LIVE BLOG: Los Altos School Board Meeting April 1, 2013

The school board will deliberate on the final facilities offer to Bullis Charter School Monday night, and decide whether to make an offer to purchase the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale.


With an April 1 deadline ticking away, the Los Altos School Board is expected to deliberate and pass a final offer for facilities to the Bullis Charter School.

A draft of the offer is on the Los Altos School District website, and incorporates many of the items that were discussed in last week's meeting.

The state regulations under Proposition 39 require that the board make a final facilities offer by April 1.

Desite no formal meetings going on between the schools' two board, both Bullis Charter School board member Joe Hurd and Los Altos School Board President Doug Smith have been in contact over the past several days, they confirmed.

Parents, too, have been actively making specific facilities requests via email.

The draft 43-page offer is on the district website, as is the 167-page package of exhibits. There is also a 16-page power-point presentation expected to be made by Assistant Superintendent for Business Randy Kenyon. 

Follow along here. 

Remember, if you have cable TV, the community access station KMVT is carrying the meeting live. You can also watch the live stream online via the district website. From the homepage, navigate to "Who We Are," then choose "Board of Trustees" and from that page you can find the webstreaming link. If you want to follow the agenda online, go here

Rocky April 04, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Hi neighbor, If you were reacting to my earlier post above, then I apologize if I painted with too broad a brush. I was specifically reacting to David R's unhealthy obsession with this topic, his increasingly unhinged rhetoric, his mind numbing renditions of square footage and time-weighted space allocations, and his apparent inability to extract his head from Ken Moore's backside. I threw in referene to Mitch who seemingly delights in making claims he knows to be misleading, asking intentionally inflammatory questions, or interpreting the comments of others in ways obviously not intended by the poster. I did reference Philip A. as someone who is clearly aligned with BCS, but seems less inclined to pick fights and more inclined to push for ways to solve the problem. Certainly not every BCS supporter here is a mindless (or obsessive) BCS "shill" or groupie, but those that are deserve to be called out for it.
Rocky April 04, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Oh, and a passionate defense of excellence is hardly "complacency"
David April 04, 2013 at 10:34 PM
If you don't analyze the LASD facilities provided to BCS by square footage and time allotted, then you are left to subjective assessment. LASD fares far worse in the subjective assessment than it does in the mere square footage. The places they have created for BCS are substandard to the casual observer to a very great degree. If they take a look at the real LASD campuses, then things get even worse for the disparity between them and BCS. LASD has been calculating square footage all along, but when the appeals court provided guidance LASD got more detailed. The figures for this year are in a spreadsheet in Exhibit J and Exhibit K of the offer. Most categories are improved, but the PE sharing which is new has glaring errors in every line.
LASD Taxpayer April 04, 2013 at 11:05 PM
@your neighbor What I find most unpleasant about David R. comments is they are not based on fact. Such as "The teachers in grades 7 and 8 don't have many with other than an elementary generalist teaching credential." Which is not true. All Egan teachers have full specialized credentials in the subject they teach. Math, Science, English, etc. Or "before moving to high school where they have 2000 students on campus" as LAHS is about 1600 students. I am all for BCS, I am all for finding a 10th site so they can have all the science room space, MPR space to have the presentations, all the PE that you want. But not at the expense of closing a school OR overcrowding a neighborhood. It seems that BCS pushes for closing a school OR growing to 900 regardless if the neighborhood can manage the traffic etc. It feels like BCS is not being inconsiderate of the citizens of Los Altos, IMO.
Philip Aaronson April 05, 2013 at 01:19 AM
I wish everyone would please stick to the issues and focus on the goal: find a solution everyone can live with. If you're talking about, or attacking someone instead of an issue, personally, I think you've gone off into the weeds.
Mitch Caldwell April 05, 2013 at 01:23 AM
I think that David is correct - LASD staffs with teachers that are qualified to to teach k-8 they don't have many teachers with specialized credentials. Most of their teachers would not be able to teach at a high school. Maybe that is why they can't offer Geometry? Doesn't Geometry, a high school subject, require an actual math teacher? They wouldn't be able to staff it with an elementary school teacher.
Rocky April 05, 2013 at 01:47 AM
There goes Mitch again... It took me about two minutes on Google to confirm that in the state of California, to be *either* a Junior High or High School teacher, a single subject credential is required. Also, the "Great Schools" website indicates that 100% of Blach teachers are credentialed. QED. Elementary teachers are required to have multi-subject credentials. So unless you're telling us all that each BCS teacher has both a multi-subject credential AND a single subject credential, then the whole argument is moot and the credentialing discussion is nonsense. And to be clear, this job posting for a teacher position at BCS states nothing about the need for a single subject credential at all (http://www.bullischarterschool.com/cms/lib6/CA01001253/Centricity/Domain/13/BCS-teacher_recruit_v1.pdf) I actually suspect Mitch probably already knew all of that, and is intentionally spreading misinformation. You'll notice that he's very careful with the phrasing however: He "thinks, that David is correct" which is probably the only thing that prevents his post from being nothing more than a bald faced lie. Now, given his penchant for exhaustive research, DR has no such excuse...
Mitch Caldwell April 05, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Sure the teachers at Egan and Blach have a license to teach - I don't think I tried to claim otherwise. What I said is that most Egan and Blach Teachers have a license to teach in kindergarten through 8th grade. they can teach any subject as long as they are teaching students in grades k - 8. They are not licensed to teach math at the high school level. Geometry is a high school subject. Are there any LASD math teachers that could teach Geometry?
Mitch Caldwell April 05, 2013 at 02:27 AM
I agree with Phillip Anderson. It seems like anyone who even asks a a question that goes against the grain gets pounced on. I think what they are really trying to do is deflect attention from the real issues that people are trying to discuss. I guess I wonder who is paying LASD taxpayer, John Locke and that crazy lady in the attic.
LASD Taxpayer April 05, 2013 at 02:30 AM
@Mitch and David R. - you both are 100% wrong. I am only familiar with Egan (so I won't state facts where I can not confirm) but every single teacher has subject specific credentials for the exact subject they teach. Maybe at BCS it is different and that is why you keep insisting otherwise. I have confirmed that with the district but I am certain you will not believe anyone until you see the exact credentials because you love to spread the hate and distrust. And you wonder why the community has not embrace BCS!
Rocky April 05, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Let's try this again Mitch. And I'll use small words this time. Teachers at Blach and Egan have single subject credentials which means they are credentialed to teach in Junior High *or* High School. Unless they also have a multi-subject credential, they would NOT be credentialed for elementary school. Again, I suspect you know all this of course. The only reason to even engage with you is that the Patch is a fairly widely read site in this community and it's important that demonstrably false statements like yours not be allowed to mislead people who may still be forming their opinions in this conflict.
David April 05, 2013 at 03:30 AM
John Locke's interpretation is "Lost" on me. My main point of contention was that the Jr High's are small schools that operate much like the small LASD Elementary schools. I never said the LASD teachers aren't licensed. I just said that there is an over emphasis on being small, just for the sake of being small. As for the transition to high school, LAHS may be 1650 but MVHS is 1850. I just used 2000 as a ballpark. The population is growing. So far as I can tell about 25% of LASD graduates don't go on to either MVHS or LAHS. There are 1200 8th graders in LASD and MVW combined, but the combined size of the two high schools is just 3500. That's an awful lot of dropouts. I think it is the private school attendees that make the numbers so disjoint.
Mitch Caldwell April 05, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Dear John Locke - I didn't mean any offense, I am sure that their are some great teachers at both Egan and Blach, but both schools do have quite a few teachers with elementary school licensees. See the link below for the seniority list on the LASD website. It lists every teacher and the licenses that they hold. I took a quick took through and there are some teachers that do list Math as their main license/ credential but there are also teachers of Math at Egan and Blach that hold an elementary license ( multiple subject) as their main one. Some have math listed afterwards, but I believe that California will grant a supplement to teachers that hold one license. I think it is something like having a major and a minor. I don't think that they can teach High Level subjects with a supplemental license. I also think that another problem they might have in starting geometry is that they might not have enough students at each elementary school to offer the seventh grade math in sixth grade and they would need to offer it at every school. They also might not have teachers that want to or are qualified to to teach seventh grade math at each elementary school. Also would that mess up the hiring firing system that they use? Isn't that why they keep this list? . Here is a link http://lasd.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/lasd-eAgenda.woa/wo/
David April 05, 2013 at 03:48 AM
The thing is, BCS has a right to exist. I only bring up the criticism of LASD schools because people act like they are so perfect. They always say "why should we have a charter school, everything is perfect." There are two issues at play. (1) They want to squash BCS or squeeze it as (small) flat as possible. (2) They feel there is no place in LASD to house BCS. Well, there is a place to house BCS without closing any LASD school. I know BCS hasn't pushed this, but the truth is the 16 acre campus at Covington is big enough for TWO schools. Traffic concerns are NONSENSE. The district office makes traffic too. Move it away to Sunnyvale or wherever, and then make Covington home to two schools. They can both be 8 acres. or divide it more according to the student populations. I would look to use the spare space on Egan campus to house a school for NEC once BCS has a new spot. I think the spare space at Blach could handle the district offices, or most of that. Some of that activity could go to classroom portables at SR, Gardner, Oak, Almond, Springer, even Loyola.
Lawyer Up, Baby April 05, 2013 at 04:08 AM
Time to lawyer up. That's the only way this thing gets resolved. Until the litigation is amped up to unpalatable levels, neither side will back down and this rhetoric will continue. Some times, diplomacy doesn't work and you need to actually send in the military. I, for one, am ready for that. I'm so over all this back and forth. So looking forward to some higher court ruling on all this and mandating what needs to be done because clearly the incompetence of the respective boards and the circus show that is all these "community/grass roots task forces" can't get it done. Sadly, the only conclusion I have is that I'm going back to my barker lounge chair with Pabst Blue Ribbon in hand and going to watch the lawyer duke it out. Give me a ring in 5 years when this is all resolved. Property values are at an all time high in Los Altos - it may be time to sell and move to Menlo, Paly, Portola, Woodside, etc.
Mitch Caldwell April 05, 2013 at 04:13 AM
That sounds like a good idea David R. Do you think it would cost more to do that than to buy Raynor?
David April 05, 2013 at 05:03 AM
Trick question Mitch. The Raynor site won't solve the problem and the cost of $35M is open ended. New roofs, unknown hot water heating problems and so forth at Raynor even higher. But to repurpose Covington for 2 schools, to hold BCS the year after next, it would mean adding a max of 50 new portables. Most likely existing classrooms and District office space could be used for a 10-20 portables. But if it took the entire 50 new portables, LASD has estimate that such site prep and installation costs are $50K each. That's a mere $2.5Million compared to $35M at Raynor. This approach of housing BCS entirely at Covington with no Junior High on the site would mean that BCS would need to make its own modifications to create 7th and 8th grade facilities, using the raw building space and land provided by LASD.
Mitch Caldwell April 05, 2013 at 05:35 AM
Maybe LASD is trying to place BCS way out of the district to keep the lawyers employed? What if LASD expects to loose the it's current court case with BCS? I thought that case was about splitting up a charter school - - I think that has already been ruled on before. So if they loose then maybe they are trying to get Raynor in the pipe line for next year.
Philip Aaronson April 05, 2013 at 01:45 PM
I'm sort of done with the lawyers. I fully expect that after another year and another million in legal fees the appellate court will hand down some directives to when Mr. Kenyon can and cannot deny desks and books or some such, and further clarifications on when districts can and cannot split facilities for charter schools. The BoTs will then take that ruling and slice BCS sideways instead of vertically and we'll wind up back in court - again. I don't really see any light at the end of this particular tunnel. And to me, the real problem with litigation is that as long as it's going on, we wind up with elected officials like Mr. Smith. Combative, angry, and focused on "winning" instead of educating and looking for solutions. What we really need is an exit strategy for all parties. LASD did craft one of the better facilities offers in years this year, and part of that has to be attributed to litigation over last year's abysmal offer. That's not exactly motivation for BCS to stop. I was hoping the BoTs would sit at the table this year and say, okay, you want a larger stand-alone facility at Blach, drop litigation and we'll do it. Instead they said, drop litigation and we'll talk.
Wen April 05, 2013 at 09:58 PM
Why can't they solve this by drawing classrooms and buildings out of hat, in proportion to the student population at each campus? Then start trading facilities. You wouldn't need to do it with every building but I bet you would get a much better result for both parties.
Sally Field April 14, 2013 at 05:04 AM
What happened to the discussion about Geometry. It is quite shocking that the staff so concerened about API scores have removed a Geometry option. As if there is a shortage of bright kids in Los Altos. The Board has found itself an issue to get voted in and do little else. This is why countries go to war, because they cant deal with their own domestic mess. As for Joan Strong or Joan Weak, are you going to help the families that are asking for Geometry or are you like the board only concerned with BCS. Are you a one issue Joan or Jane Doe, sorry Strong.
Burt Reynolds April 14, 2013 at 08:39 AM
Darlin, I'm sure everybody's concerned about gettin' our kids a right proper heap of Geeometry. These things take time, but making a change like this is a long road and you've got to put the hammer down and give it hell. And there ain't gonna be nobody going to any world war over this, so don't get your shorts in a bind. As for our friends on the Board of Dee-rectors, I reckon the problem isn't old Smokey 39 this time, it just plain old simple things. Y'all need to figure out what you'll go without in order to get something new, and folks probably need to figure other things out. And if you want others to help you, I don't figure pokin' fun at people's names are going to get you the help you're looking for. Just sayin'.
Rocky April 14, 2013 at 04:46 PM
First of all, I don't think a geometry "option" was "removed" by anyone here and in 13 years in LASD I haven't seen any examples of "teaching to the test" or prioritizing API scores above all else. More Anti-LASD propaganda from our friends at BCS. Secondly, I think it might be easier to get the BoT to consider things like 8th grade geometry if they didn't have to spend the vast majority of their time keeping the BCS wolves at bay...
Sally Field April 15, 2013 at 02:12 AM
I agree that working on BCS is taking up too much time. I love your name, Burt Reynolds btw! I am not sure that this is anti LASD propaganda. It is a fact that someone at some point removed the Geometry option. It used to be there. My older child now has taken a summer class and I dont want the younger one to have to as the summer class was terrible. I suppose you are right poking fun at Joan Strong is not going to help but I could not resist, Mr. Reynolds.
Sally Field April 15, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Whatever may be said. Geometry is a critical step. Some families make it up with summer courses, others are captain of the water polo team or football team and even if they got a D, or had a years less of math, they would get in. The top few percent of most high schools get accepted into prestigious schools. So LASD tax payer saying that she knows people who did well is not a suprise. So many wealthy Egan families engage private tutors as well for their children. I was told that one parent even has an organisation tutor .. just to get the child organised. This was mentioned at a PTA meeting. Money can buy happiness. A much larger percent - say 10-15% from Palo Alto and Cupertino are accepted based on their academic scores... because they have a reputation of being focused on academics. Individual students will push ahead but LASD along with Gilroy and Alum Rock are the only other districts that put their own chidren at a disadvantage. I was told LASD, Alum Rock and Gilroy cant afford or choose not to offer Geometry to 8th Graders. . The reality is that LASD does not have to be accountable in the way MVLA has to. Hence they can say disregard higher math education unless parents get unpleasant about it and the only reference point they have is the API score.
Sally Field April 15, 2013 at 06:27 AM
I dont agree with whoever talked about G and T. Gifted and Talented. Math is a lot of hard work. It is much easier than doing well in a play or making a painting. If it is so hard then it has not been taught well. Cupertino and MV districts offer it to 25% to 30% of their students. Math is more application than inspiration. I dont know why it is considered so hard. If the math was interesting engaging and taught in a challenging way, more than half the class could easily do the Algebra 1 program in 1 year in 7th grade. I would highly recommend those parents/staff and trustees who are afraid of optional Geometry, enroll in Gilroy or Alum Rock and be a parent/ trustee/staff member there. If they are so unenterprizing and so backward and so fearful and think that what they learned 20 years ago should be the norm now, they dont really belong to a school BofT. The Blach teacher who said she is worried if our children can do it. Is she talking about herself or our children. She needs to realize which decade she is living in . This is silicon valley, we dont need to be so protective of our children that they have to call the normal math program advanced track just to make sure that they are feeling okay about it. Lets hope that the Bo T are worth the energy we spent voting them in. Sorry BCS fans, I hope you will be disappointed and the Board will show that it can do something for the advanced kids too. Lets see what happens. Hopefully it is good news. .
Mitch Caldwell April 15, 2013 at 06:37 AM
For Geometry to work sixth grade would need to be moved to the middle schools, so that sixth graders would get the math they need to take geometry in 8th. That would be the best way to get critical mass. What is the reasoning of keeping sixth graders at the elementary schools anyway? The BoT's feel that's what BCS should do - in fact they are forcing it on them. Why not let LASD sixth graders go the junior highs as well? Or make it optional.
Sally Field April 15, 2013 at 06:44 AM
My message at 7:21 was referring to getting into university. That a lot of people can qualify based on their SAT scores and extra curricular activities such as waterpolo or sports or being a great sopranist. Geometry just helps students to enter the advanced academic track. It makes it that much easier.
Sally Field April 15, 2013 at 06:46 AM
It seems there is no room to move them as BCS is occupying both middle schools.
Sally Field April 15, 2013 at 06:48 AM
Also, one does not need to move the students to teach them Algebra. One can learn algebra anywhere even under a lemon tree. I dont buy this argument that we have to wait. This is just a delay tactic. Geometry stands on its own. It can be taught almost at any time.


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