Mountain View Voice

Opinion - August 16, 2013

It is time for LASD, Bullis to find a solution

With Congress mired in indecision and an unwillingness to compromise, we often shake our heads and question why these "professional" adults cannot sit down and work out their differences. All it would take is for each side to commit to solving a problem and agreeing to make it happen.

But with long-standing adversaries who have built up years of animosity, simple disagreements can morph into loggerheads that even the greatest of mediators cannot solve. For when push comes to shove, which simply means one or both sides suddenly realizes it needs to accomplish something, problems can be worked out.

Our own local feud, while not quite up to the level of Congressional discord we see today, is nevertheless causing unrest among parents whose children attend Los Altos School District schools or Bullis Charter School. And even after years of litigation, the two sides remain ready to do battle at a moment's notice.

A case in point came last week when LASD changed the locks on Blach Middle School classrooms it had promised to BCS, so teachers could not use the rooms to prepare for the first day of school on Aug. 19. It was an incendiary move that immediately turned into an uproar that culminated with 80-100 parents at Monday's nights LASD school board meeting. Luckily for BCS students and teachers, new keys were handed over to so teachers could gain access to the promised classrooms, but there still is not confirmation that this dispute is over.

Both sides are distributing press releases that spin the lock-out incident their way, so it's virtually impossible to make a judgment on who is right. More than likely, there is plenty of blame to go around and, at least for now, students will be able to attend classes on Monday.

At the bottom of the disagreement is LASD's refusal to give BCS a school building of its own, even though at nearly 600 students, the charter school has outgrown its allotted space in portable buildings on the Egan and Blach campuses. State Proposition 39 requires school districts to give charter schools in their districts adequate space to operate, but of course, neither the district nor BCS agree on the interpretation.

It is time for these warring schools to tone down their rhetoric and find a way to sign a master agreement that will defuse these seemingly never-ending disputes. Gov. Jerry Brown recently imposed a 60-day cooling off period so BART and its workers could continue to bargain to avert a possible strike that would cripple Bay Area transit. It is a shame someone can't call a similar time-out in this disagreement.

Luckily, district and BCS students have not seen much impact in the classroom from the current disagreement, at least yet. But with animosity running high, there is no telling what the next surprise tactic will be. Reasonable parents from both sides should push their respective boards to seek out a longterm agreement. One way would be to choose a mediator who could resolve the dispute over classroom space. There has to be a way for the two sides to end their "Hatfield and McCoy" warfare.

Parents from the district and BCS should be tired seeing their top school officials engage in this childish behavior. And resolving these issues would save thousands of dollars in legal expenses that should be spent in the classroom.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields