Editor's note: Los Altos Patch runs opinion pieces when there are issues that attract wide public discussion. The following is from a parent of the Bullis Charter School, in light of the Los Altos School District's recent offer for facilities space to the school. Patch will run opinion pieces, as offered, expressing different views on the topic.
Over the weekend, while studying the latest Los Altos School District facilities offer, I had an epiphany. I realized that the LASD board members are really closet charter school supporters. The evidence for this is compelling—I'd just missed it. Let’s take a look!
With absolutely no demand for a charter school, LASD created that demand by closing the Bullis Purissima school, and then Superintendent Marge Gratiot recommended opening a charter school in its place. Voila—just like that BCS was formed!
Then, when BCS offered to take over the closed Bullis site and renovate it at its expense, LASD said "No, no no, save your money—we'll renovate it. And we aren't going to locate you there on the outskirts of the district; we'll put you right in the middle so you can draw from all over." So LASD went ahead and spent $14 million to renovate the Bullis site, and located BCS centrallyon the Egan campus.
Lastly, when BCS offered LASD $3 million to meet its Proposition 39 obligations, LASD again said "No! No! No! Keep your money. Just sue us." And they did!
LASD's genius here was to make their facilities offers so blatantly non-compliant that the court had no option but to find in favor of BCS.
So, thanks to the LASD board, here we are today, with a charter school boasting a huge waiting list, centrally located and drawing from all parts of the district, $17 million better off, and able to approach LASD each year for fair and equitable facilities at minimal cost to it for whatever student population it decides to enroll.
More of that same canny LASD genius is on display in the latest facilities offer. Another blatantly non-compliant offer—LASD knows what the courts will do with this—but this time with a twist! Currently there’s no consensus at BCS to expand beyond a single school. But by placing BCS on two sites, LASD is settling that argument once and for all. BCS parents will now fall in line behind an expansive, accept-every-applicant strategy. And what's more cost efficient than two schools? Three or more! Once again the LASD board shows its closet support for the charter by mandating its expansion to multiple sites!!
As someone who supports public school choice for all LASD students, I thank the board for theircontinuing efforts towards realizing this goal!!!