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UPDATED: Bullis Charter School Offer: 11 Acres, 2 Campuses

The Los Altos School District district's final offer expands the acreage and shared space, across two campuses, Egan Jr. High School and Blach Intermediate School.

 

board members cast a critical eye at the final facilities offer from the Monday night, during its first briefing of document that was delivered over the weekend.  

The offer adds space but falls short of what the charter school had asked for in its request—a ten-acre campus—but BCS board chairman Ken Moore, clearly underwhelmed by the offer, was restrained in his reaction, saying it was best not to comment much. 

The district, like all districts in California, is mandated to make a final offer for facilities by April 1. It offered a 7.67-acre space at and 3.37-acre space at , for a combined total of 11.04 acres. Currently, BCS grades K-8 occupies a 6.23 acres on the Egan campus. 

Board members Janet Medlin and Andrea Eyre walked through initial overview offer, spotting some problem areas and highlighting concerns.

After walking the grounds over the weekend and looking at the proposal, Eyre said there's too little room at the Egan campus and too much room at the Blach campus. 

"They’re giving 27 kids a ton of acreage and K-6 kids not enough," she said.

And there would be logistical issues that would require transportation for students that would be better spent learning.  

Some of the space offered is configured in such a round-about and awkward way that Eyre wondered how kindergarteners would get to the bathroom if they were using the expanded facilities.

The devil, of course, is in the details, and the pair resisted making too many conclusions. Pointing to the thick, blue folder containing all the documents, Eyre said they still they would have to study the 37-page offer letter, 11-page agreement document, and supporting exhibits spanning more than 180 pages.

They have several questions for Assistant Superintendent Randall Kenyon, who prepared the offer.

Medlin said it reminded her of years' past facilities offers. "Same behavior, different numbers," she said, tartly.

The district said it was addressing Prop. 39 requirement that charter schools' facilties to be "reasonably equivalent" to the other public school students' facilities by expanding upon the space and quality of the facilities at both two campuses for Bullis' exclusive use. In some aspects, BCS facilities would be superior to that used by district students, the district said.

The offer also calls for childcare facilities for BCS, similar to those found on other LASD campuses, to be placed on the BCS campus. 

The school does not restrict BCS students at any grade level from using either campus, except for shared speciaized teaching space at Egan.

The offer itself can be found on the pdf attached to this story.  

Angry Charter Parent April 04, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Joan if you would like to open your own choice school, then please do so, but stop messing with ours. We will see which one attracts students.
Angry Charter Parent April 04, 2012 at 05:00 AM
and just so everyone knows the real SOS that Joan is promoting is from the save our schools campaign with the " our" referring to teachers unions. It is really a campaign against parents having a voice in how their child is educated in public schools.
Angry Charter Parent April 04, 2012 at 05:02 AM
and in support of Kathleen - who I believe first coined the phrase: SOS = SHARE OUR SCHOOLS
LA parent April 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Angry - You don't like teachers' unions. Got it. Now, how do you address the more immediate problem - that the schools are full? If your solution is that BCS should get an existing full, free-standing neighborhood campus, why is that fair? Families chose that neighborhood, that school. Why is your choice worth any more than theirs? BCS does not need to be in any particular neighborhood. Neighborhood schools do. If your solution is that some schools must share a campus, why shouldn't BCS be one of the schools that has to share? If your solution is that our already-full schools should pursue a new campus, why will no BCS leaders stand behind the idea?
Christy Lin April 04, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The schools are NOT full. They have held much greater capacity in the very recent past. The district decided they wanted smaller schools (as a justification for opening up GB). While I support smaller schools, this district cannot afford them. All of the district schools can hold 600+ students (GB possibly only 500, but they are only at 300 right now). It seems the district thinks Covington has the capacity for 1000+ so, clearly the schools are NOT full.
Joan J. Strong April 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
"This District cannot afford them" -- said in one of the richest communities in the United States, one that is about to be injected with, for instance a $100B IPO from Facebook, and whose populace owe all of their prosperity to education. One where a mere .1% aggregate increase in property values would fund a new $40m school campus. Yeah, we're dirt poor here. No way we can afford a fancy luxuries like, "education". I would say that the LASD vs. BCS battle is about those who support higher funding for public education and those who support lower funding, and given most of the statements I here from BCS supporters, that would seem to be the case. Easy for them to say--BCS gets several thousand more per student than LASD *overall* and almost DOUBLE the funds are available to educate "typical" (non-special needs) kids at BCS versus LASD. So trying to untangle this, I think the BCS stance is, then: "Funding should be cut to all public schools--except ours".
K Justice-Moore April 04, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Joan. Joan, Joan, Joan: it's **your** analogy, remember? BCS has never asked for the "best" room. But LASD has always given it the worst room. Read my post again -- if everything in LASD's current offer were things actually done to a foster kid **in the analogy**, then yes it would be child abuse. I never said that "a campus not being cool enough for me" is child abuse. That's a shameful accusation. If you can't stick to your own analogy, then you have no business using it. Stick to the message and stop the personal attacks.
Bill April 04, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Point....Joan!.....KJ-M is way out of line
Joan J. Strong April 04, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Sounds like a teenager, having not obtained something they wanted at that moment screaming, "child abuse!". That analogy doesn't hold up for KJM though. She is not a teenager and should know better. Anyhow counselor, my analogy was comparing the Charter Laws to the Foster Child Laws, which is an analogy you did NOT continue despite using some of the same words. Your analogy was comparing LASD and myself to a child abuser. Totally different.
K Justice-Moore April 05, 2012 at 03:30 AM
Joan and Bill, admit it. You've lost this argument. You cannot compare BCS parents to a "foster child" without also looking at the "foster parents." You can't do that without losing the argument. Foster parents who give their own 9 children actual bedrooms but give the one foster child a basement, restrict that child's use of the backyard to the perimeter of it, and rope off choice areas of the house are, in fact, abusing that child. If you think that that would NOT be child abuse, just say it. As you've said before Joan, when someone knows they lost an argument, they attack the person and not the argument. Your personal attacks have got to stop. Give up the foster child analogy Joan. On behalf of loved ones very close to this issue, I'm asking you to give it up. Your analogy is offensive and wrong.
Christy Lin April 05, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Joan, suggest you look at LASD's budgets. They are projecting a deficit going forward and using up there reserves within 2-3 years. This is indeed a wealthy community but not a wealth school district. The fact that the district has no aides in the classrooms and much higher class sizes than nearby districts is quite telling.
bcs parent 2 April 05, 2012 at 05:33 AM
Might sound like more space, but if it's completely unusable, is it? Others have pointed out the ridiculousness of the Blach proposal in particular, just want to make sure everyone has seen the pictures: http://www.bullischarterschool.com/cms/lib6/CA01001253/Centricity/Domain/39/Final_Offer-March_31_2012_ExhibitsIandJ.pdf It's jigsaw pieces that have been dumped on the floor in no apparent order, it's the leftover crusts of toasts after my kids have eaten the centers out, it's gerrymandering at its best. How anyone can look at these two maps and imagine this proposed campus, for BCS's integrated K-8 program, that LASD wants to spread out on little patches of land scraps, at two ends of town, represents something "reasonably equivalent" to their other campuses is a complete joke. I think they need to work a bit harder on this one. Besides - the 27 kids they want to put on Blach in those crazy 3.7 acres? There are more Blach kids going to Egan right now, 75 of them, than that. Why not enforce the boundaries, shrink Egan to it's rightful size, and just give BCS a bigger, integrated, useful chunk of Egan land for next year.? Wouldn't that make more sense for everyone?
Joan J. Strong April 05, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I'm saying that giving a private corporation 11 acres of Los Altos land complete with a school campus is not the same as abusing a child, yes.
Joan J. Strong April 05, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Yeah, I've looked at LASD's budgets. You have no idea. BCS's too. We weren't talking about the operation budget, which is indeed paltry compared to the wealth here (thanks, prop 13). We were talking about the prospects for the Bond for your campus, which would involve the average citizen's tax bill going up by about .1% or less. I had recently mused that maybe, just maybe there might be moderate BCS parents who could make their voices heard and actually agree with a bond. Well, today the BCS Board Chairman was quoted as implying that a "new campus" would be acceptable (along with annihilating several other neighborhood public schools, but that's nothing new). No, it's not a ringing endorsement, and its only a vague allusion to the Bond--but it's progress. It's a different sound than the rabid anti-bond sounds we've heard before. A 10th campus would, for the most part, solve this problem. It wouldn't involve any suffering or scattering of children or ending long-standing relationships built up over years or breaking a community to pieces--and a bond would certainly eliminate that tasty "revenge" that BCS people want so bad, but like I said, maybe the moderate voices are speaking...
Bill April 05, 2012 at 02:04 PM
What seems so contradictory inherent to the point BCS parents are making regarding the offered land is that BCS is "different". It offers a different approach, experience, etc..... While I agree with the principal of "reasonably equivalent" , this does not mean "the same". Isn't that the basic premise of a charter school? So if BCS expects to be differentiated, why does BCS expect the same soccer field, or tennis courts etc. Why not be creative and imaginative with the BCS program? How about Bocce ball? or perhaps Orienteering in Mandarin.....or maybe some locally learned activity on those fancy class trips to Costa Rica or China......
comment1320 April 05, 2012 at 05:01 PM
The "crumbs" analogy is a very good one, One of my favorites in the proposal is that at Blach, BCS is allowed to use the "shared" facilities such as the track in time increments of 14 minutes. How many of you have ever done a PE class of 14 minutes? I would not call that reasonably equal unless Blach also has 14 minute PE classes.
comment1320 April 05, 2012 at 05:05 PM
People seemed to have lost sight of the fact that the public school facilities are not "owned" by the families that currently attend those schools. They are public facilities and the State of California has the right to establish guidelines on how they are to be used by ALL public school students. California has decided that charter schools are a valued part of the public education system and as such, are entitled to reasonably equivalent facilities. Yes, that may mean that there is a shifting of who goes where or who shares what. That was a decision the people of California endorsed with the passage of Prop 39. Maybe you don't like it, but it is the law. I also am troubled by the repeated chorus of we don't have enough facilities. Seems to me that if BCS is allowed to use one of the elementary school sites, that current school population of 300-600, could be absorbed at the remaining LASD schools with numbers very closely approximately 600. Yes, some people may have to travel a bit further, but some (such as the Crossings neighborhood) could be accomodated much, much closer to home rather than driving cross town to Covington (explain how that is a neighborhood school?) Keep in mind that if BCS was to close tomorrow, the existing school site would be required to absorb those 450+ students. For all of you pushing for BCS to close, why is that any different from strictly a numbers perspective? Same number of kids, same number of locations.
Bill April 05, 2012 at 06:25 PM
They may not be "owned", but they are "occupied".....and BCS is trying to displace them....no? More importantly, what "people" have lost sight of is the intent of Charter Law. As it has been said multiple times....displacing students was never the intention. BCS does not need to "outgrow" facilities. Many schools, public, charter and private have waiting lists. The existence of which do not necessitate or validate the actions taken by BCS.
comment1320 April 05, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Sadly, I believe it will be the courts that make the final decision. Given the strength of the Appellate opinion and corresponding weakness of the LASD actions in light of the law, it is likely that more money will be spent, there will be more frustration and unhappiness by everyone and then the court will compel a legal solution that will be much closer to the charter school position than the LASD position. I find it very, very sad that the LASD Board does not show leadership by making what is an undoubtedly unpopular decision but instead is waiting for the courts to do it for them. I cannot seriously believe, in light of the Appellate court opinion, that they believe the latest proposal is legally compliant. Having the courage to go against the prevailing tide is a challenge that requires both courage and vision. Clearly the LASD Board is lacking in both and these defects carry a very high cost to the community.
K Justice-Moore April 05, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Great analogies. I think it's clear the district wants to challenge the "contiguous" requirement by splitting our K-8 across two campuses. Okay, fine. But these maps make clear that they also think it's okay to splinter both sites into dozens of little patches of land and walkways -- not contiguous even within each site! They either have NO concept of contiguity, or are truly in this for their pride, the battle, the litigation, and bad faith.
K Justice-Moore April 05, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Clarification: "Okay, fine, let them try it and see how far the court lets them do it."
Bill April 05, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Perhaps you are not being honest with yourself. BCS has made it clear that unless they get what they want, or what they deem "reasonably equivalent", they will sue LASD. So the irony in finding pity with the resulting litigation is.....well, ironic! As far as LASD Board lacking in leadership, considering they are publicly accountable (and BCS board is not), they are showing tremendous will to stand up to a clear attempt to circumvent charter law. And I mean ALL parts of the legislation, including its benevolent intentions, not just the disputed ambiguous phrase of "reasonably equivalent".
Bill April 05, 2012 at 08:00 PM
how about a class in organic farming on the proposed land? Or maybe some other activity that doesn't reqire the SAME facilities. BCS wants to be different....so be different. (thats a dare) Or as othere have posted here, since it is nestled in the cradle of silicon valley, take a page from Mr Jobs....Think Different.
comment1320 April 05, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Keep in mind that the Appellate Court made a 3-0 ruling AND they found that there was ample evidence in the record that LASD acted in bad faith. So is the Appellate Court incorrect in its interpretation of charter law? Presumably, any issues of legislative intent, if valid and appropriate, would have been raised at the time of the litigation. I struggle with how people keep defending the LASD Board when a) they lost a 3-0 ruling by a neutral Appellate Court and b) the Appellate court found there was ample evidence of bad faith. How is that defensible? How is that even logical? As to the point of the BCS Board being accountable; my understanding is that they are accountable to the Santa Clara County Board of Education which is an elected body. You may not agree with that, but that is how it works under the charter laws. It seems like so much of what people do not like are the laws -- OK, I get that. But that does not give you the right to ignore them or to keep pointing out the same things over and over again. BCS is complying with charter law. LASD was found to have acted illegally. Seems pretty simple to me.
Joan J. Strong April 05, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Yes, the District is acting legally. No, BCS people don't agree, but NOBODY CARES. I can only offer the obviously tone-deaf leadership at BCS this advice: nobody cares about your legal mumbo jumbo. "One million acres", "bad faith", "contempt of court", yadda, yadda, yadda. Yes, I know BCS is basically run by litigators (not educators) and it's REALLY hard for you to imagine that there's a world out there that doesn't involve courts and corporate law, which is the world that 99.9% of us live in. In the real world, we FIRST want to know whether what you are doing is right and moral and THEN if there is something we deem as "wrong", we go to court. You corporate lawyers reverse this. You say BECAUSE the District has supposedly not interpreted various and arcane statutes correctly, THEN they must be in "wrong". In the corporate world, all's fair, and if your lawyers found a better loophole than the other guy, you celebrate. In the public world, it can be the beginning of the end--of your business AND the loophole. I will say it again: until the day comes when BCS can actually make their case to the community without getting into a bunch arcane statutes, their words will fall on deaf ears. History is filled with roadkill corporations who thought their lawyers and loopholes could rule the world. They don't. People do.
comment1320 April 06, 2012 at 12:39 AM
Apparently the Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court care. Personally, I would take their reasoned conclusions before yours. I agree with a previous writer who stated that you attack when you know you have a weak argument. Arcane? Litigators not educators? Sadly, lots of verbage and no facts. I'm done even thinking about anything you post.
Joan J. Strong April 06, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Citing the (incongruous) backgrounds of the people running a given enterprise is absolutely NOT "a personal attack"--and it's completely on-topic as we are discussing a certain enterprise that is busy gobbling up MY tax dollars and wants to close MY children's school--so heaven forfend that they should be held up to even the slightest amount of public scrutiny. Also, I mentioned that the LAWS are arcane, not any given PERSON (which would make not sense in any case). A personal attack requires, you know, a "person".... But yes, we agree to disagree. Your alliance is to courts and litigation and the random loopholes discovered therein. I stand up for what is right.
Jason Rells April 10, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Joan J Strong = FBOT LASD
Joan J. Strong April 10, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Thanks for bumping this thread. I was hoping more people would take a look as well...
a-parent April 22, 2012 at 03:44 PM
You think the facility offer is terrible and dangerous, yet you would wish it on the Santa Rita students? You lost all credibility with that statement.

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