Wed04012015

News

Council eyes bond for Hillview center

Council eyes bond for Hillview center


The Los Altos City Council accepted an $87.5 million cost model for its preferred layout for replacing Hillview Community Center. 

Residents could cast their votes as soon as November on a bond measure to partially fund the redevelopment of...

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Schools

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions

Oak students showcase creativity in Destination Imagination competitions


Courtesy of Jane Lee Choe
The Sharp Cheddars, a team of Oak Avenue School sixth-graders, perform at the Destination Imagination state competition Saturday in Riverside.

A team of seven Oak Avenue School sixth-graders traveled to Riverside last week...

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Community

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos

Heising-Simons Foundation relocates to 400 Main St. property in Los Altos


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
All in the family: Mark Heising, from left, Caitlin Heising and Elizabeth Simons make up the board of the eight-year-old Heising-Simons Foundation, now in its new headquarters at 400 Main St. in downtown Los Altos.

The He...

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Comment

What would Bob do?: Editorial

The recent passing of an extraordinary Los Altos resident, Bob Grimm, has generated a range of heartfelt reaction, from sympathy to fond memories, from all corners. That’s because Bob did not discriminate in his desire to help others with his money, ...

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Special Sections

Cars that are right on track

Cars that are right on track


Courtesy of BMW
The BMW M4 is packed with power, featuring 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.

There’s nothing more fun than driving a responsive automobile that feels alive in the curves and eager to go when given more than a touch ...

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Business

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale

First Street's 'Fort Knox' up for sale


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
The Los Altos Vault and Safe Deposit Co. is on the market for $4.5 million. Its fortified steel and concrete structure has been compared to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s gold depository.

A downtown Los Altos structure “b...

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Books

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff

'Pope Joan' Book weaves tale around legend of female pontiff


The idea that there may have a female pope at one time in history has generated much speculation throughout the centuries. “Pope Joan” (Crown, 1996) by Donna Woolfolk Cross, does not answer the question; rather, the author has created a detai...

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People

JOHN BATISTICH

JOHN BATISTICH

John Batistich of Los Altos Hills died peacefully on March 12 surrounded by his family. John is survived by his wife Claire Batistich (Vidovich) of 67 years and children Gary Batistich of Lodi and Gay Batistich Abuel-Saud of Menlo Park. He is also ...

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Travel

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience

Eat, hike, soak: Cavallo Point Lodge offers Marin experience


Eren Göknar/ Town Crier
Cavallo Point Lodge comprises former U.S. Army buildings, like the Mission Blue Chapel, repurposed for guests seeking a luxurious getaway.

It used to be a place where batteries of soldiers lived, with officers’ quarter...

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Stepping Out

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View

'Fire' ignites in Mtn. View


Courtesy of Kevin Berne
The cast of “Fire on the Mountain,” includes, from left, Tony Marcus, Harvy Blanks, Molly Andrews and Robert Parsons.

TheatreWorks is slated to present the regional premiere of the musical “Fire on the Mountain” this wee...

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Spiritual Life

Spiritual Life Briefs

Oshman JCC hosts Judaism and Science Symposium

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center has scheduled its inaugural Judaism and Science Symposium, “An Exploration of the Convergence of Jewish & Scientific Thought,” 5 p.m. April 12 at the JCC’s ...

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Magazine

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm

Food for thought: Hidden Villa programs offer teens training in sustainability on the farm


/Town Crier It’s not all cute and cuddly for teens participating in the eight-week Animal Husbandry Apprenticeship program at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. Mia Mosing of Palo Alto, left, and Sophia Jackson of Los Altos clean the pigpens – one of...

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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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