Los Altos Council Considers Oct. 30 Meeting With Bullis Charter School Board

After raising the topic twice over the summer, the council will discuss if it will meet with the BCS board.


The Los Altos City Council has a tentative meeting date with the Bullis Charter School Board at the BCS board room, and is discussing what it might discuss with the board. 

At the June 26 meeting, the council identified the following potential agenda items for a meeting with BCS:

• Charter and Mission of BCS

• Need for a preference area

• Distribution of students by City

• How the lottery works

• Governance structure

• Need for a tenth Los Altos School District site as a whole

• Growth Plans

If it decides to meet on that date, it promises to be a busy day for BCS board. Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas has scheduled two hearings related to BCS' dispute with Los Altos School District over adequate facilities allocations.

The first that day will be to consider the $1.9 million attorneys fees and the second is for the lawsuit filed over the 2012-13 facilities offer that the school reluctantly accepted. 

Joan J. Strong October 08, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Bullis Charter School needs to curtail its enrollment to siblings only until we build a new campus. This will hurt nobody and will resolve this crisis.
comment1320 October 08, 2012 at 04:40 PM
JJS Actually limiting enrollment to just siblings hurts all the people who would like to attend BCS but would be unable to. BCS is a choice for ALL public school students in LASD. Rather than limit its growth, perhaps the better question is to ask why not expand to allow every public school student who chooses to attend? Shouldn't everyone in LASD have the option to choose like PA, MP, MV and Cupertino? Maybe it's time to eliminate the lottery and have enough spots for the demand?
Joan J. Strong October 08, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Those children would be served by the highest-ranked public school system in California, and one which does not require a $5000/child per year "donation", one which educates typical children for roughly half the costs, one which is likely closer to their home, and one which does not tear our community apart. This is a very odd definition of "hurt". Palo Alto has choice schools, not charter schools. They are run by the school district and appropriately planned for by the democratically elected District board members there. There is no war in Palo Alto because of this. If you want to keep families together and school communities together, temporarily curtailing BCS enrollment is the only way. If you have an anti-public school political agenda which treats our children as pawns, then by all means advocate the expansion of BCS, and the further disruption of our community.
comment1320 October 08, 2012 at 05:58 PM
JJS, yes, the LASD schools are high scoring but still there is huge demand for an alternative program offered by BCS so clearly there is a large population that believes their family would be better served by a different kind of public school. Yes, the choice schools in other districts are offered by the school districts. So why has LASD continually a) refused to consider a magnet school/choice school despite high demand (as proved by the long wait list at BCS and b) refused multiple times to being the chartering authority for BCS? You know that the $5,000 really just equates the parcel tax and additional money that LASD receives as a basic aid district -- time to stop repeating something in hopes that it will be believed. It is LASD that is treating our children as pawns. Schools are asset, iowned by the state, to be shared by all public school students. Everyone should have access to equivalent facilities. I doubt any rational person would say that is the case now.
Joan J. Strong October 08, 2012 at 06:29 PM
There's also a "huge demand" for cigarettes and crack cocaine. Demand isn't everything. Sometimes "demand" can be quite harmful and should be resisted. A charter school tearing apart our community should be resisted, regardless from who your slick millionaire-funded marketing campaigns are able to conjure "demand". I didn't say anything about the "whys" of the $5000 "tuition" at BCS, I just pointed out that it exists--and that BCS would not exist without it. This much we can agree upon. *** BCS curtailing their growth would hurt nobody and resolve this crisis. Unfortunately the board of directors at Bullis Charter School, as you can see, are not interested in resolving the crisis but rather expanding it.
comment1320 October 08, 2012 at 06:38 PM
JJS -- really? comparing wanting your child to attend one of the top, innovative public schools in California to crack cocaine and cigarettes? That's the best you can do? It is a shame that you and others are fighting innovation rather than embracing the fact that BCS is offering it to ALL public students in LASD. If LASD would accept equitable sharing of the public schools among all public school students, the community would no longer have anything to fight about.
Joan J. Strong October 08, 2012 at 06:59 PM
It's called an "analogy". Do they teach kids about those at Bullis Charter School? LASD was featured in a recent 60 Minutes story based on its innovation. Our public schools here are outstanding and innovative. Our outcomes are top-notch. We don't fight innovation, we embrace it. Smearing our local public schools--the stock and trade of Bullis Charter School marketing--isn't believable by anybody once they get the facts.
comment1320 October 08, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Always said that LASD schools are good but so is BCS but different in its child centered approach and site specific decision making. They are both wonderful choices but different. You are getting snippyand inaccurate again so time to stop responding to you.
John Radford October 08, 2012 at 07:51 PM
To JJS, Speaking about getting the facts, BCS does target a $5K donation because LASD collects anywhere from $3500 to $4200 more per student in public funds (basic aid status, parcel taxes etc. ) than BCS. The reports I have been seen (from experts supporting LASD) also shows BCS and LASD spend approximately the same amount of money per student. If BCS actually spends more than twice as much educating their children, they would need significantly more than $5k in donations to cover those expenses. I'm not claiming my numbers are 100% correct but they should be close. BTW JJS , I don't think you give LASD parent much credit if they can be fooled by slick marketing campaigns. BCS is growing because they are providing an education at least some parents want for their kids. When you make claims otherwise, you are really just putting down the intelligence of the LASD community. I'd like to see both Boards try to get back together to work this out. As a community, we all deserve better.
Joan J. Strong October 08, 2012 at 08:06 PM
John, A student is not a student. I use the educational terminology "typical" to connote a child that does not have severe special needs and fits into a normal classroom. This sort of child is in contrast with a more special child who needs a specialized--read, very expensive--education in a much smaller class and/or with a more expensive specialized teacher. This, along with things like the pensions of teachers who taught us grown-ups, facilities overhead and so forth more then make up for the difference in funding BCS receives. BCS gets about $1000 more per child overall (not including "supplemental" fundraising which is undocumented but rumored to be at least another $1000/child), but they spend ALL of that money on the type of child that LASD only spends roughly half of that on. From a taxpayer standpoint, you also have to remember that about 20% of BCS revenues are taken from our Federal government (IRS write-offs) as well. BCS is by far the most expensive typical child program in our area with the possible exception of Pinewood. I am not putting down BCS's program--they spend that money well. What parents had not known about in the past is how harmful this school is to our community. I think if parents knew this truth, and also hearing the truth about our schools here, BCS would have a different growth curve. The fact remains that the BCS board can end this conflict anytime they feel like it, hurting nobody.
John Radford October 08, 2012 at 09:16 PM
To JJS So send me the back-up you are using to make these claims ( LAH email will be fine) and I will compare it to the data I have been provided. I actually got mine from LASD parents. I would also send you mine but as we know, nobody knows who you are. I sitll think you think you give LASD parents no credit "if parents knew this truth" How can LASD parents not know what is going on? I'm surprised with all of the negativity, any LASD parents are willing to risk going to BCS.
Joan J. Strong October 08, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Well John, as you can see, the subject is pretty darned complicated at the margin. When BCS says things like, "LASD steals $5000 per student from us" at their parent information night, the answer to this is rather nuanced and doesn't easily fit into a soundbite. It takes some study. That said, I'm glad you are wondering "How can LASD parents not know what is going on?". This is a testament to how successful we've been in raising awareness. A year ago this was not the case. There's a great run-down of the financial analysis of BCS here: http://bullisCharterScam.org/bullis_charter_money.php I'll email as well.
LASD observer October 09, 2012 at 04:50 PM
John, the standard apples-to-apples measure is Expense/ADA, i.e. expense per student. LASD's 2010-11 Expense/ADA was $9795 (see http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/), up slightly from $9662 in 2008-09. The last BCS data I have from 2008-09, showed Expense/ADA = $13,430, i.e. 39% higher than LASD.
Joan J. Strong October 09, 2012 at 05:46 PM
And again, that's the amount spent, but you also have to look at WHAT the money is being spent on to get a true comparison.
Jennifer October 29, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Is this meeting still taking place tomorrow??


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