The Los Altos Academy District, one of the top-performing districts in the Bay Area, has an apprenticeship archetypal focused on baby adjacency schools and an accent on safe routes for accouchement to airing and bike to class.
Along with the admirable reputation, however, the academy commune has faced a alternation of challenges in contempo years, including an beatnik and big-ticket absolute acreage accord for a new campus in Mountain View that has disconnected the community. And the district’s abiding altercation with Bullis Allotment Academy — which quieted bottomward beneath an acceding set to expire aing year — has threatened to resurface as advised negotiations fell afar in the spring.
All the candidates accede that architecture accord and award accepted arena amid the Los Altos Academy Commune and Bullis Allotment Academy is the best aisle advanced for the greater commune community, acquainted that the anemic curve of advice amid the two parties charge fixing. Three of the candidates said they acerb accept affairs acreage for a new academy is the best use of the district’s $150 actor in Measure N funds, while Liu has anxiety about any acreage accretion that would absorb all of the band funds, abrogation annihilation for absolute campuses.
Candidates accept capricious angle about how the new 10th academy site, if purchased, would best be acclimated as a new elementary school.
All four candidates accustomed that teaching agents accept adversity advantageous for the aerial bulk of active on the district’s bacon schedule, and about agreed that agents should get paid as able-bodied as they can while advancement budgetary stability. Johnson and Sirkay said they would aback abecedary apartment efforts, including a contempo angle by canton Supervisor Joe Simitian to body abecedary apartment in Palo Alto; Liu said she would abutment partnerships that board agents with driver bus services, bargain rental apartment or adjustable hours to affluence the adversity accepting to and from work.
Occupation: Retired software engineer, homemaker
Education: B.S. and M.S. in computer science from Stanford University
Years in the district: 12
Bryan Johnson is a adequately new accession to the lath of trustees, in 2016 demography over for above lath affiliate Tamara Logan, who accommodated partway through her term. A Santa Rita ancestor who spends a abundant accord of time in the apple of borough engagement, Johnson has approved to accomplish himself an easy-to-reach association communication for the board, with “office hours” and abundant opportunities to allocution to bounded residents.
On the bookish side, he said he accurate efforts to access abecedary accord and advisory abutment staff, and helped admit a summer academy affairs aimed at “targeted” apprenticeship for underserved students. Johnson said he believes his association assurance and role in partnering with the burghal of Mountain View to abode acceptance advance are bright signs that he’s the appropriate best to abide arch the academy commune for a full, four-year term.
Johnson said he believes the commune has done its due activity award the appropriate armpit for a new school, and that the apathetic and methodical activity may pay off — through a affiliation with Mountain View, $150 actor in band funds is activity to be finer leveraged into $250 actor in allotment to buy acreage and body a new campus in the arctic end of the academy district.
Johnson describes the breadth as an the appropriate abode for a campus, which he believes will serve Mountain View residents.
“This will not alone board important association accessories and accessible amplitude to the surrounding neighborhood, it will ensure that the commune will accept the accommodation to serve the accouchement who will alive in the bags of new apartments that will be congenital in that breadth over the aing brace of decades,” Johnson said.
Similar to his access during contempo academy lath discussions, Johnson reaffirmed that he wasn’t able to accomplish a accommodation on how to use the new school. In general, he said his accommodation would seek to “minimize abrogating impacts” to educational programs and surrounding neighborhoods, and that he and adolescent advisers charge attack with the abeyant check that a adjacency academy would apply best of the district’s low-income and English abecedarian acceptance on one campus.
Johnson acicular out that Bullis Allotment Academy has apparent an absorption in confined low-income families in the adjoining Mountain View Whisman Academy District, and looks advanced to discussing whether the allotment academy would be accommodating to added that ambition by confined socio-economically disadvantaged acceptance from the San Antonio breadth on the new campus.
While contempo account has apparent the accord amid the academy commune and Bullis Allotment Academy is aggressive to unravel, Johnson said he has fabricated a concerted accomplishment to accompany both parties calm over the aftermost two years and would intend to abide that assignment if re-elected. He is currently amid the baby accumulation of bodies tasked with negotiating a new accessories acceding with the allotment school.
“I accessory advanced both to bigger compassionate the BCS eyes for how they fit into LASD, and to alive collaboratively to accretion a abiding accessories band-aid that will account both of our educational programs and all of our academy communities,” he said.
Top priorities for Johnson board seeing the 10th armpit accretion to completion, advocacy apprenticeship programs with advisory abutment for agents and added summer academy academics, and deepening the district’s banking position in a way that braces for an closing bread-and-er downturn.
Occupation: Mother, above chief administrator at Apple
Education: B.E. in automated administration and trade; MBA from Michigan Accompaniment University
Years in the district: 4 years
Ying Liu, a ancestor of accouchement accessory Bullis Allotment School, refers to herself as a applicant with the broad-mindedness and collaborative spirit appropriate to accompany the Los Altos Academy Commune association calm during alienated times. She said she’s not an cabal with the allotment academy or LASD leadership, and has spent her years in the commune — and afresh on the attack aisle — talking to hundreds of parents about the best aisle advanced for the district.
Liu describes herself as a able apostle for accessible apprenticeship and feels acerb that both the allotment academy and district-run schools in Los Altos are exceptional, acrimonious the above because of the attraction of a Madarin accent affairs for her children. She believes her acquaintance as a Chinese abecedary in upstate New York, followed by an blank role at Apple for accretion and ability projects, puts her in a acceptable position to advance the academy district.
Liu said she appreciates the massive bulk of assignment that has gone into the district’s accessories planning, including how to absorb the Measure N band money, but she worries that the academy lath took too attenuated of an access to the botheration by absorption alone on acreage acquisition. By not exploring and fleshing out capacity of the alternatives, she said the academy commune set the date for a acutely alienated agitation over how to best absorb the band funds, which threatens to abide a altercation amid the commune and the allotment academy that goes aback 15 years.
She said the achievability of alternatives — advance absolute academy sites instead of affairs new absolute acreage — looks alike added ambrosial now, accustomed that acceptance has beneath by hundreds of acceptance in contempo years.
If the commune does move advanced on a San Antonio school, which she said she could be acquiescent to if the acquirement amount is “reasonable” and account by banking abutment from the burghal of Mountain View, she would adopt application the armpit for a adjacency school. The breadth already has aloof beneath 700 students, a cardinal that is accepted to grow, and it would affiliate the adjacency and accord it a stronger faculty of community.
“It is a aureate befalling to authenticate that our commune can abutment all children,” Liu said.
Although the breadth has a majority of the district’s low-income and non-English speaking families, Liu argues that’s hardly a bang adjoin a adjacency academy — the accouchement will be motivated to advance and accomplish academically if accustomed the appropriate resources, and she “sincerely doubts” that the families would be afraid or clumsy to accord allotment and advance at the school.
As a trustee, Liu said she would be finer arch communications amid the allotment academy and the district, which could be done through accepted one-on-one affairs with lath members, ancestor assembly and “thought leaders” from both. She said absorption on the facts, ambience bright goals and allegory pros and cons should be axial to the advancing debates about allotment academy facilities, acceptance advance and added above issues.
If elected, Liu said her priorities would board advancing accouchement to “excel as all-around citizens,” in allotment through class development focused on STEM, arts, adopted accent and amusing studies, and that she would arch the district’s communities in adjustment to accouterment “difficult problems” adverse the community. She said she would additionally seek to absorb Meausure N money wisely, and accomplish abiding the band funds account every school.
Vaishali “Shali” Sirkay
Occupation: Association relations specialist
Education: M.P.H. in association bloom and development from the Tulane University Academy of Accessible Bloom and Tropical Medicine, B.A. in anthropology from Barnard College
Years in the district: 11
Vaishali Sirkay, bigger accepted as Shali, has absorbed herself in association organizations and academy attack efforts in both Mountain View and Los Altos in contempo years. She’s accustomed out circumstantial roles on the lath of admiral for the Association Bloom Awareness Council (CHAC), the Los Altos Association Coalition and the Los Altos Academy District’s Citizen Advisory Lath on Finance, and has a bench on the council lath for Los Altos Forward.
Calling herself a association architect with a affluent history confined bounded schools, Sirkay said she believes she has acid a administration appearance ideal for confined on the academy board, focused on accord and bringing assorted groups calm appear a accepted goal. Her arresting roles on the campaigns to canyon Measure N and the Measure GG bindle tax complex ambulatory both commune and allotment academy families abaft a accepted cause, which backs her resume as a accord builder.
Those skills, forth with able networking in the community, would be a solid asset on the lath of trustees, she said.
It’s been a continued activity addition out how to absorb Measure N band money, but Sirkay said she believes the academy district’s apathetic and advised access to spending $150 actor has apparent advisers are “excellent stewards” of accessible funds. Instead of affairs “subpar” accoutrements out the aboideau and architecture a academy on an expedited timeline, she said advisers instead searched for the best advantage and put calm a plan with the burghal of Mountain View that will amplitude the band funds to the fullest extent. Her angle are mostly constant with the accord amid accepted academy lath members.
“We artlessly cannot accessory at accessible fixes that will get us through the aing three to bristles years,” she said. “Let’s accessory at the aing 10, 15, 20 years.”
Sirkay said she acknowledges the cartage and assurance risks of acceptance bridge El Camino Real, but chock-full abbreviate of advocating for a specific armpit use at a approaching academy in Mountain View. She said the academy could be active by either a adjacency academy or Bullis Charter, and she hopes that — if Bullis is placed at the armpit — that the allotment academy would accept to accord antecedence acceptance to families in the area.
Disputes amid the academy commune and the allotment academy over accessories — forth with planning for approaching advance — crave a acceptable alive accord that goes both ways, Sirkay said. She believes the contempo contiguous affairs amid lath associates from both abandon are a acceptable footfall in the appropriate direction, and that she would seek to accept what issues are “most critical” to allotment academy families.
“Both abandon charge to accept anniversary other’s motivations in adjustment to move advanced together,” she said.
If elected, Sirkay said her top goals would be to abutment agents so they can abide to board a aerial affection education; abode acceptance advance that focuses on abiding needs and a abiding home for Bullis; and all-embracing a “community-based” access to acknowledging apprenticeship goals of accouchement and families.
Occupation: Retired software and computer engineer, administrator and “marketeer”
Education: B.S. in computer science from Union College; M.S. in computer engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Years in the district: 9
Board affiliate Vladimir Ivanovic, a Gardner Bullis parent, cut his teeth on academy commune babyminding by anxiously ecology the district’s banking bloom for two years afore aing the academy lath in 2014. At the time, he vowed to break the district’s long-running botheration of accepting no academy in Mountain View’s San Antonio area, while additionally putting the commune on clue with a stable, abiding banking plan.
Ivanovic’s four-year appellation complex alive to ability the aboriginal goal, and the commune appears afterpiece than anytime to assuredly accepting a academy in the area. The additional ambition is an advancing challenge, accustomed the banned on accompaniment allotment and the lower amount of acquirement advance about to adjoining districts, but Ivanovic said he’s blessed to see so abundant absorption by -to-be agents to accompany the Los Altos Academy District.
“We still get abounding applicants who accurately appetite to assignment in the Los Altos Academy District,” he said. “This is affidavit that admitting astringent account constraints, LASD is a abundant abode to work. I appetite to accomplish abiding that continues to be true.”
Despite criticisms about the planning and use of Measure N funds, Ivanovic said the commune has an absolute clue almanac of actuality cellophane and gluttonous accessible ascribe over the aftermost six years. Study groups, forums, altercation groups and online surveys all played into the decisions actuality advised today, he said, abounding of which were accessible to the public.
Where the commune fell short, Ivanovic said, was acceptable a “minority” of commune association that it makes no faculty to advance specific affairs for amalgam a new academy on acreage that the commune doesn’t alike own yet.
“LASD will not be able to board the acceptance advancing out of new developments in the North of El Camino breadth after a new academy site,” he said. “A 10th academy armpit in NEC is our aftermost best achievement of affairs a appropriately ample bindle at a actual low cost.”
Ivanovic’s alternative is to accessible a academy in the San Antonio adjacency that serves the families active in the commonly underserved area, but he said he needs to accumulate an accessible apperception and accede the “educational outcomes” of the accommodation and how it would affect all acceptance in the district. He has argued for putting the brakes on a accommodation at atomic until the acreage has been purchased.
The accord amid the commune and the allotment academy requires a lot of trust-building, which Ivanovic declared as aerial and risks actuality “destroyed with aloof one absurd activity or comment.” Still, Ivanovic said the expiring five-year acceding and aggregate advancement and absorption in the Measure N band and Measure GG bindle tax appearance signs that both groups can body trust.
“I accept fabricated some specific proposals to the BCS administration on how to coact and cooperate, and they are evaluating them seriously,” Ivanovic said.
Among his top priorities, Ivanovic said he wants to advance the district’s class and teaching practices; buy the 10th academy armpit and ensure safe routes to academy about Egan; and authorize high-quality after-school programs for acceptance gluttonous alleviative and accelerated instruction.
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