Bullis Charter School (BCS) President Ken Moore has rejected a request to suspend litigation while BCS and Los Altos School District are engaged in the state-mandated process of allocating facilities space for the 2013-14 year.
The letter, dated March 3, acknowledged the district's legal concerns, but declined a temporary hold on litigation because the BCS board felt it was an attempt to avoid solving the facilities disputes and delay working out a solution for the next school year.
Moore urged the district to engage in talks without a temporary halt to litigation and hinted that not doing so would lead to even more legal action.
"Suspending litigation over the District’s previous actions has nothing to do making a good faith attempt to meet now in order to avoid potential future litigation," Moore wrote (emphasis in boldface type is in the original).
"That sounds like a threat to me," said LASD president Doug Smith. Smith said he was "deeply disappointed but not surprised."
Smith said the board felt it owed it to the community to offer to sit down and talk to work something out, which is why it asked for the temporary suspension of litigation, without giving up anything, without either side waiving any rights and retaining the ability to go back to court.
Moore's letter focused on seeking additional meetings.
"We hope that the Trustees and the District are as interested as we are to resolving the facilities issue quickly, for the short term, while we work together on a longer-term solution," the letter said in its opening paragraphs.
Moore noted that BCS had just given the district its response to the preliminary offer, and urged meetings during March before the district is legally mandated to make its final offer to Bullis. "Our public meeting on February 13 was a good start. Our fear is, absent a sustained, public dialogue over the 2013-14 facilities allocation, on April 2 we will find ourselves right back where we started with a 2013-14 facilities offer that we believe does not remotely comport with the law."
Moore urged meeting in the month of March before the district's final offer to BCS is due on April 1.
"I will need to confer with my colleagues on that," Smith said, who added he was not sure whether it would be a good use of the board's time. He said he was trying to reconcile the public pronouncements of desire for conciliation with aggressive legal action.
"You can't negotiate a compromise that has the support of the community, at the point of a sword."
Board members could meet and have the contents of their conversations with BCS end up in a future lawsuit, Smith said. He said he felt that the BCS board was committed to continue down the path of litigation until it got what it wanted, "and what they want is to close one of our nine high-performing schools."
"After we met and tried to have a constructive conversation (on Feb. 13), they came back on March 1 with a request for 21,000 square feet more and said, 'Here are the 25 different court rulings we'll cite when we sue you next year—and they still asked to close Covington School" for BCS' use."