Friday, February 18, 2011

Los Altos Hills City Council Resolution Endorsing Parcel Tax

The following is the text of the resolution passed by the Los Altos Hills City Council last night:

WHEREAS the Los Altos School District will seek approval of parcel tax Measure E on the May 3rd, 2011 special election mail-in ballot in the amount of $193 ;

WHEREAS these additional funds are needed to protect excellence in our local public schools by preserving core academic programs, retaining qualified teachers, and providing funding for books and classroom materials ;

WHEREAS the Los Altos Hills City Council supports these educational goals, especially as they pertain to maintaining the highest quality neighborhood public schools;

Whereas LASD should submit balanced budget proposals for the upcoming school year (with and without parcel tax revenue), seek additional cost-cutting measures including concessions from employees unions, including sharing with BCS in future Parcel Tax measures, and provide a long term location for BCS, per the goals of the Educational Blueprint.

The Los Altos Hills City Council hereby endorses passage of parcel tax Measure E.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Los Altos Hills City Council votes to support LASD parcel tax

[Again, it bears reminding that this blog is my personal blog and does not reflect the positions of the entire LASD Board of Trustees. over coming posts, I'll be discussing why I believe it's important to pass the parcel tax.]

I'm pleased to say that the Los Altos Hills City Council voted tonight to endorse the parcel tax LASD has placed on the May 3 ballot.

The discussion was a difficult one. LAH, more than other parts of the community, is split by the BCS issues. Several BCS parents and supporters spoke in opposition to the measure. Most of the discussion was centered on the fact that there is no direct cash transfer to BCS.

I believe that the tax in fact does benefit BCS. Under Prop 39, changes to our classroom loading also affect BCS. The simple fact is that if the tax doesn't pass, it will have a significant impact on our class sizes, which would change the the BCS facilities. offer. As goes the district, so goes BCS.

The Hills Council included language in their resolution that expressed the divides in their community. The council has a difficult job, and I respect their desire to represent the opinions of the broadest portion of their community. I believe that the things they expressed are for the most part consistent with the goals and actions of LASD. I had the opportunity to speak with several of the council members afterwards- including some who voted for the resolution, and some who opposed it. I'm glad to have opened this dialogue, and hope to continue it moving forward. In the meantime, I'm grateful for their endorsement, and look forward to the parcel tax campaign.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Honest Mistake (BCS Soccer fields)

To our friends at BCS:

The process of pulling together the annual facilities offer is a long one, and involves plenty of paperwork. Every Feb 1, LASD provides a "Preliminary Offer" to BCS to cover the facilities we will provide for the coming school year. Most years, that offer can run 30+ pages, with additional schedules and attachements balooning that even further.

Last year we made available a section of turf known as "the patch". (It's the soccer field on the western edge of the BCS campus.) This year, in our preliminary offer, we made a mistake that said the patch was not part of the offer. I understand that this caused quite a bit of upset in the BCS community. I received some phone calls, as did members of the LASD adminstration. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why people were upset- we were providing the patch in 2011-12, just as we did in 2010-11. Randy Kenyon and I met with members of the BCS Board today to review the preliminary offer, and we were equally confused when they said that the offer didn't include the patch.

It turns out that in preparing our preliminary offer, we used an old draft document from a prior school year, where BCS didn't have use of the patch during the day. The mistake flowed through to the document we shared on Feb 1st. Let me be clear: It has always been the intent of LASD to include full use of the patch in our preliminary offer. I apologize for the unrest it caused in the BCS community.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions on this matter.