Sat10252014

Build new schools in Mtn. View: Other Voices

It is clear that we need some major real estate decisions regarding Los Altos School District schools so that they can support our community’s increasing enrollment.

Last week in the district board meeting, it was shared that, for practical considerations, the school board bond was going to pursue one new school and not the two schools that the Enrollment Task Force recommended.

Ironically enough, last week the Mountain View City Council reversed its previous stance and approved even more housing in the San Antonio Road/El Camino Real area. The reason cited by the council was jobs/housing balance. More housing equals more students, but the council is still ignoring the need for a school within Mountain View boundaries near El Camino in their calculation. It seems to be a classic case of “not my problem.”

I urge Mountain View residents in that area to attend both Mountain View City Council meetings and Los Altos School District board meetings and encourage them to consider adding a new school in Mountain View near El Camino.

Rejiggering existing Los Altos School District schools to accommodate more students doesn’t seem possible. Adding new classrooms equals losing playgrounds, and building second-floor classrooms and increasing school size seems to be unpopular. Moving sixth-graders from elementary campuses to Blach Intermediate or Egan Junior High schools is also a no-go, as those locations are already tight with Bullis Charter School being co-located.

In discussions with the Los Altos City Council, apparently McKenzie and Rosita parks were identified as possible locations. McKenzie Park is literally just across the street from the Loyola School playground. This is absolutely the wrong location to build new schools. Can you imagine the traffic in Loyola Corners with parents crossing Foothill Expressway to reach Loyola or the new school at the McKenzie Park site, as well as traffic from Mountain View on Springer Road and Miramonte Avenue? Add to that the already crazy traffic on the curving Altos Oaks Drive with all those doctors’ offices and the new Palo Alto Medical Foundation building. Then add the fire station on Fremont Avenue, which is right next to McKenzie Park, trying to respond to an emergency call.

We need new schools in Mountain View and not Los Altos. Or maybe we also need to consider redistricting to limit Los Altos School District boundaries to just within Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Lalitha Rajagopalan is a Los Altos resident.

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