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Bullis Charter School: District locked us out

Original post made on Aug 8, 2013

A group of Bullis Charter School parents, upset over what they are calling a Los Altos School District-imposed "lockout" of BCS teachers, protested earlier this morning, Aug. 8, in front of the LASD main office.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 8, 2013, 1:31 PM

Comments (76)

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Posted by Casual Observer
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Here's a short summary:

-LASD to BCS: "You have to play by the rules. Sign the facilities agreement if you want access to the classrooms." (The facilities agreement is a standard for charter schools and basically states that BCS pays a certain fee for usage and agrees to carry insurance.)
-BCS to LASD: "But we don't like your rules. We refuse to sign the agreement."
-BCS sues LASD over whether they need to sign the agreement. Court decides in favor of LASD.
-LASD to BCS: You have to play by the rules. Sign the facilities agreement if you want access to the classrooms"
-BCS parents picket and claim discrimination.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

If this is the way the BCS leadership acts, I'm pleased we chose to keep our kids in the MVWSD.


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Posted by CharterNotSmarter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

It's sad to see a wealthy few manipulate the system to avoid paying full private school tuition. Charter schools were approved to provide alternatives to failing public schools. LASD is anything but failing. Shame on the Bullis board and it's wealthy backers!


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Posted by bikerchick
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

bikerchick is a registered user.

Doesn't it make you wonder what terms are really in the proposed facilities use agreement, when the district resorts to strong-arm tactics like a lock out to pressure BCS to agree to its terms?

Regardless of political squabbles, the result of a lock out is aggressive disruption of the education of the students at BCS. This unscrupulous behavior on the part of LASD is simply shameful.


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Posted by David Jaques
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm

LASD is essentially bullying BCS into signing a use agreement that dictates which students will occupy the rooms at Blach and for what purpose. The district is obligated to provide the facilities, but does not have authority to specify how the rooms are used. This tactic is preventing teachers from preparing rooms to open the school for students in 12 days. Come on LASD - unlock the doors, let the teachers do their jobs and let the students start school without disruption!


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Posted by Can't we just all get along?
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 8, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Can't we just all get along? For the kids sake?


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Posted by Former Public School Teacher
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Whether vouchers or charter schools, both are subversions of basic American principles of the right to a good public education. It's a shame we have the "hands" of the Catholic Church and BCS folks in the public treasury. If you want a private education, pay 100 percent of it.


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Posted by LASD Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Would any of you sign an agreement that is not complete and filled with phases such as to be determined later but not to exceed some outrageous number? Would you sign a prenuptial agreement thrust upon you at the alter that is full of terms that you have never discussed?

Of course not, but LASD seems to think BCS should.

To use the Facilities Use Agreement as an excuse is laughable. There has not even been one the past several years and prior to that it was typically executed at the END of the school year since it usually took that long to work the details out.

Time for LASD to let the teachers teach and the students learn. If they were standing on the principle that there must be a Facilities Agreement, they would have locked up Egan too. But to have 600 LASD District kids who choose BCS sitting on the sidewalk would make for an ugly photo op. So instead they are merely making it as difficult as possible for BCS.

LASD is simply upset that BCS has once again figured out how to make the best of a bad situation of split facilities. Check out the article in Forbes about the new fab lab. What a wonderful opportunity for our community.


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Posted by LASD Mom
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I'm ashamed of LASD. First spending $100,000 dollars in the "no cost" option of locating BCS at Raynor (not sure how $100,00 is no cost) and now this. Shame on the LASD Board and shame on all of us who elected them. Our community deserves better.


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Posted by Public Sentiment
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:16 pm

WOW! What a bunch of petty BABIES! This is all grandstanding...lead on by the Bullis layers. These people have lost their minds. Completely. Sign the agreement, pick up your keys, then shut [portion removed] up. Sheesh.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm

What steps are needed for a community to revoke a charter? Something must be possible. This one has got to go.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Good for you to stand up to this incredibly hostile act by LASD. Absolutely insane that you are being criticized for it. The FU Agreement would require your 4th and 5th graders to stay inside and never go outside, for lunch, for recess, or for PE. What idiotic commenter above would allow their child to be held captive inside their classroom all day, and yet have the gall to criticize parents who would not?


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Posted by Maya
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Yes, revoking the charter is sounding about right. It seems like it is time to start investigating it anyway.


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Posted by Reading from afar
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Wow, quite a handful of comments. I think Bravo is one of the lawyers ;)


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Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Would someone please publish the Facilities Use Agreement that BCS ostensibly won't sign? It would be good if we could all understand what's actually in there.


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Posted by Just Terrible
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 3:56 pm

LASD has had countless opportunities to sit across the table with BCS to discuss facilities for the upcoming year. They have refused. Again and again and again. They brazenly no-showed for their presentation and discussion at a BCS board meeting THIS WEEK. Instead they waited until two weeks before keys were due, to submit a proposed facilities use agreement?

What terrible planners. What terrible people.

What a waste of taxpayers money. Recall LASD board of trustees.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Sorry, not a lawyer.


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Posted by Cynthia
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

My questions:

Why is so much of Blach School being filled with portables, and the facilities and field areas shrinking for usage by Blach students- when so many Bullis Charter students are not even Los Altos residents? Another question- Why is the teacher turnover at Bullis Charter so high? How many teachers have stayed with the school longer than even one year? Edjoin currently shows openings in all grade levels, and school starts in less than two weeks. This teacher turnover would be on my radar if I were a parent.



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Posted by huh
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm

So two reps from each side can meet and negotiate terms? Why hasn't this been done long before now??? Both LASD and BCS communities have been begging for a Joint Board Meeting which never seems to materialize, yet two Board members from each side can hammer it out? This seems long overdue! My only suggestion, bring a mediator so the details can be memorialized.


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Posted by Mountain View Parent
a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I really like the Mountain View Whisman School District.


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Posted by To Mike
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm

On what basis do you advocate revoking the charter? Let's see..

1. 7th highest performing school in California
2. Non union teachers who operate on one year contracts
3. Teachers paid on merit standards, not simply seniority
4. 90% + of the students are LASD who want an alternative, admission by lottery that is oversubscribed
5. Offers credentialed teachers in drama, music, art and PE
6. Offers free after school (yes, free) classes open to all students not just to those who can afford high fees for private programs
7. Opening an incredible fab lab if LASD ever provides keys to buildings needed that could be a model for our community
8. 7000 more minutes of instruction time

Exactly why should the charter be revoked? Seems to me that they are doing an incredible job of providing an alternative public school education. Are they different from LASD, which is also very good, yes and that is exactly the point.


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Posted by LASD supporter
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

No Just Terrible, you're incorrect. BCS has always held their board,settings at the BCS site (Egan). Less than 24 hrs before the meeting they changed the site to Blach. LASD is not allowed to simply change its meeting location without notice due to the brown act.


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Posted by Revoke
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Why should it be revoked? Because BCS cream skims the student population and thus fundamentally discriminates against ELL and special needs students. Check out the difference in ELL/SN population at Santa Rita right down the street vs BCS. It rips apart the community because of type A parents looking for any advantage for their kids at any cost -- screw my neighbor. It sues LASD every year and loses every case (except one measurement correction) costing $1M per year from LASD budget and takes endless amount of time away from LASD administrators. And all for 10 points more API scores which have been shown to be achieved because of the fact that 95% of BCS parents have master degrees, not because of better teaching. It is fundamentally an elitist "free" private school that is destroying our community and completely at odds with the spirit of charter schools.


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Posted by FabLab for All
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Revoke and recall. Let the BCS administration take over all of LASD and we will all have the same fabulous school with plenty of facilities and sites. No more fighting or lottery. Problem solved.

FabLab for All


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Posted by Incorrect
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Just Terrible is correct. I checked the BCS agenda on Sunday night, almost 48 hours before Tuesday's meeting, and it clearly stated that the meeting was to be held at Blach. LASD trustees couldn't bear to meet in a parking lot (since they had locked BCS out of Blach), so they no-showed. Their excuse? As stated by Tammy Logan at THEIR special meeting at the Egan library, her email account received BCS' notice less than 24 hours prior. Now the Brown Act revolves around her email account rather than when notice is posted? She's so full of herself.


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Posted by KidsR@LASD
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 5:25 pm

"Compromise is the first step." BCS tried to get us to believe this was their real worldview last Spring. What a joke. Since then, BCS has been back in court multiple times. So far they are winless for 2013. What's worse, BCS wants to reject the Final Offer (K-5 @ Egan and 6-8 at Blach), keep overcrowding the Egan campus, and use the Blach campus to showcase a "FabLab" (whatever that means). Sounds like a term their PR guru dreamed up. The Final Offer, communicated on April 1 said, unequivocally, BCS has to sign the Facilities Use Agreement before they get to occupy (the document is on the BCS website, for Pete's sake!!). Now BCS won't sign the FUA; someone should go picket at Portola and San Antonio Road. That's where the problem is.


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Posted by TruthMatters
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

In response to Cynthia's question about teacher "turnover" that is simply not the case. There are openings because BCS has added classes at many grade levels to allow more students who are on long waiting lists to attend.


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Posted by bikes2work
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Cynthia,

Many LASD students are not Los Altos residents either. LASD is comprised of 4 cities: Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Palo Alto. Almost all of BCS students are residents within the LASD boundaries. Therefore, they are to be provided a fair share of facilities that are entrusted to the LASD Board of Trustees by the State of California.

If you weren't a union shill, you should be asking why traditional school districts don't have a higher turn over of ineffective teachers. The majority of turnover in traditional school districts are new teachers without seniority. Often these are the teachers with the most to offer in today's rapidly changing technological society. Many of the openings at BCS are for new and associate teachers that are part of the recent planned expansion of classrooms for most grade levels.

BCS returned a redline markup of the FU Agreement on July 31st. They only received the 50+ page document on July 19th. That is pretty good turnaround on a big document with majorly illegal clauses. The document was significantly different from the "final offer" provided in April. Locking out the Blach facilities is a spiteful and irrational act. It is preventing the furnishing of the Fablab at the new Bullis Center for Innovation (BCI). That seems to be the main goal of the LASD lockout action.


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Posted by Blach Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I live in the neighborhood and walk my dog past Blach all of the time. I often see the preschool kids out on the grass in front of the track playing soccer. Seems weird that 4th and 5th graders have to stay in side while preschoolers can leave their designated area. Seems like booth should be able to go outside, exercise is important.


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Posted by Sue the BoT's
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I think it's time for BCS parents to ban together and sue each and every BoT for denying students access to facilities. Hit them in their own pocket books. They have already wasted enough of the tax payers money as it is. If they want to play this game then they need to do it on their own dime. Time for one big OUCH!


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Posted by CharterNotSmarter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Bullis is a charter school, so wants to be treated as a private entity, unlike the LASD. Yet, they want the bulk of their funding to come from the public coffers. On top of that, they feel that they can unilaterally dictate the terms of what facilities they get, how far they can expand and anything else they wish. Personally, I think that is absolutely wonderful and I appreciate that they want the best for *their* students. However, in order to get these things, they have to take away from the students at LASD. If they want to be private, they should go completely private. Charge full tuition costs to the parents, go buy land and put up buildings, do fundraising..whatever...

To anyone that points out that Bullis's test scores are higher...are you serious? The schools in LASD are among the highest already, so boasting about a 10 point difference? Really?

Again, charter schools were intended to encourage innovation in school districts that are in big trouble. LASD is far away from that...

Sorry Bullis parents, but when you support your private charter school against LASD, you are going to war *against* your community. What kind of message are you sending to your children that it is OK to steal from the public?


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Posted by cynthia
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm

"Truthmatters":

Please clarify- What percent of BCS teachers have taught at BCS longer than 3 years? What advantage is there for teachers to teach at BCS versus LASD? I'm offered a teaching job at LASD. I turn it down for BCS? Why?

"Bikes2work"

Please clarify- How many students attend BCS who do not live in Los Altos School District attendance boundaries? That's what I meant by "residents".



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Posted by LASD parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Who of the commenters has read the agreement? That would be a good start so everyone works from the same facts.


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Posted by bikes2work
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Cynthia,

The percentage is about 4% out of district students at BCS. That is about 15 to 20 students. How many out of district students attend Gardner Bullis using the agreement with PAUSD?

In answer to part of your question to Truthmatters, I would say the new teacher should choose BCS. If they are a great teacher, they won't face a layoff just because next year's budget gets shrunken. At LASD, they would be "last in, first out" in a layoff situation based on the union agreement.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

BCS signed a use agreement when they moved into Egan, so you would assume it would be a similar agreement. BCS should have known that they would need to sign the agreement for Blach. Any time you deal with a landlord you have to have an agreement on usage of the property. If I were a BCS parent I would be questioning the BCS administration for not doing their job.


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Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm

@Kate: There is only one usage agreement, not a separate one for Blach and Egan. The agreement comes each year. This year LASD made many changes in the proposed agreement, and they kept making changes all through the summer. The draft included with the facilities offer, which is a legally binding document, indicated that the agreement this year would be substantially the same as 2008-2009, which I guess is the first year LASD even requested one. They are not required. But the changes made this year were major.....


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:55 pm

If the use agreement is so unfair then why hasn't someone published it for all to view?


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Posted by Charters Yay
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

CharterNotSmarter is not smart. Either that, or ill informed and just slinging lies to see what sticks. BCS has never wanted to be treated like a private entiity. They are a public school. The FU Agreement is no way like a landlord tenant lease for the primary reason that an apartment lease is for PRIVATE property whereas school campuses are PUBLIC resources to be shared fairly by public schools.


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Posted by Funny PR
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Haha. Nice press release, Bullis!

Web Link

Now, it's amazingly clear that that protest was 100% pr stunt, esp with your PR agent pushing the story to all the news outlets via twitter. (Note: its better practice to develop a relationship with the reporters, ie build some credibility, first before spamming them with fake 'breaking news'). Plus, the twisting of facts regarding FUA are laughable. Lastly, what's with all the anonymous parents in the press release. Couldn't they find anyone willing to go on record and make a statement.


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Posted by Darrell
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Santa Rita is not representative of LASD as a whole, but BCS is. Santa Rita has 9% low income students versus 4% for LASD as a whole. But these numbers are suspect because LASD does not participate in the federal lunch program, but has its own free lunches paid for by classmates of the students involved. They encourage as many as possible to take the free lunches.

Compared to Mtn View Whisman with 55% low income students in the 6-8 grade, Both LASD and BCS do appear to be very privileged. But within the LASD population, the charter school is just typical, and they are recruiting eagerly any of the district's low income students to participate.


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Posted by Funny
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Honestly, what protest is NOT done for PR?

This is not a stunt though. The stunt is by LASD not coughing up this so-called usage agreement until 10 days before the classrooms are scheduled to be made available to the teachers. Not only that but they had made many last minute objectionable changes, and apparently this is the first year within 5 years that they had even drawn up any sort of usage agreement. Yes, they alerted that there would be an agreement in 2013-2014 back in the spring, but they took months to draft it!


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Posted by Video of Doug Smith at protest
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Check out this video from the protest -- Doug Smith was locked out too!


Web Link


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

Perhaps what is different about this FUA is that BCS accepted Blach facilities on condition that 6-8 graders were to be the users of the facilities. Now with BCS promoting Blach as their FabLab use, where their whole school will rotate in throughout the year, LASD had no choice but to amend the FUA to reflect what was agreed upon in April. Imagine a 1st grader getting injured on a middle school field or in a lab when the site was never set up for that age to begin with!

The twitter source spamming the news outlets about this manufactured rage: Web Link

FUAs are common for charters to sign, are legal, and in this case agreed to in the April offer: Web Link

It's been years since BCS last signed an FUA and apparently suing over having to do so (and losing the case). Much has changed since the last FUA, and the new one should reflect the changes since then. If BCS doesn't like it, then negotiate.


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Posted by Nick J.
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm

BCS has proven time and time again that they can't be trusted. Sign the agreement and you will get the keys. It is as simple as that !!!!!


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Posted by LASD Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Who is the anonymous donor of a $1 million dollars to LASD? Seems ironic that LASD loves to call out BCS on fundraising yet has a donor who, rather than donate via the LAEF and have his/her name out there, gave directly to LASD to avoid anyone knowing. It's great for students who benefit from the secret funding, but why not tell us who it is? Does anyone else find the refusal to name the source odd and rather disingenuous? Seems to me there needs to be increased transparency by LASD.
I also understand there was a special grant made for PR by LASD/LAEF. Who provided that money? How much? As a taxpayer, I would like to know. Who can tell us the facts?


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm

If the lockout was truly about signing an FUA, the district would have changed to locks to Egan too. But that would have been a much bigger PR disaster for them. So they locked out only the nationally-acclaimed FabLab at Blach and the other portables at Blach. Just enough to make BCS teachers scramble and a small number of BCS students suffer, rather than all 600. Shame on anyone who uses political stunts to harm children and their teachers.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm

For those that don't know, the FUA in question covers both Egan and Blach campuses (re the comment above).


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Posted by Had Enough
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

"the nationally-acclaimed FabLab at Blach"--Really???

OK, yes, it was the subject of an article in a national magazine [Forbes?], but NOT ONE STUDENT has had a class in this lab yet.

I certainly hope it lives up to the hype, but right now, it is all hype. There is no evidence to assess yet.

In my experience, the school loves to brag about itself, but the day-to-day educational experience doesn't always match the hype. [Yes, I have experience at the school.]

As far as teacher turnover, it is VERY surprising that they are hiring teachers 2 weeks before school starts--and after their teacher inservice days have started.

If they were going to expand, those teachers should have been hired in the spring. I have heard some of the postings are for teachers who knew they would not be back at the end of the last school year.

If a new teacher had an offer from both LASD and BCS, I would advise him/her to take the LASD offer. The teacher turnover at BCS is a big red flag. Even if they have very high standards for teachers, a high turnover like they are having means that they are not doing a great job in hiring. They aren't hiring the people who will succeed at BCS. I don't mean to suggest the teachers who leave BCS are not good teachers, but for some reason, they are not a good fit for BCS. If I were on the board, I'd be pushing to get answers to some serious questions about why so many teachers were leaving.

Think about it--lots of private schools have extremely high standards for teachers, but turnover at excellent private schools is far lower. Why can't Bullis attract and retain teachers who will be successful in its program?


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Posted by Greg
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Before either side calls the other elitist, be sure to allow a few hundred out of district transfers from the rest of the county.

Until we see that, it's really a case of the pot calling the kettle black.


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Posted by Agreement
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm

The offer as provided last Spring clearly stated that grades 4 through 8 could use the portable buildings at Blach. The brilliant minds at LASD put additional restricts on the draft agreement when they finally completed their side of the agreement to get comments from BCS. There was nothing for BCS to argue about--there was no proposed agreement, only hints at what might be coming, until July 19th. The process of making such an agreement is optional, and BCS had no way to discuss the districts proposal until July 19th BECAUSE IT KEPT DELAYING AND CHANGING ITS MIND. Then they left only 10 days before the facilities are required to be made available for the agreement to be completed. But luckily there is no requirement for such an agreement and since LASD did not provided it in adequate time, then BCS gets the facilities without the agreement. That's all there is to it.


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Posted by Spiteful
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I'm dissappointed that everyone on the LASD "side" IMMEDIATELY jumps to slinging arrows at BCS. Any event leaps to DEV CON 5 here with folks attacking charter school's right to exist and function. BCS has a right to exist and a right to use public taxpayer property. We are your neighbors. We are not perfect, just like you. We have found a school that works great for our kids, just like you. Obviously there are a number of folks out there on the interwebs that are rabidly against BCS. We got it. Short of rolling over and peeing ourselves in submissive dog behavior anytime LASD tells us anything there is nothing ANYBODY could EVER do or say to change your mind. You can easily prey on the fear in every person's heart around change. We got it. I really hope you, my neighbors, can grow to not fear change so much and help find peace. So the next time some oddness happens with a meeting or a building gets locked against teachers, instead of saying how evil or stupid or terrible BCS is you think about how to make an unfair situation a little more fair. It amazes me how generous you can be to the LASD board when they come out with any statement about BCS. Anyone who even deigns to question an LASD directive becomes targeted as an evil BCS supporter who is crazy.


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Posted by Teacher turnover
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm

@Had Enough - yes we all have had enough. The Teacher Turnover at BCS is a big yawn. I think teachers as a rule are awesome and hardworking. But seriously once you set up a curriculum for a grade and create lesson plans for a year, unless you change grades year to year, you don't have to work awesomely hard. You can, but you don't have to. Especially if you have tenure and don't have to worry about loosing your job.

Not every teacher wants to work hard teaching kids. LASD has tons of fabuolous teachers that do. But even the not so fabulous ones keep their jobs. They can coast for a year or two if need be. BCS teachers have to WORK.HARD.EVERY.YEAR. They work longer hours WITH THE CHILDREN instead of having half days off throughout the year for planning. Not every teacher wants to work hard all the time. They are not good fits for BCS. I'm very glad they don't come back. Even if my kid gets a not too stellar teacher at BCS for one year or a bad fit for their learning style they still get lots of hours with their associate teacher, other teachers in co-curriculars, specials, foreign language, & extra-curriculars. This interaction with additional trained teachers can make all the difference when a bad fit has occurred.


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Posted by Had Enough
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:26 pm

@Teacher turnover - my point was that the teacher turnover at BCS is a sign that they are not hiring the right people. By this point, they should KNOW what to look for in a candidate that will ensure they get teachers who want to work in the BCS system. They should have few vacancies, and the ones they do get should be filled by June at the latest.

This level of turnover would be shocking at any high quality private school--where these is also high expectations and no tenure. I wish I knew the cause, but at this point, I would have expected the administration to do a better job of finding candidates who will succeed at BCS long-term.

It may be a yawn to you, but it's not to me. We've had more than one less than stellar teacher at BCS, and in those years, the time with other teachers did not make it much better.


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Posted by Tom Q. Public
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:53 pm

Unbelievable "instant karma" as seen in this video! From my perspective, this was no accident or random "series of unfortunate events" for Doug - all the cliches apply here - most aptly, "you shall reap what you sow". I've just got to "bump" this as it bears watching again:

Web Link


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Posted by Lisa Stone
a resident of another community
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Lisa Stone is a registered user.

@Cynthia, please don't write about something about which you know nothing. I am a teacher at BCS, and I have been there since BCS began. That means that I am going on my tenth year working as a classroom teacher at BCS. I am surrounded with colleagues with whom I have worked for multiple years. Have we had to hire a large number of new staff members over the years? Yes, we have had to hire a significant number since we grew from 170 students in year one to about 650 this year. That would mean, oh, that we would have needed to hire about four times the number of teachers we had when we started.

Teachers have left BCS for many reasons: they have children, their spouses get jobs in other parts of the country, they want to gain experience teaching internationally...Life happens. What is amazing about BCS is that we have had teachers leave for the above reasons who return years later to rejoin our team. This is even happening this year! I'd say that that speaks volumes about the type of working environment that exists at BCS.

What about the turnover in administrators in the LASD? Since Gardner Bullis first opened, it has had somewhere around three principals. Santa Rita just hired a new principal. Over the years since I have worked at BCS, I have read about several new administrators hired by the district yet only one new school was opened in that time. I would be concerned about that if I were a parent in the community or a teacher looking for a job.

If anyone has questions about why there have been job postings on Edjoin seeking teachers to work at BCS, I suggest that you call the school to talk to people who know why. Believing the posts by people like Cynthia is just ludicrous. There is no way that we would be able to do what we do with students if our school had a revolving door of teachers who only stayed for a year or two.


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Posted by Idea
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:07 am

BCS spends much more of their budget (as a fraction) on teachers than LASD does. LASD may have smaller class sizes in 7th and 8th grade, but BCS still has more teachers per student. LASD has more non-certificated staff doing heaven knows what. Some of BCS's ability to hire more teachers comes from simply using their funds differently than does LASD. LASD puts a good bit of money into grounds maintenance and landscaping, though BCS gets hardly any benefit from that. BCS has to pay a share of the expenses LASD spends on such maintenance though. BCS has its own custodians and does its own minor maintenance unlike some Prop 39 facilities. BCS is all housed in portables and so doesn't have some of the upkeep costs found at the LASD schools, but BCS still pays a share of that. I wouldn't be surprised if BCS found funds to hire still more teachers based on their high enrollment growth.... The state also increased the funding for charter schools this year, along with all the non-basic-aid schools in the state.


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Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 1:24 am

Let me get this straight. LASD presents BCS with the first facilities use agreement they requested in 5 years, and they do on 19th of July indicating they won't get access to their facilities unless they sign. Feeling the pressure but faced with a very bad document, BCS manages to return a redlined version with their changes by July 31st, a day before the deadline. LASD doesn't manage to schedule a meeting to go over the requested changes for SIX DAYS until August 5th? Meanwhile, they lock BCS teachers out of the classrooms at Blach on August 2nd, just to rub it in that they aren't processing things very quickly? Seems like LASD should have either managed to respond back the next day, or they should have delayed the lock out.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 8:28 am

Actually John the facilities agreement was presented to BCS on April 1st and clearly states it must be signed by August 1st. You can see it on BCS's own website. BCS has created this situation themselves.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Bravo BCS! is a registered user.

"Nationally acclaimed" goes beyond the Forbes article this week. Google FabLab and you'll see that Stanford University designed it and that there are a handful in operation all over the world, with national and international acclaim.

BCS's FabLab is the same. Please get your facts straight before blasting the FabLab.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm

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Actually, Parent, the April 1 FU Agreement was explicitly a draft, with large areas left blank and with notations "to be inserted later." The April 1 FU agreement said nothing about preventing K-3 students from being on Blach. It said nothing about keeping 4th and 5th graders holed up inside their portable and not allowed to go outside for any reason. All THOSE restrictions first appeared on July 19.

If you would easily sign such an agreement for your own children, let's hope you're not a actually a parent. God help you if you are.


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Posted by Just Say No to Kool-Aide
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Just Say No to Kool-Aide is a registered user.

Dear Spiteful -
Thanks for your outstanding post. I also hope that I my neighbors, can grow to not fear change so much and help find peace. Let's start by encouraging both side to sit down and talk this out right now! Stop the bickering and the blame games. Locking kids out of school should not be a reason to sling more arrows at BCS.

Why are members of the LASD community now using this event as a rallying cry against BCS?

Sadly I think that some in our community are so far in the muck that they can't pull themselves out with out our help. There thought process must be going something like this - ------
"Those big meanies at BCS they forced the nice Board of Trustees, who never ever think of politics, good kind hearted souls that they are, to lock those kids out - really there is no alternative - we can't have young kids mixing with the kids at Blach - oh um wait they already do- there is a preschool there - shhhh- anyway we need to make sure that they can't run their school the way they want to- we figured out how to wreck it for them, they thought they had figured out away around it - but we showed them.. now we just have to rally and tell our friends and neighbors how evil BCS is for getting locked out.

-----
I know long and rambling - but really please stop, let BCS have the keys, encourage the LASD BoT's to sit down and talk. BCS parents demand that your board sit down as well.


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Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 7:19 pm

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LASD really has no choice but to eventually unlock the doors to the facility they added at Blach before the start of school. This is just grandstanding. For example, why did Doug Smith attend the BCS board meeting to vent on them about the FUA issue? That added nothing to the dialog. It was like the picador used by the matador in a bull fight. Doug Smith sure does some weird things and he does not get any mediation awards. And the very idea is offensive that LASD would resist a joint board meeting and then fake an invitation to have one last Monday. They msut have known full well that this issue was at hand, and that they were not on the BCS Agenda, when they released their own saying the opposite.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 8:04 pm

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When all is said and done, this fact remains:

a group of five individuals -- public officials entrusted with the education of children and with the management of their classrooms -- locked out the public school teachers of 600+ children and prevented them from preparing for the start of school.

That act is heinous, hostile and like I said above (far, far above), SHAME ON ANYONE WHO DOES A POLITICAL STUNT TO HARM CHILDREN AND THEIR TEACHERS.

(All caps -- that's yelling.)


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

Maybe instead of paying over $100k in focus groups, another $50k-$100k in newspaper marketing and $300k in makerbot & 3d graphics displays for their new FabLab, they could have used some of that money to invest in upgrading Blach facilities to be suitable for the lower grades to desire to have there. As it is now LASD provided facilities in a configuration that is "reasonably equivalent" to their own, which is Jr Highs not on the same campus as elementary. As such, the Blach facilities are not designed for young students, with their safety not guaranteed if they were to roam around. Nothing stopping BCS from being an active financial partner in the facilities allocation. They are so willing to invest half a million $ in marketing and high tech equipment but won't contribute anything remotely comparable to their facilities!?

Btw, I don't like the fact that teachers are locked out in the most crucial month of the summer for them to class prep. Not the best move, but both sides have some blame here. BCS could have been more proactive in negotiating the FUA to either find a means to include younger kids or how they themselves can help modify the lands. At the same time LASD could have given adequate consequence warning (if they didn't) and handled it differently.


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Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 12:40 am

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The conditions at Blach are a tiny self contained campus of portables for BCS but they are suitable for most grades, perhaps even Kindergarten. BCS has the duty to use the facilities provided by LASD at both sides as will best suit their program. There is no need to spend extra money on the Blach portables to make them suitable for month or two long temporary use as classrooms for lower grades. They should have the right to use their FabLab for all their grades, even if LASD has spread the usable space across two Jr High campuses. There's really no difference in the locations that make one unsuitable for K-3. Remember right next to the BCS area at Blach we find a preschool that has received a favorable lease for LASD for several years now. Surely if LASD feels it is dangerous to have supervised students in a grade 3 classroom at Blach, it should also be worried about having preschool kids about. Tammy Logan even once suggested where I heard her at a public meeting that the BCS kids in the original 4 portables at Blach could walk through the Stepping Stones play yard to reach their assigned sloped field in front of the football field at Blach. BCS has the ultimate responsibility for the students at their school and LASD's liability is limited by comparison. BCS would not do anything to put their kid sin any sort of inferior or dangerous facilities.


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 7:09 am

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

There lies the fallacy of your arguments, Mr R. You trivialize the situation (Building =4 walls, roof, and door, Occupant = 2 legs, 2 arms, torso and head) and then over generalize. You've admitted before to not having kids, so I can understand how you can't fully comprehend the issues and safety requirements of a child.

The preschool there is a distractive argument. They are self contained, isolated from the Blach students, and probably have conditions in their FUA.

This is not about BCS wanting to place a Kinder in the FabLab portable, which by itself is not the problem, it's about what if that Kinder is then using a facility within the Blach Jr High school, intermingled with 13-15 year olds? It's likely the added language of the FUA is there to reflect those restrictions.

Sure, a Kinder at my school could be inside the portable used for 6th graders, but I would be incredibly concerned about letting that child walk freely from the Kinder room to the other side of the school, using the facilities in betweeen. What would stop that child from running off? Kinder areas are fenced off from the rest of the school for a reason, as are the way 1st and 2nd graders are localized near the front.


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Posted by Bravo BCS!
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

Bravo BCS! is a registered user.

Safety is a red herring, completely. Don't forget there are K-3 BCS students at Egan, the OTHER middle school in town, that the district has accommodated.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is this: YOUR elected officials did NOT negotiate, did NOT plan, and did NOT act with any measure of good faith when they LOCKED OUT charter school teachers.

Their actions were heinous and very very hostile.


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Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

Even at Blach, BCS is restricted to using a small area of playground for just the morning hours. During that time, no Blach students are permitted in the area of the Softball field behind the BCS portable cluster. In the other half of the day, BCS has no access to outdoor playground area. So, there would be no issue having K-3 students be among the BCS students accessing the designated (and limited) play area during BCS's assigned hours of the day (mornings I believe). They also have full access to the periphery of the foot ball field all day long, and this area is excluded from Blach. It's not much of a playground, but it is what they might use in the afternoon.

These are all K-8 minor children in a public school required to be under constant adult supervision at all times. There is more concern with them straying way from the school than there would be from them interacting negatively with Blach or Egan students. They have to be watched and supervised. So, yes, student safety is a total red herring, and obviously so.


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Posted by Lisa Stone
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm

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@Mayer-Ct, we have kindergarten students walking across our BCS K-8 campus all of the time. There is no locked kindergarten compound keeping them completely separated from the rest of the campus. They are in K-6 house groups throughout the year, they attend K-6 and sometimes K-8 assemblies every week, they have 5th grade buddies, our 7th graders create assemblies for them, and the 8th graders interview them to build empathy for what children of that age like to do and need in their App Design intersession. We don't have kindergarten students wandering off, getting hurt, or being mistreated by older students as they walk across campus. I have to imagine that the same would be true if our kindergarten students were on the BCI/Blach site.


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

Lisa, LASD has separate K areas. Like BCS they also get the opportunity to have buddies in an upper grade and may on an occasion travel outside the K area, like for a library or garden or field activity, highly supervised. For the most part the Ks are in their own classroom, fenced off with facilities and play fields specifically designed for that age group. LASD isn't required to provide a duplicate K area to BCS at Blach in addition to Egan. Like it or not LASD has to follow the rules on distributing facilities and it has to do so in a manner that reflects equivalency to their own system, not BCS. Unfortunately this has been court confirmed. Wish it could be more equitable.

It's great that BCS has a more inclusive program for all grades and that there are no instances of the little ones getting hurt (physically or emotionally) while in the same areas as the older students. But according the LASD guidelines, Blach is not setup to guarantee such safety. BCS at Egan is essentially isolated from Egan whereas there is a lot more overlapped sharing of facilities at Blach. Either BCS can contribute (financially) to solving that problem so K-3 can more easily roam Blach or come to an agreement in the FUA** on how K-3 can enter Blach without violating the districts guidelines.

**I am speculating here on what is in the recent FUA, beyond the age restrictions agreed to in the Prop 39 offer. Like many, I am waiting to see the July 19 version and proposed changes.


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Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2013 at 3:35 pm

DavidR is a registered user.

Er, she said LASD does NOT provide a separate fenced off area for K to BCS, not even at Egan. They don't mind.

LASD had argued that it split BCS's K away from BCS's 6-8 in order to protect them. They didn't actually refer to protecting them from Blach students.


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

That BCS chooses to not fence off their K area at Egan is their choice, so long as the safety of those and other younger grades are not put into question through use of Egan facilities. The Egan/BCS facility use and share boundary is a lot more clear and agreements worked out. As it stands now Blach is not set up that way while the April 1 offer has a lot more facility integration within Blach. LASD needs to ensure the safety of all students, BCS and LASD. Either BCS can agree to the original split conditions or they can work it out with LASD to find a compromise.

I am still so amazed at how much BCS has spent this year in marketing & focus groups (>$150k), and significant investing in high tech "FabLab" equipment ($300k) yet when it comes to facilities they hold an empty set of hands out to the district (one MPR is not enough). I bet this situation would not have come to a head if both LASD and BCS were financial partners in the facility. I get it, charters are all about independent learning methodologies unencumbered by bureaucracies of the state. There is a way for BCS to follow the same approach with facilities and not have to resort to going private.


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Posted by JJ
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 10:56 am

JJ is a registered user.

Dear John -

Parent is correct. Please read the Final Offer of facilities dated April 1 that is posted on the BCS website. Exhibit P is the FUA and section 2 specifically details the limitations on access to Blach. K-3 are specifically prohibited from being on the Blach campus. Additional limitations on 4-5th graders prohibit access to blacktop playspace. This makes sense since the intent was to place only 6-8 at Blach. This was known to BCS even before the final offer was made and accepted. Please read the documents for yourself instead of relying on hearsay.


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Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

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The LASD offer has a lot of strange restrictions in it that don't match up with all the possibilities as to how BCS might run its program. In this case, BCS is not placing a K-3 class at Blach full time for the entire school year, so they are complying with LASD's restriction, which does not address what do do about shared access to unique facilities that BCS might need to house at Blach since LASD has split BCS into 2 pieces. Furthermore, the exact usage agreement is to be negotiated after the final offer. LASD attempted to insert many other changes into the usage agreement as late as mid-July, so they have no right to say that BCS cannot also insert a permission for part-time use of its facilities at the site by K-3 into the usage agreement as well. Finally, no usage agreement can be made a condition of the facilities offer provided by LASD. The way BCS uses the site is at its sole discretion as a separate education entity, subject only to the laws that govern schools in general. LASD knows all of this. This is just Mickey Mouse piddling around to cause problems. LASD could cover itself by saying that it recommends that BCS not placed K-3 at the site, and that's their only legal concern.


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

David, do you have a problem listening to others arguments and knee jerk reaction to constantly blame EVERYTHING on LASD? In the end, LASD is responsible for the safety of the students using THEIR facilities. That is according the "laws that govern schools". BCS may use the site "at its sole discretion as a separate entity", but that does not give it the right to place students in a situation that could potentially harm them. I don't care if BCS uses animal touch therapy with lions (actually, I would care), it's ultimately LASD that is responsible for the safety of the students in its facilities. Regardless if they are there for a day or the whole year.

As I've said, I'm sure a way can be worked out where K-3 students can be accommodated at Blach, much as they are now at Egan. That is part of the business of the FUA and the modifications from the draft in April. It may require extra modification to Blach that LASD does not have to pay for, since that would be duplication of what is at Egan. Why isn't BCS coming forward and offer to make those changes? Why spend countless $s on educational perks and focus groups but barely a cent on facilities? Because it's the bare minimum of the law?


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Posted by Mayer-Ct
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Mayer-Ct is a registered user.

LASD letter to BCS on FUA history: Web Link

LASD DOES NOT have a goal of shutting down BCS. If anything, LASD has made some very generous attempts to keeping BCS open and accommodated so their students can have the thriving education they have come to know!

Let's break down the facts:

1)BCS agreed to signing the April 1 facility offer. Some things they didn't like they sued over, and lost. Minor things were actually negotiated after April 1 with continuous meetings between the administrations.

2)LASD portioned facilities, shared and new, at Blach based on a grade level split. This is what is allowed and required under Prop 39. Anything more is either through the good graces of the district or self furnished by BCS. For example, safety modifications required for K-3 that already exists at Egan, which BCS could implement at Blach themselves.

3)Despite agreeing to the concept of facilities split among grade levels to minimize major duplications, BCS announces to their intent to have K-8 rotate through Blach. Never did they try to negotiate what modifications are necessary or communicate how to bring this about with the district.

4)In July, BCS announces privately to their parents that for at least the first week of school ALL children will be at Egan, none at Blach. Again, this was never negotiated with the district and is in violation of the agreed to terms from April 1. Never did they propose to amend the FUA to accommodate all children at Egan, through their own modifications or asking the district.

5) Seeing how BCS is blatantly disregarding the terms of the FUA they try to reinforce the grade level facility split based on safety with finer language in the FUA. At the same time they increase the pro-rata share to reflect the large amount of facilities supplied as compared to the last time a pro-rata share was changed (withheld previously from change by a now finished lawsuit).

6)LASD removed the financial increase and essentially defaulted back to the original FUA

7)BCS still not agreeing refuses to sign by the deadline. LASD, seeing blatant disregard for the agreed to terms that have now been legally upheld, is left with the choice of taking a bold action, akin to punishing a mischievous child with a time out, by changing the locks.

8)BCS & LASD met and agreed to use the original FUA framework. The very next day BCS parents protested while their own board kept them in the dark about the agreement.

9)BCS chooses to write their own FUA, counter to the agreed to version. Wanny's signature effectively voids all prior facility offers. With grace, LASD forgives that grievous mistake and resubmits a signed FUA from the original offer, saving the charter from potentially shutting the doors themselves.

10)BCS can either a) sign this document, b) not sign and move in thereby defaulting to agreeing to the FUA terms with the chance to negotiate alterations down the road, c) not sign, move in and not obey the FUA terms thereby encountering sanctions, or d) not sign and not accept the facilities while choosing to self site.

These are the facts.


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