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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Bullis Charter School reviews future growth options

After years of spiking enrollment requests, Bullis Charter School officials are reviewing options for school expansion.

The school has added a class per grade per year over the past several years, growing from two sections of each grade to three.

The charter school’s board of directors held a study/work session Sept. 24 to discuss solutions for the increasing needs.

“The demand has increased in all grade levels,” said board member Andrea Eyring. “When we first started the school, it was trickier. Now there is enough demand in all the grades.”

The board explored both short- and long-term options for the school’s future.

One option – maintaining the school’s current growth model – would add only additional sixth- and eighth-grade sections.

To address the number of applicants turned away each year, however, board members proposed revising the growth model to accommodate more students.

A second option, a possibility for the short term, would add one section for grades K-3, leading eventually to four sections per grade.

“We have quite a few siblings wait-listed right now,” said board member Janet Medlin. “We could serve families that are already here by having a new K-3 strand starting next year. Those grades could easily be filled by next year.”

An option for scaled-down growth in the short term would add only one kindergarten section beginning next year, and add a class section per year, capping at four sections of each grade.

Board Chairman Ken Moore said adding one kindergarten section next year might not require more facilities space, as it would be the addition of an afternoon class, for which they already have space on campus.

In the longer term, the board discussed several possibilities for growth. Board members said long-range planning might require a more detailed study that could take more than six months.

One long-term vision, dubbed the “Five-Four model,” would offer five sections for grades K-3 and four sections for grades 4-8, which have slightly larger class sizes.

Another proposal was to duplicate the school’s current three-section model, meaning there eventually would be six sections of each grade. Moore said that growth could be implemented in a number of ways.

A transitional model, eventually adding many more sections, would add two sections each in grades K-5 in addition to the current three sections of K-8.

Moving forward, Moore said the board should consider several factors about the proposed growth models: demand, Proposition 39 (facilities allocation), the funding model, class size, maintaining quality, the specialized teacher component and timing.

“There are great pros to expanding the program,” Medlin said. “We need to makes sure we aren’t compromising the product we are delivering now.”

The Nov. 1 deadline looms for the charter school to report to the district its forecast for in-district students for the 2013-2014 school year.

Moore said the board rescheduled its Oct. 1 meeting to Oct. 8 to allow the Proposition 39 Committee (which deals with the facilities request process each year) more time to look at short-term options. He said another study session on the topic should be discussed at the Oct. 8 meeting.

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