LOS ALTOS, Calif. – After enduring an 11-day lockout in August, Bullis Charter School (BCS) reluctantly signed the Facilities Use Agreement (FUA) that was forced on them by the Los Altos School District (LASD). The BCS Board of Directors feared another lockout by the District and chose to sign the FUA under protest and duress on Monday night, the evening before the first day of school.
“Our first responsibility is to our students, and we just couldn’t risk having the District changing the locks again on our facilities,” said Ken Moore, BCS Board Chair. “They made it very clear in the last few weeks that if we didn’t sign, there would be immediate negative consequences that would impact all our students.”
On August 2, the District deliberately changed the locks at the facilities it offered to BCS at the Blach campus. In the weeks following the lockout, hundreds of BCS parents, teachers and local elected officials voiced their frustration about the hostile act by the District. The District eventually relented to public pressure to hand over the keys, but also demanded that BCS sign the FUA without prior negotiation – a move that did not lead the public to believe they would work in good faith with the charter school.
“We have made it very clear to LASD that certain terms of the FUA are improper and interfere with our ability to serve enrolled students and we hold them to their promise to adjust such terms in good faith discussions after the signing,” said Joe Hurd, BCS Board Member. “Given their actions in the past two weeks, we were unwilling to jeopardize the programs at BCS and the start of the school year for 650 Los Altos public school students.”
Prior to signing the FUA, members of the BCS board reached out to the District to arrange public meetings hosted by Los Altos Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw to discuss the objectionable items in the agreement. The charter school has repeatedly asked for in- person meetings with the District to discuss not only how BCS intends to use its facilities for the upcoming year but to discuss longer-term solutions as well. In every instance, the District has either dragged its feet or flat out refused to meet.
“The District made it very clear that they would not negotiate with us unless we signed the agreement,” said Moore. “Now we have signed the agreement – it is time for them to follow through on promises they made and negotiate with us so that all public school students in Los Altos can have full access to their school facilities.”