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News

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk

E. coli found in Los Altos water indicated breach, but only low risk


Courtesy of Microbe World
Colorized low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria

When E. coli and other bacteria were discovered in some Los Altos water last week, officials from the local water supplier, California Water...

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Schools

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth

BCS hosts Stretch to Kindergarten program for underserved youth


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The six-week, tuition-free Stretch to Kindergarten program, hosted at Bullis Charter School, serves children who have not attended preschool. A teacher leads children in singing about the parts of a butterfly, above.

Local un...

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Community

Google car painting project calls on artists

Google car painting project calls on artists


Google self-driving car

Already known as an innovator in the tech field, Google Inc. is now moving in on the art world.

The Mountain View-based company July 11 launched the “Paint the Town” contest, a “moving art experiment” that invites Califo...

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Sports

Pedaling with a purpose

Pedaling with a purpose


courtesy of
Rishi Bommannan Rishi Bommannan cycled from Bates College in Maine to his home in Los Altos Hills, taking several selfies along the way. He also raised nearly $13,000 for the Livestrong Foundation, which supports cancer patients.

When R...

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Comment

The truth about coyotes: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s recent article on coyotes venturing down from the foothills in search of sustenance referenced the organization Project Coyote (“Recent coyote attacks keep residents on edge,” July 1). Do not waste your time contac...

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Special Sections

Grant Park senior program made permanent

Grant Park senior program made permanent


Photos by Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Local residents participate in an exercise class at the Grant Park Senior Center, above. Betsy Reeves, below left with Gail Enenstein, lobbied for senior programming in south Los Altos.

It all began when Betsy Reev...

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Business

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered

New State Street rug retailer has downtown Los Altos covered


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Los Altos Rug Gallery owner Fahim Karimi stocks his State Street store with a wall-to-wall array of floor coverings.

A new downtown business owner plans to roll out the red carpet – along with rugs of every other color –...

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Books

Book Signings

• Fritz and Nomi Trapnell have scheduled a book-signing party 4-6 p.m. Aug. 1 at their home, 648 University Ave., Los Altos.

Fritz and his daughter, Dana Tibbitts, co-authored “Harnessing the Sky: Frederick ‘Trap’ Trapnell, ...

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People

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

GRACE WILSON FRANKS

Resident of Los Altos

Grace Wilson Franks, our beloved mother and grandmother, left us peacefully on July 16, 2015 just a few weeks short of her 92nd birthday. She was born to Ross and Florence (Cruzan) Wilson in rural Tulare, California on Septem...

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Travel

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories

Gearing up: Make travel more civilized with accessories


Eren Göknar/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco-based humangear Inc. sells totes, tubes and tubs for traveling.

In travel, as in romance, it’s the little things that count.

Beyond the glossy brochures lie the travel discomforts too mun...

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Stepping Out

Going out with a 'Bang'

Going out with a 'Bang'


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” stars, clockwise from top left, Alexander Sanchez, Sophia Sturiale, Deborah Rosengaus and Danny Martin.

Los Altos Stage Company and Los Altos Youth Theatre’s joint production of t...

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Spiritual Life

Build a 'light' house and get out of that dark place

Most of us have a place inside our hearts and minds that occasionally causes us trouble. For some, it is sadness, depression or despair. For others, it may be fear, anger, resentment or myriad other emotional “dark places” that at times seem to hij...

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Magazine

Inside Mountain View

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event

Residents gather at NASA Ames for Pluto Flyby event


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
NASA Ames’ Pluto Flyover event kindles the imaginations of young attendees.

Sue Moore watched the July 20, 1969, moon landing beside patients and staff members of the San Francisco hospital where she worked as a nurse...

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Facilities meetings cover short-term conflicts

Subsets of the Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District boards met twice last week, tentatively forging a collaborative relationship to address outstanding facilities conflicts.

The boards broke their discussions into two parts: short-term and long-term issues. Last week’s meetings focused on Bullis Charter School officials’ short-term concerns regarding the district’s Facilities Use Agreement (FUA).

The district and the charter school haggled over terms of the FUA, which charter school officials ultimately signed at the eleventh hour to ensure access to their shared site at Blach Intermediate School ahead of the new school year. The FUA imposes grade-level restrictions on the charter school’s Blach campus and sets capacity limits for both Blach and the charter school’s Egan Junior High School site.

Charter school board members John Phelps and Joe Hurd represented Bullis Charter School at the meetings, and Los Altos School District Trustees Mark Goines and Steve Taglio represented the district. The Los Altos Community Foundation sponsored professional mediator Geoff Ball, and Los Altos Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw hosted the meetings, held Tuesday and Thursday in the Los Altos City Council Chambers.

Collaboration and compromise

A good deal of discussion centered on what it means to collaborate and compromise.

“We are looking for some support for the burden we have taken on,” Phelps said. “We have taken quite a burden by splitting up our program. We are looking for a little bit of cooperation.”

Taglio said he is concerned about how the charter school’s requests might affect the community at large.

“It’s the ripple effect,” he said. “I’m worried about the rest of the community. You’re 12 percent of school-aged children – that comes down to less than 5 percent of the community we service. It’s the families that live there, it’s those issues as well.”

Taglio said compromise must come from both sides.

“We are the only school in this town that is on two campuses four miles apart,” Hurd said in response. “It’s a little difficult for me to say I need to compromise more. I’m not saying this is the only compromise (the charter school) community can make, but that is a pretty big one.”

Phelps said he hopes the district will address the charter school’s concerns.

“We are now bumped up against some quite minor constraints,” he said. “I think we can solve these minor constraints without further compromising the Bullis Charter School program.”

Hammering out the details

Goines said the district board needs to understand the specifics of Bullis’ program on the Blach campus before trustees vote on the charter school’s proposed changes to the FUA.

Charter school officials presented additional data points for the district trustees to take back to their board. They said enrollment on the Blach campus would never exceed 175 students, and multigrade groupings would rotate on the campus. Officials emphasized that each charter school student would have only one drop-off and one pickup at the Blach campus per day.

Charter school representatives reported their grade-level caps at Blach: fewer than 90 K-3 students on campus at one time, fewer than 150 fourth- through sixth-graders and fewer than 100 seventh- and eighth-graders.

The K-6 students would begin their school day at 8:45 a.m. and end either at 2:30 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Junior-highers would start at 8 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m.

District trustees asked for clarification on how the charter school planned to use the shared space with so many grade levels on the Blach campus. The charter school outlined how it would need rainy-day access for all 175 students in either the gym or multipurpose room as well as access to the home economics room for fourth- through eighth-graders.

Regarding outdoor space, charter school officials asked for fourth- and fifth-grade access to the outdoor shared facilities. In an attempt to assuage the district’s concerns about their ability to provide a safe play space for K-3 students, charter school officials asked for space in front of the adjoined Stepping Stones Preschool to build a play structure for younger students – at the charter school’s expense. Bullis Charter School representatives also requested access to the sloped grass space on the street side of the track for the younger students’ play area.

Moving forward

Goines said the district would review the charter school’s proposed amendments to the FUA, particularly as they relate to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) mandates. The district, he added, must ensure that the charter school’s requested changes do not affect the latest addendum to the CEQA study on the Blach and Egan campuses.

Charter school board members urged the district trustees to reach a decision on their requests by their next board meeting, scheduled Monday. Goines called the timeline “optimistic,” suggesting instead that a decision by their Sept. 23 board meeting – after the upcoming long-term facilities discussions – would be more realistic.

Los Altos Hills City Councilman John Radford warned district trustees that if they don’t approve the charter school’s requests before the long-term meetings, then there won’t be much to discuss. The town of Los Altos Hills is scheduled to host the long-term facilities meetings this week.

“If we are in our chambers on Sept. 12 and there is no agreement, I can’t see long-term discussions going much of anywhere,” Radford said. “Mayor (Gary) Waldeck and I might not see the point of doing it. There is nothing tonight that should stop you from accommodating Bullis Charter School if you want a bond passed. We’ve got to get onto bigger stuff. This can be solved and should be solved.”

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