City Council Letter to LASD Board of Trustees

April 23, 2014

LASD Board of Trustees
Los Altos School District
201 Covington Road
Los Altos, CA  94024

Dear LASD Board of Trustees:

As the Los Altos City Council embarked on an update to the Civic Center Master Plan, it has become evident that there is a need to clearly articulate and reiterate to the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees, and the community at large, our willingness to work with you.  The intent of this letter is to provide clarity on the City Council’s position and our offer to engage in dialogue.

The Los Altos City Council appreciates and respects the collaboration and work accomplished by the Superintendent’s Enrollment Growth Taskforce.  It is the most comprehensive work completed to date.  The report draws conclusions with respect to the LASD community being challenged by student enrollment growth. Per the final report of the Taskforce, district data shows enrollment is at its highest level in approximately 40 years and continued growth is projected.  It suggests LASD may need to pursue two additional school sites; one to serve as a permanent site for Bullis Charter School and another to accommodate growth in LASD. The report goes further to suggest seeking a site “either in or around the El Camino corridor (what has commonly been referred to as the “north of El Camino Real”) or somewhere near the center of the district.”

As the lead agency, the school district is faced with how best to accommodate the student growth needs within the footprint of the Los Altos School District, which serves students from Los Altos, Mountain View, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, and unincorporated Santa Clara County.

Council recognizes that there are a number of approaches that LASD can take to manage enrollment growth such as making more efficient use of current school facilities and land; pursuing shared use type arrangements; and purchasing or leasing land and/or buildings (either private or public).  It is our expectation and hope that LASD is actively and carefully examining all alternatives, public and private.                               

The Los Altos City Council is willing to work with you to identify one potential public site within Los Altos for the purpose of opening a new school.  To reiterate, our offer is to open up a dialogue with respect to two City-owned locations ¾ Rosita Park and McKenzie Park/Municipal Service Center.   Council considered a number of factors when identifying these sites as having the greatest opportunity to best serve the Los Altos community at large (see Attachment 1). It is also important to note that the Los Altos City Council has the responsibility for balancing the needs of the entire community: residents with or without school-age children, residents from infants to seniors, the 38% of households with individuals under 18 years of age as well as the 36% of households with individuals 65 and older (2010 U.S. Census).   Reducing our already limited park and recreational facilities that serve all residents is not ideal.  However, if we are to pursue repurposing one location, the sites we have identified for discussion will afford us the best opportunity to meet the changing recreational needs and desires of all residents.

We hope that you can appreciate the necessity to balance quality of life, quality of service and quality of education that our 30,000 residents expect and deserve.  We look forward to engaging in a dialogue about the options Council has offered for consideration.  Together we can examine the potential, identify the challenges and work toward solutions.

Kindly let us know when you would like to open the dialogue.

Los Altos City Council

Attachment:  Summary of City of Los Altos Public Lands