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Charter school-district accord a welcome step

Original post made on Jul 26, 2014

There was good news earlier this month from the Los Altos School District about the possible signing of a five-year agreement with Bullis Charter School. Could it be that the sometimes embarrassing squabbling between these two parties may be coming to an end?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (34)

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Posted by MVLA Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

This deal was too long in coming. The district only relented in its demand when they were faced with the looming elections in Novemeber and the Oral Arguments and subsequent ruling on the Bullis 2009 suit charging discrimination in provision of school facilities.

The provision of a residence priority for just one of LASD's 7 elementary school areas was not narrow enough to create huge discrimination. This is because all of the elementary schools in Los ALtos except one have considerably more than $100K family income averages. Consider these family income numbers of some of the census data areas adjacent to the various elementary schools in LASD.

Oak Avenue: $189K (Los Altos/Mountain View), $158K (Los Altos)
Loyola: $173K (Los Altos, $189K (Los Altos Hills), $184K (Los Altos)
Springer: $200K (Mountain View), $130K (Mountain View), $166K (Los Altos)
Covington: $194K (Los Altos), $152K (Los Altos)
Gardner: $152K (Los Altos), $194K (Los Altos Hills), $174K (Los Altos Hills)
Almond: $188K (Los Altos), $136K (Los Altos), $150K (Los Altos), $118K (Mountain View)
Santa Rita: $129K (Los Altos), $101K (Los Altos), $91K (Los Altos), $85K (Mountain View)

On the other hand, these income levels are shockingly greater than those from the areas covered by Mountain View Whisman SD.


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Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

I too hope the agreement is signed.

Joan J. Strong wants to retire...


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Posted by Questions
a resident of The Crossings
on Jul 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

I wonder how people will feel in 2-3 years when LASD is receiving revenues of $12,500 per year per student but the LCFF formula has ramped up its rollout and Bullis receiving $7,000 per typical student but $10,000 per high need student. Interesting that this call for increasing the charters enrollment of high need comes at a time when the funding LASD must provide to high need students is about to increase dramatically.


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Posted by sarah P
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 10:08 pm

LASD has always had an interesting approach. They seem to want BCS to have more high needs students - low income, ELL, Special Ed, but love to use them as stats and as funding sources.


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Posted by Luigi
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 28, 2014 at 6:59 am

@Sarah P -- I can't speak for the board members, but many of us in the LASD community feel that if BCS is taking taxpayer dollars, and demanding that the district provide facilities, they should not systematically exclude disadvantaged students. As with any public school, BCS has a legal and moral obligation to serve all segments within the community -- not just those that are easy or low cost. It's time they put that self proclaimed "innovation" in service of disadvantaged students just like the rest of the district does.


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Posted by Sarah P
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

BCS doesn't exclude anyone.


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Posted by Luigi
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:14 am

HAHAHAHAHAHAAA.... Good one Sarah. Good one...


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Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

Yeah, having a mandatory Mandarin language program from Kindergarten doesn't "exclude" Spanish-speaking English Language Learners. Sure, come to this school and be forced to learn *yet another* language on top of English.

Yes, technically that doesn't physically stop anybody from applying to BCS.

And yes, a high-need special ed student can come to BCS--and be shipped off to County. Yes, they too aren't "excluded", technically speaking.

And yes, if a child "doesn't fit in" to the BCS program they can be tossed out of the school without explanation. But they weren't excluded from enrollment.

Neiman Marcus doesn't "exclude" anybody either, but for some strange reason only rich people shop there. It has to do with the products they sell and the environment they create.

Charter supporters envision charter schools for every demographic, and everybody goes to the school that matches their ethnicity and class--just exactly what lots of parents want. If not stopped, charter schools will make the USA more segregated and polarized than ever before.


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Posted by Language
a resident of Slater
on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

These kids that are 5 years old and live in MVLA territory were generally born here and have been exposed to English all of their lives. They have the advantage of already being bilingual, but just lack parents who are fluent in the 2nd language.

So, yes, learning at the same time a 3rd language actually does increase their ability to absorb the same nuances of grammar and vocabulary as their 5 year old peers. The argument that only 1 new language can be learned at a time is both invalid and inapplicable--these kids already SPEAK English, they just have an impediment at home to polishing it as they mature.

This is the kind of nonsense argument that this cabal that operates as Joan J Strong are famous for.


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Posted by Ben
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I am so glad that you haven't stopped writing Joan. It's good to have a hobby. Creative writing and story telling is a difficult endeavor to succeed at, put it certainly is something that you are passionate it about.


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Posted by Oh Happy Day
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 10:12 am

Congratulations to both boards for signing the agreement. The best part about it? Joan J Strong said that "she" would retire when the agreement was signed. Truly it's a fantastic day.


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Posted by Whoopee
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:20 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or personal attack]


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Posted by Win for BCS
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:33 am

This agree is a HUGE WIN for Bullis Charter School:

1. They can know grow to two different campuses and continue to expand at a moderate rate.
2. They don't have to worry about LASD pulling the rug out from under them every fall, when they would take away already promised facilities.
3. They can't set their own start and end times.
4. They can continue to attract families that care more about the educational program, and less about the facilities.

The community wins as well - LASD can offer facilities and BCS can offer an awesome program. Some people will like permanent buildings and computer rooms others will choose, Arts, foreign language, Individualized Learning, and a Fablab at BCS.


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Posted by Spelling?
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm

And for Win for BCS, Santa will bring spelling lessons!


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Posted by Get over yourself
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm

The facilities war may be over (thankfully), but as long as there are people like @Win for BCS, there will continue to be conflict in the community. BCS parents and supporters should have enough confidence in their program that they don't need to disparage LASD. Sadly, there still seems to be a vocal faction around here that can only feel good about themselves by attempting (though failing) to tear others down. Pretty pathetic...


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Posted by Right back at you
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 29, 2014 at 6:09 pm

So lets see BCS parents are disparaging LASD? I don't think so. Disparaging the very poor wasteful actions of the LASD Trustees has nothing to do with the actual education ( or lack there of) that goes on in LASD classrooms. Let parents choose the best program for their children. Thank goodness that competition will continue. Some parents, mostly those living close to an LASD campus, will continue to favor LASD schools but many will choose the programs at BCS. They are two very different programs. Its a WIN for everyone except for the LASD Trustees and a few of the LASD faithful that really wanted to end BCS


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Posted by Filthy Rich
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Does this disparage LASD? LASD has almost overwhelmingly well to do families feeding it students. The average family income in various census data areas feeding the LASD schools does look like this. Is this bad?
Oak Avenue: $189K (Los Altos/Mountain View), $158K (Los Altos)
Loyola: $173K (Los Altos, $189K (Los Altos Hills), $184K (Los Altos)
Springer: $200K (Mountain View), $130K (Mountain View), $166K (Los Altos)
Covington: $194K (Los Altos), $152K (Los Altos)
Gardner: $152K (Los Altos), $194K (Los Altos Hills), $174K (Los Altos Hills)
Almond: $188K (Los Altos), $136K (Los Altos), $150K (Los Altos), $118K (Mountain View)
Santa Rita: $129K (Los Altos), $101K (Los Altos), $91K (Los Altos), $85K (Mountain View)


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Posted by Voting No
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm

As a senior I like to support the schools. I even pay the parcel tax instead of taking the exemption. Right now I am voting no on the bond. It looks to me like a laundry list of projects. Many of which don't really seem necessary. For example why do they need to borrow money to do maintenance? Shouldn't maintenance be part of the regular budget?

If they were building a new school I might consider it. Write now it just seems like everything and the kitchen sink.


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Posted by BetterIdea
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:57 am

De-certify and dis-band the charter school to re-consolidate the district. That will save a lot of space that is wasted by having all the extra administrators duplicating LASD work.

How can we get this done?

Joan Strong: On a related note, do you have any numbers to show the legal costs incurred by LASD to fight off the BCS onslaught?


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm

How can we get these authoritarian cheerleaders to go elsewhere?


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Posted by Joan J. Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Joan J. Strong is a registered user.

For the record, the alias "Joan J. Strong" will no longer be used by me--the person who has posted under that name for the last three years or so. I will also not post under any other alias in any online forum. From this point forward, please consider online posts under the name, "Joan J. Strong", "Joan Strong", or any similar variant as fraudulent.

Here is the full statement regarding my retiring of this alias coincident with the cessation of litigation by Bullis Charter School:

Web Link

Thank you.


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Posted by Juan J Strong
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:37 am

How exciting that Joan J Strong is retiring. I hope s/he enjoys life in Florida. It's not fraudulent though, to post anonymously. The idea that one can claim a fake id as unique property is questionable. Do you file income taxes under that name?


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Posted by Fake Juan
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

Whether you agree with the positions of "Joan Strong" over the years or not, s/he has been 100% consistent in the use of that alias and certainly should be considered to "own" that "brand" or persona. Anonymous posting is not fraudulent, but posting under an alias that has been consistently used by someone else in an attempt to deceive is absolutely fraudulent.


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Posted by Move Along
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:26 am

Joan does not deserve a pat on the back. She was a force for bad will and tried to drive a hate thy neighbor campaign. Let's not forget her forelock tugging for the LASD Board. Then there was her populist diatribe that nobody really paid attention to. All in all a force for evil.


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Posted by Move Alont
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:30 am

A word to Joan J Strong supporters. I hope you can look inward and realize that you are in no small way responsible for much of ill will that has tormented our community. You might think that she was just fighting for your kids schools but what she really was doing was exercising some personal vendettas and carrying out orders.


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Posted by Moving right along...
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm

@Move Along -- You might disagree with Joan Strong's positions and her/his rhetoric may have been inflammatory at times, but s/he served a very useful purpose in defending the LASD schools against the disruptive force of BCS. S/he raised awareness of the issues within the community and pushed the Trustees and the SCCBOE to not allow this rogue charter to undermine our high performing schools. The stakes in this conflict were enormous, and without someone like JJS helping beat the drums and fan the flames of opposition to BCS, we could easily have seen the Trustees cave in and give up an existing campus to the charter.

That said, I think her/his retirement is entirely appropriate at this point given the 5 year agreement. I just wish some of the pro-BCS agitators (like Haley, Roode, Fagan, Reed, Yang, et al) would have the integrity to also stand down and let the community begin to heal.


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Posted by Move Along
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:31 pm

You might think that but really all Joan J Strong ever did was make it okay to be mean to kids in a school. It was a hate thy the neighbor campaign because Joan didn't like the leader of BCS. People joined in because they didn't want to change schools. They encouraged the LASD Board to delay making any decisions and encouraged them to spend large amounts of tax payer money trying to get rid of BCS.

We could have had this same agreement a year and 1/2 ago. Yet millions of dollars later here we are. BCS is here to stay. Joan J Strong wanted to destroy it. She and the community members that encouraged her accomplished nothing except making LASD a very unpleasant community.


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Posted by Move Along
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm

What was accomplished in this entire fiasco is that thanks to the actions of the LASD Board, Charter Schools students all over California will now have better access to facilities. Los Altos School District v. Bullis Charter School is a landmark case and it will continue to help charters succeed through out our state. So I would like to personally thank the Los Altos School Board for their efforts.


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Posted by Moving right along...
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm

First, that "landmark case" accomplished nothing more than clarifying the requirement to include useless space in equivalency calculations. Spin it all you want, but it really accomplished nothing of substance despite the millions of dollars spent by BCS in the attempt. Secondly, JJS hardly made it "ok to be mean to children" (claims of actual bullying were wildly overblown as well). There was pathetic parent behavior on both sides of this and the rhetoric from people like Ron Haley, Grace Yang, Matt Rascke, and others was just as inflammatory as that of JJS. Finally, if anyone bears responsibility for making the community "unpleasant" it's the founders, leaders, and over-zealous supporters of BCS who decided early on that a scorched earth strategy was preferable to any sort of meaningful compromise. Thankfully that seems to have changed -- except for hard core holdouts like yourself...


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Lee is a registered user.

I think that might be a bit difference from this program. This program seems more like a camp. The program that you are linking to is summer school. A program that the state funds is and is offered by most districts.


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Lee is a registered user.

My apologies, the above comment was posted on the wrong story.... I was replying to a post on the story about the BCS summer camp.


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Lee is a registered user.

For anyone who is interested, here is a link to the story on the BCS Camp for underprivileged kids.

Web Link


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Posted by Useless Land
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 3:08 pm

The Bullis school was confined to 4 acres of Egan school for no good reason. So they took the district to court and got a ruling that they deserved as much land and as much building space per student as all the other students in the district got. This included both useless and useful land. All the district schools have so much; we do see much of it sit idle much of the time.

The district responded by both increasing the number of portables and the ground space at Egan to 7.5 acres, without taking anything Egan really used away. They still share access to the Baseball field as they had back when they were only 4 acres--Egan only uses it a few hours a day and a few weeks per year.

The calculations required the district to provide more than 7.5 acres, and the district handled this by (1) denying Bullis space for after school child care to help them fit onto the smaller site [All the district schools devote an acre or so plus a large multi-module portable building to after school childcare] and (2) giving them access to land clear across town at Blach, with only 3 portable classrooms there on site at Blach.

Bullis mostly got along fine at Egan but they did have to use every bit of building and outdoor space ALL DAY LONG with careful scheduling. This is different than what LASD does.

So, the calculations award both more usable important space and some space that can be done without. It's a lot more than what LASD tried to get away with.


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Posted by This isn't over
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 1, 2014 at 8:18 am

The bond won't pass. LASD zealots counting their chickens before they hatch. Putting up the same old guard - Logan, Goines, Smith - bunch of clowns who have led everyone down this 10 year rat hole. BCS got what they wanted. You think they would sign this deal otherwise. But rest assured, the bond will not pass. Seniors in this community have seen enough of this petty nonsense and along with a few other factions will ensure 46% say no.


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