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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 revises working agreement for bond measure

While no future facilities discussions between Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District are currently scheduled, the district moved forward last week by revising a draft agreement to generate mutual support for a potential bond measure.

Following the Sept. 23 Los Altos School District board meeting, trustees revised the draft agreement designed to address short- and long-term charter school facilities issues in an effort to work mutually toward a successful district bond measure.

“This proposal incorporates all of the short-term requests that Bullis Charter School made that feasibly could be adopted, while also addressing community concerns in a way that respects the Bullis Charter School program while building community support for a bond,” wrote Doug Smith, district board president, in a letter sent to the charter school Saturday.

The draft agreement addresses:

• Enrollment and admissions practices. It was clear during previous facilities discussions that charter school officials did not want to alter their enrollment and admissions processes to gain support for a bond. The district changed the language defining the issue, calling for the charter school to “seek and achieve” an enrollment representative of the district’s student population.

The agreement also includes language removing the charter school’s current enrollment preference for the previous Bullis Purissima Elementary School boundaries (predominantly Los Altos Hills). Smith stated in his letter that he was unsure whether charter school officials would support the amendment.

• Bullis Charter School support for a bond. Los Altos School District parent Laura Orella, who attended the charter school’s Sept. 23 meeting, said she was shocked to hear charter school board member Janet Medlin’s statements objecting to a bond for the school district.

“I do not trust that the Los Altos School District would use the bond monies in a fair and prudent way given their long-term and recent behavior,” Medlin wrote in an email to the Town Crier.

• An end to all current litigation on both sides.

• Charter school financial support for a new site (estimated at $5 million to $7 million).

• Site certainty. The agreement includes language that calls for housing the charter school on a new site for no less than 15 years – “waiv(ing) any and all claims to obtain further facilities from the district under Proposition 39.”

• Extension of the split-site in the interim. The district’s letter explained that the annual facilities request-and-offer process generates conflict that is “poisonous to the bond effort.” The draft includes language that the charter school would agree to the same facilities for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years as it has for 2013-2014, providing “sufficient time to pass a bond.”

• Solutions to short-term problems with the Facilities Use Agreement. The draft agreement addresses the charter school’s difficulties with grade-level restrictions, enrollment caps and play equipment connected with this year’s facilities offer.

Future meetings

The district’s letter proposes that the parties meet soon to work through the draft to reach closure on an agreement.

Smith said district Trustee Mark Goines has attempted to contact charter school officials to schedule a final short-term facilities discussion but has yet to receive a response.

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