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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Other Voices: BCS asking district to fool public over bond purpose

Over the course of decades, our community has developed excellent public schools into which the community pours its heart, soul and minds. The ongoing facilities dispute with Bullis Charter School (BCS) has been a sore spot that we need to solve. But it’s hard to find the right path in light of recent BCS actions.

Last year, they waged a $300,000 PR campaign to promote compromise – then still sued the Los Altos School District (LASD) and lost. This year, they signed a Facilities Use Agreement that they are now violating. And now, instead of negotiating, they’re back on the PR trail again.

Throughout September, LASD and BCS met to discuss both short term facilities enhancements and long term cooperation on a school facilities bond. Yet, for the past month, LASD has been unable to get BCS to return to the negotiating table.

Based on BCS’s requests, the District proposed an agreement that would provide BCS with short term enhancements to their current facilities, and lays a path toward passing a bond. We have received no formal response to that proposal – no meetings, no dialogue –until the charter school manifesto recently printed in this paper.

Instead of working with LASD on a bond measure the community could support, BCS urges the district to position the bond as something other than what it would be. Repeatedly, they’ve suggested that the LASD Board of Trustees has mystical influence over our community – that folks here believe whatever we say, no matter what the facts show. They’ve asked us to deceive the public about the proceeds of a school bond. Ironically, a similar fight over a school bond spurred the creation of BCS in the first place.

Every year for the past 10 years, BCS has asked LASD (and often the courts) to close a neighborhood school and give it to BCS. The community has been very clear in their opposition to this. BCS knows this, and knows that a successful bond campaign would result in building a new school for BCS students. Yet they insist that isn’t their request. Our community is smart enough to see through that charade.

When we met in September, BCS negotiators refused to even discuss how they might change to help build community support for a bond. Instead, the BCS editorial asks LASD Trustees to violate state law and breach the trust of our local community by ignoring the legal funding formulas for charter schools. The state legislature allocates the property taxes between charter schools and school districts – it isn’t up to LASD trustees to change that formula. Similarly, voters of our community have generously supported LASD schools through parcel taxes, but it is the voters – not the trustees – who decide how those funds are spent. LASD has expressed a willingness to work with BCS to address these questions through the legislative process in the longer term. Perhaps if we’re considering a financial rebalancing we will also discuss sharing of all private funds as well. However, in the here-and-now, we have a facilities shortage that we need to address. Let’s talk about how BCS can help us pass a desperately needed school bond.

Doug Smith is president of the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees.

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