Sun10192014

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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Solution for BCS/LASD – a merger: Editor's Notebook

I’ve been to the Bullis Charter School campus at Blach Intermediate School twice in the past three months. The first time was in August, at the invitation of Los Altos School District officials. It was a “see what we’ve done to accommodate the charter school” tour to demonstrate how the district met facilities requirements.

The second time, in October, was altogether different. It was a “see how unreasonable the school district is” tour, with a blacktop full of children unable to use the surrounding playing fields. I met assistant principal Alison Schwartzbaum, a passionate educator who didn’t understand why her students couldn’t play on the empty fields.

For 10 years, since the arrival of the charter school, it’s been the same old “us versus them” mentality. The community is beyond tired of it. The Town Crier is tired of reporting on it. However, Bullis Charter School versus the Los Altos School District remains a major problem that must be solved. Ignoring it is not the solution.

I believe that the ultimate solution involves Bullis Charter School becoming part of the Los Altos School District. It should be a magnet school, offering more educational alternatives that add to the district’s overall strength.

The bad vibes on both sides could be attributed to a matter of positioning. Because the Santa Clara County Board of Education, not the school district, sponsors the charter school, it is seen as an outsider, taking away from our existing schools’ resources.

If Bullis Charter School were part of the district, “them” would become “us.” My sense is that facilities issues would be easier to solve were the charter school planet part of the district’s solar system.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. But there’s no will, as far as I can tell. District folks in past years said they’ve made overtures to the charter school to join the district, but charter school officials apparently refused. It’s understandable, in part because of a lack of trust, but also because Bullis Charter School would have to re-charter with the district – a major bureaucratic hurdle – and be subject to increased transparency.

A decade later, the charter school is a successful institution. It’s grown too big for its previously desired campus in Los Altos Hills. It’s drawing students from all over. The charter school is here for good. The district must accommodate it.

It has cost both parties hundreds of thousands of dollars to battle in the courts. Talks reached a low point recently when the district basically threatened to close the Blach campus unless the charter school adhered to the letter of its facilities agreement.

But there are some streaks of light through the dark clouds. Talks are underway that would involve a halt to litigation and a long-term plan for housing the charter school in a shared-campus configuration.

That’s great. But for real action to occur, both sides have to bury the hatchet. This would require new people in charge who were not burdened by history and who could commit to working on a merger.

It won’t be easy. I understand concerns about Bullis Charter School’s loss of control or fears of being under district control. But I don’t see why the charter school can’t be part of the district and continue to do its own thing. It works just fine for the Downtown College Prep charter school and the San Jose Unified School District. Why not us?

Bruce Barton is editor-in-chief of the Town Crier.

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