Sat11012014

News

Spooktacular moved indoors


Due to rain, today's downtown Los Altos Halloween activities have been moved to the indoor courtyard of Play! at 170 State St. Enter from the back on the parking lot side to participate in crafts, games and fun. Activities continue until 4 p.m.

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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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

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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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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