As a parent member of the High School Task Force, I would like to correct the reporting that appeared in the Weekly on Sept. 14 regarding the decision by the HSTF to drop consideration of a third high school as a potential remedy to the school district's projected growth in enrollment. The story reported that "over the summer ... task-force members grappled with their task" and determined that they did not "feel qualified to look at whether the district should re-open a third high school."
In fact, the HSTF had one introductory meeting last May and did not meet again until Sept. 19. The decision to eliminate the consideration of a third high school was, to my knowledge, made by the superintendent and his advisers and not by the HSTF.
Any representation that this decision reflected the position of the HSTF as a group is simply incorrect.
While the decision to table consideration of a third high school may, in fact, be the correct judgment on this matter, it is an option that I would like to have had the opportunity to consider as part of the HSTF's agenda.
It is disingenuous and self-serving to say that the HSTF did not feel qualified to study this alternative. The HSTF is comprised of people representing a cross-section of the community and we are highly motivated to assist our community in reaching the most effective solution addressing the enrollment issue.
Corey A. Levens
Restore Strawberry Hill
PAUSD should by all means repair the soil and replant the wildflower/grass-species mix formerly on Strawberry Hill.
I have encountered district sprayers from time to time on various athletic fields and my questions to them about "Who's in charge?" and "Why wasn't this spraying posted prior to application?" and "What's that herbicide you are using?" have never had proper answers.
Trying to locate those responsible for herbicide/pesticide spraying is all but impossible through the various Web sites and phone directories.
Strawberry Hill is a little gem of a patch of semi-wildness. I am so thankful that observant and persistent citizens forced the district's hand.
There is no other choice but to repair the damage.
Democracy in action
Thanks for the coverage of the Palo Alto School Board race.
I attended one of the 14 all-candidates forums and coffees now taking place at schools throughout Palo Alto. From what I understand, this is an unprecedented effort to help more voters become informed and involved.
The forum I attended at Escondido was excellent. All six candidates attended and took questions from the audience. I enjoyed hearing them and then sharing thoughts on their presentations with friends and neighbors. I am impressed with them and with their commitment to helping our schools. Now I have a much better idea of how I will vote on Nov. 6 and feel even more proud of our democracy after seeing it in action.
I commend all the candidates for taking part in this voter-outreach series. By having these events at so many of our local schools, more parents have an opportunity like never before to make an informed decision on Election Day.
I also wanted to point out what great work the volunteers at Escondido did. The PTA Council Web site has a complete list of the remaining all-candidates forums and coffees (www.paloaltopta.org/parented/parented_fall_election.html) for others to find out for themselves.
James Felix Cook
Cheers for Children's
The newly reopened Children's Library is as good as it gets. A real gem, it is a shining example of the very best our city can do.
The architects and interior designers have gotten it all right, the scale is perfect, the furniture is charming, the colors are exciting and not garish. Best of all, it is full of children reading and adults reading to children.
If we can do this we can do Mitchell Park, too. Go take a look, and then let's do it again!
Here's what I saw on Monday, Oct. 1, at the City Council meeting with respect to our libraries: a dozen speakers from all over the city unanimous about more space for the public at Downtown, enough space at Mitchell Park for the people who already use it today and an addition to Main; representatives from all three of our library groups in support of the plan; the council vote to not spend any more money researching options; and a spirited and much-needed discussion of the need to share the plans with the community in detail.
The poll in February placed support for the library bond at 63 percent, as the Weekly correctly noted. That level of support is not "low" and is only 4 percentage points away from the super majority required to pass a bond measure.
I am confident that in the coming year the city will focus on sharing the plans and that that information will enable those who have not yet made up their minds to consider how inspiring our libraries can be.
The big win for everyone in Palo Alto when the plan is implemented is that we will have an additional 70,000 books located at Mitchell Park and available to everyone in the system. This is the major benefit of additional space and will increase our current collections in the system of 271,000 items by 25 percent.
Let's stay focused on what the plan makes possible and that's more books for everyone.
Remodel is role model
I would like to express my appreciation for all the people who made the Children's Library remodel possible.
The space was well thought out and I see there is some nice private space to hold the popular library storytime. It was quite busy last weekend and the children were already making full use of every inch of it, including the garden.
I hope the community can again come together to support the changes we so sorely need at the Mitchell Park Library.