Many of us moved to Los Altos because we were drawn to the excellent reputation of the Los Altos School District. Either we wanted to send our children to our neighborhood school or we wanted to ensure our investment in a home grew.
Not surprisingly, there is a tremendous amount of research that supports the strong, positive correlation between good public schools and property values (google “public schools and property values”). If our public schools deteriorate, our property values go down. If property values decrease, funding for the schools shrinks further, because property taxes fund a large portion of the district’s budget. It’s a downward spiral that will only worsen each year.
However, in addition to preserving property values, I argue there is another compelling reason why supporting our public schools and passing Measure E is important: to protect our unique community.
Our community is special because of the people drawn to live here. For me, I love the family-centric, close-knit feel. I love that my neighbors have become my best friends. I love that Los Altos is a safe place, that my kids can play freely outside or bike to a friend’s house. And I love that my neighbors are highly educated and expect the same for their own children.
In a nutshell, it’s about the people. The people who have chosen to move here are why I, and many of us, love Los Altos. Ask your neighbors why they were initially drawn to our town, and the answer is often “for the schools.” If our public schools no longer become the compelling reason for people like us to move here, our special community will change. And, I fear, for the worse.
It’s easy to cherry-pick statistics to show that the Los Altos School District is inefficient or not performing. It’s simply not true. Our schools consistently outperform with less money per pupil ($9,632) than our true peer districts and schools (Palo Alto = $13,562, Menlo Park = $11,342, Bullis Charter School = $13,430).
We simply can’t expect the district to cut to the bone any further.
As a community, we always rally to support those in need. Our schools are in need. Vote Yes on Measure E.
Tanya Capuano is a Los Altos resident, parent and home-owner.