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LASD, Bullis reach tentative agreement

The battle over Bullis Charter School appears to be over -- at least tentatively. After ducking out of the public eye for a series of private mediation sessions, officials from the Los Altos School District and the local charter school have come to a compromise that will give Bullis an existing campus in the district, according to a joint press release from the two educational organizations.

Both Bullis and LASD have agreed to jointly back a bond measure proposed for the November ballot, the statement said. Bullis will get a campus in the 2013-14 school year if the bond passes and in the 2014-15 school year if the bond fails.

According to the release, BCS will be provided one of four schools -- Almond, Gardner Bullis, Santa Rita or Covington -- should the bond pass. In addition, if the measure is approved, the district will build a new campus for the students that are displaced when BCS gets its campus. While the new school is being built, displaced students will be spread throughout the district.

If the measure is not approved, Bullis would have to wait a year before getting one of the district's campuses. In this scenario, "LASD would likely consolidate its students on existing facilities while seeking passage of a new bond measure in 2014." It is not clear whether Bullis would be obligated to support that bond.

Bullis has agreed to stay on its current site at Egan Junior High School until one of the two scenarios unfolds.

At this time, many of the details have not been worked out, but both organizations exchanged amicable words in the joint press release.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Zippy
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Angry LASD parents to start posting in 3, 2, 1...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by gcoladon
a resident of North Whisman
on May 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

Sounds like a reasonable compromise to me. I hope it sticks!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Courtenay
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Both Boards and their mediation teams should be commended for the countless hours that have gone into producing this agreement. Finalizing it and supporting it should be the highest priority. Just seeing an end to litigation is reason alone to celebrate.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Compromise?
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

So, if the bond passes, BCS gets its own site. And if the bond doesn't pass, BCS gets its own site after waiting an additional year and LASD gets scrunched. Am I missing something?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by lmk
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm

LASD doesn't have to pay BCS for their legal fees --- over $1,000,000


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Compromise.
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I think that LASD gets a couple of things -
1. An end to the litigation.
2. Doesn't have to pay BCS legal fees.
3. They are able to put off closing a school and redistricting for at least a year or two. The court could have ordered to give BCS a site right now.
4. A shot at a new state of the art campus.
5. An Agreement that keeps BCS at one site, limiting expansion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by why not start now?
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm

During last night's LASD Board meeting, a parent from Egan suggested something so sensible. (At this point in the meeting we had not known about the joint press release.)

She made a plea to the board something to the effect that since housing of BCS on Egan campus is a temporary solution for just 2012-13 year (as stated by the board during the last meeting), why not house one of the LASD elementary schools on the Egan camp site? Sharing the site with another LASD school won't be difficult and Egan students will have more space.

Mark Goines seemed genuinely interested in this idea - and I do too. Instead of having 4 school communities live under a cloud of uncertainty for possibly 2 years, why not decide on the school now and house them in the camp site? It'll give immediate reprieve for Egan and half the district won't need to live under a dark cloud. Believe me, knowing now and being able to absorb the shock now and letting the process of moving forward begin asap will be much better for everyone. The question is, do the LASD Trustees have the courage to rip the bandage off now in one fell swoop?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

To: Author of Post Above
Covington, Almond, and Santa Rita all have higher enrollment than BCS. How does moving one of those schools to the Egan camp site give "reprieve" to Egan? That proposal makes no sense. We would be better off with re-zoning to 8 LASD schools on 8 LASD campuses and switching Egan/Blach to grades 6-8.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Interested Mom
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Actually, according to their websites and information from parents, Covington has fewer students than BCS, Almond the same number, and Santa Rita has 55 more.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

According to the Prop 39 facilities offer, these are the projected enrollments for 2012-2013 school year:

BCS 493
Covington 519
Santa Rita 547
Almond 548


 +   Like this comment
Posted by LASD Parent2
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

LASD is making a serious mistake with the plan that the "closed" school will be co-located on another campus while new campus is being built. (a process likely to take 5 or more years). If Almond or Gardner Bullis is closed, I presume they would be co-located with Covington. If Covington or Santa Rita is closed, I presume they would be given the Egan camp site. These are not appealing options and actually give Almond, Covington, Santa Rita, and Egan families a very strong incentive to vote "No" on the bond measure. LASD needs to abandon the "shared campus" approach and instead commit to re-zoning (until the new school is opened) so that each LASD campus is sharing an equitable portion of the burden.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by West Portola Resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

I no longer have school age children in Los Altos but live near West Portola and San Antonio. The BCS structures are an eyesore and create traffic problems for local residents. Local homeowners are virtually held prisoner by SUV parents lined up the street every afternoon to pick up kidsexhaust hook needs to get the Garner Bullis site back, tear down the "trailers" at Egan, save money for everyone, and get over it. All this arguing and all these lawsuits set a bad example for young children.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bond is not the answer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 18, 2012 at 2:02 pm

The solution is not in throwing more money at the problem.

The problem is that LASD no longer satisfies the needs of the school community. Some parents in my school have one kid at BCS and one at Santa Rita. The student at BCS is advanced and the one at SR is struggling. The weaker student would never make it at BCS. The range of needs of our student population is wide. LASD caters to the low end and does so at a higher cost (administrative costs, teacher benefits, overall operating costs, etc.)

The donation at BCS is about $5K/kid. This includes afterschool activities (sports, music, fine arts), a Chinese immersion program, science, math, and other advanced topics.

Not all of us want the afterschool program but many of us want the option of a stronger academic track.

Building BCS another is not the answer. Some years back they asked for their campus back and were even willing to give us $3-4M dollars. Our leadership refused. Now we are being asked to pay for the poor decision, yet again.

Mark Goines wants an LASD school in LAH. Why doesn't he pay for it out of his own pocket? $120M is a lot of money. A huge price to pay for the mistakes of the LASD administrators.

BCS has offered to consolidate curriculums with LASD and save the cost of an Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum at LASD that doesn't know anything about math. That sounds like a great option to many of us.

There are many places to trim the fat to run a much more efficient school district and deliver education that stays on track with the new demands.

As for BCS, give them Bullis Gardner. These are not the times to ask the tax-payer for $120M to build a new school. $120M would be the cost of educating that small student population, many of who could return to Santa Rita, where they were to begin with. Re-draw the lines to what they were a few years ago and only a small population is impacted. A bond is not the answer. A bond of $120M would propagate future costs of sustaining a state of the art facility. Rolling costs would follow. Their pulling for money for one reason or another just never ends.

We need new ideas from LASD. They need to be a part of the solution. Until they put themselves into the equation....

No Bond.


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