LASD, Bullis Still Discussing Talks

Both boards want an agreement to talk, but language on transparency still needs fine-tuning.

How hard is it to have a talk?

If you're the and the Board (BCS), first you have to have an agreement to talk. And that takes some negotiation.

Monday night, both boards met in their respective board meetings, BCS at the school on Portola Avenue, LASD at the board room in the district's headquarters. Their business included voting on having an agreement to meet in a manner that would allow representatives of both boards to speak freely about the charter school's current and future facilities needs.

That proposed agreement called for non-binding discussions, without fear of litigation, something that nearly always has been a backdrop to negotiations. LASD Trustee Doug Smith had initiated the idea for such an agreement because of the constraints he has felt on the committee negotiating the facilities agreement in the past. 

As Patch sat in on both board meetings Monday night, it was clear that some members of the BCS board thought it was a good idea, and LASD was anxious to get started. LASD must make its final offer to the BCS by April 1.

"The way I see this is we were aiming to create a sanctuary where healthy discussion could take place," BCS board member John Phelps, who is on the group's Prop. 39 committee, told the BCS board. 

"If we don’t talk, nothing is going to get resolved," said BCS board chairman Ken Moore.

The sticking point, LASD trustee Doug Smith told his colleagues on the board was how much, and under what circumstances, do the parties also talk to the public about that dialogue?

BCS wanted to have language that would allow speaking to the public by one joint public statement, Smith said.

Smith wanted the independent ability for LASD or BCS to speak to the public in general terms, if asked. Speaking in general terms would be much the same way questions from the public are handled when the LASD board is in contract negotiations with various bargaining units—how often meetings are taking place, whether progress is being made, or how long the meetings are.

"From my view this issue transcends BCS," Smith told the LASD board Monday night. "I believe in open government, and I believe the public needs to know when we execute their business, and not just at the end. 

"The community at that point doesn’t know, did we meet once? Did we meet four times a week? They will wonder, 'Did you do anything, or did you give up on March 1?'"

In the end, at the BCS meeting despite Phelps' urging, the board voted 3-3, with one abstention to accept LASD's agreement language. The motion failed.

Smith, in the meantime, received unanimous authorization from the LASD board to work on fine-tuning the language on public disclosure so that it is mutually agreeable to both boards.

The Los Altos School Board also discussed what a possible timeline might be if the district undertook a bond measure proposal to build a permanent campus for the charter school. 

Joan J. Strong February 09, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I don't think it's name-calling by saying, "BCS adopts the tactics of big mean corporations" (and then showing evidence of this). It's not the same as saying, "BCS is mean"--and I would never say anything like that because it's--sorry--meaningless. As for "STOP BCS", well, in my opinion Charter Schools in general and BCS in particular are very harmful to the cause of education. Although my views are currently in the political minority in the USA right now, I am certainly not alone in thinking this and others of like mind include some of the founders of the Charter movement itself. Charters, it can be argued, have peaked and are on their way OUT as we're seeing train wreck after train wreck nationwide. So I absolutely do not think that BCS helps our community, should exist, or is a good thing in any way. I think it should be stopped. (And yes, I understand this is different than the views of some other parents on the side of neighborhood schools so I'm willing to compromise the way us rich people love to compromise: throw money at the problem--float a bond and buy a campus). If you want to debate the relative merits of Charter Schools--or the overall merits of the existence of BCS--then fine, but simply having an opinion about this is certainly valid. Also, for what it's worth, many BCS supporters feel exactly as I do about public schools and have said so here...
Ed Reform Advocate February 09, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Joan, I hope you don't think I'm attacking your posts. (As stated in my original comment) I don't object to the posts that contain the link - just to the link. I would encourage you to continue expressing your opinion using your own words in an environment that is fair and neutral and not promoting a site that could be polarizing. And yes, charter schools are clearly polarizing issues. I get that...But the intent behind any charter is to facilitate change in a traditional public school model that has failed so many students OUTSIDE of LASD. While LASD might classify as a "high-performing" district, they still follow that same model. It's about moving forward as a whole...not just saying we're okay with how we do things now because it works for us. And on the issue of charter "trainwrecks", that's one of the strongest advantages to the charter model. If a charter school fails, then they cease to exist. It's called accountability. This is something that the traditional school model DOESN'T have in it's favor. So, in regards to "stopping" BCS, you should take comfort in knowing that if BCS really does fail at what it's supposed to be doing, then it will cease to exist...bumper stickers or not :-)
Joan J. Strong February 09, 2012 at 10:27 PM
No offense taken, Ed. Just discussing here... The site links are useful when dealing with the same six talking points from BCS over and over again. Many of these things they bring up ("talking point #4: BCS saves the district money") need a somewhat involved explanation that it tedious and type again and clutters up the forum. Although that might have been a stretch in a few places, I'll endeavor to only use these links for that purpose alone for now on. As for the "experiment" that Charters want to perform on my children, I'm sorry to say that my children only have ONE childhood and I am not interested in them being experimented upon during this time. Moreover, the idea that these government-backed "businesses" don't simply "go out of business" without MASSIVE and cruel ramifications to the children involved. Please read some background on failed Charters and you'll see what I mean. Finally, in "business" there's this thing we call "marketing". Just because BCS can get a whole bunch of people to apply to their school does not make it better. BCS is free to perform every imaginable kind of marketing (and between EdTech and Larson, BCS spends a significant amount of their budget on this). Our District on the other hand is defenseless against this (which is a good thing). Long story short, in Charters people looked for a "silver bullet" solution to very hard problems (which are based on poverty, not teachers or schools). Charters are not it.
vict elli May 04, 2012 at 11:39 AM
HELLO My name is Miss Victoria i saw your profile now i will like to share important discussion with you as friend so contact me through my email addresses (elliotsvictoria60@yahoo.co.uk) for picture and other discussion ok
Bill July 09, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Support AB 1594 and require BCS to enroll in the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program. The reporting requirements would mandate BCS report exactly how many disadvantaged kids are at the school.....rather than masking that number with the "we provide lunch to them so they dont feel embarrassed or singled out"


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