Fri09192014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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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

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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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 narrows options for BCS facilities next year


Courtesy of the Los Altos School District
The Los Altos School District’s three-site option for Bullis Charter School includes space at Covington School, highlighted above in red.

Los Altos School District trustees continued to weigh possible options for Bullis Charter School’s 2014-2015 facilities and whittled the list down to two.

After a back-and-forth discussion over projected enrollment numbers Dec. 9, the district is scheduled to present its preliminary facilities offer to the charter school by Feb. 1.

Examining the options

The district reviewed three options for charter school facilities: (1) exclusive use of Covington School – the charter school’s preference, (2) continuing to split the school between Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools and (3) splitting the program among three campuses.

District trustees quickly removed the Covington option from the table after Randy Kenyon, assistant superintendent for business services, said that was the costliest option. It would require the school district to redraw attendance boundaries, typically a one-year process.

“The goal here is to look for a long-term, peaceful coexistence,” said Trustee Pablo Luther. “I don’t think (the Covington option) will get us there. It is not viable at this point.”

Kenyon further explained details for continuing the two-site split, which could be divided so that K-5 students attend Egan and 6-8 students attend Blach (the current scenario). If there are larger increases in enrollment than projected, K-4 students could attend Egan and 5-8 students attend Blach, he proposed.

If the grade assignments remain as they are, Kenyon said the district would provide two additional portables at Egan to accommodate the K-4 growth but would not add portables at Blach. Under this option, the district projects 483 students at Egan and 122 at Blach.

If the district provided facilities for a K-4, 5-8 split, it would remove one portable from Egan and add three portables at Blach. Under this scenario, the district projects 408 students at Egan and 197 students at Blach.

Kenyon said the two-site split is the least disruptive for both district and charter school students as it preserves the status quo and proves the least costly option. He did, however, add that choosing this path could lead to continued litigation.

For a three-site split, Kenyon suggested Covington as a possible third site for housing K-2 students. Like the two-site split, he said, the district would still need to purchase an additional two portables for growth and might need an additional portable at Covington to serve as the charter school office. For this scenario, the district projects 241 students at Covington, 242 at Egan (third- through fifth-graders) and 122 at Blach (sixth-through eighth-graders).

The three-site option would add five portables in the rear of the Covington site, while charter school students would share the multipurpose space, the library, the fields and the staff lounge.

Kenyon said that while this option would relieve some of the impact on Egan, it disrupts a third set of district students (at Covington) and creates logistical challenges for Bullis Charter School.

Moving forward

District trustees said they were in favor of continuing the two-site split but wanted to keep the three-site option on the table in case California Environmental Quality Act regulations prevent the district from accommodating the growth on the Egan and Blach campuses.

“I’m open to suggestions on how to use the two campuses differently if we can use that as a bridge toward a long-term solution,” Trustee Steve Taglio said. “We need to have the appearance of moving forward here.”

Charter school parents attended the meeting to provide feedback, with many requesting that the district work to fix the current facilities problems (lack of play space) and carefully consider the enrollment projection information the charter school is scheduled to deliver by Jan. 2.

In response to charter school parents’ arguments, newly appointed board president Tammy Logan said the charter school board did not legally have to identify Covington School as its preferred option. The Bullis board could have requested the two-site split, she said.

“They didn’t choose to do that,” Logan said. “Charter school is all about choices, and what your board is choosing to do is not representing what we are hearing from the parents.”

At their next regularly scheduled board meeting Jan. 13, trustees will decide which option to implement, Kenyon said. At the Jan. 27 meeting, they will review the details and vote on the preliminary offer by the Feb. 1 deadline.

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