Fri10242014

No. 1 priority: Relocate the charter school campus: Other Voices

Los Altos voters must keep in mind the legal requirement for the Los Altos School District to provide school facilities for Bullis Charter School, and how this requirement might be met if Measure N doesn’t pass. Consider this sequence of events.

Currently, the district houses 10 schools on nine campuses. Although the charter school will have 900 students in 2016, it does not have a campus. Its facilities are divided and housed on the edges of the Blach and Egan middle school campuses. If Measure N passes, the first priority for the funds is enrollment growth management, and clearly the Bullis Charter School/Blach/Egan situation is the severest example of crowding in the district. The charter school needs its own campus, and the district needs to recover its space at Blach and Egan.

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Facts, not faith, behind support for Measure N : Other Voices

When there are facts, there is no need to rely on blind faith to support Measure N – and this is a ballot measure bolstered by facts.

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Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From April 2008 to November 2012, the Los Altos City Council eliminated 139 parking spaces in the downtown Public Parking District (9 percent of the total) and allowed two developments to provide 76 fewer parking spaces than required by code (5 percent of the downtown Public Parking District supply). (2) The city’s Downtown Parking Management Plan projects the cost to replace these 215 parking spaces ranges at from $8.18 million cash to $27.3 million with financing and maintenance costs over 30 years.(3)

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Vote 'no' on Measure N: Other Voices

It’s best to vote “no” on the Measure N school bond in November. Strangely, there is a real danger that the Los Altos School District is underestimating its own growth needs. The district’s plans show a strong bias toward improvements on existing schools that do not provide adequately for the projected growth. An extra year or two will provide clarity on several important issues that are as yet indeterminate. These include:

• The state has plans outstanding to require every school district to offer not just one but two years of kindergarten to every student.

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School lunch: Opportunity to improve health, academics: Other Voices

The Town Crier’s article “Evolving with regulations, Los Altos’ school lunch programs retain local ties” (Aug. 13) presents a bleak view of the Los Altos School District’s efforts to meet school lunch guidelines.

The parents interviewed perpetuate the false dichotomy that healthful food must necessarily taste bad. A more positive perspective is that food can be both nutritious and delicious, and that habits learned early in life can help children grow into healthy adults without sacrificing their taste buds.

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Vote 'yes' on Measure N: Other Voices

It’s a clear fact: Student enrollment in the Los Altos School District is surging. In the past 10 years, enrollment has increased by more than 1,100 students. Our schools haven’t had this many children since the 1970s, when we had 12 K-8 school sites instead of the nine we have today. Including Bullis Charter School, housed on both junior high campuses, there are 10 schools housed on nine sites with a student population that continues to grow, which is just not sustainable.

Measure N is all about protecting our small schools and avoiding classroom overcrowding in order to keep the top-quality education we expect from our local schools.

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It's all good: Other Voices

I recently witnessed an interaction between law enforcement and two youths, one that is light-years away from what the media has chosen to focus on. One that highlights goodness on both sides. One that happens time and again. One that is underreported. The two youths and the police officer involved in this situation are to be commended.

I pulled up to a bank to make an ATM deposit Aug. 23 in downtown Los Altos. Two boys were skateboarding in the parking lot. They paused to let my car pass, then resumed their tricks with laughter and enthusiasm. I looked at my watch with dismay. It was 10:45 p.m. As I stepped out of my car, I saw a police car slowly drive by. So did the two youths, who both appeared to be junior-high age. Police car, coincidental? I wasn’t sure, but I was glad “the car” seemed to notice the kids. Bingo. The officer’s car stopped behind the parking lot and I heard the boys say, “Uh-oh,” as I stepped out of my own car to approach the ATM.

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