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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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LASD loses Sunnyvale-site bid; district, BCS may meet


Photo By:
Smith

The Los Altos School District lost its bid to purchase the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale last week, prompting officials to focus on other options for additional school sites.

The district pursued the Sunnyvale property with the intention of refurbishing it with bond funds and relocating Bullis Charter School to the campus. The Sunnyvale City Council June 12 voted to reject the district’s bid and begin negotiations for the Raynor site with the Stratford School.

Bullis Charter School balked at the Raynor site, located more than 3 miles outside school district boundaries and more than 7 miles from the charter school’s Egan Junior High School campus.

In conjunction with its bid on the Sunnyvale site, the Los Altos School District filed a lawsuit requesting that the court certify the district’s right to place the charter school outside district boundaries. District Board of Trustees President Doug Smith said the district still plans to move forward with the lawsuit.

“The question in front of the court is broader than just the Raynor site,” he said. “It asks the courts to declare the legality around placing Bullis Charter School outside district boundaries. Getting an answer to this question is worth doing.”

Charter school officials, who filed a countersuit to block the district’s proposal to move the charter school outside district boundaries, remain opposed to the district’s bid on Raynor and its ensuing lawsuit.

“This is a public relations, legal and financial disaster of the Los Altos School District’s own creation,” said Joe Hurd, charter school board member. “The trustees own this.”

Hurd said that rather than meet with the charter school’s board to discuss long-term options, the district continues to pursue legal redress.

“Their bid … wasn’t the winning bid because the only interests served here are those of the (district) trustees, not the Los Altos taxpayers, not the citizens of Sunnyvale and most of all not the children of Los Altos – the very people whose interest the trustees are supposed to promote and protect,” he said.

Finding a new site

The district formed a committee to research possibilities for a 10th site. Members have met throughout the year but choose to keep their interest in various sites private for negotiating purposes.

District Trustee Tammy Logan, who serves on the committee, said that while she expects members to meet over the summer, nothing is scheduled to date.

“The committee has identified some interesting sites, but given the litigation initiated by Bullis Charter School concerning Raynor, we have had very limited discussion,” Logan wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “A reply by the court concerning whether the district may legally offer a facility outside of the district will help us better focus our efforts.”

A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments in the two suits regarding the Raynor site and the district’s right to place the charter school outside district boundaries the week of July 22.

Smith said district trustees have authorized staff to conduct discussions about potential properties.

“Conversations about other properties, both within and outside the district, are being pursued,” he said, and the timeline is moving “as fast as we can.”

Smith added that the district has yet to bid on other properties, and many sites on the district’s list of interest are not currently for sale.

District, charter school meeting

The Los Altos School District’s Enrollment Task Force last month released a report that emphasized the need for two new campuses to accommodate student growth and the importance of working in tandem with the Bullis Charter School board.

Smith said he reached out to charter school officials with a request that the two boards meet to discuss the task force’s findings.

“We want to move forward together with the charter school board for a permanent solution in regards to the task force recommendations,” he said.

Hurd also approached the district to jump-start the facilities allocation process for the 2014-2015 school year. The annual negotiating process typically begins in September.

Smith responded that the district would consider entering the facilities process early. Hurd is zeroing in on a date that would work for both boards, most likely over the summer.

“If Los Altos School District trustees want to have conversations, we can talk to the lawyers,” Hurd said. “We can agree that anything that is discussed cannot wind up in court – a legal cone of silence. The litigation is the past – let’s talk about the future.”

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