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Bullis, LASD argue whether court has jurisdiction in latest motion

Original post made on Aug 30, 2012

In the latest round of legal volleys between Bullis Charter School and the Los Altos School District, lawyers from each educational organization presented arguments today, Aug. 30, before a judge in a packed San Jose courtroom.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 30, 2012, 5:08 PM

Comments (36)

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Posted by hopeless
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm

The tactics of the district has been to delay, delay, and delay some more. And on that front, they got what they wanted today. But in my opinion, all the new "facts" they tried to introduce by filing massive amounts of paper work in the last month didn't work - the only thing they were able to argue as a new "fact" is that now they included Springer and the 2 junior high schools in their table of comparison schools. I don't think that Judge was convinced that was a new enough a fact (other than that BCS has 100 more kids than they did 3 years ago). Both sides are posturing as expected, and we shall see what comes down the pipe. Sadly, justice delayed is justice denied.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 31, 2012 at 7:32 am

If I knew nothing more than what I read in this article, I would be wondering why one school in the district is entitled to have its junior high school students on the same campus as K-6 when every other school in the district is split between an elementary K-6 and two different junior high schools. Surely that's not equivalent, that's more favorable conditions for the charter school.


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Posted by Lasd Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2012 at 7:58 am

As a LASD taxpayer, I am outraged that LASD is continuing to resist a clear statement on the law. If they are in compliance, then let the court rule on that and be done with it. It is only if they are not, that the procedural argument makes any strategic sense. LASD claims they can offer whatever they want (including less space at Egan for 100 more kids than ruled illegial by the Appellate Court) and force BCS to file a lawsuit each year. Given the court system, it seems as if justice never is determined on a timely basis and the legal costs keep mounting.

The procedural move rewards LASD for such childish actions as a)removing the shared use of the Egan gym the day before school starts, b) not providing desks in the Blach space and c) not providing for the use of the closest bathrooms at Blach. By constantly changing the agreed upon offer, LASD effectively turns it into a moving target. If the court lets them do this, isn't if effectively rewarding a child for bad behavior?


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Posted by Lasd Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:50 am

Another year, another embarrassing defeat for the high priced legal team from Bullis Charter School. No judge in their right mind will ever require LASD to close a high performing neighborhood school and hand over the campus to the charter school.

As a taxpayer, I am outraged that our school district must continually defend itself from the relentless onslaught of litigation from this predatory charter school!


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Posted by LASD taxpayer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 31, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I believe the Target on Showers will be closing soon, moving to the new retail space at San Antonio. Let BCS have that property to build their "Private" oh I mean Charter school. Wait a minute that's a part of Mountain View that LAH folk don't venture out to.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm

LASD taxpayer from Cuesta Park neighborhood, that's so true!


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Posted by ANother LASD taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2012 at 8:05 pm

To the other LASD taxpayer and Observer: there is no defeat yet and even if the judge rules she doesn't have jurisdiction, that has no impact on the stunning win by BCS in 3-0 Applellate Court ruling. It simply means that there will be a new suit, new discovery and a hearing. The judge in that hearing will have to be guided by the Appellate Court ruling which, any reasonable reading of, will end the sheninigans of LASD. Then LASD will appeal and review will either be denied or they will lose again in higher court. Then we start all over again because LASD lacks leadership to make hard, unpleasant choices. Can't wait until the demographics forces them to reboundary anyway...No doubt they will then send the NEC neighborhood to Gardner to try and fill that empty school.


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Posted by Tile Game
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:03 pm

{"Can't wait until the demographics forces them to reboundary anyway...No doubt they will then send the NEC neighborhood to Gardner to try and fill that empty school." I can't wait for this either. In fact it's going to get really interesting. There really isn't anyway to prevent it - unless you move BCS from Egan. You need that space to take care of the massive influx of students that will be happening at the North end.
Yep. it's going to get completely crazy Based on the tile game in 2007 .here are some likely scenarios:

Santa Rita - About to get even more crowded so some more SR families are going to be sent to GB - Pine south seems the most likely choice ( notice I don't say logical - none of this is logical) The line might jog a bit - Goines will protect his neighborhood I mean home value. Might send so NEC families from SR to GB as well. That's been the usual pattern, no reason to change it now.

Almond - Almond is also going to get very crowded - so some families will need to move to Covington - maybe west of LAHS as well as Jordan area - just like the folks at the Crossings you'll be driving past Almond to get to Covington.

Springer - Springer will need to take some the NEC families from Almond so some Springer folks are going to have to move. Covington seems like the most logical choice, but Covington is going to take a bunch of new kids from SR and Almond. So off to Oak you go - hard to get to that time of day. A few will get to go Loyola - but there is not much room there either.

Loyola - Due to your previous influx of Out of District Transfers - to keep the school off the closure list in 2003 - you are still kind of crowded and you are going to have to take some of folks at Springer - so some Loyola folks are going to have to move. West of Magdelena will move to GB or Covington. East of Mora will go to Oak along with Loyola Corners. Oak is far away - but there is room there.

Oak - No one will have to move from Oak - but you are going to have to take a big influx from Springer and Loyola. So lots more car traffic in the morning.

GB - You are going to have to take some extra kids - - maybe even double in size. Lots of kids from SR and some from Loyola.

What are the alternatives? Santa Rita and Almond at 700? Move six graders to Egan and Blach? Whoops that won't work- not with BCS there. Magnet Schools? Whoops shouldn't even bring that one up.


This crazy plan is only necessary because of BoT's terrible plan to keep BCS at Egan. There are better solutions.


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Posted by Tile Game
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Another solution is a 10th campus - but where do you put it? You need something to relieve the crowding at Santa Rita and Almond. The BCS site is the best choice (unless you can somehow buy the Target site - which isn't likely fiscally or politically - mv won't want to loose the sales tax revenues)

Some have floated Hillview - but that's really far from the NEC area and is well used by the entire community.
BCS could be moved to GB or Covington - share or combine GB and Covington. But the Bot's want BCS to stay at Egan - chipping away the the Egan Site - Tennis Anyone?


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Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2012 at 8:47 am

The charter school Board made a serious strategic blunder in demanding that they be given one of the four campuses. All this did was galvanize opposition to the charter school from Santa Rita, Almond, and Covington parents (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of Los Altos). They should have focused their efforts on Gardner Bullis and made their case to the rest of LASD that moving BCS to Gardner Bullis free's up resources at Egan. This would have been a far more palatable option to the rest of the district.


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Posted by Covington beats BCS
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2012 at 4:56 pm

The 2012 STAR test scores are out. Covington 2nd-6th graders have outscored BCS 2nd-6th graders! 4694.4 to 4654.2 (Composite score, English-Language Arts and Mathematics)

Congratulations to Covington Elementary!


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Posted by Star
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Congratulations! Covington and oak are the bright spots. I am very concerned about the very poor showing in math.
BCS did much better than lasd schools


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Posted by Star
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Congratulations! Covington and oak are the bright spots. I am very concerned about the very poor showing in math.
BCS did much better than lasd schools


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Posted by Covington beats BCS
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm

We'll see how the schools rank when the API scores are released next month. Based on my cursory review of the raw STAR test scores, I suspect that the API scores will show another year of DECLINE for BCS (third year in a row) while LASD will retain their status as the top performing public school district in the state. Test scores across the district are good and several of the schools are beating BCS head-to-head in certain grade levels. Clearly, BCS best days as an academic powerhouse are in the past. The more they grow, the worse their scores will get.


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Posted by STAR fact checker
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2012 at 2:23 am

To Covington beats BCS. Love how you choose just Covington for this comparison but even if you try to manipulate the data by only using the subsets you want to, you're still wrong. Try using the CDE data and criteria that mean anything - the percentage of students scoring Proficient or Advanced (vs just the mean scale score):

English-Language Arts - % of students scoring Proficient or Advanced:
Covington - 96.7%
BCS - 98.8%

Math
Covington - 95.8%
BCS - 96.6%

Science (Gr. 5)
Covington - 94.8%
BCS - 100%

Now, let's look at junior high scores (grades 7 & 8):

English Language Arts:
Egan - 93%
BCS - 100%

History:
Egan - 91.2%
BCS - 100%

Math:
Egan - 88.5% (and that's even folding in those taking General Math)
BCS - 100%

Algebra I:
Egan - 80%
BCS - 90%

Geometry:
Egan - does not offer
BCS - 100% (2 students)

History:
Egan - 91%
BCS - 100%

Science:
Egan - 97%
BCS - 100%

But just in case you feel this may not be fair, let's cut the data another way - LASD vs. BCS, both educating grades K-8 students now:

English- Language Arts:
LASD - 93.6%
BCS - 99.1%

Math:
LASD - 90.4%
BCS - 96.8%

Science:
LASD - 95.6%
BCS - 100%

Writing:
LASD - Grade 4: 97%; Grade 7: 99%
BCS - Grade 4: 100%; Grade 7: 100%

At the end of the day, all the schools did well but it's obvious BCS's scores are higher so please check your facts before spouting off like you know what you're talking about.

Covington: Web Link

Egan: Web Link

LASD (grades 2-8 summary):
Web Link

BCS (grades 2-8)
Web Link

BCS (grades 2-8 Summary)
Web Link



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Posted by Parent
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 2, 2012 at 6:44 am

Covington does do well because of the high percentage of kids from the Crossing in Mountain View. We don't have a neighbor hood school, but have to drive across town. We pay ridiculously high taxes to Los Altos schools. We don't coddle our kids. We support BCS as well as an alternative. The rest of Los Alto could lean from us.


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Posted by Covington beats BCS
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2012 at 7:32 am

Well, BCS parent, what can I say? Your test scores stink.
Maybe if BCS would actually teach their kids something instead of letting them play with lego's all day, you wouldn't be in this situation.


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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I find is interesting that Bullis has 1/2 the amount of special needs kids than LASD and only 1% English Learners. With an easy to educate group, of course their test scores are great.

I also find it remarkable that any school would expect to have a K-8 campus when the rest of the District does not.

While Bullis is legal and successful, it is so against the true spirit of Charter schools which is to serve and undereducated and underprivileged group of children.


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Posted by Charter School Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2012 at 5:54 pm

To palo alto parent - nowhere does the charter school law in California say anything about serving "undereducated" (what does that mean anyway?) or "underprivileged" groups of children. Please stop making things up, including numbers of BCS students of any kind when you are obviously just out there lobbing accusations with no data or any understanding of them.

47601. It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this part,
to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, pupils, and community
members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently
from the existing school district structure, as a method to
accomplish all of the following:
(a) Improve pupil learning.
(b) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special
emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are
identified as academically low achieving.
(c) Encourage the use of different and innovative teaching
methods.
(d) Create new professional opportunities for teachers, including
the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the
schoolsite.
(e) Provide parents and pupils with expanded choices in the types
of educational opportunities that are available within the public
school system.
(f) Hold the schools established under this part accountable for
meeting measurable pupil outcomes, and provide the schools with a
method to change from rule-based to performance-based accountability
systems.
(g) Provide vigorous competition within the public school system
to stimulate continual improvements in all public schools.

Web Link


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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Charter school fact checker -

My "made up numbers" regarding the Bullis Students were actually from Bullis. The info reported by Bullis to the Santa Clara County BOE in their 2011-2012 Annual Charter School Report was:

5% special ed students vs 10& in LASD
1% ESP student vs 8% in LASD


Link to the report:
Web Link


So if the info was made up, it was made up by Bullis.


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Posted by Charter School Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

palo alto parent

So you have pulled one report that answers a narrow set of questions but did not bother to read the entire presentation or the context or as previously noted, have any understanding of the data. If you want to cast accusations, then learn all the facts and understand how to interpret data before you do so.


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Posted by Fact Checkers Fact Checker
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

"Charter School Fact Checker"-- Wow! You didn't even read what you wrote.
47601. It is the intent of the Legislature, [...], as a method to accomplish ALL [YES--READ ALL!!!!] of the following:
[...]
(b) Increase learning opportunities for all pupils, with special emphasis on expanded learning experiences for pupils who are identified as academically low achieving.
[...]

Since you have such a tiny percent of 'low achieving' students, then I think this charter school should be closed. The statue itself says that one of the primary and mandatory purposes was to help the 'low achievers', but it appears from Bullis's own data that they have only very few in that category. So, what we have here is not a charter school, but a publicly funded PRIVATE school.

Bullis should be handed back to LASD. Thanks goes to "Charter School Fact Checker" for providing the silver bullet.


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Posted by observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2012 at 10:16 am

fact checkers fact checker

So because Bullis educates LASD students who otherwise would be scoring lower if they were stuck in that district being taught to the test and using rote memory programs like kahn academy and still not increasing math scores (read "academically low achieving") but when they go to Bullis they perform better, your rationale is that it should be closed?

You just gave the best reason for charter schools to exist and for there to be parent choice in public education in every school district that is not meeting the needs of its students.


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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Observer - about 90% of the students in LASD score proficient or advanced on their STAR tests, so there are not a lot of "academically low achieving students" of the type that a Charter is intended to serve.

Charters are also supposed to be representative of the population of the District they serve, this should include a similar % of students who are special needs, ESL, low income, etc.


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Posted by Lynn Reed
a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Hi -
I couldn't let the comment about playing with LEGO's slide. I am the Science and Engineering Specialist at Bullis Charter School and I do indeed teach with LEGO's. It's a great way to include all the letters in STEM. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) They are also a terrific way to let kids build and create things. LEGO calls it Serious Play. The LEGO's we use come from LEGO education that has created an extensive international STEM curriculum for k-12 students. They are used extensively in the few states that have adopted Engineering Standards as well as in the excellent First LEGO League program. Here are some of the engineering projects that my students will be participating in this week- using LEGO's:

In First Grade we will be working on our very first engineering project. We will use the Design Thinking process to help Happy the LEGO Horse. The students brainstorm ways to help Happy the Horse feel more comfortable in her new home. They select one idea and construct it out of LEGO's. This activity lets students imagine, plan, create and share. We add in specifications and testing in the next challenge.

Second graders will be building simple machines and programming computers using LEGO WeDo Robots.

The Third Graders are learning about the steps in the Engineering Process by building and testing a windmill. The windmill is one the activities in the LEGO Education Motorized Mechanism set.

In addition:

Fourth - Six graders will participate in LEGO Education projects later this year.

Robotics classes are some of the most popular classes in our co and extra curricular classes. ( Co"s are electives during the school day. Extras are free of charge after school classes taught by BCS teachers. )

In addition many of our seventh graders use LEGO Mindstorm Robots in the Tech Challenge.

For more information about LEGO Education please go to:
Web Link


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Posted by DATA
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 3, 2012 at 11:42 pm

This years STAR test data can be easily sorted to find how many students with disabilities took the exam for each grade level. What I find interesting is that in most grades BCS actually has a higher percentage of students with disabilities than does Covington. Covington didn't test all of students - and BCS did - (Not testing all of it's students will lower Cov's API score) so that could be the reason, but really very interesting:

BCS - Students with Disabilities:

CST English-Language Arts
Result Type ----2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Students Tested---- 5 2 8 5 2 3 2
% of Enrollment----8.3 3.2 10.8 10.0 4.2 12.5 8.3

CST Mathematics
Result Type---- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 EOC
Students Tested 5 2 8 5 2 3
% of Enrollment 8.3 3.2 10.8 10.0 4.2 12.5

Covington
CST English-Language Arts
Result Type---- 2 3 4 5 6
Students Tested- 5 7 6 4 5
% of Enrollment- 6.9 10.1 10.0 6.6 6.3
CST Mathematics
Result Type---- 2 3 4 5 6
Students Tested 5 7 6 4 2
% of Enrollment 6.9 10.1 10.0 6.6 2.5


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Posted by A vs A-
a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

I had a child at BCS for a few years. I was happy with program but didn't see it as exceptional, they get an "A" from me. We returned to our neighborhood school and used the ($5K that went to BCS) to fund extracurricular and educational activities. Our child was a top performer at BCS and he is still one at neighborhood school.

I do not favor the LASD approach to math and science education nor do I care for the way that they have miss-managed the situation with BCS from the beginning. The LASD administration has immunity from being fired and they act like it.

The BCS leadership lost my support by trying to come after our neighborhood school. Further, a $120M bond was out line. Before LASD and BCS get a penny from us, unions have to roll in the pension costs and BCS needs to align in program expenses with LASD. Extra-curricular activities need to be parent sponsored not rolled into the "tuition" for a public school.

So, BCS is an "A" school, LASD is an "A-" school district. The difference in scores is minimal. We need to focus on how to administer the limited funds to support a growing student population.

Questions:
Why do the condos continue to get a pass on property taxes? How do we fix this? El Camino will continue to expand.. non-stop flow of students will cripple our limited funds.

Can each school expand class-room-wise to avert building another school? Building another school is just the start, it will bring additional operating costs.

Will BCS be happy with Bullis Gardner or is their motive to flip LA into Charter Schools?

It is not a competition about scores, it is a competition for the tax-payers money... and that source is already stretched.


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Posted by JLS
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Condos get a pass on property taxes? I lived in a 5000 sq ft house in Los Altos and paid $2500 in taxes. I'm living in a 1700 sq ft condo in Mountain View and paying $8000 in taxes. Doesn't seem to me like I'm getting such a break!


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Posted by Bullyis
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I think A vs A is talking about apartments, not condos. These 'parcel taxes' are based on a single parcel of land. So, being an owner of a house, I pay a parcel tax each year that goes to the schools. The owner of, say, a 16 unit multiplex pays a parcel tax too. The multiplex owner may pay more, but it is not proportional. There could be 2 kids in each unit and I have zero at my house, but they might back $300/year and I pay $125 or something. I believe this is the latest taxing table:

Size of Parcel Amount of Annual Tax
0-8,000 square feet $127 per parcel
8,001-14,000 square feet $254 per parcel
14,001-22,000 square feet $339 per parcel
22,001-28,000 square feet $508 per parcel
28,001-44,000 square feet $677 per parcel
More than 44,000 square feet $1,016 per parcel

Another example:
So, Park Place Apartments in downtown Mountain View pays 9x of what I pay and they have what...400 people living there?

I don't think it is fair, but then the little guys don't have strong lobbying ability. :(


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Posted by Ron Haley
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Top 100 Santa clara county schools englsih

Web Link


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Posted by Ron Haley
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Top 100 SCS schools, math - you be the judge on which schools did best!

Web Link


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Posted by More than scores
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

Everyone is talking about STAR scores. What makes Bullis exceptional and a model school is that is does NOT teach to the test but still scores so high year after year after year. The students take music, art, Mandarin, Spanish, drama and have co-curricular classes and electives and intersessions and advisory classes. They engage in project-based learning and technology integration and are TAUGHT about character 21st century skills and have a plethora of opportunities to learn and apply these in the real-world settings. The students are HAPPY and they love learning and love going to school.

I could not be prouder of this school and the outstanding staff who spoke at Back to School Night.


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Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2012 at 9:50 am

To: More than scores

Those are certainly nice things about Bullis Charter School. But guess what? LASD neighborhood schools have all of those things as well. Yes, we have music, art, Mandarin and Spanish, drama, co-curricular electives, technology, and character building programs. Oh, and high test scores, too.

You say that you are proud of your school. Are you proud of the fact that your school is trying to CLOSE a high performing LASD neighborhood school? I am disgusted that you people are trying to litigate your way into STEALING a neighborhood school from our community. You BCS people are disgusting. You are the most self-centered, arrogant, and self-entitled group I have ever encountered.


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Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

LASD Parent writes:

"Those are certainly nice things about Bullis Charter School. But guess what? LASD neighborhood schools have all of those things as well. Yes, we have music, art, Mandarin and Spanish, drama, co-curricular electives, technology, and character building programs. Oh, and high test scores, too."

I am not so sure these programs are equivalent to those offered at BCS, but at some of the schools I am sure that they are great. Maybe if you could explain how those programs are offered we would get a better idea if they are similar to those offered at BCS. Here is list of the programs at BCS with descriptions.

Regular School Day - I think this may be were the schools differ quite a bit. My kids go to specials as part of their regular weekly schedule. They have Drama, Music, PE, Art, Foreign Language and Engineering at least once a week. Mandarin and PE are several times a week. It's part of their regular schedule. I think that LASD may have some of these classes. I know that they do not have Mandarin or Spanish as part of the regular k-6 program. Do any LASD schools have engineering or robotics during the regular school day? I think that they be starting something like that for middle school but I am not sure about that. Most grades go to all of the specials.

My kids are able to choose co-curricular elective classes. . The electives are offered in three different areas: STEM, Visual and Preforming Arts, and Global Prospectives. They are part of the regular weekly schedule and are mixed grade level classes. I am not sure if LASD has this type of program.

Like the LASD schools we also have before/after school electives program. There are a bunch of these - Lego Robotics, Dodge Ball, School Plays, Choir, Chess Club, Homework Club, Strings. The extra curricular classes are free of charge and are taught by the BCS teachers. I think this is different from the LASD schools - which contract with various fee based programs.


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Posted by Sounds Great
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Fact Checker- It sounds like Bullis is doing an amazing job with the facilities they have, so there really is no reason to get anything in addition to what has been agreed to. They have been offered more than their fair share of facilities.

If they want a unified k-8 campus (something that no other school in the area has), then the parents should pony up the $ and build it!


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Posted by Public Schools
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:30 am

Sounds Great - Bullis families already did "pony up". It's called tax dollars and like everyone else, they pay them so that ALL public students have use of facilities and can have equal access to a public school education. This includes students who attend a PUBLIC charter school.


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