School Finance Committee Says Charter School Site & Compensation Top Priorities

Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Finance says finding a permanent site for Bullis Charter School and 'cost-sustainable' employee compensation and benefits are its priorities this year.

A permanent location for (BCS) and competitive, yet cost-sustainable, employee compensation and benefits are the top priorities this year for the Los Altos School District Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Finance (CACF).

The CACF, which is charged with looking at the school district's long-term needs through a financial prism, established those priorities on its first meeting Sept. 21.

The committee thinks finding a permanent site for BCS, a county charter school sharing space on the Los Altos district campus of Egan Junior High, needs to be completed by the 2013-2014 school year.

The focus on identifying a permanent home for BCS occurs at the same time as the school is facing a charter renewal vote on Oct. 5 by the Santa Clara County Board of Education, which

Because BCS is within the Los Altos School District's boundaries, . Finding a permanent site has been included within the district's long-term educational plan goals for years.

The CACF, comprised of community members, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city council representatives, as well as parents and teachers, is charged with evaluating various BCS site alternatives.

Committee Chair Curtis Cole said the committee reports back to the school district, not the charter school, but he is interested in receiving input from the charter school.

“Ultimately though it’s a board relationship with the charter school, not a CACF responsibility,” Cole said.

There is nobody representing BCS on the LASD-appointed committee, but its meetings are open to the public to attend.

Bullis board member Anne Marie Gallagher said it was too soon for the BCS board to state preferences on a permanent site.

“The only thing I would say is BCS is now educating 10 percent of the LASD student population so it’d be great and appropriate if they had a permanent site,” she said.

As for the CACF's second top priority of , a further analysis will be presented at its next meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., and presented to the board toward the end of the month at a regular board meeting. Meetings are held at the district office, 201 Covington Rd.

Both the BCS location and the goal of developing a compensation and benefits plan are listed on the educational blueprint for the district, attached.

The CACF's general goal is to analyze the district's financials for six years out.

“The school board is pretty much focused with the here and the now but the CACF is a more broader, community based organization looking at longer term issues,” said Cole.

The committee does the legwork and analysis for initial ideas and recommendations but only the board can take action on an item or negotiate with unions.

Cole said an example of the committee’s work was when the committee recommended the board to implement a policy to increase the reserves to be large enough to handle a one or two year downturn. He said that’s a hard thing to do but the board, within the past two years, did ultimately approve a reserve policy.



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