LIVE BLOG: LASD Meeting, Monday, March 25, 2013

The Los Altos School District deliberates Monday night on the final offer to Bullis Charter School, against the backdrop of a controversy still roiling after a meeting at Bullis Charter School held last week.


This is an interesting week, folks. Follow along on the Patch's live blog—and perhaps on the district's webstreaming, as well—as the Los Altos School Board holds its last regularly scheduled meeting to discuss the final facilities offer to Bullis Charter School for the 2013-14 school year.

The meeting comes as the comment section on Patch has been afire with discussion of what happened at a meeting at Bullis Charter School Thursday night. As with many things involving the facilities offer and the ongoing dispute over facilities, there is very little that people agree upon. Patch was not at that meeting and is still conducting interviews.  

If you would like to speak with Patch about this, please approach Los Altos Editor L.A. Chung at losaltos@patch.com, or speak with her directly when you see her. 

David March 30, 2013 at 02:41 AM
Phil, I will see your web site and raise you another: https://www.cbremarketplace.com/listings/12403/default.aspx You can see how it explains what is up for purchase is 3.4 acres already covered with 22 classrooms in 34,000 sq feet. That facility falls way short of what can house BCS, so the only way this makes any sense is if it is only 1/2 of a 2 site solution. Plus, it's got to cost a fortune both to purchase and then to rehab. This is what they have been wasting time on? Sigh.
Linda Carter March 30, 2013 at 04:13 PM
Final Facilities Offer.. Love, LASD https://lasd.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/lasd-eAgenda.woa/files/MTM2NDY1ODg4OTkyMC9sYXNkZUFnZW5kYS81MDgvMTgzNy9GaWxlcw==/2013-2014_final_offer_03-29-13_final_clean.pdf
Philip Aaronson March 30, 2013 at 04:37 PM
David, I don't understand the Raynor offer either. Spending 10s of millions of our taxpayer dollars for a school in Sunnyvale sounds nuts to me. That it's too small and needs a ton of work - I honestly don't know what the BoTs are thinking.
Joan J. Strong March 30, 2013 at 05:49 PM
I don't understand Raynor either, but it's worth noting that, after we (all here) went over the laws very carefully, there is absolutely nothing in the law to stop LASD from citing BCS there, at least geographically speaking. The BCS board should keep this in mind. As for BCS support for the bond, barring a complicated cross-deal like we were talking about above, I think we all assume that we'll get official indifference from the BCS board and rabid opposition from unofficial BCS enforcers. I think we can easily pass the bond anyhow. BCS participation could roll the clock forward by two years, that's all. The BCS board can decide whether they want to be part of the problem or part of the solution.
David March 30, 2013 at 07:37 PM
There is no shortage of things about the idea of using Raynor that would enable BCS to litigate about it with LASD. Compared to the cheats of the past, it is chock full of points to bring up. Plus it is complicated, time consuming, and expensive. Just because there might be times when an out of district facility might be acceptable, that does not mean that this is necessarily one of them. Then there are the political issues and the fact that Sunnyvale neighbors are unlikely to be OK with having an LASD school in their neighborhood. It also requires that the school be split, when there is an LASD school which could fit on that campus and would not need to be split. So LASD risks much by opening up this can of worms.
David April 01, 2013 at 02:57 AM
In addition to the issues with Raynor not being suitable for BCS, the site itself is in a terrible shape. I visited it and looked. It would probably cost $20M to get those buildings into shape for use as a public school. There are issues with the main municipal water feed to the buildings. You can see this because they have a pipe removed and the valve is fenced off at the front. Two of the buildings are completley shut down. One appears to have been the wing housing the Kindergarten classes. The preschool that has been using 2 of the buildings has had them fixed up considerably, and it looks to have been done some time ago. Those are the only rooms (8 or so) which have air conditioning. They have put the condensors up on the arcade roofs in what looks like a seismically risky manner. The are between the buildings is generally blacktopped but sloped like a sort of drainage ditch. The preschool has 2 of these areas converted to play area. Not clear where the drainage goes now. No doubt the electrical supply to the school needs to be upgraded. The buildings all need new roofs. One wing has had the windows for the classrooms bricked up. You can see rusty conduits running around the school which appear to be for very old data wiring. The landscaping is a mess but no problem because there's not too much of it! The site is in much worse shape the Hillview. Oh boy.
John April 01, 2013 at 04:15 AM
Your biased obsession with this community conflict is bordering on unhealthy Dave Roode. For someone who has no kids in the district and never shows up to support or speak to either board at their meetings will easily take the time to walk not only around our schools but also to explore the Sunnyvale site in detail? Yes, you are biased. You see and amplify nothing but the negatives in everything the LASD board does and highly exaggerate. On multiple occasions you make up facts out of thin air that have been demonstrated to be false, but when challenged you neither admit to it or try to change the subject. I would almost believe you are here to drum up controversy. I am more inclined to believe you are nothing more than a former IT now in retirement with all the free time to pick a side in our school dilemma. This is beyond being a "concerned tax payer". It's now creepy.
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 04:21 AM
If that is the current condition of the site, why would the LASD Trustees even consider it as a suitable location for a school? It sounds like a very unsafe place for children. Besides all of the problems with the location. Isn't safety something they should consider? Do they just do this stuff for show, or are they serious? I think it is something that all voters should pay attention to.
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 04:36 AM
I searched top school districts in California to see what the ranking for LASD was. I found a couple where it was placed at number 5 and one that had it as high as number 3. I also found one based on the highest average tests scores that didn't include LASD in the top 10. http://www.localschooldirectory.com/top-schools/school-districts/elementary/CA http://www.localschooldirectory.com/top-schools/school-districts/elementary/CA ( #5) http://www.schooldigger.com/go/CA/districtrank.aspx ( #6, but to be fair #5 is really small) http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/ca/schools/ ( #3)
David April 01, 2013 at 04:37 AM
Well, you could fix up the buildings; it's just costly that's all. It doesn't save you much at all over starting from a bare plot of land and placing relocatables. This is a site which is just 3.45 acres and the buildings are pretty close together, but there is more day light than with some of the portables at Egan. I believe they are underestimating the likely cost, rather than putting it at near zero. Sunnyvale wants to hear about how the site will be fixed up. That's part of the deal. They just don't want to fund it. For LASD, it would be more cost effective to take 3.5 acres at Covington and place 32,000 sq ft of portables in a good pre-planned arrangement. They'd have to remove the relocatable district offices and related facilities. They could then use 10,000 sq ft of the existing Covington campus and have a workable solution for all of BCS, within LASD.
David April 01, 2013 at 04:38 AM
It's like the district is piling up millions of dollars and proposing to burn it. Lots of people care about this. You pay whether or not you have kids.
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 04:41 AM
John you seem biased as well. I think it is really hard to look at this situation and not become biased. I am still trying to figure it all out, but the more I learn the more biased I become.
David April 01, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Actually, it costs more than starting from scratch with portables. LASD says that is about $50,000 per portable so 32x$50K, that's just $1.6M. This is going to cost $20M upfront to rehab the decayed buildings. Plus you have to buy the property so if you amortize that, that's similar to renting the portables. The key thing with portables is doing things like connecting them with an arcade and planning a good layout. You can make a good school with portables, or you can mix in some other buildings too. You can do a heck of a lot with $35M, assuming Sunnyvale wants $15M for the site plus the $20M for re-doing the buildings to match LASD's standards.
David April 01, 2013 at 04:47 AM
It's not bias when you don't favor either set of kids. I believe the laws are fair and all they say is everyone deserves the same share. Separately, I believe most everyone is against purposely wasting money just to spite one side or the other.
Joan J. Strong April 01, 2013 at 05:20 AM
Curious, Mitch. What do you think of the lead BCS counsel making things up about what I said in an email they "obtained" and then using that to drum up anger among BCS parents? Read the story here: http://bullischarterschoolthoughts.blogspot.com/2013/03/arturo-gonzalez-bcs-counsel.html While you are at it, what do you think of them targeting me personally in a legal filing (further down in my blog)? Just curious. Thanks.
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 05:27 AM
I don't really have any opinion on that issue.
Joan J. Strong April 01, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Okay. What is your interest in this issue overall? You seem to have taken a keen interest in other issues related to BCS...
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 05:46 AM
I am interested in the education issues, just not very interested in your issue.
Joan J. Strong April 01, 2013 at 05:51 AM
Why are you interested in education issues? Do you have kids in a school?
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 05:57 AM
I am a parent, taxpayer, and voter.
Joan J. Strong April 01, 2013 at 06:01 AM
A parent of which school district? Is it one local to Los Altos? If so, is it a public school district? If so, is it LASD or BCS?
Mitch Caldwell April 01, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Joan, Did you ever watch Mad TV? Your question, "What do you think of the lead BCS counsel making things up about what I said in an email they "obtained" and then using that to drum up anger among BCS parents?" Reminded be a bit of Stuart. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfZcMdsp_Jg
Linda Carter April 01, 2013 at 07:03 AM
I recall that recently someone asked on FB about this site that is for sale. Tamara Logan said they would look into it. Wonder what happened with looking into it..http://www.redfin.com/CA/Los-Altos/2100-Woods-Ln-94024/home/17495096
David April 01, 2013 at 07:24 AM
Alas, it looks like a dead end. Look at the property on Zillow to see why: http://www.zillow.com/homes/for_sale/Los-Altos-CA/39511_rid/37.338238,-122.075553,37.334335,-122.079389_rect/17_zm/ It is a long skinny parcel which has a buildable area of a small fraction of the property, and all the way at the far end from the Road access. I was thinking this is so economical even if that price is inflated at Redfin that it might be worth something to LASD, even though it is in Cupertino Union School district. But I think the long private road is an issue for using it for LASD district offices.
Linda Carter April 01, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Hm, ok. I was wondering if would be viable for BCS (for some grades). LASD could maybe lease the property, not necessarily purchase it. It's been on the market for some time. But the long skinny road could be an issue for traffic.
LASD Parent April 03, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Mitch - LASD is a top-ranked and award-winning district and I've given you references to show that. Why are you searching for dubious rankings to refute that? And you seem surprised at the ranking - I would have thought that all informed parents in our area would know about LASD's achievements. I gave you a news reference for 2011's #1 API rank and a straight to the source reference for 2012's #3 API rank. You've countered with some rankings that don't explain their methodology or timeframe (except the one that clearly says it's 2010). The API is the California Department of Education's metric and is widely used by parents and educators to understand school achievement.
David April 03, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Someone did show me the data in the LASD School Accountability Report which does detail that there are only 17 sections of Science class taught, and says the average class size for Science at Blach is 20.9. For Math it is 20.5. For English about the same, and only for Social Science is it almost 26. So this data is supposed to be accurate. The size has been decreasing over the last 3 years as shown in that report. Perhaps this is due to BCS helping out by teaching some of the students. Anyway, for the above classes it had been closer to 25 than 20 three years ago. What class did you see contain 33 students?
Mitch Caldwell April 03, 2013 at 05:04 AM
I looked up the rankings, I couldn't find a single one where LASD was ranked as the number 1,2,or even third. The highest I could find was a #5. Which I guess is nice, but not the tops.
Rocky April 03, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Mitch, whether we're #1, #2 or #5 is irrelevant. There are over 560 elementary school districts in the state of California. By ANY quantitative measure, LASD is an extremely high performing district. If you want to get militant about the semantics of "top" meaning the single highest rated district then fine. You win. LASD is *one of* the top districts in the state.
LASD Parent April 05, 2013 at 08:11 PM
Mitch - it is widely known that LASD was #1 in the state in 2011 and #3 in 2012. That you can't seem to find that when I've handed you the references just shows you're not willing to have an honest conversation. And what is your purpose in denying LASD's achievements? You want to grow BCS by claiming that they're improving on a mediocre school district? Sorry, you're in exactly the wrong place to be trying that tactic.


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