By Steve Levy
The Connection Between Buena Vista and Measure AUploaded: Apr 25, 2015
I support finding a way for the middle and high school students who live at Buena Vista to complete their education in Palo Alto. I feel this way not because Palo Alto has the only school district that can offer a good education but because I believe that continuity has both academic and social benefits for the students and their families.
Palo Alto allows non-resident children to attend school in the District in certain situations so the issue of continuity of education is separable from where the Buena Vista families end up living. Most parents who send their children to private school face the transportation to school challenge and solve it.
I am willing to contribute to cover any transportation costs associated with having Buena Vista students finish their education in PA. We could have special buses or subsidize Lyft rides or pay parents. This will cost far less than paying PA rents for the families to remain in PA.
Personally, I think this is our responsibility in terms of funding, not the BV park owner's. I view this as similar in some ways to the Tinsley students that we finance as a District. Both our children attended class with and had in our home many Tinsley students and the experience was positive for them and us. We were and are happy to contribute to this solution to maintaining more diversity in our schools.
How does this relate to Measure A and raising the parcel tax. I see two major connectionsone positive and forward looking and one likely to disappoint many residents who care about the BV students.
If the park closes and the residents move away and if we want the middle and high school students to finish school here, that will take extra money. The parcel tax could help in that funding. If the park closes and the students move away and still attend school here, it is likely that the land will be used for more housing and students so additional funding will be needed.
I am surprised that no one so far that I have seen has mentioned the potential negative impact of defeating Measure A given the rhetoric on Town Square. Assuming that all the people speaking against Measure A have identified real problems, does that not undercut the idea that a PA education is so special it needs extra monetary compensation in any settlement.
Isn't it likely that the owner's attorneys can make a good case to the appraiser and council that the District's reputation is under attack, citing a negative Measure A vote in addition to New York Times articles.
Or will the BV supporters who also feels strongly that the District is in disarray then turn around and say "we were just kidding", this is a really, really great District.
The more you take the no voters seriously and value their experiences, the more it makes PA a more ordinary district with many problems and lowers the value of a PA resident for schools and the value of a PA education.
I am a Measure A supporter but respect the experiences reported by the no voices as their real experiences.
With regard to the BV settlement my own middle ground solution is to approve the settlement mostly as is and then raise enough money to buy the site and then build up to code and modern subsidized housing on the site for the BV residents but also for more new families to share.