Mon10202014

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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BCS response seeks more facilities space

Bullis Charter School responded to the Los Altos School District’s preliminary facilities offer Friday, requesting significantly more space for a larger cohort of students at Blach Intermediate School next year.

The district’s preliminary offer included facilities for 125 in-district students at Blach for the 2013-2014 school year, including five classrooms, a restroom, three extra portables and office space. The district made the offer under the assumption that the charter school would send its sixth- through eighth-grade students to Blach.

Bullis Charter School officials based their counterproposal on the Blach camp school setup from 2004, when the district split the campus so that students from Loyola School could attend during renovations to their school. The counterproposal projects 200 charter school students at Blach and requests a self-contained space, with grade configuration at the charter school’s discretion.

Significantly more space

The charter school’s counteroffer seeks significantly more portables than the preliminary request. Officials are now asking for double the classroom space, from five classrooms to 10; a larger office; a separate teacher workroom and lounge; a multipurpose room; kindergarten classroom space; childcare space; a music room; a library; a service area; janitorial space; a computer lab; an art/science room; a locker room; a flexible-space room; a small-group space; and an additional restroom.

The charter school requested separate portables for all its space needs – a total of 21,600 square feet of additional portable space (i.e., the equivalent of 22.5 additional standard-sized portables) more than the building space provided in the preliminary offer.

The footprint of the charter school’s counterproposal includes the current Stepping Stones Preschool facilities, Blach’s baseball diamond and the shrubbery space at the entrance of the school. The charter school’s proposed map recommends moving the Stepping Stones facilities to another space on the Blach campus. The preschool facility has signed a multiyear lease with the district.

The charter school’s counteroffer also outlines requirements for shared facilities, including exclusive use of the City Gym or Blach multipurpose room 1.5 hours a week, tennis courts and soccer fields 3:30-5 p.m. two days a week and the track 3:30-4:30 p.m. two days a week. Officials also requested two two-week periods when charter school students would have exclusive use of the woodworking room and full-time exclusive use of one science room.

The counterproposal assumes that the Egan campus space allocation will remain the same, with continued use of the Egan music room, and asked for scheduled use of Egan’s City Gym.

List of problems

Charter school officials listed a number of problems with the district’s preliminary offer: the proposal did not include a contiguous site; the Egan site is still not “reasonably equivalent” based on previous court rulings; the district cannot mandate which grades attend which site; the district’s counterprojection of in-district students (the district projects 43 fewer in-district students) underestimates enrollment; and the charter school would lack blacktop space and specialized teaching space for sixth-graders at Blach.

The charter school’s response continued to “demand a contiguous site,” and officials claimed that they did not waive those rights with the counterproposal. The response cited Covington School as “best suited” for the Bullis Charter School program and also maintained that the district should have considered the full Egan campus as an option for the charter school.

The district is scheduled to submit a final facilities offer to the charter school by April 1, at which time charter school officials say their counterproposal expires.

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