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Las Lomitas school board acts to put $60 million bond measure on November ballot

Original post made on Aug 7, 2013

Voters in the Las Lomitas Elementary School District will be asked in November to approve a $60 million bond measure to pay for building permanent classrooms and upgrading existing buildings. The school board unanimously approved the ballot measure Tuesday (Aug. 6).

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 2:37 PM

Comments (8)

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Posted by curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 7, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Why would you build new classrooms when the district owns two schools which are not being used for district students.

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Posted by Long time Menlo Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

Didn't we just finish paying for new buildings at La Entrada and Los Lomitas?
Enough is enough!

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Posted by Sir Toppham Hatt
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Aug 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Building more capacity on the current sites is much cheaper than reclaiming La Loma or Ladera. Doing either of those would entail:
-penalties for breaking existing leases
-loss of income from current tenants
-bringing these facilities up to all Code, ADA and other various requirements

Believe me the school board (of which I am not a member) has done the math and reclaiming those sites is not optimal at this time. Maybe someday, which is why they are still owned.

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Posted by Klop Kerschmidtt
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Aug 11, 2013 at 9:52 pm

The board and senior staff of the Las Lomitas School district deserve an "F" for planning. As others have pointed out, the district owns two other properties -- the former La Loma and Ladera Schools. The lease on Ladera was only recently renewed. Who pays for this terrible planning? The taxpayers of course! I hope other taxpayers will join me in voting down this bond measure in November. Put up temporary facilities at the existing schools -- our children will get the same education, and the taxpayers will be better off.

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Posted by mom
a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Aug 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

It's time the local school boards and city councils lock themselves into a room and do some realistic planning. Cities continue to approve new office projects that add pressures to approve new housing projects that add pressures on school districts and infrastructure. There is almost no common sense planning being done to ensure these all are in synch. Until they do this, all these elected officials and the staff they direct get "needs improvement" failing grades

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Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Aug 12, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Reopening one of the two leased sites was a viable option. The district recently studied the cost of reopening Ladera School. The projected cost to renovate that campus to current standards was about $30 million - half of the cost of building on the two existing sites. The committee also was informed that the cost to reopen the La Loma site, an option in the Phillips Brooks contract was much smaller (just several million)and could also be funded by a Bond. By asking the tax payer for a much smaller bond to reopen one of the 2 sites and a parcel tax to cover the lost rent, several benefits would be realized.
* the average taxpayer would be asked for a smaller amount of money with a Parcel tax and a bond
* the school campuses would be a better size with fewer students and less traffic
* the taxpayer would not be paying the existing bond on buildings that were renovated in recent bonds and will be torn down to make way for 2 story buildings
* by reopening an existing campus, future changes in enrollment can be better accommodated

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm

This bond seems to me to be the right approach. The Las Lomitas schools were designed and built years ago for a much smaller enrollment (800-1,000 kids vs the 1,400 that the district has now.) This growth strains the current campus designs (common areas such as auditorium, library, lunch area all too small as well as not enough classrooms.)

However, the growth (and projected future growth) are not enough to warrant taking back the leased campuses as there are not enough kids to justify the fixed, administrative costs entailed in running 3-4 schools rather than 2. Moreover, the district uses the income from the leased properties to pay for the yearly costs of running its current schools. Losing that income would be a terrible thing for a district that has weathered a virtual collapse in government funding for education.

Our neighborhoods are vibrant and highly sought places to live because our schools are excellent. Well designed campuses including comfortable classrooms and playgrounds uncluttered by temporary trailer buildings are intrinsic to this.

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Posted by member
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Aug 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

The size of the $60 million Bond to tear down recently renovated buildings (which are still on the taxpayers tax bill) compared to $30 million to renovate and reopen Ladera School along with a $250 - $300 per parcel tax to make up for the rental income makes this $60 million Bond questionable. For many taxpayers, this large $60 million bond is considerably more than a smaller bond plus a parcel tax. Additionally, seniors cannot exempt themselves from the Bond tax, but could from a parcel tax.

Ladera School has a library, office, multiuse room and wonderful fields along with 15 to 20 classrooms. This is very close to the number of portables on the 2 district schools so many of those portables could be eliminated.

The private school renting Ladera School lobbied neighbors and the school district very hard to renew their lease. Many Ladera residents preferred the current tenant to another private school moving in and supported Woodland School's requests. Those residents may well have preferred the district reopening Ladera school for the district's students if they were given a choice.

Asking district voters to approve a $60 million Bond in addition to the existing one when the district has 2 unused sites is a very questionable decision. Recent bonds have renovated and upgraded all of the classrooms at the 2 existing campuses, so they are not in great need of upgrading. The district primarily needs additional classrooms. Las Lomitas and La Entrada are crowded now (parking, playground space, impact on neighbors, etc.). Adding more students and rooms will only contribute to that crowding.

Our neighborhoods have been proud of their public schools and have valued sound fiscal management. The district is the steward of the schools - all four of them. The district needs to heed the public good and plan for the long term. Over building on two campuses to keep private schools' rent may not protect that public good nor be the best use of tax payer dollars.

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