Opinion Schools

Moving Egan Makes Sense

LASD Demographer map of k-8 students by census block
Moving Egan to where the kids are concentrated now and in the future makes sense
Written by David Roode

The inconvenient truth is that…calling Egan a ‘neighborhood’ school is absurd.

To illustrate, I took the district demographer hot map of student residences and cut out the Blach Junior High attendance area.  Attached is where the students feeding into Egan Junior High currently reside. Hardly any are right near to Egan.  The current high concentration is already in the new location at the Kohl’s 10th site.  That concentration is only going to go up.  All this noise, and no one talks about the ‘neighborhood’ in the new location.  That’s where the students are.

David Roode’s Letter to the
LASD Board of Trustees

I support your decision to relocate Egan Junior High to the new site you are trying to buy, as first suggested as an option by Margaret Abe-Koga of the Mountain View city council.  What you are missing in public statements is the fact that it will be near a majority of its students, with a minority coming from Los Altos.  I am mindful that the purchase might still fall through, and there are ways to deal with that eventuality, but if you do get the land for almost nothing, this is the best plan to use it.

I think your messaging has been poor, and you are incorrectly invoking disparaging remarks about the Charter school when trying to explain the Egan plan to the community. In fact, their existence helps in many ways, but basically, it is a neutral side issue.  (Without the charter school, your best option might be to open two elementary schools on the Egan site both to serve parts of the North of El Camino area and the Los Altos side of ECR.  Those would be quite expensive for you to operate.  Maybe the existence of the Charter school has helped to get a reasonable future for the NEC area.)  Here is how I would message the plan you have put forward:

The new location for Egan is a 12-acre area coming from Federal Realty. It is essentially, the California Avenue side piece of land formed by splitting their property by the Hetch Hetchy easement between Showers and Pacchetti. Taken together with the Hetch Hetchy land, it will be a 13.5 acre piece of low-density development amidst a lot of new residential development occurring in the area. Greystar, Prometheus and others are building 2000 new apartments over the next 5 years, and then beyond that directly adjacent on the rest of the Federal Realty property there are plans for another 2000 new apartments as well.

Taken together with the Hetch Hetchy land, Egan will be on a 13.5 acre piece of low-density development amidst a lot of new residential development occurring in the area.

The new residential construction in that area has nothing to do with any charter school. The LASD demographer has documented the beginning of a massive shift in the location of the LASD student population. Planning ahead 5 years is a smart and responsible thing to do.

Large LASD demographer's mpa

A closer look at the Demographer’s map. Click or Double Click for a larger view. Click the browser back button to close the map page and return to this article page.[Note: the LASD Egan attendance area extends off the map, southwest into the very sparsely populated area up to Skyline.]

By the time this move happens in 2025, Egan Junior High School will most likely have a majority of its students come from this area. Student density in Los Altos has actually decreased and we know the number of kids aged 1 to 12 years at the present. Their numbers are 25% lower aged 1 to 10 than the past population feeding Egan. The only reason Egan won’t shrink more in size is the new population around the new school location.

Some can argue that the elementary schools will see this change too, but it’s a little uneven. As currently assigned, The Crossings and Old Mill Condos are the group that attend Covington, and there are no new buildings in that area. So Covington will in fact decline in population. But Santa Rita and Almond will both see a similar change to where a majority of both of their populations will come from the area around the new Junior High. LASD believes in small schools. The only way to keep a small elementary school to serve this area is to continue the current trick of sharing 3 elementary schools with Los Altos. A new elementary school in the area would need to serve 700+ K-6 students, which LASD has constantly said is too large. No one should be surprised about this. Also, without those 700 students, the LASD schools Covington, Santa Rita, and Almond would all get to be very small. Cost pressures would argue for consolidating them into fewer schools, i.e. to truly close one of them.

Moving Egan Makes Sense

So the real story is that the future location of Egan is being targeted at the majority of its students, with a brand new $88 Million school facility complex being built on the land arranged by the Mountain View TDR’s. It only makes sense



Looking for more data?



Lalahpolitico: Another Map

Walking radius around the current Egan School on Portola Ave.

1/2 mile is considered the walking radius around a school.  The current location on Portola Ave. does not well serve the highest concentration of students in NEC  by the Crossings area.


About the author

David Roode

David Roode is a Los Altos resident who has been closely observing
the Los Altos School District for 10 years.