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LASD Offers Bullis Space at Egan and Blach

The 32-page draft offer letter to the Bullis Charter School includes facilities for K-6 grades at Egan Jr. High School and 7-8 grades at Blach Intermediate School.

is preparing to offer space to at Egan Jr. High School and at Blach Intermediate School.

The 32-page proposed preliminary facilities offer for the 2012-13 school year is posted on the LASD website, accompanied by about 30 attached exhibits. It is not a formal preliminary offer, since it must be voted upon by the board of trustees during a special meeting of the board on Monday.

Under the proposed LASD offer, grades K-6 would continue to be housed at , which the school has called home since its inception. Grades 7-8, which have been more recently added, would be housed at . Although Bullis Charter School leadership has preferred a single site for its K-8 school, the school district relied upon a previous state Court of Appeal decision from the 4th District that permitted more than one site.

Under the state regulations stemming from Prop. 39, school districts across the state must make their preliminary offers on Feb. 1, which is Tuesday. The back-and-forth process between the district and the charter schools is further regulated by deadlines through the year until a final agreement is reached.

Patch will be updating this story through the next two days and covering the Monday school board meeting.

Griff Derryberry January 29, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Excellent!
Ma January 29, 2012 at 03:51 AM
It's great news that both sides will be resolving this like adults and we can return to the business of educating our children.
michael crimson January 29, 2012 at 04:38 AM
As a public education advocate (not in California) the LASD offer is obviously non-compliant. Offering the charter school the same facilities the courts said were not acceptable in the first place, is a waste of time and resources for all involved. If your school board cared about educating children instead of protecting their own cushy positions, they would just offer something reasonable. If I were a Los Altos resident I'd be pretty darn angry at the school board for playing games and wasting time and money when they can resolve this, it's sad-our community and school board has been watching this as an example of 'what not to do' aka 'how to waste already limited resources.' Our local board knows they would've been voted out of office if they did this kind of non-sense.
Joan J. Strong January 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Michael, what Los Altos residents are angry at is that a group of billioanires are terrorizing our top-ranked public schools here. Please see: http://BullisCharterScam.org/ Read the background and history before you start talking about things you know nothing about. We have the top test scores in the state of California, so I think our school board knows a thing or two about educating children. If our District did what these robbers wanted and CLOSED OUR SCHOOLS it is then and only then that we'd vote them out of office. As it stands, upon seeing them once again stand up to these billionaires and their infinite legal budget, I'm sending LAEF another check and asking my friends to do the same.
Jeff F January 29, 2012 at 03:08 PM
That's just misinformation, Michael, and also very cynical view of a board you claim to know nothing about. The courts did not rule that the site was not acceptable. It was how LASD did not fully take into account all of their public education facility space, as due diligence, in their calculations of reasonably equivalent space. It amounted to a lot of space that one could argue wasn't relevant and up to the discretion of the district to include or not. However, two courts disagreed with each other, showing how vague the law is, and the Apellate court ruling now sets the precedence.Regardless, site size discrepancy alone does not mean the facility offer is not fair as that is offset by other superior offerings the district has given to the Charter school. The appellate ruling says so,and is cited within the recent facility offer. Plus, the district legally can not offer a facility size it does not have nor cause great student displacement if it causes severe financial hardship (cost of new or severely upgraded site) or detriment to the education of the district population (class size overcrowding from handing over a school).
GT January 29, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Sam T - How can you characterize a set of aging portables at Bullis as "superior" - especially when compared to the beautiful and recently remodeled classrooms at all of the LASD schools? Please enumerate exactly these "superior" offerings that Bullis has received from LASD.
Hopeful January 29, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I truly understand, and can sympathize with, the LASD parents concerns and worries about their children and their schools. But, what I would like you all to do now is put yourselves in to the shoes of a BCS parent for a moment. Would you be okay if the decision was for your children's school to just switch sites with BCS. You keep all of your children and teachers together, but move your school to the portables on a small site, with no fields, and hardly any black top. Would you feel this was “reasonably equivalent”, let alone a "superior offering"?
GT January 29, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Joan, I humbly ask that you do not answer questions not raised directly to you. Sam T seems to be coming from a place of reason and I am interested in hearing from him/her. Please be so kind as to allow others to answer for themselves. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Joan J. Strong January 29, 2012 at 06:03 PM
As a parent I would NOT be okay with BCS, owned by billionaires who could buy their own campus if they felt like it, displacing or otherwise disrupting my children's education in ANY way. As for the legal question, I'll leave that to the lawyers. Morally, BCS has no right to exist and I hope our District does EVERYTHING it minimize the damage from this attack on our top-ranked public schools. The moral question here is the driver for me and I think most parents.
Hopeful January 29, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Joan/Context Man/David/Harold/et al, You didn't answer the question, but I would prefer to hear from other legitimate LASD parents, whom are willing to have an honest discussion.
Joan J. Strong January 29, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I am an LASD parent. Please stop your SMEARS in which you guys seem to have fun imagining that every bit of decent on the Internet actually comes from one man who is not a parent. David Cortright has recently clarified himself with regard to his postings at: http://kpao.org/ . It is YOU who are not willing to have an honest discussion by engaging in an ad hom attack that is, in fact, a lie--and ignoring my answer which was VERY CLEAR.
Jeff F January 29, 2012 at 06:49 PM
No one is being forced to move to BCS, so I don't follow the argument. Plus, going to BCS is a choice and has been from the beginning. Personally, I think it's a little unfair for BCS to be on a limited site (6 acre + Egan's facility). Only a little as BCS is the only one that controls their growth rate. But the facts are obvious to those that live around here: Where is there a 10 acre site that can just be handed over without causing significant harm to the rest of LASDs performance and/or bankrupting the district? But as has been argued in the courts, site size alone isn't the only factor (pg 45 of the Appeals Ruling). The district believes it is offering BCS teaching, non-teaching, and specialized teaching space in excess of amounts given to the District's comparison schools. (Pg 15 of the draft offer). See pg 20+ of the offer for some specific examples where they calculate building sq ft/student ratios. In most cases BCS is in excess of what is being used. Look closely at the outdoor space/student ratios (K, non-K, turfed). They are statistically equivalent. Exhibit B is also cited where the conditions of the schools is done, some is supposedly in BCSs favor. By law, these items are allowed to offset site size. As I said, the district's facilities and finances are limited. I think what has been offered is very fair for the size they are at. I would love to see a growth cap come out of upcoming MOU talks.
Neighborhood Mom January 29, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Dear Hopeful, Most of us made a choice to come to Los Altos to have our children as part of a community. One in which we could walk our children to school, wave to our neighbors, say hi to the dog walker, thank the crossing guard, etc. It's a community. When my child started school I never considered BCS because it wasn't what I wanted for my children...I wanted the community/neighborhood you get from a neighborhood school. BCS families made a different choice when they joined. A choice I don't agree with on many levels. But, I hope this makes you understand why swapping schools with you isn't an option for most of us. It's much more than about portables...it's about our neighborhoods, our communities and one group trying to take that away from us.
michael crimson January 29, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Thank you for your responses. Like I said, we have a similar issues (although not as large) brewing in our town. For the people who responded to my post, or should I say-rebuked my post: I understand it's an emotional situation on all sides. But if we put emotions aside we can 1) focus on the facts and 2) avoid hyperbole in order to achieve a compromise & a practical solution on all sides. Compromise doesn't mean everyone is 100% thrilled with the results-it's what is best collectively, in a practical sense for all sides. It's funny that my rebukers claimed that 1) We know nothing about your situation and 2) claimed I said I know nothing of your situation or your board. As a forum for 'dialogue' on the facts and what has actually been said is most helpful instead of fabricating non-truths. Our small town (CT) has followed your situation closely over the last several months and used it as a source of understanding all sides in the debate. Our school district is highly ranked as well, but it doesn't mean 1) we can't do better 2) the standard teaching approach applies to every child. There is no doubt that our country's education system is broken as we now rank 20th in the world on most scales. -The status quo has failed us as a nation. Let's aim higher.
Alan January 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Why would there be a growth cap? Now that BCS is assured equal space, they can set their "cap" at the total student population of Los Altos and take whatever facilities they need for the students that enroll.
Courtenay C. Corrigan January 29, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Hallelujah Michael and best wishes with your coexistence. While I would agree ours has been marked with a lot of pain along the way, the journey is worth it as I feel my kids are getting the most incredible educational opportunities and have a great foundation for a life-long love of learning and questioning the world around them. And, I am confident a solution is forthcoming that somehow we will all find a way to live with...all the kids in this community deserve it.
Joan J. Strong January 29, 2012 at 07:59 PM
If all US schools were even remotely close to ours here we would be a race of GODS from another planet statistically. Charter schools as a solution to broken school districts is one argument (which I also don't agree) but there is ZERO support for a group of people, undemocratically, deciding that they have a better way of spending taxpayer money in a context where the public system is working extremely well. All it amounts to is a few parents and a business who wants to create something "cool and interesting" which would be completely fine if it were done with PRIVATE MONEY. Doing this with public money is an invitation for disaster on many levels. And Michael, dude, you REALLY don't know what you are talking about when you are looking at THIS school. It is NOT like anything you've ever seen. It's genesis was not educating kids, but rather REVENGE and SPITE. Please read the History section of our information site. It is NOT what it seems. Frankly, I've sent out the following warning to Charter advocates across the country: BCS is going to bring the whole movement down. It's going to be a poster child for Charter laws run amok.
Hopeful January 29, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Hi Neighborhood Mom, I do understand what you're saying. I grew up in Los Altos and it was a great community to grow up in. Very sweet, friendly, small town feel. It's perfectly okay that you didn't want your kids to attend BCS, and I agree that LASD schools are a good choice for many people. But, what I don't understand is why you wouldn't be tolerant of options or alternatives in your community. These are options you are free to either take or leave. As to your point about, "one group trying to take your neighborhoods and communities away from you"; I wish you could understand that is not the ultimate goal of BCS parents. We just want a reasonably equivalent campus for our kids to learn and play. When Gardner Bullis was sitting empty, the LASD board should have taken BCS' offer to pay the district money to move there. When the LASD board decided to redistrict the whole community, they should have considered BCS' request to be included in that analysis at that time. I don't understand why the LASD parents aren't outraged by the LASD board for their lack of foresight. How didn't they know that by consistently pushing BCS aside, that they would end up dividing their community in this way?
LA mom January 29, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Neighborhood Mom, Like Hopeful I also grew up in Los Altos. Los Altos has good schools, but that doesn't mean that there are not other ways of doing things. We choose BCS because we liked the programs that were offered. Programs not offered in LASD schools: Focused Learning Goals - which indivualize learning. Mandarin starting in Kindergarten Spanish starting in fifth grade Engineering and Robotics PE in all grades taught by a PE specialist Drama, Music and Art taught by specialists These classes are part of the regular curriculum. The district can't ( because of union contracts) or won't offer these programs. Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino all have schools of choice. In our area LASD stands alone in offering only one type of school. "Neighborhood" are great if you live near your school - but the majority of LASD students don't. There are four schools in my neighborhood, but they are all private. To get to our neighborhood school we have a long trek that includes crossing Foothill Expressway. The district choose to open Covington and close BP. Then in an bid to get rid of BCS they spent $14,000,000 reopening the school as Gardner Bullis. They then redistricted every single school except for Oak. About a third of parents in the district apply for a spot at BCS. They like the alternative program. Your choice and my choice are equally valid -- time to compromise. Sadly, the district isn't doing that. They want the court to decide.
LA mom January 29, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Neighborhood Mom, Like Hopeful I also grew up in Los Altos. Los Altos has good schools, but that doesn't mean that there are not other ways of doing things. We choose BCS because we liked the programs that were offered. Programs not offered in LASD schools: Focused Learning Goals Mandarin starting in Kindergarten Spanish starting in fifth grade Engineering and Robotics PE in all grades taught by a PE specialist Drama, Music and Art taught by specialists These classes are part of the regular curriculum. The district can't ( because of union contracts) or won't offer these programs. Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino all have schools of choice. In our area LASD stands alone in offering only one type of school. "Neighborhood" are great if you live near your school - but the majority of LASD students don't. There are four schools in my neighborhood, but they are all private. To get to our neighborhood school we have a long trek that includes crossing Foothill Expressway. The district choose to open Covington and close BP. Then in an bid to get rid of BCS they spent $14,000,000 reopening the school as Gardner Bullis. At this point many kids were moved from their neighborhood school. About a third of parents in the district apply for a spot at BCS. They like the alternative program. Your choice and my choice are equally valid -- time to compromise. Sadly, the district isn't doing that. They want the court to decide.
Ron Haley January 30, 2012 at 01:46 AM
This offer is just more of the same from LASD. What did the courts say - "bad faith". When will they learn!
LA mom January 30, 2012 at 02:44 AM
The Trustees fell into the life boat.
Joan J. Strong January 30, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Jeeezus, listen to these smears: "the District can't offer these programs because the unions won't let them" ??? Really? Are you sure it's not "the oil companies" that are secretly controlling our schools? Or maybe the communists? So now we're up to 1/3 of all students apparently ready to go to BCS. Why stop there with these lies? Why not 1/2 or even 3/4? Here's the anti-FUD for BCS applications: http://bullischarterscam.org/bullis_charter_facts.php#bcs_applications Your choice to subvert the democratic process and suck money out of our democratically-controlled public schools are absolutely NOT equally valid with our choice of going to public school. Your choice costs lots of extra money that you are making all of us pay for and/or diminishes our schools normal public schools. You dislike our top-ranked schools and want something "different" that only you and a tiny minority think is interesting and because of that we have to pay for YOUR whims. Why don't you pay for your own "choice" and send your kids to private school. Leave our public schools alone.
Jeff F January 30, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Really Ron? "Bad Faith". Just stop it already. I'm trying not to be cynical, but I keep hearing lots of false statements, in the same wording, from various BCS supporters. So much so you'd think there's a PR machine at work... The court did not rule that LASD acted in bad faith, as BCS tried to suggest. The court thought LASD did not follow the intent of Prop 39 by using all facility space in the comparable & equivalent calculations. Such neglect does not imply bad faith. HERE'S THE EXCERPT FROM THE APPEALS RULING: "It was suggested by Bullis‘s counsel at oral argument that the District‘s Facilities Offer was made in bad faith and without regard to its obligations under Proposition 39. There is certainly evidence in the record—e.g., failure to consider large amounts of comparison group school space, disregarding site size component, and changing established methods of performing the reasonable equivalence analysis—from which such a finding could be made. We decline to do so here. Although a school district, in responding to a charter school‘s facilities request, must make a good faith effort to perform a reasonable equivalence analysis that is consistent with section 47614 and the implementing regulations, we do not find that a breach of such an obligation that may warrant mandamus relief to a charter school must be in bad faith."
Ron Haley January 30, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Sam, The only reason the court "declined" was because it effected the ruling. As stated above, "there was evidence in the record from which such a finding could be made". In fact, in the appeal to the supreme court, LASD stated that the appelate court found they acted in bad faith! If you don't understand it, talk to an attourney.
Joan J. Strong January 30, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Regardless of what LASD did to BCS, they acted in GOOD FAITH in an attempt to save our schools from closing. All's fair in war. As parents we've been a bit slow here: we should have ramped up our coordinated marketing efforts to thwart BCS a long time ago and helped our District. One of the amazing stories out of this mess was from the recent renewal of the Charter. You see, one of the Santa Clara Board Members (the chair) mentioned he was swayed to renew because of an online poll that had about 600 votes in total (obviously an online "ballot stuffing" campaign by BCS). I guess nobody made him aware that there are over 40,000 people here: http://www.sanjoseinside.com/news/entries/10_11_11_santa_clara_county_board_education_bullis_charter_los_altos/ Seeing this made me understand just how unopposed BCS has been able to run. This fight has NOT been "BCS versus the District" as much as it's been "BCS versus NOBODY". If there was another poll today we'd probably get a thousand parents to vote. Better than before, not bad for about eight weeks of work, but still not going to cut it. We have a LOT more work to do. If we do our job right over the course of the next 12 months, every parent and citizen in our two towns would also be directed to this online poll and make an "informed" vote just like the 600 BCS parents were directed by the BCS regime. Then the vote will be 30000 to 600. Slight difference.
Just Mom January 31, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Nothing will be good enough for you Ron. You have been stirring this pot for too many years.
Just Mom January 31, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Most of our kids did use the portables while their school was under renovation and made due just fine thanks. This school never had to move because this is where it started out so your point is moot.
Just Mom January 31, 2012 at 04:18 PM
As a parent I am beyond angry that a school built on revenge and game playing is trying to hold our wonderful public schools hostage to further the vendetta. I do not consider standing up for our students a waste of time or money. I am in California and a parent in this community you my friend are not.

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