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Discussions on parks, school sites put on hold

Discussions between the city of Los Altos and the Los Altos School District on possible school sites have apparently been shelved – at least for now.

The city canceled a July 31 ad hoc committee meeting – at the behest of the district – as the district aims to meet the Friday deadline to place a $150 million bond measure on the November ballot.

The ad hoc committee – comprising two members each of the district board of trustees and the Los Altos City Council – initially met June 19 to discuss the potential use of city-owned land to house a future school. That meeting came about after the city council in April sent a letter to the district inviting trustees to engage in discussions – listing Rosita Park and a combination of McKenzie Park and the city’s Municipal Service Center as potential sites.

Since the initial ad hoc meeting, some residents living near both parks have organized to oppose the use of Los Altos parkland as a school site, appearing at district board and city council meetings to voice their concerns.

Without specifically addressing the parks issue, district Trustee Doug Smith wrote in an email to the Town Crier that the district board sought to “engage in a more thoughtful dialogue with the community about the best location for a school.”

“We want to focus our energies right now on passing the bond, and then we’ll re-engage on the question of location,” said Smith, who along with Trustee Pablo Luther represented the district on the ad hoc committee.

Los Altos Mayor Megan Satterlee, meanwhile, told the Town Crier via email that she supported the district’s decision to “engage the broader community in reviewing all possible options” while balancing the needs of the community.

“I think the (school) board heard from the community that they place high value in maintaining these facilities, perhaps higher than the board previously understood,” she noted.

Satterlee added that while the city listed the park sites as talking points with the district, the use of city-owned property for a school was “not a foregone conclusion.”

“The city council has always expected LASD to communicate why city land is needed and why it is the best solution given the sacrifices required and availability of other options,” she said. “These meetings were intended help the council understand how LASD might use city land to address the conflict in the community and discuss ways to mitigate impacts associated with the use of city land.”

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