Editor's Note: The new Education Committee gave its first report to the Los Altos Hills Town Council Nov. 15. Los Altos Patch thanks the committee for providing a copy of the full report, which you will find below and the slide presentation.
Los Altos Hills City Council
Education Committee Report
Hello, I am Heather Rose, the chair of the Education Committee. I have held this post for one week and have attended three meetings of the Committee.
I am pleased to inform the Council that the Los Altos School District community is having open discussions to solve the facilities need for Bullis Charter School. I'd like to commend the LASD Trustees for hosting these discussions and Peter Evans and Fred Gallagher from Bullis Charter School for presenting the 2013-14 BCS facilities request in an open forum. Because of their brave and open discussion, the Education Committee no longer needs to discuss the conﬂict between LASD and BCS in committee meetings. I am pleased that Los Altos is hiring a new demographer, has started a Growth Task Force and is working on a ﬁve year plan to meet their needs for school capacity.
Palo Alto [Unified] School District is implementing their ﬁve year plan by increasing capacity at existing school sites. They expect a 2% yearly growth rate. Palo Alto expects high-density building projects along transportation corridors to bring in more students. Seven schools have active construction projects to add capacity to existing sites. They expect to ﬁll this increased capacity by 2015; so, they plan to add two new sites: an elementary and a middle school. They are looking to use the Cubberley location in Midtown.
Our remaining "in town" public school, Gardner Bullis School has had a rough set of transitions since we last came before the Council. When LASD informed the parents in Spring that the school might be closed again after just a few years after re-opening, the Los Altos Hills parents showed up in force to petition the school district to keep our neighborhood school open.
Then, on the ﬁrst day of this school year, Principal Gilbert resigned her position. Los Altos Hills parents at GBS were very active in the selection process of the new principal. The coming issue of "Our Town" features an article on Principal Cadwell.
Los Altos Hills parents and their Los Altos counterparts in Gardner Bullis PTA have been a remarkable asset to keeping the school running smoothly during these rough transitions. The Gardner Bullis School community includes LAH families who choose to place their children at both BCS and GBS. The theme, chosen by a Los Altos Hills parent, for the school Walkathon was "Peace, Love, Walk".
Education Committee: Charter Charges & Duties
The charges and duties of the Committee are unchanged. The mission of the Committee is unchanged. The Committee has been working on all these duties, but could do better to support Parks and Rec.
The committee exists due to the "structural problem" in LAH; we are split among school districts (PAUSD, LASD, MVLA, and BCS/SCCOE). Los Altos Hills needs a group uniﬁed in monitoring educational issues for our residents (who are otherwise quite a minority in their districts), and informing Council and residents about these issues. How lucky we are to have an Education Committee with dedicated volunteers.
Education Committee: Membership
We have an application for membership from Karen Schuster who has been scheduled for the Dec 12 Council agenda. We welcome parents from any schools attended by LAH kids, but mainly we want LAH residents passionate about informing and improving education for our kids.
Los Altos Hills K-12 Public Schools
Last school year (2011-2012), Los Altos Hills had 956 public school students and contributed $20.2M in property and parcel tax revenues to Palo Alto and Los Altos. The per student contribution worked out to $21,133. LASD/MVLA/BCS educated 584 LAH students receiving $12.1M in revenue or $20,745 per student. PAUSD educated 372 LAH students, receiving $8.1M in revenue or $21,740 per student.
Los Altos Hills has one public school operating in the Hills, Gardner Bullis School, which has about 152 Los Altos Hills students out of 325 total this year. This is a slight increase over last year. The Committee has not yet completed the Enrollment report for 2012-2013, so these ﬁgures could differ from the ﬁnal report.
In 2011-2012, our high school students attended all four high schools across the two districts. Our middle school students were in ﬁve schools. Our elementary students were spread among 15 schools.
Elementary School Distribution 2011-2012
This chart is ordered by the number of Los Altos Hills students per elementary school as of the 11th day of school for 2011-2012. PAUSD & LASD have allowed our residents many options in public schools. Some notes on this chart:
• Gardner Bullis School with 149 LAH students had enrolled 50% from Los Altos Hills.
• Enrollment for BCS are estimates for a K-6 program.
• If Nixon were K-6 instead of K-5, then it would have the second greatest number of LAH students after GBS, but the concentration of LAH kids would be unchanged.
• There were 29 IDT's (inter-district transfers) from PAUSD to LASD.
• BCS is a charter school; Hoover, Escondido and Ohlone are choice schools; the
remainder are neighborhood schools.
Education Committee: Accomplishments
I'd like to thank Mayor Larsen for his kind words in the Town Crier recognizing the strong sense of community fabric in Los Altos Hills made possible in part by our hard working volunteers, like those in the Education Committee.
In particular, I want to recognize Duncan MacMillian who has been working on behalf of our children at Gunn High School to open a second safe drop-off and pick-up point on Miranda road since 2009. We expect to see the new drop-off complete before the end of this school year. Thank you, Duncan.
The Education Committee volunteers have amassed extensive expertise in compiling the Enrollment and Tax information year to year. The information sent to school districts reinforces the extent to which Los Altos Hills contributes to the continued success of their educational programs. The "Public School Choice" article in "Our Town" helps parents understand their public school options.
The Committee has been tracking school district issues in Palo Alto and Los Altos.
The Gardner Bullis School community is looking forward to the new Safe Route to School Pathway. Parents concerned over child safety is the number one reason that they do not allow kids to walk, bike and roll to school. Thank you to Councilman Radford, former Pathways chair Corrigan and our tireless City staff who planned this project and found the funding to make it happen. Thank you.
With the transition of Principals at Gardner Bullis School, the Education Committee stepped in to aid the Safe Route construction. Coordinating the Safe Route construction project among GBS, LASD, LAH residents and City staff led to a safe trafﬁc plan to balance school trafﬁc with construction delays. I commend City Engineer Richard Chui for his work on that safe trafﬁc plan and City Manager Carl Cahill, Councilman Radford and former Pathways chair Corrigan for their support.
Leveraging the extensive work that goes into the Enrollment report, the Committee produced a draft School Performance Report which examined how well public schools are serving our kids. The draft revealed that the demographic make-up of the schools serving LAH was a large factor in API differences among those public schools. The draft also demonstrated that LAH does not have an "achievement gap" as deﬁned by the County's SV/SJ-20/20 project and that the "achievement gap" for LAH residents is instead between special needs students and their peers. The Committee found this draft helpful and decided to make this a formal report for the beneﬁt of the Council and
LAH residents to understand how well public schools are serving Los Altos Hills.
Education Committee: Future Plans
Our plan for the next year is to expand the information the Committee provides on education and try to answer, to the best of our ability, any questions Council may have on education topics. If we can secure support for web site activity, we would like to provide a public school landing page for Los Altos Hills. The landing page would help parents through their choices in public schools and direct them to the web sites of the schools serving our residents.
With additional volunteers, we would like to better support the Parks and Rec activities in Los Altos Hills.
We will continue to work on safe walk, bike and pooling to school. We may seek
funding from Council to support Car Pooling support solutions as Palo Alto's bus service to Los Altos Hills has been cut in half and increasing enrollments at Gardner Bullis School place trafﬁc and parking pressure on surrounding Los Altos Hills residents. Continued work on safe walk, bike and pooling to school projects requires coordinating among cities, schools, safety groups and community volunteers.
We will produce an Enrollment Report for 2012-2013. And, we will add the new School Performance Report for 2011-2012. Some schools in both Palo Alto and Los Altos school districts have had performance decreases in their 2012 Growth data. We plan to investigate these decreases in producing the School Performance Report.
In conclusion, the Committee would like to expand its membership. The Education Committee wants LAH residents passionate about informing and improving education for our kids.
Thank you for your time. This concludes my report.
Los Altos Hills Education Committee Chair