidate for Trustee who narrowly lost by ~300 votes — also experienced 2 of the 3 Mountain View attendance redraws, but her family won the BCS lottery and went to BCS rather than Covington.

As a Mountain View resident, Daetz is apparently unaware that the Los Altos Hillview Civic Center is scheduled for a ground-up rebuild by 2020.  Daetz said at the 10th Site Advisory Task Force meeting that “Los Altos was so hard for the District to work with” compared to generous Mountain View. Why did Los Altos not let a school be built on Hillview? “Hillview looks like food that’s left out on the counter far too long….peeling…”   (time stamp 1:40:32, Friday afternoon session I think.) 

Staff said when the Safeway/Old Mill deal goes through, it will be 2023 before a new school on Safeway/Old Mill site is ready for occupancy.  Lalahpolitico: Oh, that is a long time.

Superintendent Jeff Baier said that for the purposes of this Task Force, the focus should be on using ONLY new land.  In other words member should just assume that if the Safeway/Old Mill deal were not to be consummated, then the District would just find another site to acquire.   The charter school should just plan on being removed from Egan and Blach. It might take years and years, but that is how this Task Force should think about it. Lalahpolitico: Oh, that is a long time.

The LASD loyalists contingent on the 10th Site Advisory Task Force wants BCS to produce a data sheet of students BY grade BY LASD attendance area…. so that LASD can better plan its potential conversion of Blach and Egan junior highs to a middle school model. {Moving sixth graders to the junior highs.} Lalahpolitico: Why bother if the Safeway/Old Mill deal falls apart


Volunteering vs. Recruitment
of 10th site advisory task force members

The only two volunteers on the LASD 10th Site Advisory Task Force who actually volunteered themselves are Margaret Abe-Koga, representing Mountain View City Council and Jill Jene, representing Bullis Charter School.  Apparently, all the other members were ASKED to apply — aka were actively recruited by staff or trustees. 


Los Altos Politico bottom line:
P(Actual Solution emerging)=.01

The LASD staff, loyalist LASD parents, and former LASD parents on the LASD 10th Advisory Site Task Force, are united in their songs about why the 10th site is best used for BCS and cannot be used for any of the other school type options BECAUSE:

-A magnet school is bad for the district’s uniform, small school  management model

-ELL students/Reduced Lunch students in k-5/6  must be mixed in with students at an advantaged school, not aggregated in their NEC neighborhood, creating one low scoring school which sticks out like a sore thumb. 

-Attendance area redraws are an unthinkable nightmare

Los Altos Politico analysis:
Broken Promises, thus
P(renewed litigation)=.8

The District and BCS are in a period of renegotiation of the 5-year agreement which has avoided litigation these past 4 years.  The District is NOT poised to keep its commitment to site BCS on a permanent, “reasonability equivalent” site…as was promised when BCS worked FOR the $150M Measure N bond. 

Meanwhile, a BCS affiliated group supporting the use of existing land for BCS instead of a new land at a 10th site – Creative Facilities Solutions – has refreshed its message. 


One Bright Spot:

Per Jeff Baier, the District is still planning to use its new online Thought Exchange software to let the public participate in a 10th site online discussion starting in June sometime. The 10th Site Advisory Task Force is not the last word.

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.