Hillview Community Center proved to be a hot topic at a joint meeting of the Los Altos City Council and the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees Tuesday night (May 29).
Attendees overflowed council chambers, forcing some of the audience into an ancillary space (pictured at right). The overwhelming message from numerous parents who spoke at the meeting: they’d like to see Hillview become a district campus.
Those comments came after the council unsuccessfully sought assurances in the form of a letter from the LASD board that it would not pursue eminent domain actions to acquire the Hillview site.
The district is considering placing a bond measure on the November ballot to fund the acquisition of a 10th school location. The district has at the same time been hammering out a tentative agreement to give Bullis Charter School one of its current campuses – either Almond, Gardner Bullis, Santa Rita or a portion of Covington – within the next two school years.
The discussion Tuesday night, while tense at times, ultimately led both parties to conclude that more collaborative work needs to be done to explore options for a 10th campus site.
“We clearly needed to spend some time with each other educating one another about our concerns, which I think we’ve accomplished,” LASD Trustee Doug Smith said. “I was personally encouraged by the conversation at the end, where folks started to feel some urgency about at least figuring out whether or not (Hillview) is a viable solution or are there other things we should be exploring together.”
Los Altos City Councilman David Casas cautioned that the idea of Hillview as a potential school site is far from a simple solution and that other site options need to be explored as well. A school at Hillview, he noted, will have ripple effects on the entire community, not just those affiliated with LASD.
“The best way to have an outcome or a decision is to have all of the stakeholders involved, at the table, and to allow their voices to be heard,” Casas said. “It’s not just the people who show up in the room to speak. It’s our responsibility to represent the individuals who do not show up, who do not email us … everybody has a stake in the discussion.”
For more details of the joint Los Altos City Council – Los Altos School District meeting, pick up the June 6 issue of the Town Crier and check back at losaltosonline.com.