Just two weeks away from the deadline to make a facilities offer to Bullis Charter School, the Los Altos School District Board on Monday night instructed staff to analyze three possible class configurations, split between two campuses.
The board asked district staff to prepare analysis for kindergarten to third grade, kindergarten to fourth grade or kindergarten to fifth grade at Egan Jr. and the corresponding upper grades at Blach Intermediate School.
The action capped a four-hour meeting, during which more than 40 parents weighed in with their opinions on four options the board was considering for its preliminary offer to the charter school (BCS).
Many, if not most people, said they supported the option of building a new campus, the so-called "10th campus option," but expressed doubt that a suitable campus could be available by the 2013-14 school year or in the near future.
Bullis Charter School parents came out is large numbers, in part to voice their assessment that the Raynor Activities Center site, the one of few sites that have been mentioned as a possible 10th site, is too far away in Sunnyvale for working couples to juggle morning and afternoon drop-offs and pick-ups, nor middle of the day volunteer duties.
Covington parents, opposing the option to place BCS at Covington and redistributing Covington students throughout the district, came out to describe how its special, welcoming community would be scattered and lost among the other schools. Special education parents implored the board not to disrupt the special teaching and supportive atmosphere at Covington that allowed their children to thrive and be mainstreamed in a safe environment.
The Los Altos Parents Preschool, a co-op that had just moved to the Covington campus 18 months ago, told how they had spent more than $100,000—nearly all its savings—to make the move from Los Altos High School and didn't have that kind of money for another move.
And no one liked the last option, spreading BCS among three campuses. Not only did it present logistical and social challenges to the BCS student population and staff, it meant three schools would also have to adjust and work through any friction that came along the way.
Trustees agreed, striking that option, as well as the Covington option. "We're talking about Special Ed kids who get freaked out when their breakfast cereal changes," let alone being moved to a new school or classes, LASD board president Doug Smith said.
In opting to spread BCS between Egan and Blach schools, trustees had differing ideas of how to configure the grades at each campus. Trustee Mark Goines suggested a grades K-3 at Egan and 4-8 at Blach. Others suggested a K-4 at Egan, and 5-8 at Blach. Still others asked Assistant Superintendent for Business Randy Kenyon to analyze a K-5 and 6-8 grade configuration.
Nearly every trustee described the two-school option as a temporary situation as the district searches for a solution to finding a permanent home for BCS.
"I agree we should all sit down and talk," said Trustee Pablo Luther who referred to the BCS PTA president's remarks during the meeting. "And I agree that we should have it as open, public discussion—but only with a moratorium on litigation," he said, adding that discussion was difficult with litigation looming constantly.
The board's final meeting to consider draft language and the preliminary offer scenarios, is Jan. 28.
Also on Los Altos Patch:
LIVE BLOG: Los Altos School Board Discusses Bullis Facilities Offer Monday Night
Palo Alto to Select New Elementary School Site
LETTER: North-End LASD Students Deserve Consideration
Bullis Ideas: Share At Covington
Bullis Ideas: Convert to K-5 / Middle School Format
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