Sat11222014

News

LASD conducts survey on potential school bond


Town Crier File Photo
Bullis Charter School students file into a portable classroom. A potential school bond may include portable classroom replacement and new multipurpose rooms for the school among other facility projects.

A bond measure to improve local school facilities may be on the horizon.

The Los Altos School District is surveying likely voters on what they would support in terms of a possible November bond. In December, the district board of trustees approved a contract with EMC Research to poll local voters on whether they would approve a school bond and the parameters for an affirmative vote.

“The survey evaluates not only overall support, but also attempts to examine nuances to community sentiment,” Trustee Doug Smith wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “We will be receiving the results of that survey in an upcoming board meeting.”

If the district decides to place a bond measure on the November ballot, it would require 55 percent approval to pass. The amount of the bond could total up to $30 per $100,000 in assessed home value in the district, which would raise approximately $150 million.

When the district last polled the community in 2012, the results were not favorable enough to convince officials to place the measure on the ballot.

The district has had to deplete its annual capital funds to pay for facilities for the past several years and has a number of projects that could be completed with bond funds. In addition to facilities needs, the district has experienced several years of enrollment growth, with schools approaching capacity. Projected bond-measure projects could include field restoration; solar power enhancements; portable classroom replacements; new offices, libraries and multipurpose rooms for schools that need them; and additional facilities to handle increasing enrollment.

After long-term discussions with Bullis Charter School officials recently ground to a halt, the decision as to whether a new campus or improved facilities for the charter school would be integrated into a bond remains up in the air.

“The district asked Bullis Charter School to take concrete steps to address community concerns over their enrollment practices,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, they were unwilling to agree to a measurable outcome, which will undoubtedly affect support for the bond, as will the ongoing litigation. Whether we are able to overcome the impact of those issues is what we will learn from the poll.”

The district board is scheduled to meet Monday and may review the phone survey results at that time.

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