Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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LASD and charter school continue letter exchange


Moore

While there has been a pause in face-to-face meetings between Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District officials over facilities and resources, the parties continue to communicate via letters.

Last week the letter exchange began with Ken Moore, chairman of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors, documenting what the charter school wants – and doesn’t want – in relation to a potential bond measure.

“Bullis Charter School does not seek to be the major beneficiary of a new school bond, and we would not support a bond positioned that way,” Moore’s letter stated. “Our only ask is that public resources (e.g., school facilities, school bond proceeds, parcel taxes and the Basic Aid benefit) be shared fairly and equally among residents attending Bullis Charter School and residents attending other public schools in the district.”

District trustees discussed Moore’s letter at their Oct. 14 board meeting, with a few of them labeling the missive a “manifesto” that is not helpful in reaching a long-term solution.

Earlier in the month, the district sent the charter school a draft agreement based on discussions conducted at their meetings addressing short- and long-term challenges.

“This letter does not address anything that was in the proposal,” said Doug Smith, district board president. “It just adds more to the (wish) list. This is just a letter – and we are floating an actual agreement we could make real progress with.”

Trustee Mark Goines said he floated a proposal a few years ago similar to what the charter school requested in its recent letter, but he was informed by counsel that it was not legal.

“What is asked for in this letter, I don’t think it is legal,” Goines said. “Counsel told me that you need to go to the voters to get their permission (for parcel-tax sharing) – state law doesn’t agree to (property-tax growth revenue sharing). Some voter could stop you dead. Dealing with manifestos is not going to help us heal as a community.”

District’s response

The district responded via letter to Bullis Charter School officials last week, requesting a response to its proposal and offering to schedule a face-to-face meeting to discuss long-term solutions.

“We are hopeful that Bullis Charter School will be available for future meetings, and might come prepared with a redline document or at least a willingness to discuss the terms necessary to passing a bond,” Smith’s letter stated.

In addition to asking for a response to the draft agreement, the district asked for a response to the district’s data requests at the meetings on short-term matters.

After discussing moving toward a solution that addresses short- and long-term concerns, the district’s letter included a word of warning to the charter school, outlining how the charter school is breaching its Facilities Use Agreement with the district by:

• Allowing more students to attend classes on the Blach Intermediate and Egan Junior High campuses than agreed upon.

• Not adhering to the sharing schedule for physical education facilities on the Blach campus.

• Starting school outside the times outlined in the agreement.

• Permitting K-3 students to use Blach facilities.

“Bullis Charter School’s continued violations of the terms of this agreement are making it increasingly difficult to believe that your teams are negotiating in good faith,” the letter stated. “By violating the agreement, Bullis Charter School opens itself, its board of directors, its chartering authority and its parents to legal exposure.”

Charter school parent input

Charter school parents showed up en masse at the Oct. 14 district board meeting to compel the district to allow their younger students to use the track and grassy areas at Blach when Blach students are not using the space.

“I watch my son play tag football on the asphalt, when behind me the fields are empty for a half an hour,” said Heidi Mitchell, mother of a Bullis Charter School fourth-grader. “I don’t understand why my student is being crammed while these viable outside areas are empty. My son wants to know why he can’t play on that field. It doesn’t matter what grade he is in, all children deserve a place to play.”

Eight other parents spoke on the same topic, asking district officials to allow their children to use field space when it’s empty.

Trustees responded that they understood the parents’ concerns, but the Facilities Use Agreement follows the law. They explained that they addressed some of the concerns in their proposal, to which the charter school has yet to respond.

“I need to have a partner to talk to, and I don’t have that,” Trustee Steve Taglio said of the Bullis Charter School board’s lack of response. “I have individual parents showing up with demands, and I don’t have a board that is consistent. I need to have someone who is demonstrating that they want to talk.”

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