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Reimagining public education: Other Voices

This is a follow-up to Swan’s April 16 column, “A ‘Common Sense’ approach to education,” addressing the need for solutions to the Bullis Charter School/Los Altos School District conflict and issuing a call to arms to create one of the best public education systems in the world.

Thanks to all of you who have provided feedback so far.

To reiterate, we are now embarking on a new, positive path. To use the Disney term, we will be “imagineering” the education system we want for our community.

The timing for resolving this decadelong conflict is ideal. Following are some of the positive forces making this the right time to act.

• The community is tired of the long feud and the ongoing legal expenditures.

• Three seats are up for grabs on the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees in November. A new majority could be formed on the board that wants to fix things as early as the end of this year.

• The district wants a bond passed. With the right plan, we could move forward as a community.

• The Los Altos School District Enrollment Growth Task Force developed a plan (from 12 very different perspectives – with 100 percent consensus) that makes both the district and Bullis Charter School happy. The task force recommended that the district pursue two additional school sites – one to house the charter school and one to house district students. Committee members suggested that identifying a site for Bullis Charter School should be the district’s first priority. They also encouraged partnerships between the cities of Los Altos and Mountain View.

Let’s use this plan as a starting point for further discussions on what I like to call “The Road to Resolution.”

• The cities of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills have expressed interest in joining forces with the Los Altos School District to build the two new schools the task force recommended, perhaps providing city-owned land for the schools.

• The Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city council elections could be used to elect representatives who embrace resolving the conflict as part of their campaign pledges. This creates a united effort.

There are two ways to offer your input on “The Road to Resolution”:

• Email your input to Editor Bruce Barton at the Town Crier at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

• Visit the Reimagining a World Class Education website at re-imaginingaworldclasseducation.com.

Once we’ve uncovered and explored input from a minimum of 100 residents, we’ll find a way to integrate suggestions into a new, shared vision for the community, one that can be turned into a reality given the community’s amazing array of resources and its desire to enhance Los Altos’ reputation as one of the most innovative and exciting places to live and raise a family.

John Swan is a former member of the Los Altos Hills Public Education Committee.

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