Support 'Still Weak' For School Bond, Consultant Says

Monday night's Los Altos School District board agenda includes details on a survey testing support for a bond measure in November, and a closed session to discuss litigation.


A consultant hired to probe voter support for a school bond in November concludes that awareness of the need for space, and support, is higher than a few months before—but still not enough for success.

The district has been weighing whether to put a bond measure on the ballot to build a new school and enhance existing facilities, and will hear the full presentation on the survey Monday night.

"Support for a bond measure today, with stronger ballot language, is higher than in April but is still weak for a measure needing 55%, wrote Ruth Bernstein of EMC Research. 

The action is being contemplated as the board faces the possibility of closing one of its seven elementary schools in order to provide facilities to Bullis Charter School. 

The board asked EMC Research to conduct a tracking survey on the feasibility of a bond measure for the November 2012. This is a follow-up survey to the survey conducted in April 2012. 

The action is being contemplated as the board faces the possibility of closing one of its seven elementary schools in order to provide facilities to Bullis Charter School, which prevailed in an October 2011 state appeals court decision. 

While voters remain extremely supportive of maintaining quality education, including avoiding overcrowding, there is low support for building a new school, the memo said. 

Bernstein and Jessica Polsky from EMC Research will be on hand Monday to present and discuss the survey results. Sarah Stern of TBWB will also be available to respond to questions regarding the feasibility of a bond measure.

The 7:30 p.m. meeting at the will be preceded by a closed session to discuss existing litigation. Bullis Charter School filed a complaint in early July, asking Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas to compel the school district to provide "reasonably equivalent" facilities to the charter school, as directed in a March 2012 court mandate.

Los Altos Patch will live blog the event. Watch the homepage or Los Altos Patch Page on Facebook later Monday for information on how to follow along. 

Joan J. Strong July 23, 2012 at 05:50 PM
What an unfortunate situation--and a challenge for supporters of public education here in Los Altos/Hills. Our misfortune is that most common-sense voters find the prospect of purchasing a campus for a bunch of millionaires/billionaires' private school patently absurd--and it is. Unfortunately these voters don't understand what Sacramento has done to us, and has allowed these billionaires to use loopholes in the law to put us in a position forcing us all to pay for their school's campus. Be that as it may, the FACT is that we're going to need more space regardless of Bullis Charter School as our top-ranked schools status is a beacon for parents within a 100 mile radius to settle here. Our schools are far and away the #1 reason people choose to buy here and the only Earthly reason you'd pay a large fortune for a relatively small house in Los Altos. Schools drive our real estate values, which our two neighbors--Mountain View and Cupertino--know all too well as they just passed $100m bonds for their schools. They know $100m is peanuts compared to the increase in home values that comes with better schools. I bet if the District proposed a SPECIFIC plan (something sorely lacking in the current polling) then we'd get the 55% we need to pass this bond...
John Radford July 23, 2012 at 08:25 PM
To JJS I'm not sure the FACT is that LASD is going to need more space (at least certain consultant's growth projections don't support that ) but even given that may be true the FACT is they don't necessarily need more land to provide more space. LASD's 10 schools and 9 sites mantra didn't connect with too many parents as there was low voter support for building a new school. In addition, unless there is some news out there to contrary, LASD hasn't found any property to build a new school on either. I suppose in the ideal world, building a 10th school on a new site would be an optimal solutions but my bet is that even with a specific plan it is not going to pass. I think this all points to LASD developing a plan with the property they have and then coming back to the voters next year. This, of course, assumes they will have that luxury pending the current legal proceedings


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