Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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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

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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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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