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City, School District Focus on (Virtually) All Things Bullis Tuesday Night

The city of Los Altos and the Los Altos School District started out each with a long list of items to discuss at a joint meeting, but ended up with a tightly focused agenda discussing several aspects of Bullis Charter School, and the need for a campus.

 

The Los Altos City Council and the Los Altos School District normally leave matters of joint interest to a twice-yearly committee meeting.

But 2012 has proved to be an unusual year, ever since the Sixth District state Court of Appeal upheld the Bullis Charter School's lawsuit saying that the school was not being provided facilities in accordance with state law. When the district's appeal to the state Supreme Court was denied, things changed quickly.

The full boards will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall to discuss:

  1. Traffic safety at Egan Jr. High School and Blach Intermediate School
  2. The tentative agreement between the Bullis Charter School and the school district 
  3. Review of the bond survey results testing support for building a 10th campus and improvements to LASD schools 
  4. LASD's response to a request to confirm the school district would not pursue eminent domain to acquire city-owned land 
  5. LASD's need for a 10th campus

The council has made arrangments for overflow seating in the nearby Los Altos Youth Center. The proceedings will be televised through the city's community access channel and webstreamed at http://losaltosca.gov/citycouncil/online/index.html  

In addition, Los Altos Patch will live blog the event. 

In any case, if you are coming to the meeting, get there early for a seat inside the council chambers. 

Val Carpenter May 29, 2012 at 03:03 PM
FYI, this meeting will be broadcast on Channel 26 within Los Altos and webcast live on the City’s website at http://www.losaltosca.gov/citycouncil/online/index.html. All are welcome to attend. If you don't plan to speak, you may prefer to watch the proceedings from home. Capacity in the Council Chambers is approximately 100; Overflow seating will be available at various locations on the Los Altos Civic Center Campus with broadcast of the meeting. Public comment on agenda items will be conducted in the Council Chambers. The agenda contains only discussion items; therefore, no voting will take place.
LA Resident May 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Since a lot of the growth in the district is coming from Mountain View, wouldn't it be appropriate if their city council and school district were at the meeting as well? Maybe a school in Mountain View is the answer?
Bill May 29, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I hope they address the illegal application procedure. The online application requires a valid drivers license and immunization history. NO incomplete application will be accepted. i.e. no divers license, no application. This is one of the many ways that schools like BCS filter out only the most socioeconomically advantaged among us.
lasd resident May 29, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Bill, you've posted this before and it is just flat out wrong. It is NOT illegal to ask for a valid driver's license. Many districts require this (or some other picture ID) as a proof of identity. BCS's application has been updated to clarify that some other form of picture ID is acceptable even though that has always been the case. The registration form has NEVER required immunization history. That has always been optional until enrollment and like all public schools, parents can sign a waiver with respect to immunizations, and can get help financially for required physicals. Why you continue to harp on this even though it is just plain WRONG, is beyond me.
Joan J. Strong May 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Bill, This is not an issue for the LACC or LASD. Both have absolutely nothing to do with BCS and have no say-so other their operation. Yes, they have an enormous, divisive impact on our community, but our local government has no control over them (seems like these facts might be related, doesn't it?). In this sense BCS is comparable to, say, to the embassy of hostile country--that hostile country being the Santa Clara County School Board who clearly holds our entire community in very little regard. None of us nor our local governments can do anything about BCS, and they absolutely do NOT have our best interests in mind--quite the contrary, it would seem. So I would suggest you bring this up with the SCCBOE. Bringing it up tonight will just get in the way of the task at hand, which is to return Hillview to a new school campus so it can be given to BCS and resolve this mess.
Ron Haley May 29, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Bill, Perhaps while we are at it, we can determine a process to weed out the out of district students illegally attending LASD schools.
LASD Concerned Parent May 29, 2012 at 05:27 PM
While I agree with JJS that tonight's meeting is not the appropriate venue for Bill's point about the BCS application process, it is worth clarifying and explaining however so folks like "lasd resident" can understand the point. To net it out, BCS makes is "mandatory" that a Driver's License be submitted as part of the application process. No incomplete applications will be accepted. So no Driver's License = no application. Obtaining a Driver's License requires certain types of residency and related requirements be met (i.e., a higher standard than those residency requirements required to attend public school). So BCS is effectively excluding anyone who cannot obtain a DL from applying...even though the real public schools are required by law to accept those same people. The real public schools make a DL an "optional" form of identification required to register for school. It is not "mandatory" as it is for BCS. There is a big difference in this and it has implications on who applies / gets accepted.
Ron Haley May 29, 2012 at 05:31 PM
And wouldn't it be appropriate for any new school to be situated near this growth, not in downtown Los Altos?!
lasd resident May 29, 2012 at 06:00 PM
You are also incorrect. BCS has always made accommodations for anyone who doesn't have a driver's license (just as a passport as always been sufficient for those who cannot find birth certificates). And as indicated above, BCS has updated their registration form to clarify in writing that other forms of picture ID are acceptable. I guess Palo Alto schools are not "real public schools" then, because they also REQUIRE some form of picture ID. All you are doing is spreading misleading information. Please get your facts straight. I suggest you call the school and ask them what happens if you don't have a driver's license.
Bill May 29, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Denying the illegal application requirement does not make the fact untrue. http://www.bullischarterschool.com/cms/lib6/CA01001253/Centricity/Domain/24/2012-13_BCS_Registration_Packet.pdf Nether your obstinence or lack of willingness to read the Ed Code helps BCS cause. Until the online enrollment application is changed, the socioeconomically disadvantaged will be filtered out. Plain and simple. The reason for LASD comment at this meeting is purely from a governing body standpoint. If a charter is found to be in violation of the law by a court, the charter can be revoked. I believe this can be done by the governing authority and /OR the State Board of Ed. If LASD and the public are considering a new campus, they should first have an iron clad agreement that all laws will be followed. Imagine passing a bond or moving students etc....then having the charter revoked. Has LASD consideredd this potential outcome? Should charter revocation be considered when discussing a bond and site changes/construction?
Joan J. Strong May 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM
To say that normal public schools "require" anything which would put somebody's attendance in question is completely dishonest--it's a clear attempt to whitewash wrongdoing. Public schools are PUBLIC: they take all comers as they have for over 250 years here in the USA. As a parent you are actually REQUIRED to enroll your child in school, with the local public school being the default option. Everybody knows that "no matter what" their child will be enrolled into public school--there is NO being "turned down" to public school. This is NOT the case for privately-controlled businesses like BCS. It therefore behooves BCS to go OUT OF THEIR WAY to make it clear anybody can be enrolled no matter what. Only with EXPLICIT verbiage on their website and other materials (especially written, and especially in languages other than English) can we START to be assured that BCS is not "waving off" the less advantaged. It's clear to any honest person what is going on here: BCS will create an environment of privilege and exclusivity which will discourage "undesirables" who cannot pay the $5000/child per year "tuition" from applying to their school--i.e. those who would CRASH their financial model. I think we're all smart enough to imagine out how easily--and subtly--this can be done. Now, if BCS has updated their enrollment form, then that is a great start. We need to demand much more. BCS must go far beyond that of normal public schools whose acceptance is never in question.
LASD Concerned Parent May 29, 2012 at 07:27 PM
If the registration packet has been updated to clarify that a DL is optional, and other forms of identification are acceptable, then great. A step in the right direction. One of many I hope BCS makes.
lasd resident May 29, 2012 at 08:08 PM
No where in the ed code does it say you cannot ask for photo id. There are accommodations made for homeless families in every district and the same holds true for BCS. Perhaps you might want to focus your energies on passing Governor Brown's tax bill in November. If that doesn't pass, we stand to lose $400 per student, and Basic Aid districts will be impacted as well.
jolie May 29, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I just took a look at the BCS registration packet. To apply for the lottery, you have to disclose whether you have an IEP and give details about it??? Seems like something that should not be disclosed until after a student is admitted.
lasd resident May 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Actually, it's only illegal if this information is used as part of the acceptance criteria (which it's not). It's a lottery at BCS. LASD asks for this information as well. I'm sure for the same reason--they need to plan for children that have special needs. If BCS did not get the IEP until the child actually started school, they would not be prepared at the beginning of the school year for that child's needs. It's really sad that people are staging what appears to be a witch hunt and reading nefarious purposes into absolutely everything. Are you aware that many parents prefer not to admit their child has an IEP until the child actually gets to school? I understand why they may feel that's important, but it does the school and the child a huge disservice as the school/teachers cannot prepare for children that need accommodations. This happens at public schools all over the country.
W Nobuyuki May 29, 2012 at 09:31 PM
The members of the Santa Clara County Board of Education are. Leon F. Beauchman Michael Chang Joseph Di Salvo, president Julia Hover-Smoot, vice president Grace H. Mah Craig Mann Anna Song Their e-mail addresses are: leon_beauchman@sccoe.org michael_chang@sccoe.org josephsds1@aol.com julia_hover-smoot@sccoe.org grace_mah@sccoe.org craig_mann@sccoe.org anna_song@sccoe.org Write to them and urge them to revoke the BCS charter immediately based on these violations: This school is not in compliance with the rules governing the charter, see report at this link: http://wwwstatic.kern.org/gems/fcmat/SantaClaraBullisfinalreport6.pdf The school is using an illegal application process by requiring a parental driver’s license or passport. Obtaining a Driver's License requires certain types of residency and related requirements be met (i.e., a higher standard than those residency requirements required to attend public school). So BCS is effectively excluding anyone who cannot obtain a Driver’s License from applying...even though the real public schools are required by law to accept those same people. http://www.bullischarterschool.com/cms/lib6/CA01001253/Centricity/Domain/24/2012-13_BCS_Registration_Packet.pdf
ljk May 29, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Panic Much?
LASD resident May 29, 2012 at 10:07 PM
By my count, 13 of the 17 responses here deal with the claim of an illegal application process at BCS. I'm not saying it isn't an important topic (you would think the Santa Clara County Board of Education would have already dealt with this) Yet the biggest issue facing the LASD Parents and the LASD Board is finding a potential 10th site and then passing a Bond Measure. That was the purpose of this article and the purpose of the meeting tonite. I'm wondering if the community is really tuned into this? Not to be too dramatic but some of these conversations are like arguing about the arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic. There are much bigger issues here in my opinion
ljk May 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM
I am sure that they will be thrilled to hear from you. As will the LA City Council. The problem was created by the LASD BoT's. It should be their problem to solve. We don't need a land grab, we need a plan that accommodates all Public School Students fairly and equally. BCS has not been treated fairly. BCS makes up more than 10 percent of the public school students in our district. For far too long we have been favoring students living near the schools and ignoring everyone else. Open a new school at the Egan Camp School and then redistrict. Give BCS a campus big enough for their large school. Combine two of the smaller schools. Open a new school for the growing part of the district. Keep Hillview as a community center. LASD folks, you are not entitled to a school anymore than BCS kids are. Boundaries are redrawn about every five years, its time to do it again. The schools are public property held in trust for all public school students. It is time to stop grasping at straws and start working towards passing a bond. The alternative, letting the court decide, is not a good option.
ronaldo May 29, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Open Letter to Ken Moore, I'm a 20-year resident with grown children & no skin in this game. My interest is peace. I write because I see peace becoming ever-more distant, with the roots of distrust & animosity with LASD becoming not only deeper, but also wider, affecting LASD families, LA/H homeowners & now the city of LA. Congratulations, your charter program appears to be successful. You wanted autonomy from LASD and you got it. Since you have outgrown Egan, you now need more space. As you know, the problem w schools in LA is that there is no ‘extra’ capacity. For 20 yrs, incremental facilities required a bond, approved & funded by the community. Given the relationship between BCS & LASD families what are the bond's chances of passing? Would it mean peace? I don't see how. And if it doesn’t pass? I fear this would just institutionalize the animosity. .....
ronaldo May 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM
.... How do we get to community harmony? I suggest that the only path for peace is for BCS to become truly autonomous from the LASD & take responsibility for finding & funding your own site. You control your own destiny, unencumbered by any LASD constraints You control site utilization 24x7x365 & make long-term plans for growth You prove your viability, without asking for financial support from the community If you want autonomy, be autonomous. I would be proud to have a charter school in my community that was truly autonomous and took responsibility for funding its own site. Besides, it’s the right thing to do.
Joan J. Strong May 29, 2012 at 10:56 PM
@lasd resident -- Everybody is reading "nefarious purposes" into everything BCS does because this private company has a very well-deserved REPUTATION and because of it's CONTEXT. As for the reputation, every single BCS supporter talks about the "law" as an end in itself and demonstrates a complete lack of regard for right and wrong--when it's clear that the whole school's existence revolves around a loophole. The school has supported (unofficially of course) a deceptive campaign to take money away from our schools (Measure E). Here on Patch we routinely hear BCS supporters talking out of both sides of their mouths saying, in effect, that they don't REALLY want to close a school--but they REALLY want to close a school. As for the context, it's very simple: BCS needs $5000/child per year from every parent. It's plain for anybody to see that this model is absolutely unsustainable if too many "poor families" (viz. making under $300k) send their children there. So yes, in this context, BCS is guilt until proven innocent...
Joan J. Strong May 29, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Ronaldo, Thanks for that. You are echoing a sentiment of my own as well. I too hope for peace, and I can even imagine a way for BCS to coexist if their current operating strategy ("sue and lie") changes. It's unclear of they will ever change, but hopefully we can speak directly to the more moderate BCS parents (as opposed to the fanatics on the BCS board) who want a "school" for their children and not a "cause". Please see my vision of a harmonious Charter presence here in Los Altos here: http://bullischarterschoolthoughts.blogspot.com/2012/03/bullis-charter-school-post-war-vision.html
lasd resident May 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM
The reason that the county is not dealing with this is because it's not illegal. Don't know where people are getting their legal advice, but they are just flat out wrong. There has been so much attention paid to this and other things and none of them have been proven to be accurate. LASD needs to share their facilities equally with all public school students. That's the bottom line.
Joan J. Strong May 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM
See above. Note the complete inability to understand the difference between right and wrong--only "legal and illegal" as defined by some lawyers and some loopholes... And for what it's worth, the original offer to BCS this year was perfectly LEGAL. Yes, BCS will sue but that was going to happen regardless of what they offered.
L.A. Chung (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 12:41 AM
Dear readers: Los Altos Patch is having difficulty getting CoveritLive launched. The meeting has begun and the room(s) are packed. I will let you know when we are up (hopefully). Mark Goines is addressing the council "I think we should figure out how to do this more frequently."
Bill May 30, 2012 at 02:08 PM
if
Bill May 30, 2012 at 02:10 PM
If the enrollment practices are deemed illegal by an authority, then the charter could be revoked. That is a provision of charter law. In which case there would be no need for a facility because the school would cease to exist.
Bill May 30, 2012 at 02:24 PM
lasd resident, take off the rose colored glasses. IEP is required to complete the application to BCS. "Any incomplete applications will NOT be accepted." The BCS application says as much multiple times on the 11 page form. And to address your "woe is me" complaint that BCS would not be prepared for a student on IEP if it was not on file at BCS before the school year begins.......WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU THINK PUBLIC SCHOOLS DO?? Any child who moves to a district, such as LASD, is required by law to attend school. If said child has an IEP from a different area of the country, how does the new school "PLAN" for their arrival?? How does BCS do its part in educating children new to LASD? New students to LASD are effectively locked out.....and what if (oh-no) that child is in need of an IEP or special ED?........oh well, LASD you provide for that child while we at BCS prepare to send our kids to China or some exotic "class trip".
Bill May 30, 2012 at 02:37 PM
There is no reason to hash it out here on the pages of patch.....Let the professionals do their job. File a civil rights complaint here: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html As has been stated in the past, requiring a valid drivers license (among other items) for the enrollment process is illegal. If the US Dept of Education Office of Civil Rights finds as much, then the CA State Board of Ed could revoke the Charter. And BCS would not need a new facility, because the school would be gone. "Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin"........since it is and has been the practice as "REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION FOR APPLICATION" a "copy of parent valid drivers license, incomplete registration packets will not be eligible for consideration". i.e. not a resident, not able to apply to our "public" school......

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