Editor's note: Los Altos Patch erroneously described the court fees in the original sub-headline of this article.
This article has been updated to reflect additional information regarding that aspect of the judgment.
Additional update March 27, 11:44 a.m.: Comments from Bullis Charter School attorney have been included. Contextual background about the origination of the case in 2009 have also been added. 12:45 p.m.: Reaction Statement from Bullis Charter School, attached, in full. The Los Altos School District statement, emailed shortly before 5 p.m., is also attached.
The Los Altos School District (LASD) received a four-page judgment in the mail Monday, that included the methodology it should use to measure school space to provide "reasonably equivalent" facilities to Bullis Charter School.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Lucas entered judgment in favor of Bullis (BCS), providing six points describing what LASD must do in arriving at "reasonably equivalent" facilities on par with those of comparison schools.
"We think it's a fair and right order," said LASD Board President Mark Goines, after the school board's special meeting, at which members voted on its final offer to BCS, including elements that were contained in the judgment. That offer must be made by April 1.
[Updated comment added] Attorney Arturo Gonzalez, the Morrison & Foerster partner who tried the case on Bullis' behalf called it "the completion of a long and arduous legal process to get a school district to comply with the law.”
“We are hopeful that the Los Altos school board will stop playing legal chess and finally provide Bullis with a reasonable site.”
The judgment included the following:
- The district must consider total site size and account for all building and outdoor space.
- The district shall use the actual size of building and stop its practice of using "standard" room sizes to represent the facilities at the comparison schools.
- LASD shall measure all outdoor space at comparison schools
- The district shall provide accurate measurement of the amount of building and outdoor space offered to Bullis, based on the correct configuration of that campus and prorate the shared space based on the time BCS is allotted.
- The district cannot consider the square footage of the Bullis multi-purpose room, which was paid for, and installed, by Bullis.
- The district shall offer facilities, such as a childcare facility and amphitheater, reasonably equivalent to those at comparison schools.
- The district shall specify sharing arrangements in its offer and stop charging BCS a pro rata fee for shared space without regard to sharing arrangements restricting BCS' use of the space.
Bullis was awarded its costs of the suit. [Updated information follows]
Court costs, said LASD vice-president Doug Smith, includes court filing fees and are nominal. BCS has filed a demand for attorneys' fees, for which a hearing has not yet been held. Smith said he expects that the district would oppose that request.
The court case began in 2009, when Bullis filed suit in Superior Court contending that the district violated Proposition 39, which requires school districts to provide "reasonably equivalent" facilities space to charter schools in their districts. The court found against Bullis, and BCS appealed. The state Sixth District Court of Appeal unanimously overturned a previous lower court ruling, finding that the facilities provided by the Los Altos School District did not comply with Proposition 39. LASD appealed to the California Supreme Court, which denied review of the decision.
Mountain View Patch will carry a wrap-up story about the Monday night board meeting and the facilities offer final vote on Tuesday afternoon.