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Original post made
on Dec 20, 2007
This story is incorrect on one key point. I called Bullis Charter School when I heard about this and they said the preference that was added is NOT for Los Altos Hills. It is for the "former Bullis-Purissima attendance area" which is just a part of Los Altos Hills and a chunk of Los Altos as well. Get your facts right before you inflame things even further.
This doesn't change the fact that it is still unlikely that any of us from out-of-LASD will get in.
I think it is important to keep in mind that this was not an attempt to take money away from the district. One reason for this move was an attempt to make sure that the families who helped found the school were assured of a spot for their youngest children. In cases where older siblings were no longer attending Bullis Charter School, families who dedicated their time and efforts for several years to creating and establishing the school were not guaranteed a spot for their children. This preference helps to rectify that situation. At the same time, because only about 50% of the remaining spots can be filled by this preference, there will still be spaces for those from LASD who wish to attend.
If LASD had been willing to place the Charter School on a larger site such as the former Bullis-Purissima campus, the Charter School could accept more students. By keeping the School on the Egan campsite and limiting its facilities, LASD helps create the problem of families being unable to get in.
What does it say about LASD that so many LASD families want to go to the Charter School? If LASD cares so much about families having trouble getting in to the Charter School, why don't they provide the Charter School with a larger updated campus and more classroom space? The Charter School is likely to have more students on it's cramped campus next year than LASD has on the entire renovated Bullis-Purissima site when it reopens. This does not seem like an efficient use of District space.
Charter school regulations forbid preference based on neighborhood. Based on this, the LASD forced the charter school to remove this preference from their charter application. It doesn't surprise me that they now are trying to sneak it back in.
It is really about time this District Charter School starts to work in the interests of the District community it is supposed to serve.
LASD will be sending 500+ children out of their current schools, in the middle of their curriculum, in order to re-open a neighborhood school at Bullis Purrisima to serve the same uber-wealthy area Bullis Charter now favors.
This leaves the rest of the District (not able to afford a 3M+ house in Los Altos Hills) paying for the bills (including legal ones) and watching their kids being uprooted from their current schools.
I guess it's innocuous enough for Mr Moore and his silverspoon.
The school district is reopening Bullis-Purissima school in August 2008, so the charter school probably targeted that wealthiest part of LASD just before the school reopened so they could get the parents who donate the most.
Unbelievable that T.N Ho voted to give a LAH attendance preference to the charter school because he thought it would help poor minorities living in Los Altos Hills. I think there are more poor minorities living outside of Los Altos Hills.
T.N Ho didn't qualify minorities as poor minorities :)
In deed, folks who can afford a 3M+ house are a minority of sort just not the one that needs help the most.
I guess T.N Ho will soon vote for introducing plutocracy as a model for public school governance.
Arbuments about the charter location sure seem like pouting, the district is required to provide space comparable to district schools on a per-student basis and has done so. The charter enrollment has increased and the space provided has increased. Other charters throughout the state operate out of warehouses and church basements and would be thrilled to have a stable and functional location at essentially no cost.
There is no doubt that this is all about the money. Poorer, really we are mostly talking about less wealthy, members of the district cannot afford the $3500 per child and more required to run the school. Charters canno require parents ot pay.
More and more the enrollment was looking more like the LASD district. If I were a non-Hills parent with a younger sibling waiting to enroll, I would be enraged. Now those children can be shut out. No doubt, charter leaders were afraid that Hills kids would bleed off to the newly opened neighborhood school.
Sadly, the Bullis Charter School is the legacy of Craig Jones. He lead a mob of spoiled rich parents who threw a tantrum when they couldn't keep the Bullis Purissima School open. These parents would get to send their kids to a different school in the Los Altos School District (one of the top districts in the state) but that wasn't good enough for them.
Why should the LASD care? Each in-district child that attends the Bullis Charter School sucks money out of the district. Further, the district is required to provide (at no cost) space to accommodate each in-district child. There is no corresponding requirement for out-of-district children.
If you are not familiar with the term "Jonesed," look it up in urbandictionary.com. You'll see that the definition is quite appropriate in this case. The public school kids are still getting Jonesed by Craig Jones.
Come on, folks! Let's make this about facts and not about emotion. Read the article again. The priority enrollment encompasses parts of LAH AND Los Altos. Siblings of currently enrolled kids (from LASD) still get the highest priority. If I recall, BCS asked for this priority years ago. I think it was recently ratified when the charter was renewed. I have attended several of the meetings and there was minimal opposition to this change. The charter offers another choice in our great district. We're lucky. Quit the fighting and name-calling. In the meantime, enjoy the great LASD schools and the great charter school!
Your attachment to facts seems to me like splitting hair. The portion of Los Altos that is also favored is the one that is the most socio-economically similar to Los Altos Hills: wealthiest part of the District.
I wish I could share your luck, my neighborhood is being moved from its current local school (almond) to a further one (springer) all in the name of providing a neighborhood school and now favored enrollment at BCS for the wealthiest part of the District.
Given the enrollment backlog, why not focus on creating a second Bullis Charter so any local child can attend, rather than having yet another political battle.
Much ado about nothing *again*. The new preference is for HALF THE SPOTS available AFTER siblings of current LASD students and current students. So that's HALF of about 40 openings.
You want to argue about 20 kids, half of whom live in Los Altos, half in Los Altos Hills?
The real controversy should be about how the LASD and it's friends like Tammy Logan work so hard to make life difficult for the Charter school while copying it's programs right and left.
"nothing" means 500+ children are being displaced to cater to the very wealthy that LASD and BCS seem so intent to pander too. All while their parents pay for the 2 schools now serving the same very few.
I guess it's innocuous enough for you as well.
The spin is starting up again. Reality is the "Former Bullis Attendence area" is all of LASD LAH, and it encompasses only a tiny slice of Los Altos. And how about the ridiculous claim that having the 10% of the district across Foothill Expressway and West of El Monte (the wealthest 10% of the district) discriminate against the other 90% of the district minority enrollment will be increased at BCS? I think the phrase "made up out of whole cloth" applies quite well. And Mr. T. N. Ho says nobody said it was unfair? I understand that the LASD Superintendent, the Districts legal representation, and most of the Board were present and spoke to the fact that it was illegal, ill advised and wrong on multiple levels. But that doesn't matter, because Mr. Ho will vote as BCS desires. That is why, in his role as county board president, he led the charge to approve the original BCS charter. That included making changes to the charter on the fly (he had to remove their requested preferences as the county board's staff and legal counsel said they were illegal). How funny that a few years later Mr. Ho claims that putting back the illegal preferences he stripped out is now a good idea and legal. Well, maybe not funny, perhaps a better word might be disgusting or sad.
Tamara Logan states, "There is no doubt that this is all about the money." Yes, Ms Logan, you are right. Each public school student brings an allotment of State and Federal funds for every day of attendance. As monopolies, school districts and teachers unions view these funds as an ENTITLEMENT. Districts, LASD included, dislike competing for students in order to get funding, so they view charter schools as a threat. Sad Legacy echoes this attitude of entitlement by trumpeting "that each in-district child that attends the Bullis Charter School sucks money out of the district."
Like it or not, charter schools are here to stay, and they're not just for socioeconomically depressed areas. Like it or not, the majority of Californians voted for Prop 39, which requires school districts to provide "reasonable equivalent" facilities to charter schools. Ms Logan glibly asserts LASD has provided BCS space "comparable" to district schools on a per-student basis, and implies BCS should be grateful that it's not situated in a warehouse. Wow, that's some consolation, those parents should stop "pouting." Thank goodness their students are in temporary bungalows and not a church basement. The reality is that "reasonable equivalence" is subject to debate, and most disinterested parties would not find the BCS facilities to be "comparable" with the LASD schools.
Just because a district has high test scores doesn't mean parents should not have school choice. School choice isn't only for parents of failing districts.
As for the 500+ children who are displaced, the responsibility lies entirely with LASD. Despite LASD's intial attempt to block BCS' charter, and every effort to prevent BCS from growing and succeeding, BCS is thriving. Reopening Bullis-Purissima school does not make sense -- especially because of the disruption to 500+ students. However, LASD's decision is not surprising since LASD knows that BCS wanted to be situated at the Bullis-Purissima site. Given the historically adverse relationship with BCS, anything that makes that site unavailable to BCS is good for LASD.
Sorry, but the attempts to paint this story as class warfare don't resonate with this reader. This isn't about the haves and have nots, when the parties are the privileged and the ultra-privileged.
I agree with you, having choices is good. But how on earth can you then support that new preference as it so selectively curtails choice for the less wealthy?
I also signed a petition to put BCS at Bullis Purissima and free precious space in the Northern part of the District. It clearly fell into death ears. I don't know that this was all LASD making though, LAH pushed very hard to have Bullis Purrissima reopened, with contiguous boundaries and as a full k-6 configuration from day one. The LAH mayor was one of the only few commanding the LASD board for their June decisions.
For your information, my son is one of the displaced children and will be moving into a portable at Springer. I suppose that you will soon expect me to pay for better facilities for BCS than for my son?
It gets so old to hear about how we are all against the charter. Sure, I personally fought against it's opening, because of the negative financial imapct to the rest of LASD. Thankfully, unlike many districts, our enrollment continues ot increase, and the district has more than made up for the charter attendance. The enrollment increases and continued willingness of families to pay more to live in our area make a strong statement about our schools, including the charter.
Personaly, I think the charter provides a great service to those who choose to attend, including several friends. What is frustrating is the frequent mismatch between the statements and actions of many charter founders.
Leaders have claimed that the charter is there for all district children. Mr. Moore says only 1 in 6 are able to enroll. This oversubscription is mainly among kindergarteners. With this change, a child from the majority of the district has much lower odds of being chosen. Ms. Aoki says that 20 kids of 60 kindergarteners is not significant. I would think that 30% of seats saved for 10% of district kids IS an issue.
I have found Mr. Moore to be a very cooperative and helpful leader of the charter. I am disappointed to read that he considers this change to be innocous.
It seems that every time relationships between LASD, Los Altos Hills and the Charter School seem to reach a point where working together is feasible, some charter supporters stir up animosity by filing a lawsuit or failing to realize that our public schools exist to provide the best possible education for ALL children.
Files a lawsuit?? LASD is the one filing the lawsuit... spending money on attorneys rather than their own students... everyone should stop focusing on this STUPID issue and wake up and realize that LASD is in a serious financial situation... their budget is a mess and close to going negative. They have no raises projected for their teachers for the next many years. I for one don't care about the charter school... with rising enrollments they aren't sucking $$ from us. I want to know what programs we're going to lose because our board is so focused on killing BCS that they opened up a school they can't afford to run!! When are people going to wake up and look at the money issue???
That issue is serious just on principle, plutocracy and nepotism (since it seems that one of the goals was to guarantee attendance for children of the school founders ...) have no place in public schools. And if the BCS Board feels otherwise, they should go private.
The issue also compounds the problems you're highlighing. Because of the District has to provide a school essential free of charge to BCS and because of that new preference, you and I will be paying for 2 schools targetting the same 10% of the district.
This also means that Bullis Purssima will be way below capacity
and the other schools over capacity (despite the boundary changes).
The sane thing to do for the LASD board would be to put an immediate moratorium on their June decisions because I agree it's a major disaster in the making.
Tammy Logan is rewriting history and has tricked herself into believing it, at best. At worst, she is being manipulative and disingenuous.
The charter school was never founded as a school for the entire district. From the very beginning, it was a group of parents from the former Bullis-Purissima school attendance area (NOT just Los Altos Hills) who did NOT want to send their children to the LASD schools anymore but wanted a qualitatively different type of education who started the charter school. The original preferences such as those for founders, siblings, former Bullis-Purissima attendance area, etc., honored these founders and residents who hoped that they would be able to continue to help the school thrive despite concerted efforts by many to thwart its success, were given up as a compromise for the school to be chartered by the SCCOE. These requested prefereces are NOT unique to this school and are standard preferences that many charter schools have and regular public schools also enjoy.
If the LASD had valued and wanted the charter school to be a school of choice for its own community, it has sure never acted that way. By turning down the opportunity to charter Bullis (2 times), limiting its space so that the school could not enroll all LASD resident students who applied much less educate those who are enrolled, refusing to publish the school's open enrollment information to the LASD community, and not offering it a permanent site, LASD cannot claim to be acting in the best interest of any of its in-district students. Now to pretend that this is a priority is just laughable.
And by the way, the charter school is not the one that is presently pursing litigation - it's the school district that's spending tax-payer's money against the county office. The charter school never spends money that could be used towards its students or programs on such things despite not having access to a variety of district revenues including a parcel tax that I pay to the distrcit and my children do not receive the benefit of - that's why the charter school can afford to provide a wealth of additional educational programs such as drama, PE, art, music, technology, environmental science, and foreign languages, all taught by credentialed teachers.
And if the LASD publlc schools are so wonderful and is the choice for those who reside in the district, who's stopping them from attending those schools? Not this preference that everyone is so emotionally charged about. This preference only applies to those who actively CHOOSE to attend the charter school and only then, it's 50% of them (after another preference). What is district scared of? Competition? Oh yah, I forgot, that is what they're hoping to squelch.
To Parent of another community:
I'm not a lawyer or a historian, so for our edification can you provide one California charter or public school that provides an enrollment preference for a school founder?
Can a charter school have admission preferences?
A charter school may have admission preferences, as long as they are not discriminatory. Admission to a charter school may not be determined on the basis of residency of the pupil. An exception to this requirement is made in the case of any public school converting to charter status, wherein the charter petition must include a policy giving preference to pupils residing in the former attendance boundaries of the conversion school.
The law states that a charter school shall admit all pupils who wish to attend the school. However, if the number of pupils wishing to attend the school exceeds capacity, admission (except for pupils already attending the charter school and pupils residing in the district) must be determined by a public random drawing. Other preferences, such as for siblings of current enrollees at the charter school, may be permitted by the charter authorizer but only if consistent with the law. Any and all admission preferences must be carefully defined in the charter school petition."
Ref. Education Code Section 47605(d)
To: Parent of another community -
Here is a link to a Santa Clara Board of Education approved charter school that has a founder's preference for up to 10% of the school's total enrollment.
Not Geographic preference and limited to no more than 10% including siblings:
The school may also grant admission preference to children of school founders, siblings, and children of staff and board members, provided that students admitted under any such preference shall not constitute more than 10% of the school's total enrollment. If greater than 10% of the school's total enrollment seeks admission in a given year via a preference, an initial lottery will be conducted to select up to 10% of those seeking admission via preference. Following this lottery, those not selected via the preference lottery will be placed in the general lottery with the general applicant pool.
Summit Prep in Redwood City is a charter that has a founders preference. Founders preferences are NOT at all unusual. There are plenty that have this!
---Merry Christmas all... I for one do not intend to read this anymore... what a waste of so much good energy. Go enjoy your families.
So why is it that BCS couldn't get this founders's special and had to ask for geographic/socio-economical requirements?
"Parent, A Resident of Another Community" needs to go to memory school. BCS was founded strictly around the idea of trying to keep Bullis Purissima open after LASD voted to close it. The founders told people the school would have the Bullis Purissima site, keep the same teachers and use the LASD curriculum. It soon became clear that they could not attract any of the teachers, and they decided they would describe their school as LASD+ (they wanted an aviary and a pony corral on campus as part of newly hatched environmental focus). It is true that BCS always wanted to discriminate in favor of LAH (they wanted even PAUSD LAH to have priority over LASD students in Los Altos and Mountain View), but the law didn't, and doesn't allow it.
The 10% preference description above is a quote from the school's page. Nothing to do directly with Bullis Charter
Understood but again, why is it that BCS couldn't get this founders's special and had to ask for geographic/socio-economical requirements?
"LASD Parent, resident of Blossom Valley" - You are correct that BCS was originally founded to keep the former Bullis-Purissima site open to serve those parents who were upset about the school closing after the district had lied to the community about bond money being used to renovate ALL of its schools (and let's not talk about the parcel tax).
As I've stated, the original charter was written in hopes that LASD would charter the school hence the original curriculum, etc. but you are wrong about the teachers. A charter can either show that it will have a certain amount of interested staff OR parent signatures who will ensure the success of a new school and BCS NEVER stated it would have LASD teachers and has ALWAYS stated that it had more than enough interested and committed parents. In fact, contesting whether the number of parent signatures was valid was one of the excuse LASD tried to use at the county hearing to pursuade the county board to deny BCS. Obviously they were dead wrong. THAT is why it has always been a priority for the BCS community to keep its core families and the area it has always stated it was meant to serve (read the original charter if you do not believe this). And by the way, the intent was never to attract LASD teachers - its intent was only to attract teachers who believed in the BCS mission, one that is, as you stated, very different than what LASD had been offering with environmental science and yes, which included many of the programs that BCS has still not been allowed to implement due to the site. Oh, and BCS does have a former LASD teacher and several staff members who live or is from the LASD area.
But, if feel you are so up on the BCS situation you should also know that the former Bullis-Purissima school HAD students from Palo Alto. This was not something created by the charter school but something that LASD had allowed in all the years that the former Bullis-Purissima school had been operating. These families also wanted to be a part of the new BCS and worked hard on the charter. So, the BCS preferences had nothing to do with cherry picking families as you would like to manipulate people to believe. This has always been trying to keep those who believed in BCS and its mission to attend. If BCS had gotten it's founders' preference, there would have been families in Mountain View and other surrounding districts who would have also benefitted. If it had gotten its sibling preference the way it had been requested (the 2nd time!), families from San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Boulder Creek and many more would have had a preference OVER the former Bullis-Purissima area but BCS was ONLY granted a sibling preference for LASD residents and that was last year. So please don't dice and slice to try to stir up emotions. If you hate the charter school, just admit it but don't try to pretend to talk about something you know nothing about.
Dear "Parent, resident of another community":
Charter school law was explicitly not created for wealthy ares to develop an exclusive semi-private schools. It was created (ed code 47605i) to give preference to "pupils identified by the petitioner or petitioners as academically low achieving pursuant to the standards
Further the legislation prohibits individual communities from forming charter schools exclusively or primarily for their own resident students, except where the charter school is a conversion of a neighborhood school. A conversion is where a school district itself turns an existing school into a charter while mainting the existing staff (a description that obviously doesn't and never did apply to BCS).
So while a minority at BCS (the majority of BCS is not from LAH) might like to discriminate against the rest of the area in their quest to form a semi-private exclusive school while using public education funds, it happens to be illegal.
To "Parent, resident of another community"
We seem to hear from you a lot of downplaying of that preference (hair splitting over what is the attendance area, poo-pooing of impact with respect to numbers, we're all after BCS because we question that one preference...). But sadly, we haven't heard from you on why that preference is good for BCS and the LASD community that, like it or not, BCS is supposed to serve.
And before you start qualifying me as a BCS hater, I'm not against BCS, I'm not a fan of the LASD Board, I am for choice and feel that true competition is useful (as long as it's open and fair, hence my gripe with that preference).
Additionally, in your latest post you seem to confuse school attendance area and school attendance. Any LASD school has a certain amount of intra-district or inter-district transfers. So while Bullis Purissima may have had kids from other areas (in LASD or outside), these other areas were never part of Bullis Purissima attendance area.
Dear "LASD Parent, resident of Blossom Valley," you miss the point of charter schools. Charter schools are innovative public schools providing choice for families and greater accountability of results. They benefit all students, not just poor ones.
"BCS Parent, a resident of another community".
I agree it's great to have choice for families. Why would you curtail it then?
BTW: Ironically, your comment matches this blog Web Link
Never stated that those who were from out of district attending the former Bullis-Purissima school were living within the Bullis-Purissima attendance area. Just stated that they were part of the Bullis-Purissima school community that started the school and were part of the preference for founders that was negotiated out of the charter. The point is that BCS has consistently tried to keep its most active and supportive group of families, be it founders, former Bullis-Purissima attendance area residents, staff's children, siblings of all presently enrolled students no matter where they reside, etc. etc. etc. a part of the school they believe in and supported. That is why those preferencees are good for the BCS community.
Because BCS has just only gotten part (50%) of one of its original preferences reinstated at this point does not mean it is only trying to prefer one segment of its own community over another. Where were all of you complaining non-BCS community members when BCS tried to get back its sibling preference for ALL it's students? That would have opened the doors for more non-LASD students and families who love the school to ensure that their siblings got in. The only reason this particular preference irks LASD is because it allows BCS to continue providing competition to a portion of the community the district is now trying to reopen a school (after it has spent tons of money on all-day kindergartens classes on an otherwise empty campus to keep the charter school out; all-day kindergarten classes that it is conducting a study after the fact to determine if it is worth keeping opne). Wake up and ask the district why it keeps wasting taxpayers' money versus spending your time angsting about the charter school preference which has no impact on LASD if they do their job well.
Again, this preference does NOT prevent anyone who wants to attend LASD schools to attend and it does not force anyone who does not want to go to the charter school to attend (unlike what LASD is doing to its own residents) so what is LASD and LASD parents so worried about?
I'm having a hard time understanding how not being able to allow sibling preference for ALL lead to favoring the uber-privileged area of the District? Can you enlighten us?
And what are you so affraid of by putting this barrier? That people from the wrong side of the track -where BCS ironically sits- would crawl in?
I also disagree on the impact on LASD. LASD when it drew the new boundaries (with a lot of involvement from LAH) took BCS into account. And it planned for LASD kids to attend BCS and BCS demographics to reflect LASD demographics. With that new BCS preference, all this planning is dead wrong. Which will result into Bullis Purrissima below minimum capacity and the other schools over-crowded again. Which will mean further painful boundary adjustements.
Again I was not in favor of the June decisions, but it's irritating that BCS actions will lead to more children being displaced.
Finally, given the involvement of LAH officials (Craig Jones) in reopening Bullis Purrissima and with BCS, it's very hard to see what it is this community is trying to do. It also makes me wonder about the timing of that new preference.
even before this decision, Justus had been saying that BP will be operating below its minimum capacity... there aren't enough kids in that area to fill it up... but my crystal ball says they will fill it with inter-district transfers... they need the $$... everyone gets screwed here... (except of course the folks from out of the district who get and LASD education!)
I agree with whoever says LASD should revisit the decision about opening up BP...
I'm equally against of LASD favoring out of District students either (there is some irony as it's the same type of preference that BCS has equally wrongly opted for, there is even more irony to read Mr. Pefley being offended by BCS preference). The fact remains though that BCS preference will mess up the projected attendances and will result into more children displacement -unless the LASD Board come to its senses, which is not likely, given its track record-.
Here is also another impact from BCS preference decision. It will in effect make for two public schools set to serve the same 10% uber-privileged from the district.
Within a couple of years, LASD will need to put a new bond measure on the ballot to provide a permanent school for BCS.
I wish both LASD and BCS luck in getting that measure by the 90% of the District who for some doesn't have as much as one neighborhood schools and get to see their kids uprooted for the benefits of so few.
This is NOT about who likes a charter school or who doesn't like a charter school.
It's about whether you think it's fair for the wealthiest part of a school district getting a preference above everyone else who's paying.
This is NOT about figuring out exactly how many wealthy families will be given a preference, whether 20, 35, or 50.
It's about why should ANY number at all be given a place in front of others?
Either you think the county school board's decision makes sense or you don't.
Here's the irony: that those within LASD who have historically and publicly despised BCS (including the Board that denied them space in their founders' neighborhood) are now upset that not everyone in Los Altos who applies can attend (in part because of this new preference for families living in the old B-P neighborhood).
Here's the sad part: that this new preference will actually divide families who would otherwise be BCS' biggest supporters. We don't live in the former B-P neighborhood, but have supported BCS in the past. The new preference pushes us and our pre-K child further down the lottery ladder. It seems unfair that BCS will now favor admitting kids from the former B-P attendance area, even if those kids are not from founding families.
I don't think it's a question of feelings towards BCS, but one of fairness. Like it or not it's a public school and there is no place for discrimanation.
Some of LASD actions are equally revolting (in particular the preference Mr Pefley is trying to get for LAH families in PAUD over LASD families, all with multi-year transfers while allowing only 1 year renewable transfers within the district).
Regarding your point on fairness, I don't know that favoring families based on their level of financial support is fair either.
By "supporters," I don't mean only financial supporters. I agree that preferring families based on level of financial support would be not only unfair, but unwise. Schools need all types of "support" from parents: their time, skills, counsel, volunteer work, etc.
If preferences for founding families are unquestionably allowed under the Ed Code, then it would have been more fair (and more wise) for BCS to request that type of preference, rather than one based on geography. Now, new families moving into the old B-P territory have preference over the rest of LASD, some of whom may have been, or would have been, BCS' biggest fans.
Kids join the schools not their parents and in a public school all kids should be equal. On that basis, favoring kids based on their parent's level of support (even if not only financial) seems unfair to the kids.
You raise a good question as to why the BCS Board requested a geographic and socio-economic preference rather than a founders one. Again the timing of that request (with an elementary school reopening for the same geographic area) does not seem innocuous.
To "parent" who posted on the 22nd at 5:04: Just because you are moving away from your school doesn't mean springer will be providing you with bad quality classrooms. Springer currently has 18 classrooms with NO portables (except for the computer lab and art room). I suggest you don't jump to conclusions just because you don't like the boundaries.
Why is the county board messing up the whole saga LASD had to go through to reopen BP? They're also favoring Los Altos Hills. Charter schools were created to serve families who attended districts that weren't doing there jobs. If BCS was never created, everyone would be happy. Most of the people in the Bullis attendance area can't walk to BP anyways. What's the problem with driving 2 more minutes to another school?
The District Administration and the Teacher's Union want everyone to believe that charter schools are harmful. The truth is that charter schools offer a real choice for parents and benefit every student in the district by providing competition. They are not just for low performing districts. Bullis Charter School offers courses of study, such as foreign language (mandrin and spanish) that other LASD schools do not provide. Just because schools in the district have good test scores does not mean that they are great schools-it just means that they are doing better than other abysmal schools in California. That is why over 1/3 of the parents of incoming LASD kindergartners applied to the Charter School. Most of these parents are not uber rich---they just want an alternative.
The best solution for the entire district would be the following:
1. Move Bullis Charter School to the Bullis Purrisma site.
2. Keep students at their current schools for the
2008-2009 school year.
3. Construct a new school at the current Bullis Charter School
This elementary school would serve the north end of the
district---where all of the growth is.
Oh wait, that makes too much since--it's much better to move everyone around ---that way the charter school forces won't win.
That would have been a better solution but thanks to the LASD Board and the Town of Los Altos Hills that didn't happen.
The fact remains that the preference that the BCS Board established:
1. goes against the very choice you are advocating
2. will result in more kids being displaced further from their neighborhood schools
To be frank, the 90% of the district who's not in that uber-affluent area is getting pretty tired of having so much energy and resources wasted by the BCS Board, the LASD Board and the Town of Los Altos Hills for the benefits of so few in the District (and unfortunately displacing 500+ children).
It is time that the BCS and LASD boards realize that every kid in the District deserves choice and a neighborhood school.
To LASD Person:
More than the boundaries, I disliked the fact the LASD Board in its effort to appease Los Altos Hills decided on a very harsh grandfathering rule. In effect moving over 30 5th graders from Almond schools next year instead of letting them finish their curriculum at the scholl they've been at for the most part since Kindergarten.
My son is one of the displaced kid and will go to Springer. I didn't jump to conclusions on the portables at Springer, some portables will be necessary next year to support the sudden influx of students at higher grades. In fact the LASD Board already discussed procuring these portables (and how to scramble to find the money).
Please remember the history:
1) A bond measure was passed to remodel all of the then open LASD schools as well as reopen Covington
2) Gross mismanagement of the Covington remodel lead to over spending and insufficient bond funds to complete the remodeling of all of the remaining schools
3) The LASD board needed to remodel one fewer school due to the overspending and decided to disenfranchise the least politically influential (smallest) constituency: Bullis-Purissima parents.
4) BCS was created as an alternative to the non-neighborhood Covington school.
LASD parents ask yourself why the district administration has newly constructed offices, meeting rooms etc. while our kids are in temporary structures?
Why do some ubber-wealthy LASD parents get all day kindergarten paid for by the rest of us?
How much LASD money was saved by closing Bullis-Purissima?
Why is BCS massively over subscribed?
So history justifies BCS discremenating and now 90% of the District paying for 2 public schools serving the same wealthiest 10% of the District while seeing more and more of their children being displaced? It's saddening that BCS, just like the LASD Board, would not learn from past mistakes.
A couple of comments on your "history":
It's laughable to hear that LAH is the least politically influencial consituency as it's the only town in the District that uses tax payer money to fund political committee such as its Public Education Community. There are other consituency arguably more disenfranchised such as the 24-25% Mountain View children who incidently account for over half of the displaced children.
Like it or not, BCS was not chartered as a country-club type public school. Besides by your logic, BCS should be closed as there will now be a neighborhood school for the former BP area (so what BCS be an alternative too :) ).
I'm not sure I understand your line on all-day kindergarten. As far as I know the LASD program in LASD was opened to all LASD kids.
LASD Parent, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood a couple of comments:
The current political influence of LAH visa-vi the PEC is a result
of the history, there was no PEC when BP was closed. If you and others
want to learn a lesson from this it's that it takes a concerted
political effort to be heard if your in the minority. No doubt the Mountain View parents/children are also in a political minority.
All of the current LASD schools discriminate based on geography, there
should be open enrollment in all of them.
Let me explain the all day kindergarten point: LASD is wasting yet
more money in the fight over BCS by giving some parents free day care just to keep a public school activity at the BP campus. It's LASD that over spent on Covington, made themselves lavish offices and meeting rooms, closed BP, reopened it as all day kinder, remodeled it and now wants to reopen it. Has LASD been wise with our money or done the best for our children? I think not.
I would have hoped that the history that the BCS founders would have learned is not to subject others what they were so offended by in the first place. It must have been traumatic for BP children to be uprooted from their school in the midst of their curriculum. Yet LAH and the PEC campaigned heavily to subject hundreds of kids to that same trauma. All in the name of having BP opened as K-6 from day one vs. a more reasonable for the kids and financially phased matriculation.
I think you're also missing the point, LASD schools are neighborhood schools. A charter school is not. Again, by your logic if BCS was created to serve kids who had lost their neighborhood school, it should close in 2008 when BP reopens.
Your point on full-day kindergarten was that it was for the uber-privileged, that seems incorrect as the full day kindergaten is open to all in LASD. Besides isn't BCS offering full day kindergarten as well?
My point about the kindergarten is that it is a waste of money for
a privileged few. And don't be mistaken, in the grand scheme of
things everyone in the LASD is uber-privileged. This is yet
another bad monetary decision by LASD just to fight with BCS, not to
benefit our children.
You have never once addressed the issues that LASD has failed their
fiduciary responsibilities to do what's best for the district children. This entire mess is the fault of LASD and in their attempts
to try and fix it they've only succeeded in making it more of a mess.
Also your confusing BCS with LAH and PEC, they are not the same.
BCS never lobbied for BP to be reopened as k-6, that was a decision
solely take by LASD.
Why should BCS now close just because LASD has undone the initial impetus? The over subscription clearly shows BCS provides a superior service that is in great demand by the community. The die was cast by LASD years ago and now we all have to live with the continuing repercussions.
As far as I know, this thread is about BCS preference. And LASD Board fiduciary responsibilities , despite all your attempts to shift the focus of this thread, are not the reason BCS decided to go the county with its lawyers to get a discreminatory preference. And incidently compound problems for 90% of the District.
I'll be happy to discuss in another thread the LASD Board ills.
Re: confusion, it is easily understanble given the fact that many of the same players sit on the same organizations (LAH, BCS and PEC).
Furthermore, your statement
"BCS never lobbied for BP to be reopened as k-6, that was a decision
solely take by LASD."
is incorrect. The decision was not solely taken by LASD, it had and still has great support by LAH and its PEC. If not, I welcome LAH and PEC urging the LASD Board to not reopen
It sure as hell was a decision taken solely by the LASD. In all of these matters the LASD is all powerful and has absolutely no checks or balances.
I have to apologize. In my confusion I failed to realize that LAH and PEC had nothing to do with the June decisions. I also must have misread the LAH mayor when he commanded the LASD Board for BP reopening (town crier editorial). Also I must have clearly been hallucinating when Craig Jones (current LAH mayor, BCS Founder and it seems at least associated to PEC) thanked LASD for re-opening BP at the education information meeting held in early December.
Time for more kool-aid. Anything BCS good and anything LASD evil, right? :)
You seem to fail to understand who makes requests and who makes decisions. LASD is a political animal but makes all the decisions. BCS is an interest group as is LAH as are you and other Mtn View parents and your free to lobby LASD in your favor. Your pissed off at your interests being ignored by LASD. Good luck.
To the Cuesta park parent: "BCS never lobbied for BP to be reopened as k-6, that was a decision solely take by LASD." This is absolutely true, regardless of your assertions otherwise.
You are confusing Craig Jones, former chair of BCS with Craig Jones, the LAH politician. Craig Jones is not a spokesperson for BCS. He represents the town of LAH, so he'll say what makes sense for his constituency. BCS itself took no official position on the opening of Bullis-Purissima, but think about it: where is the logic of BCS "lobbying" for BP to be reopened as a LASD K-6, when that would block BCS from occupying that site itself? Why do you assume BCS and LAH have the same interests? LAH has an interest in getting a public school (LASD or charter) back at the BP site. BCS has an interest in its continued existence and getting permanent facilities; the BP site contributes to both and that's why LASD was willing to exhibit fiscal recklessness to thwart doing just that.
Cutting through the hair splitting, would you agree to the following:
So my son being displaced (and denied grandfathering) was LASD Board's decision after intense lobbying from LAH and its PEC.
Establishing some discrimatory preference resulting kids about to be displaced is clearly BCS's making.
Asking 90% of the district to pay for 2 public schools serving the wealthiest 10% is the result of LASD decisions, LAH /PEC lobbying and BCS's preference.
Now I don't care which school BCS or BP serves that area but two is one too many. And it's time LASD, LAH, PEC and BCS sit down to hash it out as none of these groups is acting in the best interest of the whole District.
I agree your son being displaced is entirely LASD's decision. I would be furious too. However, you attribute too much credit to LAH and the PEC. From the genesis of BCS to the present day, LASD has manufactured every possible excuse to avoid placing BCS at BP, going through contortions by saying it was an unsafe campus, to placing day care there and ultimately importing students to reopen BP. Lobbying for or against was pointless, as LASD was going to reopen BP regardless, because they felt that would negatively impact BCS and throw up another excuse to block the site.
Your son's displacement doesn't come from the BCS BP preference, it comes from LASD making the decision to reopen BP at all costs regardless of fiscal responsibility and the disruption to existing students.
I disagree with the statement that BCS serves "the wealthiest 10%". BCS draws its students from all of LASD and out of district, and the BP area preference only affects half of all incoming slots. BCS is an ongoing concern. You should ask why LASD is going through the trouble of opening a school when they will have to import students to fill it.
You state, "it's time LASD, LAH, PEC and BCS sit down to hash it out as none of these groups is acting in the best interest of the whole District." Well none of these groups except LASD is charged with representing the whole LASD district. You're obviously upset and frustrated, but your beef is really with LASD. Why not let them know how you feel?
That would be nice if it happened but given that this has gone on for years I don't think it's likely. I'm not sure what the wealthiest 10% has to do with it or if that is even true, there are many in Los Altos that are quite wealthy. The LAH community had zero neighborhood schools, do you consider that reasonable?
The current situation is a mess. It didn't have to happen but now that it has you know who to lobby (LASD). These organizations are no different than most people, they look out for their own self interest. If others get hurt in the process well that's just collateral damage.
The 10% is roughly the percentage of the district in the former Bullis Purissima; by just about any measure it's the wealthiest part of the District.
The argument on 50% is disingenuous as BCS had originally asked for 100%, so clearly BCS does not intend to integrate into the District's community.
I am for neighborhood schools for all. Now that LAH has one, I see no reasons to pay for or support a second one.
Well if BP doesn't open then LAH doesn't have a neighborhood school. It isn't open yet and as pointed out above and in the press LASD has financial troubles.
BCS isn't just going to close due to BP opening, it's proven to be a superior option based on demand. You would suggest the lives of 280 BCS students be disrupted rather than have less than 20 kindergarteners from the old BP area go to BCS next year?
I think you misread me. I'm not taking sides on which school should be LAH's neighborhood school.
I'm just stating that 1 is enough and all the 90% of the District should be asked to pay for.
It's fine not taking sides and I respect that but I don't see a solution that LASD is willing to take.
Well if nothing is done by the LASD Board, BCS, LAH and PEC to sort that mess out. There will be a bond issue on the ballot to provide for a permanent location for BCS.
I don't believe the 90% of the district will support this. As it would mean paying for another neighborhood school (based on BCS preference) while they don't have as much as one and have seen their children displaced and considering the dire financial situation LASD and the State are in.
Your not proposing a solution, your just saying it's hopeless.
Wouldn't it be logical to just locate BCS at BP and not redistrict? As far as I know the only objection would be by LASD board members. But when has LASD acted in the best interests of either the district children or their parents?
I don't understand why you keep saying it's the responsibility of the LASD Board, BCS, LAH and PEC to sort this out. This is entirely within LASD's control (the decision to open BP and disrupt the boundaries). You keep mentioning these other interest groups as if they serve the entire LASD community. The LASD board is supposed to be accountable to their constituents but in reality they do what they choose. The boundary disruptions and opening an extraneous school flow directly from LASD's decisions (and I don't see that objective rationality plays a role). LASD created this mess and they need to be held accountable to clean it up.
It might have been more logical but it's not the path the LASD Board chose and LAH and PEC did support very actively that choice.
As mentionned I had signed a petition calling to send BCS at BP and to free Egan for its direct neighborhood.
This said, LASD did not force BCS to send their lawyers to get that preference. And that preference clearly puts the whole district (read parents and children not the Board) in a situation where BP will be further below minimum attendance levels, the other schols over maximum attendance levels, 2 public schools now serving the same 10% of the District...
So I don't think that the LASD Board alone can sort out that situation that LAH and PEC supported and that BCS is now compounding via its preference.
I for one will not feel bound to pay for a second public school for 10% of the district regardless of who should be held accountable.
LASD alone could put BCS at BP and your problem with 2 schools "serving" the same area is solved (and your real agenda of not having your son moved is solved). The preference is then a moot point.
Sure then just enlist BCS, LAH and PEC to lobby for that :)
Dear Cuesta Park Parent, I reiterate, the only decision making body that matters is LASD. LAH and the PEC are interest groups. As for BCS, it sought the BP attendance area preference because that was always part of its core constituency. Don't expect BCS to put its interests aside for the "sake of the whole district." That's as realistic as expecting LASD to put its interests aside for the sake of BCS. The only agency whose decisions have created this mess is LASD. Their actions only make sense in the context of a desire hurt BCS at all costs. And regardless of whether you approve or disapprove of LASD's mismanagement, unfortunately we still are obligated to pay our taxes.
Very true on the taxes. I wasn't suggesting not paying my taxes but rather opposing the upcoming bond measure that LASD will need to put forth in order to finance essentially a second public school for the same 10%.
Will they keep the Bullis Charter School after BP Elementary re-opens in 2009?
Bullis Charter School will continue to exist and thrive regardless of whether LASD opens BP Elementary. BCS has no association with any of the LASD district schools, including BP Elementary. It has a separate board and is chartered through the Santa Clara County Office of Education, not Los Altos School District.
I'm in total agreement regarding opposing the bond measure. There needs to be serious organized opposition to show LASD we're not going to continue to throw good money after bad to compensate for their fiscal irresponsibility.
To BCS parent, it's a good description of the BCS administrative position with the exception of the following point:
BCS is to be housed in LASD and the onus is on LASD to provide housing.
It's an important point as it means that all of LASD is paying for housing while BCS favors only a fraction of the District.
LASD has a statutory requirement to provide housing for all IN-DISTRICT RESIDENT STUDENTS. This provision doesn't add to the space needs of school districts because in-district charter school students come from the same pool of students that go to LASD schools. However, if LASD opens up BP even if they don't have enough in-district students to fill it, and then expects taxpayers to foot the bill, therein lies the problem. And a BCS BP-attendance-area preference isn't going to change this fundamental fact one way or the other. What do you propose as a solution? The obvious one is to put BCS at BP in lieu of a redundant LASD BP school but hell will freeze over before that happens.
I agree that it makes no sense based on demographics as the former Bullis Purrisima had what 250 kids? Since it's not a high-growth area, it's doubtful it's much higher now.
The underlying wish of LASD board members is to shut down BCS and/or inconvenience them as much as possible. These board members are willing to uproot the current children and families from their neighborhood schools and undertake reopening of the Bullis-Purrissima even if they financially go in the red doing it. Three years ago they closed the same B-P school because of dwindling enrollments.
Now they want to spend more money suing the county board and keep fighting with BCS!
I am baffled as to why some Los Altos residents pay outrageous prices for their homes to be a part of this district. For API scores...is it?
I am still not sure if reopening BP will impact BCS's presence over the long run. After BP reopens and some LAH residents send their kids to BP instead to BCS, will BCS get less and less funding and supports from wealthy families and eventually the quality of BCS gets hurt? I am just not sure how much funding BSC needs to stay excellent over the long-run. Currently they require $3500 or $4000 per student from parents. If the amount is enough and every parent does contribute, BSC should not have to rely on LAH residents, because many LA parents should be able and willing to pay the amount should the school keep the same quality.
New Los Altos resident,
BCS students do not receive any money from the school bonds in LASD.
That is why parents pay the $3500 per student. That is the difference in funding amounts. BCS is doing much more with the same amount per student. That is why so many LASD residents from all over the district want their children to go there. Opening a school in LAH is not going to decrease enrollment at BCS. LASD parents should be asking why their children can not have the same exciting curriculum that BCS offers.
to native parent:
One quick correction, LASD does not mean Los Altos (about a fourth of the LASD kids live in Mountain View and some smaller fractions in LAH, Palo Alto and in uncorporated areas). Don't sweat it, we get this a lot from our own LASD board :)
to BCS Parent, a resident of another community:
You ask for which solution I propose. I propose that for a change the interested parties (LAH, PEC, LASD Board and BCS) sit down and work jointly towards a solution. So far, each of these groups has been trying to force solutions for their own interests by essentially putting a gun on the other group's head (or more civilly via lawsuits, redistricting threats....) and pointing fingers to assign blame and responsibility.
There is no question that there is a lot of blame to share, but keeping down that path leads nowhere.
The current situation (lobbied for by LAH/PEC, voted/enacted by LASD and pushed by BCS-preference-) will not work. The Bullis Purssima area simply does not have enough kids to fill both a neighborhood school and BCS. The solution you propose might solve that problem, I don't know that this is the only one, but regardless it's not going to go anywhere unless the interested parties start to act in a less divisive manner.
While this is getting worked out, I have proposed and will propose again that the LASD Board puts a moratorium on re-opening BP or at least switch to a phased matriculation (in order to regain some flexibility that will be very much needed in the face of an imminent budget crisis).
I don't really care about this argument, but I just want to point out that the past tense of "to lead" is LED, not "lead." "Lead" when pronounced like "led" is the metal. (One of several examples from previous posts -- "Gross mismanagement of the Covington remodel lead to over..."). I see this everywhere lately, it makes me crazy.
Also, "the LASD and it's friends" -- should be "its" ("it's" is the contraction of "it is").
One more -- the term for dismissing what someone said without consideration is "pooh-poohing" -- not "poo-pooing" -- quite a different connotation.
"Don't you think grammar is the greatest joy in life?"
"Someone is the MAYOR of crazy town"
Bullis Charter School is an exclusive school for spoiled rich parents to send their kids so they won't have to deal with anyone "different". (meaning doesn't have enough money to buy a mansion in the Hills and live on one income) I am a teacher in another district and would NEVER teach at Bullis Charter school no matter how much money they paid. The kids are spoiled, the parents are entitled, and the whole atmosphere is dripping with uber-rich out of touch with reality attitudes.
It's too bad Amethyst does not feel that children, no matter what socio-economics or perceived character trait, is worth teaching. Please don't call yourself an educator because you are a disgrace to those who do and are willing to teach every and any type of student. Sounds like you are the one with the attitude.
Thank you for proving my point about Bullis. They are making it impossible for anyone but the uber-rich kids to attend and they're doing it legally, which makes it even more disgusting. They'll do anything and everything to make sure only "their" kids get to attend this school. I teach in a low income neighborhood where school is sometimes the only safe haven for them. Not to mention a place where they are fed and warm. So, excuse me, "educator", yes, I DO have an attitude, but it's in favor of those who NEED the help and not those who just have enough money to pay for it.
How DARE you call me a disgrace? You don't even know me.
i support Amethyst's ventilation!
Amethyst is not against students in BCS but the admission policy of BCS.
BCS' admission policy is illegal according to California Charter school code.
Ref. Education Code Section 47605(d).
Now they claim the enrollment policy is based on “California Education Code and our charter with the Santa Clara County Office of Education govern the enrollment procedures."
In fact, what they did is hijacking public fund for their own personal cause.
Even in this article, the board member is still trying to mislead the public. Please go read the BSC enrollment policy online, you will see he is trying every opportunity to manipulating the public opinions.
Something here stinks!
We, public, have the right to know if there are money ties between the members of Clara County Office of Education and BCS board members. Legal on surface could be hiding illegal underneath.
To Bullis Board Members,
You manipulated the public opinion to start the BCS. Now you manipulated the Santa Clara County Education Office to change your enrollment preference.
No matter how rich you are, no matter how much political capital you have, what you did is really disgraceful and disgusting!
You are not innocent. You are immoral even you did are legal defined by your money and lawyers.
Shame on you!
Come on. BCS operates entirely within the scope of the California State Charter School laws. Admission is done on a lottery basis and is open to all who want to apply. Preference is strictly dictated by law and is not at the whim of the BCS school board. We get no money from the parcel tax and have to make up the difference out of our own pockets. The LASD school district has given us nothing but grief hoping all along we would fail. Now that we are the number 1 charter school in the state and have higher STAR testing scores than the district they are at a loss of what to do. We are a model of a school they want to emulate but they cant get their heads out from between their legs long enough to admit it. Our facilities are not up to the rest of the districts schools and we had to pay for our own Multi purpose building with our own funds. I also have to pay for the school bonds which were passed even though my kids don't go to the district schools. This is America isnt it? Freedom of choice. Does not that apply to my right to send my kids to a school of my choosing. The LASD board would do well to be more progressive and learn a few things from BCS on how to effectively run an education program that adapts to the needs of the kids and continually feeds there desire for learning and character growth. I am tired of all this banter. Why do all of you care so much what we do? We just want the best for our kids like you do, except we have different ideas about how to go about it.
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