What are your thoughts around the "small school" model of LASD?
There is a wide body of research that suggests improved educational outcomes with smaller schools (sub 500 students). Benefits include greater community involvement, a better sense of student belonging, higher teacher satisfaction, as well as higher grades, better attendance and less violence. One of the unique things about LASD is that all of our schools are phenomenal. I don't want to risk what we have by making the schools too large.
Should LASD conduct a bond offering and if so, what should the proceeds be used for?
Due to the high quality of the schools within Los Altos (BCS and LASD), student enrollment has been growing rapidly. Given the large number of young families that continue to move into the district, this trend will likely continue for many years to come. To support this growth and plan for the future, the best solution is to conduct a bond offering to expand the number of school sites within the LASD boundaries.
While conducting a bond offering is needed to ensure that we maintain the quality of our schools, it also has the added benefit of maintaining or increasing property values.
What are your thoughts on closing a school?
I am strongly opposed to closing any school. Schools are not just land and buildings. They are living, breathing communities that take years to develop. If a school is high performing, we should never close it.
What is your proposed solution to the dispute between BCS and LASD?
Any solution must meet two criteria: 1) no school should be closed 2) additional facilities are required for both LASD and BCS students. To meet these needs, the top short-term goal of LASD should be to pass a bond measure during the November elections. A successful bond offering will allow for an increase in facilities for both LASD and BCS students.
How would you improve the relationship between BCS and LASD?
For the last two years, I have been regularly meeting with community leaders, including members of the LASD board, the BCS board, CACF, parents and teachers of LASD and BCS students. I have also met with current and former city council members of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. The BCS and LASD communities have a lot in common. Both have great children and dedicated parents, teachers and staff. Both communities want the best for their children.
My belief is that the key to a solution starts with empathy. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the other side. Without empathy, it is almost impossible to come up with a productive solution. If elected to the LASD board, I will continue to meet regularly with community members around the district to make sure I can understand everyone's perspective and help foster a collaborative approach to resolving the current conflict.
Would you locate a school at Rosita Park or McKenzie Park?
Los Altos needs more parks. Utilizing Rosita or McKenzie as a school site does not seem practical. I have spent the past few weeks walking around Rosita and McKenzie and talking with neighbors and community members. I struggle to see how locating a new school at either location would be feasible since there are so many nearby schools. Traffic is already a problem for the surrounding communities.
Instead of spending time on how to use our parks, the district should focus its efforts on acquiring additional acreage. There are upwards of twenty sites within the district boundaries that are large enough to accommodate a school. We should figure out which of those sites is best before spending any time on our parks.
Where would you locate new school sites?
A committee of community members convened by Gary Waldeck conducted a thorough survey of potential school sites. The results of that survey were presented to the Los Altos School Board earlier this year. I would need to fully evaluate all feasible options before making a recommendation.