Editor's note: The following is a letter to Los Altos School District trustees Tamara Logan, Doug Smith, Mark Goines, Steve Taglio and Pablo Luther. It was submitted to Los Altos Patch for publication. It is not related to Patch's call for ideas for Bullis Charter School facilties and is not part of that series. It is, however, a related facilities concern being raised by parents of students who reside north of El Camino Real, as the district considers how to allocate and prepare facilties for both Los Altos School District-educated children and those at Bullis Charter School. Update Jan. 15: The original headline, "North-End Los Altos Students Deserve Consideration" has been changed to accurately reflect the subject, since the words, "Los Altos," intended by the editor as a shorthand for "Los Altos School District," was ambiguous and excluded Mountain View students.
Dear Tammy, Doug, Mark, Steve and Pablo,
I have talked at some length with many community members, and sat down recently with Doug (thanks Doug) regarding the facilities situation.
I want to raise the point "formally", and on public record, that the current facilities problem is not limited by the question of where to place Bullis Charter School. The question of facilities within the district, and of facilities for BCS should not be considered serially, rather as part of one larger issue.
My understanding from Loyola parents is that that school is crowded to the point of hazardous situations at drop-off and pick-up. I know that both Almond and Santa Rita are currently comfortable hovering around the 550-student mark, however with the current community growth, both of those schools threaten pushing the borders beyond the "small school" designation used in the past of 600 students. Specifically, the new development at the old Sears site boasts 220 two-bedroom units, of which it is likely that approximately 1/3 will host families with at least one child - slated to Almond. The new development at the demolished Marie Callendar's is also aimed at Almond, although the configuration there is currently unclear to me. The new development near Loucks, as well as the development at the old Palo Alto Bowl site are both in the Santa Rita attendance area, the more impacted of the two north-end schools.
Six years ago when the boundary redraw occurred, Mark stated that the current boundary configuration was "a long-term solution". My own neighborhood, The Crossings, fought hard against being moved at that time (again) - having been moved at every single boundary change since its inception. This neighborhood, as well as the Old Mill, now attends Covington. Please think seriously about this vow made six years ago when you consider a much-needed campus in the north end of the district - and whether you can seriously entertain new sites, which Doug mentioned was being considered (to the point of asking for the City of Mountain View's assistance at the next City Council Meeting) for both the north of the district and the charter school.
It is critical that whatever the outcome of the offer to BCS is, that those families who have invested in the Covington community, per Mark's statement of assurance of a long-term solution, receive consideration if they are to be shifted (be it to a new "neighborhood school" for the north end of the district, or if the Covington community is somehow dispersed) once again.