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.