Mon10202014

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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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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