Heather Rose is a parent of a student at the Gardner Bullis School, a PTA board member, a resident of Los Altos Hills, and a friend and neighbor of parents who have children in the Bullis Charter School. She wrote this on Patch's quick blog feature.
I am OK with BCS having their own school.
Not at the expense of another school. All schools deserve "equivalent facilities." All schools being equal means we do not close one to make room for another. And we cannot let one remain in portables in perpetuity. Furthermore, it is not fair to the Los Altos community to create mega campuses which overburden local neighborhoods.
Raise the white flag and put your acrimony on hold. We can fight. We can be angry. We can litigate. We can vote people out of office.
This community is worth fighting for. Raise the white flag.
Los Altos School District (LASD) needs to find a school site for the Bullis Charter School. It is clear that LASD cannot afford to do differently. Not in time. Not in money.
LASD needs to find a solution that does not bounce kids around. Moving Bullis Charter School onto Almond, Covington, Gardner Bullis or Santa Rita campus just to place that displaced school into the portables at Egan is not acceptable. Now that school is lacking "equivalent facilities".
How do we raise the white flag?
1. Bullis Charter School could give LASD time to find a better solution. Put their lawsuits and demands for legal fees on hold, for now, to give the community time to move.
2. All our families with kids in school can raise funds to help with costs of this transitional period.
3. Agree to a great school swap that happens all in the same summer. Do not bounce the kids around. Do not leave them in portables.
4. The City of Los Altos can help with interim traffic problems. And LASD can coordinate school start and stop times to ease traffic demands.
5. We should all get creative on finding the best spot for a new school. Consider all options in the best interests of all kids without spending too much money.
I will not claim this is "the" solution, but let me float an idea proffered by another parent: If LASD and the City of Los Altos can come to agreement on the "co-use" of lands, perhaps a school can be placed at Hillview and the planned community pool can be placed on the 20 acres at the Egan campus. The regulation soccer field stays where it is and is available for use after school hours and during the summer. Because the pre-school at Hillview is relocating to the new city center, the buildings can be used for a school. A school in this location could be up and going faster than a whole new building project. It would cost the property owners much less money too.
Once we have a plan of action, then what?
1. All of us can help pass a school bond to build out all the school sites. Some need libraries, multipurpose rooms, bathrooms, sport fields, play areas, updating and some classrooms. All of our schools use portables. All of them. Portables for classrooms is OK. Not ideal, but OK. It gives LASD some wiggle room in their budgets as school populations change.
2. Do not sell off school property as we did 10 years ago. Rent it out. Use it for other things. Do not sell it because this area will always attract families and our kids need a high quality education and facilities for that education.
3. Consider buying property for a future school site. Where do we anticipate high growth in the next 10 years? We need a bond for that too ... maybe a different bond.
Then, we can focus our time, money and energy on educating our kids. They are our future. They will be our neighbors, co-workers, civic leaders, parents and friends ... no matter which school they attended.