Bullis Charter School- LASD Now: Your Ideas Wanted

Monday night the 2013-14 facilities offer to Bullis Charter School is due. Can you help? What can members of the community do and suggest now—and in the days and weeks to follow?


This has been the spring of severe disappointment for many in our community.

On New Year's Day, Patch asked readers to contribute ideas, large and small, to helping to resolve the facilities issue regarding Bullis Charter School (BCS) and the Los Altos School District (LASD). We didn't expect a magic bullet to appear, but we wanted to start out the new year on a positive and constructive note, with members of our community thinking about solutions and a way forward.

Patch is soliciting your ideas. Again.

Residents of Los Altos, Mountain View and Palo Alto who have a stake in education are too creative, too smart and too committed to simply stand by. We have watched as parents have taken to the comment boards and written emails to demand some things, urge decision-makers to think out of the box, and to make constructive suggestions. 

We're asking you to do it thoughtfully for our home page.

We're also asking people to set aside rancor and offer an approach that lowers the temperature and lays groundwork for working together in the future, on any level. 

With some clear deadlines and some hard positions on both sides, what can we suggest? What can we, without the "woulda-coulda-shoulda" asides, do to help both the Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District get to a satisfactory place by August so that educators teach to the same standards that we have grown to expect?  

E-mail a paragraph or treatise to losaltos@patch.com

PSR April 02, 2013 at 06:22 PM
From the comments above concerning the offer, it is obvious that BCS will probably once again sue the district. I imagine that the papers were drawn up to do so even before the offer was tendered. I will be most surprised if the papers aren't filed today. Rather than nit-pick every item offered to BCS and how it is unfair, perhaps it would be wiser to see what does work, what isn't working and what could be better and try to actually compromise. BCS won't get everything they want and neither will LASD. That is what compromise is. What it is not is one side complaining and rattling sabers before the first day of classes. It can't work if threats are the order of the day. It would be nice to hear, for once, what is good about the offer rather than what is bad. It would be nice, for once, to have specific issues discussed without threats. Everybody needs more space. Why not work toward that for a year and see what happens rather than getting back on the merry-go-round again?
Philip Aaronson April 02, 2013 at 09:31 PM
No offense, but splitting BCS into two parts isn't a minor nit type deal. It's major. The biggest deal breaker here that I see is that a) there are only 5 classrooms at Blach. And b) there's an awful lot of restrictions on who can use what. And note that the BoTs cannot dictate who uses what facilities, but they're doing their best to do it anyway. I asked LASD parents to please contact the board and to ask them to compromise and make the Blach site a little bigger (and Egan smaller), to make the split viable, we were heartbreakingly close. I guess the BoTs weren't listening since everyone else seems very interested in compromising. Mostly I wish LASD parents would just simply ask if this is something they'd accept for their children if they were put in the same position. Would stuffing 56 students into a science lab sound like a reasonable, safe option to you? Or were you thinking that BCS students should just have half as much science lab time (no one will notice). Are these things you would compromise? I don't think so. I'm just curious why you'd think I would?
PSR April 02, 2013 at 10:07 PM
What I think is that BCS can choose what size it wishes to be. Since it chooses to get its facilities through prop 39, even though many charters get their own facilities privately, then it is also making a choice that is going to require that it may have to deal with facilities that aren't the perfect set up for itself. If it is important to have all the children on one site, then figure out what is available through the district and only grow to that size. If the school makes the decision to grow larger, then they will have to live with less-than-perfect facilities. That doesn't mean they are getting less than the other children in the district get. It means that ALL the kids have to live with less than optimal facilities until we ALL work together to get more space for everyone. Phillip, I don't want your kids to have less than mine, but I also expect that you should not want mine to have less either, which was suggested by a BCS parent at an LASD board meeting only a couple of weeks ago. Why should LASD "over allocate" space to BCS just so BCS has what it wants? How is that fair to the district kids? Why is it more fair that LASD kids have less space than BCS kids? Isn't it really more reasonable that we all put up with a little discomfort while we deal with the problem for the long term? Do you really think that having all this litigation rather than working together for more space is really better?
Joan J. Strong April 02, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Whether it makes sense or not is beside the point. The only thing the District can do is make sure they do not lose their court case. The litigation locks LASD into a narrow set of possibilities: they MUST follow Prop 39 to the letter. That's just reality, whether we like it or not. Prop 39 is the thing here that doesn't make sense. That, and a certain charter school who has forced the District's hand in following it exactly. The best thing that could happen for existing BCS parents would be for BCS to curtail enrollment next year such that they had more room. Growth does not help existing BCS families in ANY WAY. The BCS program takes more facilities per-student than the parallel LASD program, meaning that by definition BCS will NEVER be given enough facilities for their program as long as LASD follows the law. Unless they drop the litigation they will be on this merry-go-round until, in the words of the BCS lead counsel, "until our kids are out of college".
Philip Aaronson April 02, 2013 at 11:35 PM
Again, I fail to see how district kids in traditional schools are impacted by this one way or the other? What difference does a few more portables on Blach make to the traditional students there? Or sharing another already unused science lab period? I suppose you could argue that it collectively makes the experience marginally worse at Blach, and marginally better at Egan, and Egan has compromised far more than Blach. That's why the BoTs were initially for the idea of having more students at Blach but then for some reason they quickly backed away from that and have never explained why.


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