Appeals Court Denies Rehearing on Bullis Case, District to Appeal

The move clears the way for the state Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the case, once a petition is filed by the school district.

Appeals Court Turns Down School District For Rehearing on Charter School

The state’s Sixth District Court of Appeal has turned down a petition from the Los Altos School District for a rehearing on the Bullis Charter School case, clearing the way for a California Supreme Court appeal.

In a published ruling Monday, the appeals court reaffirmed its Oct. 27 decision and amended its ruling to address points raised by the school district in its petition for rehearing.

“Notwithstanding the District's belated attempt in its rehearing petition to characterize the trial court's decision as one involving a resolution of disputed facts, it is clear that the matter here involves an interpretation of Proposition 39 and its implementing regulations, and their application to the District's Facilities Offer.”

School Superintendent Jeff Baier said he nor the board were surprised by the denial of the rehearing, and that the district was continuing to prepare a petition to appeal to the state Supreme Court by Dec. 6.

What was a little unusual was that the appeals court amended its orginal ruling to emphasize that appropriate basis for its review was to decide on the interpretation of Prop. 39 and its implementation, de novo, or as if it were hearing the case new. The court said the basis was was not, as the district contended, whether the trial court had been correct in its ruling on disputed facts.

"It was clear to me that the Court of Appeal was taking the opportunity to defend a de novo standard of review," said Ed Sklar, an attorney who represents school boards in charter school disputes. He added that he thought both parties were positioning for the Supreme Court arguments, it appeared.

Earlier this month, school board trustee Doug Smith had said the board hoped the Supreme Court would hear the case because it was a matter of interpreting public policy. With different appeals court rulings, they had thought the Supreme Court would want to weigh in. Once the district's petition is received, the court will decide within a month or so whether to hear the case, Baier said.


Harold Barton November 23, 2011 at 04:59 PM
Regardless of whether this ruling makes any difference, Bullis Charter School must be stopped. This private school--started purely for purposes of revenge against the district by a group of millionaires and their lawyers--is bent on one thing: closing public schools. Everything else they talk about--"innovation", saving money, "choice" is untrue and simply a front for their real goal: to make LASD parents and children PAY for the things that happened to them many years ago. Although the school's own Prop 39 request dated 10/31/2011 targets a single school for closure (Gardener Bullis) supporters have made it clear that due to their aggressive marketing activities they will soon need "2 campuses to start" and many more in the future. The ultimate goal is nothing less than a private take-over of the public school system here. Every citizen must understand that this is a battle for the soul of our community. Will our community devolve into an "area" where thousands of kids from all over are brought to our formerly public school campuses? If BCS is not stopped it will mean open season for anybody with some lawyers to take over one of our schools. Since we in Los Altos and Hills have the best ones, we will be the first target. Almost anybody can create a "leading" Charter in our area since our schools are already that way. Nothing this easy stays secret for long. This is a fight for our community, our property values and our children.
LA Parent November 23, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Bullis Charter School is a public school that brings needed competition to The District. I encourage everyone to research Charter Schools. Parents choose to send their children to Bullis because they like the program. They are not tricked into doing so.
Christy Lin November 23, 2011 at 05:43 PM
BCS only survives because parents CHOOSE to send their children there. Harold, rest easy, your fears are completely unrealistic. The only way that BCS could take over the district is if all LASD parent chose to send their children there. LASD offers a good program and many parents are happy with it. They will still have that opportunity. BCS offers a different program that some families prefer. LASD is the ONLY district in this area that doesn't offer choice. Perhaps if LASD were to offer some alternatives, BCS would wither and die. That's what competition is all about and that's why charter schools exist. Any one of the LASD campuses can fit 600+ students (and most have in the past). Unless BCS chooses to replicate (and open another school), I don't see them needing more than one campus. They would only be able to do that if enough LASD parents wanted to send their children there. Plus you continue to keep misinforming readers that BCS students are coming from "all over"--nearly 95% of BCS students are from LASD. And LASD does not provide any space for the 5% that are from out of district. Stop the fear mongering and the "fear uncertainty and doubt" and at least get the facts right. Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving.
Harold Barton November 23, 2011 at 06:05 PM
They "choose" based on: * Aggressive marketing that likes of which have never been seen by a local school. * Slightly higher test scores driven by a (sneakily) self-selected student make-up. Yes, this is a "pyramid scheme" that will topple when our new Private rulers own the whole district, but then it will be too late, won't it? There is absolutely NOTHING stopping BCS from growing to THOUSANDS of students brought here from all over the Bay Area. It is a privately-controlled company that has no accountability to anybody. We citizens of Los Altos and Hills have no say over their activities any more than we have a say over Walmart's activities. They are free to cram as many students in these campuses as they wish. My "misinformation" is from YOUR supporters boasting that public schools are BAD and should be abolished, and that they absolutely intend to grow BCS as fast as possibly they can. A war on Public schools is a key pillar of BCS's existence. The ONE campus that BCS is now targeting (Gardener Bullis) is absurdly impractical, is way too small for it's current student population let alone it's mind-boggling growth projections, is badly located for this kind of school, will cause a traffic nightmare in Los Altos Hills, and so on. HOWEVER, it is the ONLY school BCS will accept. Why? Because this has NOTHING to do with educating kids or running a school, its about REVENGE.
L.A. Chung November 23, 2011 at 09:31 PM
@Christy Lin: There are not many appeals court level decisions of this nature, but it is not true that the Oct. 27 Sixth District Court ruling is the only one. Prop. 39 cases are the most litigated issues regarding charter schools and a few have made it to the appeals court level. There are prior appeals court decisions from other districts, upon which parties rely when arguing points of authority in Prop. 39 cases. These include Ridgecrest Charter School v. Sierra Sands School District 2005 ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal , Sequoia Union High School District v. Aurora Charter High School in 2003, and others. For specifics, see the Los Altos Patch story about possible statewide impact, which carries an attached amicus brief from the California Charter Schools Association in which 4th District appeals court decisions are cited: http://patch.com/A-ntqV


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