Bullis Objects To Longterm Agreement Draft

The charter school releases its top ten objections in "a last-ditch effort to avoid further litigation."



Bullis Charter School's board chairman raised the possibility of litigation this week in a letter to parents describing his board's objections to a draft of a long-term agreement with the Los Altos School District.

The charter school and the district are in negotiations over a long-term facilities agreement for the charter school, a development that would possibly end eight years of legal action.

"Unfortunately, the District has sent us (and circulated publicly) a draft written agreement without our input that does not fairly articulate the deal to which we agreed," wrote Ken Moore in a letter to Bullis parents.

"In a last ditch effort to avoid further litigation, we have highlighted some of the problems with the draft agreement and are discussing them with the District."

In a separate document, Moore highlighted ten top objections to the proposal that the school district placed on its website Monday, in response to anxious district parents who had asked for transparency in any agreement being hammered out.

Many of the objections were to ideas that parents had given the district in hopes of easing the disruption of a hastily crafted deal, one that had come about over two months' time. While Moore listed ten, his letter to Bullis parents said there were more.

Patch has attached a copy of the proposal, the charter school's letter and a presentation of the framework of the tentative agreement that was made public May 7.

Patch will highlight the objections on this article later. 

Watch here for updates.

LASD taxpayer June 02, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Many districts share tax revenue with charter schools. It's the 'money follows the kid' principle. When the district doesn't have to educate the child, they don't need the money. LASD could follow this principle and then BCS wouldn't have to ask for more to 'fund the gap'. LASD turned down the opportunity to be BCS' chartering authority and now there is no trust that they would act in good faith to do so. LASD missed a chance to cap BCS' growth by not giving them the GB site when BCS offered to buy or lease it when it was available. Since BCS doesn't know where they will be in the future, they are able to grow instead of being constrained by a definitive site. BCS has asked for a permanent site and LASD has continually said they would work to give them one 'someday'. They have dragged their feet and now the courts are demanding they follow the law. Portables on Egan are not 'equivalent', as the appellate court decided. Judge Kleinberg was rightly overruled - he even admitted that he didn't have the time to read all the papers in the case.
LASD taxpayer June 02, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Jennifer, GB is still new - give it time and they will raise the same amount of money. This past BCS auction was an anomaly in many ways. All prior auctions have raised similar numbers to yours.
Ron Haley June 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Parents pay for perceived value. It's obvious LASD parents don't value their schools very much.
David Cortright June 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
You did not even respond to my assertion that funneling money not legally due to BCS is an illegal misappropriation of funds. Because LASD is not the chartering authority for BCS, LASD has no oversight or responsibility for the education/curriculum of those students. LASD are just glorified landlords. You wouldn't demand that your landlord give you money for the small business that you run out of his facility, would you? The appellate court did *NOT* decide that portables are not equivalent. If they had, BCS would not even be at the negotiating table right now; they'd be in court. I encourage you to take the time to read the ruling. I did. And here's the summary of it: http://www.kpao.org/2012/03/case-no-109cv144569-judgement-bullis-charter-vs-los-altos-school-district.html
David Cortright June 02, 2012 at 04:15 PM
How much did you pay to emigrate to the United States, Ron? Does that amount properly reflect how much you value living here?
LASD taxpayer June 02, 2012 at 04:22 PM
The Ed Code says that districts can negotiate the amount of funds that transfer to a charter and many do so fairly. If LASD wants to share funds and a site, BCS kids would get equal access to public funds and facilities. That is what LASD board members are tasked to do in the first place - be good stewards of public resources. As for the court case - maybe portables weren't deemed illegal, but the size of the site was and the distict's offer is still illegal on those grounds.
David Cortright June 02, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Does anyone seriously think that the BCS board wouldn't litigate if they believed that the current offer were illegal? The offer is legal and BCS knows it. That's why they are in mediation right now and not in court.
suzi berry June 02, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Joan, The reason BCS parents give so much is not because we are zillionaires, although I am curious to know how we have now risen on the wealth index from having many billionaires to many zillionaires? In any case, the reason BCS parents give is not because we have spare cash but because our district does not fund us equally. BCS kids get thousands less in public funding than other district kids, even though they are all public school children. Some BCS parents choose to make up the difference with donations. Some BCS parents choose to make up the difference participating in the auction, although not surprisingly there is much hyperbole in the numbers you report, $400k would have been great but we raised more like $250k gross if I remember correctly - you really play loose with the facts. If the district were to give BCS kids equal funding I would wager that BCS parents would donate at equal levels to LASD parents. Donations are high to cover the gap in funding. And despite your constantly disparaging remarks about BCS parents, of course we realize $5000 is a lot of money and would value a day when pubic school children could be treated equally, receiving equal facilities AND funding. I think we all understand that BCS is not a choice you would make for your children, but it is a public school choice that is highly valued in our district by many families both who are able to attend and who would like to. Please keep the dialogue accurate and civil.
LASD taxpayer June 02, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Negotiated agreement is always better than battling it out in the courts, where the judge may hand down a decision that neither side likes. BCS may have to sue again, if an agreement isn't reached and LASD continues to ignore the law.
Just Mom June 02, 2012 at 06:38 PM
I would value a day when special needs children are welcomed with open arms at BCS. Former BCS families sharing the story of how their child was treated when needs were identified made me angry. I love the BCS mantra, " sue, sue, sue!"
LASD taxpayer June 02, 2012 at 11:01 PM
I have heard plenty of stories of special needs kids being 'mistreated' at LASD schools, too. The process is never easy on all involved. And BCS will stop suing when the district fulfills its court-ordered obligations. LASD has the power to stop the lawsuits - they always have.
Joan J. Strong June 02, 2012 at 11:31 PM
LASD spent $7.5 million on special needs kids whereas BCS calls out exactly $0.00 in their annual budget. At least LASD is trying. The court ordered LASD to change the way they measure campus space. The current offer does that. The court EXPLICITLY said that a stand-alone campus was NOT necessary in its recent ruling. The current offering is ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY legal, compliant, and in accordance with the court's ruling. Now, if you would like to show us the part of the charter laws where it says you get to go shopping for whatever campus you want and occupy it, then we're all ears. Can you tell us where the law says that? Can you tell us where the law says that a sharing arrangement is not legal? I'm sure the hundreds of Charters across the state who are currently in sharing arrangements just like BCS would like to see that too. There's no such clauses in the law and as usual your conclusions here are just a pipe dream, or lies, or both... Now, none of this will stop BCS from trying. What do they have to lose? Yes, it costs what is a "lot of money" for normal people, but for the BCS founders this is just a hobby and likely not even their most expensive hobby...
Joan J. Strong June 02, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Yes, I know many of you would love to see the day you bankrupt our school district and leave special needs kids to fend for themselves. We all know what sort of character that cruelty requires.
LASD taxpayer June 02, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Just because BCS doesn't call it out in their budget (if that's true), doesn't mean they don't have special needs kids. They just handle them in a unique way. That's how everything at BCS is done - not the traditional way, but in a new, innovative way that is usually better for the kids. As for the lawsuit, we'll see.... LASD could have solved this long before the courts got involved and are forcing their hand.
Just Mom June 02, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I have yet to hear of LASD forcing special needs kids out. Being I have children with special needs I am very tuned in on this. BCS has a horrific track record with the special needs community and that is a fact. I know I have seen zero outreach from BCS.
Joan J. Strong June 02, 2012 at 11:58 PM
A "unique way"! That's a good one! Too bad that is NOT FUNNY. Fact: there are all levels of "special needs". Some are relatively simple to adjust for and some require very expensive individualized attention. Guess which one BCS waves off during the application process...
lasd resident June 03, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Jennifer, not sure where you got the $400K number but it is WILDLY overinflated. I only wish it were true! LASD taxpayer is correct that given the number of parents at BCS it's about the same as GB.
lasd resident June 03, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Zero outreach? And yet others have described BCS as a marketing machine. Sorry--the two just don't go together.
Just Mom June 03, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Let me be clear this is to the special needs community. Oh they market themselves alright, to the press. Again please do not sell me this rubbish as I am not buying.
lasd resident June 03, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Just Mom, were you aware that BCS asked LASD if they could market to its community and were soundly rejected? BCS welcomes all students. There are a number of children with special needs--some of which have come from LASD where they were not getting what they needed. The reality is that one size does not fit all. In some cases, LASD may be a better fit for some special needs children. In other cases, BCS may be better. We're very fortunate in this community to have a choice of great schools.
Just Mom June 03, 2012 at 01:13 AM
For the marketing geniuses BCS claim to be I am certain they could have found an innovative way to reach out. Please again do not sell me the BCS welcomes all as it is blatantly false. How many kids are SDC students? How about profound disabilities? Some of us clearly do not feel fortunate to shoulder this vendetta. I see zero accountability to the community which BCS claims to want to be a part of. Questions are met with hostility, and requests for transparency are rebuffed. I do not remember voting for the BCS board but I certainly remember voting for LASD board as it should be! Sadly I know why BCS came to be (been here from the start) and it was not innovation and choice that got us here. Please stop selling a fantasy as again not buying.
lasd resident June 03, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I don't believe BCS has ever claimed to be marketing geniuses. BCS includes students with autism, ADHD, dyslexia, other learning disabilities, etc. BCS is strictly accountable to the SCCOE (which you did vote for), and you also voted for the LASD board which chose NOT to charter BCS. BCS is subject to a huge number of audits every year by the County. I believe BCS has answered most questions--many in the community just don't like the answers.
Just Mom June 03, 2012 at 01:52 AM
I agree with LASD choosing not to charter. Judging from some of those audits BCS has failed on a number of things. BCS and its supporter's do not openly answer question, they evade and trumpet innovation and choice which is not an answer most direct questions asked. Again there are many degrees of disability are important here. How many SDC students? How many with profound disabilities? What of the former BCS families coming forward with stories of intimidation and outright hostility when they asked for accommodation for their child? As for the donation why must one explain to anyone if they choose to forgo the donation? How humiliating to be asked to explain as it really is not a public school's business. As for outreach I have seen zero effort. I have no idea when registration is open, why is that? Mailers? Yeah have not received one. Heck knowing that these boards exist is a great opportunity to reach out and invite people in. If BCS is so transparent and accountable I am sure they would love to have a chance to show exactly that off. How about the economically challenged? How is that outreach going? How about the Hispanic community are they getting the outreach? If BCS can afford a team of lawyers surly they can afford a targeted mailing or two. Again you are selling to someone who knows better. I suggest inviting your critics in and showing them how these issues are being dealt with. Being open and honest tends to bring more credibility which BCS sorely needs.
L Poway June 03, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Wow. This is unbelievable. Joan J. Strong accuses Gordon and Betty Moore of "harming children"? Joan, if you are calling for violence against our children in retribution for the harm that these amazingly gentle people have caused by "starting a war," just say it. In my view, as between you and them, you're the only one spewing hatred and calling for war.
L Poway June 03, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Again, if any LASD resident feels this passionately about making BCS admit every student who applies, go to LASD and go now. Tell your Board of Trustees that they MUST give BCS as much space as BCS needs to house every single student who applies. That is the only way to make BCS more suitable to you. It's your decision. Go tell LASD to do the right thing. Otherwise, please stop your yammering. Until BCS has the space to take all-comers, it must use the lottery.
Just Mom June 03, 2012 at 04:03 AM
Outreach and attendance are two different things. And I will continue to speak until I see change. This is the open disdain that is shown when honest questions are posed to BCS supporters. Now unless you have productive answers perhaps it is you who should stop yammering as your post has nothing to do with my questions.
L Poway June 04, 2012 at 07:56 PM
I'm so glad you will continue to speak up for the Special Ed kids at BCS, Just Mom. The first thing you can do is demand that LASD give BCS as much space as it needs every single year to admit 100% of applicants, so that a lottery is not even necessary. That is my productive answer to this issue. What is yours? And I'm sorry if my term 'yammering' offended you. BCS has families who were told by LASD, verbally and in writing, "We cannot help your special education child. We are done trying. You should take him to private school. That is your only option." Those families gave public education one more shot by coming to BCS. And guess what? Their kids are thriving at BCS. So speculate all you want about BCS turning away special ed kids through some sort of convoluted lottery mechanism and appellation process. LASD has done it, de facto. Can those families sue LASD for expelling their special needs child? Probably. Will they? Probably not because they have moved on and are incredibly happy at BCS and BCS' special education programs. The only productive solution to this problem is to allow BCS to admit 100% of applicants by giving them the space to do so.
Just Mom June 04, 2012 at 08:01 PM
You seem to want to let BCS admit all and that is all you can answer. I have seen the folks I have told you about come forward in public, yours are? My productive answer is answer the questions I asked first about outreach and numbers. You have given zero answers and all you seem to want is everything...yeah, no. Again sell it to someone who is buying as I am not.
L Poway June 05, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Of course you are not buying. Your priority is to not let BCS have the space it needs. Your priority is to not move schools. Your priority is not special education students. If it were, you would understand that the only way to increase special ed students at BCS is to give BCS more room to admit all applicants. Even if BCS's outreach resulted in 100% of special ed kids applying, not all can be admitted because there is no room. Some of the families I mentioned have come forward in public; their letters and stories are out there. Others have not. It is their story to tell, not mine. It is my guess that they are finally enjoying some free time now that they are not battling LASD all the time over getting appropriate special education services.
Just Mom June 05, 2012 at 07:03 AM
My priority is absolutely special ed. As a parent of 2 special needs kids that is absolutely insulting. Walk a mile in our shoes then speak. As for stories being out there I have yet to see them. Where are they? LASD has gone above and beyond to help my children and made it easy to navigate an often confusing path. I have heard BCS flat out refusing to listen to parents who brought issues to the staff attention. There is a difference between outreach and attendance. While BCS is not an option I would choose I also would not begrudge another special ed family from going that route. It helps if they know it exists.


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