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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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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