News


Supreme court will not hear LASD, Bullis case

The California Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from the Los Altos School District on Jan. 18, effectively ending the years long battle over equitable apportionment between the district and Bullis Charter School.

In October 2011, a California court of appeal reversed the decision of a Santa Clara County trial court, which had found that the Los Altos School District had provided fair and equitable resources to the charter school.

The court's latest decision was celebrated by officials at Bullis Charter School who said that the ruling was a precedent setting victory for charter schools across the state.

"This case was not only of great importance of the families and children at our school," said Ken Moore, chair of the board of directors at Bullis. "It's also an important message throughout the state that public school students that choose to attend a charter school program do not give up their rights to be treated equally to their peers who attend district-run programs."

Officials from the Los Altos School District could not immediately be reached for comment. However, in a press release issued by the district, superintendent Jeffrey Baier said, "With this dispute coming to a close, we look forward to continuing our commitment to providing the opportunity for an outstanding education for all the students residing within the LASD boundaries."

Comments

Posted by LAH Parent, a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm

The current case between LASD and BCS ended yesterday. Score one for the BCS super-lawyers. There will be many more as that is what Bullis Charter "does": they sue school districts. Always have, always will.

The case between Los Altos and Hills parents and BCS, however, started just a few short weeks ago. We will try them in every "court" we possibly can. They won a legal victory today, but they have not won--and will never win--the moral one.

The "precedent" Mr. Moore talks about is that now any random gang of lawyers may now attack your top-ranking public school, shut it down, scatter its children across town and put it under private, unaccountable control.

Although the current political winds happen to be blowing in the direction of "boutique charter schools" like BCS, this too shall pass. The nationwide backlash against this boondoggle has just begun. Google it.

For more information on this important battle, please visit:

Web Link


Thank You


Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Blame Superintendent Jeff Baier for this one.

Then watch the board give him a raise and heap loads of praise on him.


Posted by Tired of David Cortwright, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jan 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm

David,
Please stop posting. Really, take a break.


Posted by Ned, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Who's David Cortwright?


Posted by concerned parent and citizen, a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

David Cortright (not with a W) is a man who is out of touch with reality. (I have personal knowledge of this assertion.) He also posts under "Joan Strong," "Contexman" "Harold Barton" Grizzly"something and a variety of other anonymous names. He knows nothing of the law, the charter school act, the legislative intent, the Court of Appeal's decision or the facts. He rants to the Santa Clara County Board of Education and is rude, disruptive and abusive. Should you follow his assertions you will be grossly misled and you will lose any credibility should you adopt his prattling fiction.


Posted by LAH Parent, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2012 at 12:36 am

Again with the lone gunman theory...

It's the BCS people who are out of touch with reality in that they think that, with the threat of closing any and all schools in the District and effecting the lives of thousands of children and parents, only ONE person (a non-parent) is in fact behind every single critical word on the Internet against them.

Now they have threatened him (a blogger, see: kpao.org) and he has been silenced. Yet still there is opposition to BCS? What gives? How can that be?

All we get in online forums from BCS people is ad hom personal attacks. They have NOTHING to say because there IS nothing for them to say.

For the record, David Cortrite is not a parent and has NOT called for the closure of BCS as WE HAVE. BCS has no right to exist and its charter should be revoked. Period. Try reading THAT anywhere on his blog.

Get it straight: THIS is the year that PARENTS finally speak out against this threat to our top-ranked public schools here. The District has failed to stop you. Now it's our turn at bat, and you haven't seen ANYTHING yet. You've had your fun threatening our trustees who are in a legal straight-jacket and a young blogger with no money. Time to pick on somebody your own size.


Posted by concerned parent and citizen, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

That's the ranter, Cortright above... Nice try by spelling your name "Cortrite"... your style is so obvious and ludicrous-linking to your own ranting blog... "LAH parent" is Cortright too. Nice try David. Your lies and attempts to applaud your own posts is a joke. Done replying to you forever, as now most everyone knows you're the only one out there posting who clearly makes no sense!


Posted by LAH Parent, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

Yeah! David C. even CONTRADICTS HIMSELF in his writing just so you won't find out! It's AN AMAZING CONSPIRACY.

Amazing!

Also, did you know David C. also created the video below to help prospective parents of BCS decide on the school?

Web Link

He's just amazing. A one-man army.


Posted by rem, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm

rem is a registered user.

Hopefully one of these days" parents will have a "reality check".

Charter schools go back to the sixty. They are the BIGGEST ripoff.

It would be outstanding if parents would support THEIR LOCAL schools and quit pouring their money down the "drain" aka "corporate world"..

PARENTS SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SCHOOL - GET INVOLVED


Posted by gcoladon, a resident of North Whisman
on Jan 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

A question for the community. When Jeffrey Baier says, "With this dispute coming to a close, we look forward to continuing our commitment to providing the opportunity for an outstanding education for all the students residing within the LASD boundaries," is that a coded way to exclude the students that go to Bullis, or does it include Bullis students too? Just curious.


Posted by sam t, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm

sam t is a registered user.

BCS and LASD both need to sit at the table and hash this out, outside of the courtroom. It may be hard for some to believe but LASD actually is committed to finding a reasonably suitable facility for BCS and moving them away from their current location. Don't believe me, read it from an LASD board member: Web Link Go through his archives.

Whatever is decided, it will not be an easy solution for LASD. In my opinion, it is very unlikely a school will be handed over, displacing those already there and increasing class sizes elsewhere by redistricting. LASDs primary goal of maintaining low class sizes precludes that option.

At the same time, BCS must compromise as well. The MOU negotiations between the County and BCS need to address all the issues that us LASD parents have presented to the county:

-Public comment period on the MOU
-Drop the LAH preference
-Meet State requirements (laws) on ELL, Spec Ed, ... enrollment
-Growth cap


Posted by Bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Bikes2work is a registered user.

Sam,

I don't think the scope of the MOU is meant to address those items. The LAH preference is part of the approved charter. The MOU is just a framework for monitoring the charter that has already been renewed. It isn't an opportunity to revise the charter.

LASD should reexamine the school boundaries. Growth is occurring along the San Antonio corridor. The condos across from Armadillo Willies, 300+ apartments at the Village at San Antonio, 27 units at the Palo Alto Bowl site, and 250+ apartments on the Safeway site next to the Crossings will all be adding children to LASD.

The land for public education is in the public trust for all public schools. It is unfortunate that prior trustees sold some of that land to solve past budget woes. It was a huge mistake, but now we must solve that dilemma for both BCS and the new residents that will be coming.



Posted by sam t, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm

sam t is a registered user.

You're correct, the MOU cannot address the LAH preference as it would require a modification to the BCS charter. A decade past the closing of Gardner Bullis, it's hard to conceive why that preference toward Los Altos Hills is still there. That and their failure to meet ELL & Special Ed ratios is treading the line of breaking state laws on charter schools. Some say they already are in violation. I'm not a lawyer ...

We're not looking to close down BCS. Some of us are not convinced they offer a better education (statistically they're the same as LASD), just a different methodology. Fine, diverse & stellar education w/in the community is welcome. However, if they want to be a charter then they have to serve the purpose of a charter school and follow education laws. Else, become a private school and save the County some money.


Posted by MV Native, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm

MV Native is a registered user.

Sam T,
Please explain why these issues should be important to the parents of children at Los Altos School District Schools. I am racking my brains to figure out why we should be concerned. I know why they are important to the status quo. The status quo includes the LASD Trustees, Administration, California Teachers Association, and Parents of LASD kids who live near there school and are happy with it. That leaves out the vast majority of LASD parents.

-Drop the LAH preference -

Who really wants this?
LASD Trustees

Why?
Ending the preference will mean less LAH kids at BCS and more kids at Gardner. Then they might not have a large empty school. The large empty school makes them look bad.

How does this help the average LASD parent?
It doesn't, unless you want a better chance of getting into to BCS. Otherwise it really doesn't effect you.

What you should ask instead-
Why do I have attend a school so far away from my neighborhood?
and.......
Why are out district students from LAH the only out of district admitted to LASD schools?


-Meet State requirements (laws) on ELL, Spec Ed, ... enrollment

Who really wants this?
LASD Trustees.

Why?
The actual percentage of ELL kids at BCS is not significantly different than the actual district percentage. However, it's a great strategy to try and make BCS look exclusionary.
The truth is that the vast majority of ELL kids in LASD have highly educated parents and do not really have much of problem and transition out of the program quickly. Recently the ELL numbers in the district doubled, in one year! This could only be accomplished by reclassification.
and
The numbers of special ed students at BCS are a little lower -- but not significantly so. Most kids are placed in special ed after entering school -- so it's interesting that kids come into bcs in a random lottery, but fewer wind up in special ed. It could be the BCS system keeps kids out of special ed. The district continues to push this point because moving a few special ed kids from each school to BCS might improve test scores.

What you should be asking instead -
Why does the district cluster kids with low test scores at one school? Shouldn't these kids receive help at their home school? Why did you recently move the low test scoring cluster from Covington to Gardner Bullis?

and
If percentages are close then isn't BCS meeting the requirements of the law?

-Growth cap --
Who really wants this?
The board of Trustees and the teachers union

Why?
To try and control the demand for BCS. If there is a cap then they can try and keep them shoved in the corner of Egan. If there is a cap then less kids will be leaving the district run schools, taught by unionized teachers, to the charter school were teachers are not union members. More kids at charters means less union dues to the CTA. Less union dues mean less money and power for the CTA. Think about it ---- if there are 450 kids at BCS then that's at least 20 teacher's who are not paying union dues. When you add that up state wide that's quite a bit of money.

These demands are really a veiled attempt to deny school choice and end healthy competition in our district. I


Posted by MV Native, a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm

MV Native is a registered user.

continued.....

Growth Cap-
What you should be asking instead....
Why aren't there any schools of choice in LASD? Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino all offer alternatives.


Posted by Bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Bikes2work is a registered user.

BCS is my school of choice. :-)

Here is a relevant post from another thread before the Supreme Court ruling:

"Posted by Educator, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Nov 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I think that there is quite a bit of misinformation bouncing around about charter schools. Charter schools were designed to serve all students in California. There is nothing in the law about serving only low income students. In fact there isn't a single mention of socio economic status anywhere in the law. I think that some might be substituting disadvantaged for low achieving in part (b) of the law "......for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving. " I have worked with students in all SES groups and low achieving students are present at all economic levels. As are high achieving students.

Here is the Legislative intent from the Charter School Act of 1992:

Legislative intent 47601.

It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this part, to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure, as a method to accomplish all of the following:

(a) Improve pupil learning.

(b) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving.

(c) Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods.

(d) Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site.

(e) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system.

(f) Hold the schools established under this part accountable for meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide the schools with a method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability systems.

(g) Provide vigorous competition within the public school system to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.

From what I know about Bullis Charter, it appears to be right inline with the intent of the law."


Posted by sam t, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

sam t is a registered user.

Gardner Bullis Elementary is not an empty school. Yes with 250 students, as compared to 450 to 500 students at the other schools, it is smaller. However, it's trending back toward its preclosure (2003) level of >300 students. It's a smaller site and doesn't have the capacity to compare with the other schools. So, it's not about 'filling an empty school'. As a charter, BCS serves the County, actually the State, not a small subsection of a very high performing school district. 50% admissions preference towards Los Altos Hills?! Why? With the reopening of Gardner, BCS is in violation of CEC 47605(d)(2) by having an admission preference based on residence.

While we are on 47605, some believe BCS is also in violation of 47605(b)(g)(G) by not having a racial & ethnic balance "reflective of the general population residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the school district to which the charter petition is submitted". Since the charter was ultimately petitioned to and approved by the County (not LASD), imo this should refer to Santa Clara County population statistics, not LASD.

As for the growth cap... The reason so many people apply to BCS is because it's a high achieving school in a very high achieving school district that anyone in the State of California can apply to. Given that who wouldn't apply? I'm sure a good number of applications are coming from within the LASD boundaries. That's to be expected: We're all high achieving individuals that when presented with BCS statements of a better school (API 1-2% different from LASD, statistical noise) of course they'll get curious. Application stats does not necessarily imply a better school. Anyone can apply. Growing without bounds will place more demands on resources while still not demonstrating meeting the true intent of a charter school.

Why nit at this? Because as a County Charter this is our tax dollars paying for your school (not counting nor ignoring the generous donations by BCS parents). Plus, calling yourself a charter while violating some basic charter principles of serving the broader community just doesn't sit well. As a public school, BCS needs to be held accountable.


Posted by MV Native, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2012 at 10:32 am

MV Native is a registered user.

I suspect that Sam T is David Cortright-
This is the same basic argument that has no basis in fact.

First of all BCS has the same demographics as the LASD average.
Secondly --- The County granted the charter because the district refused to do so twice.

Almost all charters are granted to serve a particular school district, this is done on purpose,the law is written that way , because the main purpose of the law is the encourage healthy competition. While the LASD board of trustees has done it's best to encourage this talking point, it's still wrong.

The reason the Trustees love this argument is due to the fact that they only have to provide space to in district students. It is just one of the many Red Herrings thrown out in an never ending saga of feet dragging.


Posted by Henri, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Henri is a registered user.

Actually, Sam T. sounds like an LASD trustee who also blogs. Maybe that's why he's so interested in BCS, and pulling them down. You'd think that LASD would have bigger worries - like the budget cuts coming from the state (oh, yeah, that's only 5% of their budget), program cuts - like PE, music, libraries..... the list goes on...

What the LASD board really cares about is continuing to fight - (hence the extra $60,000 to hear that the Supreme Court won't take the case)

2 points for Sam T. LASD sued BCS to remove the preference of Los Altos Hills. LASD lost the lawsuit. It is perfectly legal to have a preference. Also, if LASD would have approved the charter school (after being asked twice), and put the charter at Gardner - then they would have had 100% preference for that neighborhood. Drop it already!


Posted by sam t, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm

sam t is a registered user.

I am not Dave, Doug, Joan, ... (HI Courtenay!) I have only posted under this name, no one else. But please, go check out their sites (Web Link, Web Link, Web Link). Unfortunately for Dave, BCS has already threatened him with a SLAPP suit to silence his public inquiries into BCS.

I am only a parent under an LASD school who does not want to see one of our schools handed over or our students redistricted because BCS is free to grow without bound while not serving the true purpose of a charter school.


Posted by MV Native, a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

MV Native is a registered user.

Henri,
I like your theory, he really does sound like the "observer trustee" I think that is were DC gets his ideas. It could be DC trying to sound like DS.


Posted by mom of three, a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

mom of three is a registered user.

If the LASD Baord has to submit their prelim offer by February 1, and the "public" meeting about the topic is next Monday, it doesn't really seem if our input will matter. Sound like they probably already have a plan but want to let everyone spend a precious evening in their offices venting with little hope of actually being considered. With this in mind, lets hope whatever they have up their sleeve is compliant.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

To post your comment, please click here to login

Remember me?
Forgot Password?
or register. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

Indian street food and ... bitcoins?
By Elena Kadvany | 4 comments | 3,160 views

Most Seniors do not Need Senior Housing But Could Benefit from other Choice to Remain in Palo Alto
By Steve Levy | 31 comments | 1,450 views

"The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden"
By Anita Felicelli | 0 comments | 1,139 views

Dear Chandrama, Everywhere I turn . . .
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 852 views

Crittenden Hosts Startup Weekend
By Ms. Jenson | 1 comment | 239 views