Officials from the local charter school have rejected the preliminary offer of facilities approved by the district board Jan. 30 — calling the district's proposal unacceptable, unfair and illegal less than two weeks after it seemed the entire conflict had come to an end.
"I'm deeply disappointed by the offer," Bullis board member Anne Marie-Gallagher said. "It astonishes me. I don't believe the offer is legally compliant."
Marie-Gallagher said the district has once again failed to offer the charter school "reasonably equivalent" facilities as required by law. She said the district's new offer proposes to give Bullis facilities on two campuses — with students in kindergarten through sixth-grade continuing at its current site on the Eagan Junior High School campus, and putting seventh- and eighth-grade students at Blach Junior High School.
"Bullis runs an integrated K-8 program that must be housed together," Marie-Gallagher said. Splitting the school over two sites, she added, is "just not fair."
Mark Goines, president of the LASD board of trustees, contends his district's offer is in line with the final order handed down Jan. 18 by a California appellate court, ending a lengthy legal conflict over school facilities.
Goines said that splitting the school is the only tenable option the district has — outside of building an entirely new campus. Given Bullis' current size, the only way to accommodate the school on a single campus would be to close a school and replace it with the charter, he said.
Goines said that Bullis has repeatedly requested that the district do just that with its Gardner Bullis School in Los Altos Hills.
"I think it's unreasonable to ask other families to give up their neighborhood school for the benefit of their charter school," Goines said. "Nowhere in the law does it say we must close a high-performing school to make room for a charter."
If he had the money and the community support he would gladly approve the construction of a new campus, he said.
"The idea that they will build us a timeline sometime in the future doesn't help us," Marie-Gallagher said, insisting that Bullis needs space immediately. "We're simply asking for fairness now, and I don't believe there is any reason to wait. I simply don't believe that we need to buy new land and build a new school to accommodate Bullis charter school in this district."