Bullis Charter School President Ken Moore told parents Saturday that the school's board could not support the latest proposal from the Los Altos School Board, setting the stage for some tense times at Monday's school board meetings.
evening in advance of its Monday meeting, "bears little resemblance to the negotiated tentative agreement reached through mediation," Moore wrote in a letter to parents.
It was clear that a sticking point for the charter school mediation team was the proposal's lack of a specific set of possible permanent school sites for Bullis.
"For BCS, the core benefit of the agreed framework was guaranteed delivery of one of four specific permanent sites by no later than 2014," Moore wrote. "... This core element is not present in your proposal."
had named four schools—Almond, Santa Rita, Covington and Gardner Bullis—that BCS found as acceptable. In the ensuing weeks, parents and community members have steadily raised objections or concerns about naming only four schools, including the potential for turmoil in the home sales market, and making it more difficult to pass a bond measure if only a handful of schools might be affected.
BCS had always be willing to consider an alternative school site if the board proposed one that the school found acceptable, Moore wrote Saturday.
"As the District expressed increasing difficulty adhering to the agreed framework in recent days, we had suggested the possibility of finalizing the details of an interim campus on Egan for 2012-13 only to allow a few more weeks to complete an acceptable long-term deal," Moore wrote.
"Our thought was that the District could quickly chase down its ideas for a tenth site and either determine no new site was feasible by 2014 (thereby hopefully returning to the mediation framework site options) or ask BCS to consider a specific clearly delineated site addition."
It's not clear whether BCS and LASD will be trying to hammer out a last-minute deal on Monday. LASD mediation team member Doug Smith said Saturday there was no date set to meet.
Monday, June 4, is a critical date. LASD Board President Mark Goines had said this was the date by which the parties should have an agreement that was ready for a vote, because of the lead time needed to prepare BCS' facilities for the 2012-13 school year.
"That's what's driving this deadline," Smith said. "We have to go to the state architect for approval of anything we do."
Detailed plans for the buildings (usually portables) have to be submitted to the state architect, then an appointment set up for the state architect to come out, from approval, and build, Smith said. Already the board is a bit behind, Goines said during the .
"I implore you and your Board to make a serious attempt at approving the tentative mediated agreement," Moore wrote. "We believe it represents the best option for moving forward in a cooperative manner."
If the LASD board and BCS board cannot agree to a long-term facilties agreement, the state-mandated Prop. 39 agreement that splits the charter school between Egan Jr. High and Blach Intermediate School would become the fallback plan. That could trigger another lawsuit by BCS, many fear.