Giving BCS's 466 in-district students one of the existing elementary school campuses is not the answer. This approach would displace hundreds of district students, thereby driving up the size of the remaining schools far beyond BCS's enrollment, and beyond the district's optimal school size. Under this scenario, BCS's students would enjoy more space per student than their traditional school counterparts.
This is hardly a fair solution. Nor would it comply with Proposition 39. The actual text of the statute states that "public school facilities should be shared fairly among all public school pupils, including those in charter schools." It does not require — or allow — school districts to afford charter school students better facilities than other public school students.
For the current school year, the District has provided BCS with 11.3 acres of space over its two junior high campuses to house BCS's district-wide K-8 program, a substantial increase over the facilities provided in previous years, reflecting BCS's growth. But the Voice endorses BCS's demand for even more. How would it be fair to give more space to BCS, whose students already enjoy more per-child classroom space than other district students? Why would it be fair to displace district students who attend their neighborhood school, in favor of students who have voluntarily chosen a district-wide charter school? Why would it be fair to give BCS exclusive use of a campus, when no statute or court decision requires it, and to do so would force hundreds of other students to change schools?
Ultimately, a plan for sharing district facilities needs to be developed with the participation and endorsement of the entire community. The recently announced Task Force on Enrollment Growth — in which BCS will be invited to participate — is a tangible first step in this process. To achieve the goal of fairly housing all students will require that BCS not look to the courts to force a solution, but instead actively participate in good faith with the larger community to solve the problem together.
This story contains 486 words.
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