Los Altos City Council Wants to Meet with Bullis

City council members will discuss setting up a joint meeting with the Bullis Charter School, and hiring an independent consultant.


The Los Altos City Council wants to explore an informational meeting with the Bullis Charter School board.

Coming at the end of its Tuesday night meeting, the council was discussing key points from the May 29 joint Los Altos School Board and council meeting.

Council members at that time had raised the idea of a larger joint meeting to include the charter school board so they could better understand how to be most helpful in finding a solution to the eight-year dispute over facilities that now may close a district school in order to house the charter school. 

Both Mayor Val Carpenter and Mayor Pro Tempore Jarrett Fishpaw reported on their observations of school board meetings. Carpenter had attended the Los Altos School Board meetng June 4, and Fishpaw had attended the Bullis board.

When Council Member Megan Satterlee expressed concern about engaging that board as both it and the Los Altos School District were in court, Council Member Ron Packard was impatient.

"I say tough luck to the school district; they have pulled us into this. I'm not going to walk on eggshells."

Packard had also suggested exploring the services of an independent education consultant to help the council sort through some of the issues. In talking about the problem with others, Packard said he found the need for an independent analysis.

"Some say you don't need a 10th site. Others say you do. Since this is impacting our city, I think it might be in the best interest of the city to engage an outside consultant, Packard said. "It's impacting our property, it's impacting our residents, it's impacting us."

lasd resident June 14, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Joan, you continue to perpetuate the myth that whatever school BCS ends up at needs to be improved to handle the 7th-8th grade population. Prop 39 specifically says that is NOT required and BCS has repeatedly said that they would finance the costs to do just that. But I can't imagine they would make improvements without some long term guarantee that they could stay at that site awhile. I think the flaw in the mediated agreement was that it guaranteed the site for too long and ignored what would happen if LASD increased the sizes of Bschools to over 600 per student. Perhaps they should have put in a clause that if BCS population fell below 10% of the majority of the LASD schools, then in X years, the would be subject to moving. That would protect LASD from ending up with 700+ students on each of their sites with only 500 BCS students at another site.
Joan J. Strong June 15, 2012 at 03:11 AM
The law says that the District is not required to modify a campus in order to make it compliant. It does not say that you can offer a non-compliant campus. The District cannot offer GB unmodified. It is also not required to modify GB so it is compliant. Yes, a mediated agreement could override any and all of that, but the mediation attempt failed (which, if anybody would like to recall, I correctly predicted it would fail before it started). Mediation in the context of litigation between the two parties is impossible. In this case, both sides were convinced they were better off in court and they negotiated accordingly. BCS proposed a deal which was ten times worse than the absolute worst possible outcome in court. So short of mediation--which as I said is impossible since BCS has already initiated litigation--then LASD has no choice than to create a fully compliant offer. Doing this with the GB campus would minimally require millions and millions of dollars the District does not have, and would most likely be impossible at any price. Then it would be rejected by the LAH city council besides. With $0.00 in the bank, the District could not possibly legally offer the GB campus to BCS. Yes, it's the whole reason the school was started, but this is just another in a string of ironies associated with BCS: in an attempt to grow big enough to get GB, they grew too big to get GB...
Ron Haley June 15, 2012 at 03:34 AM
LASD can meet its prop 39 obligations at GB by adding portables. It doesn't require capital funds for this. In fact. they could move some of the portables from Egan that they are already funding.
Joan J. Strong June 15, 2012 at 03:38 AM
They would need to double the size of the capacity campus with portables--and the campus is already something like 1/2 portables. They would also need to add science labs, a gym, a running track, and many other facilities. They would need to prepare fallow land which would cost $millions. Without a mediated agreement, GB is impossible.
Joan J. Strong June 15, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Christy, There are 10,000 homes in Los Altos. We sell about 400 homes per year in good years (and as little as 300 in the downturn). That would imply that we turn over about 3-4% of our homes per year. The turnover cannot happen quickly. This would imply a median longevity of 12.5 years using the most optimistic model possible--and it's clearly more like 15 years if you understand the data. A quick look at some real estate stats[1] show that 15 years ago, prices were about 40% of what they are now on average. This, then, would indicate that over half of the houses in Los Altos would have a 60% upside in being sold. It means that we are, on average, going to realize an average of a 60% boost in property tax--from $8k to $20k--on about 200 homes per year, yielding us $4m per year more in Prop 13 money per year. This is not counting a ton of other things, of course--and the other half of homes sold which will yield us something less than the 60% boost. This is for LA alone, which is only 2/3 of the LASD revenue source. Your 20% number is baloney. [1] http://www.julianalee.com/los-altos/los-altos-statistics.htm


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