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District, charter school votes to OK agreement

Original post made on Jul 31, 2014

After a marathon mediation meeting that ended at 4 a.m., both the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School boards voted unanimously at a July 28 special meeting to approve the five-year agreement between the school district and the charter school.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 31, 2014, 10:24 AM

Comments (18)

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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:39 am

Lee is a registered user.

So happy that both boards could come to agreement. Congratulations. A real win for our community.

I was very pleased to see that several of the BCS Board members retired when their terms completed. I hope that Mr. Goines, Mr. Smith and Ms. Logan will do the same and not run for re-election next fall. It would be best to move forward without their egos in the way.

What this community really needs is a new school in the north end. Not gogas for each and every campus. We also need to find a permanent site to house the charter. Both of those can be accomplished - as well as a few gogas if the board is willing to make some tough decisions. Mr. Goines, Ms. Logan and Mr. Smith haven't done that. It's time for a new group.


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:45 am

Lee is a registered user.

Correction - the election is this fall. They already voted themselves an extra year - 5 years is long enough. The filing deadline is August 4th. So I guess we will soon know. I hope Ms. Logan will change her mind.


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Posted by Move Along
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm

I would like to thank the Los Altos School Board for working so hard and spending millions of dollars in tax payer trying to get rid of Bullis Charter School. You might be kind of sad right now, thinking your efforts were all for not, but do not despair. You have in fact accomplished something, although maybe it wasn't what you had in mind.

Due to your efforts in trying to get rid of BCS by making the facilities as unpleasant and minimal as possible you really have accomplished something. Charter School Students throughout the state will now have access to the facilities that they are legally entitled to. LASD v BCS is a landmark case. So thanks LASD BOTS.


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Posted by Moving along...
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Oh yeah, great precedent for Charter schools @Move Along. All that ruling did, was clarify that calculations of "reasonable equivalency" must also include useless space. Major victory that one. I was pleasantly surprised that BCS agreed to drop the litigation. Maybe some new blood on their Board is having an effect. I was convinced that the old guard was committed to spending whatever they had to to try to establish much stronger precedent than equal sharing of shrubbery...


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Posted by Move Along
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:22 pm

@moving along aka JJS

Let's see what can post under now that you have retired? Moving Along is kind of confusing.


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Posted by Moving along is not JJS
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Nice try though buddy. There are more than a few people remaining to call BS on the bogus claims people like you continue to make. Time to give it up. The war is over. Try taking your own advice and just "Move On"...


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Lee is a registered user.

Hmmm not sure that we still need all of this arguing back and forth. Can we all agree that it would be a nice change to have both boards with new members? Please encourage the current LASD BOT's not to run for re-election. I think that there are some great potential candidates that are interested in running but don't want to step on the current boards toes. It would be nice if we could get some new people on the board.

By the way it looks like at least one candidate is busy this summer. I just finished reading this article here in the Voice Hats off to Martha.

Web Link


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Posted by Los Altos Parent
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:36 pm

@Lee - I agree, but where would such a school go? No property owner in the San Antonio area has expressed any interest, and the ones who have been asked directly have threatened litigation. Even those willing to sell can get a higher price from private developers. The owners of residential real estate in Los Altos Hills and the Los Altos City Council are similarly hostile. Do you see an option I don't?


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:38 pm

It's easy to find a place for another school - its on LASD property.


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:43 pm

redraw the boundary lines. This line instead of creating a new school for kids in Los altos - exactly where you didn't need one try using existing property at the North End and put one there. Whoops you just placed BCS there for the next five years. Still I think you could get around that.


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Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 31, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Corrections, corrections.

What I should have made is clear is redraw the attendance lines. MV kids living in the LASD are being used to populate Covington. That's got to stop. You don't really a neighborhood school at Covington. How many schools are right around 3? All those Covington kids could walk to Almond, Springer or Loyola without a problem. I suppose they could make their way to Gardner as well. Time for Los Altos to move around a bit.

Build a school at Egan for NEC. Be done with it.

BTW BCS is perfect for Covington- right in the middle, that will help balance things out nicely.


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Posted by let's be fair
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Glad to hear both sides work it out. Not sure why we really need a BCS though. Do the rich people of Los Altos really need an elite school who carefully selects only the wealthiest people to create a quasi-private school using public funds? Whatever....

As for Mountain View, why approve all this new housing if you can't supply the schools? It's hard to believe the mayor would say that they won't do anything for schools for the additional kids. They get the revenue from all this new housing and stick the school problem on Los Altos? I'm not in favor of crowding the existing schools to accommodate them. We pay a lot of property taxes and we should get what we pay for. Build a school in Mountain View for all the students north of El Camino. Then they don't have to cross that busy street. That should have been in the plans when all the new housing was approved.


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Posted by Lee
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 31, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Lee is a registered user.

Actually I don't think lLet's be fair is being very productive. I think parents in Los Altos, Mountain View and Los Altos Hills should have a choice on where to educate their children. Indeed it is more likely that parents that can't afford private school are the ones that are sending their kids to our local public schools, both charter and traditional. I think it is great that BCS has been able to offer such an interesting program in a public school. LASD seems to be upping their efforts to create a more interesting offering lately and it is welcome change.

It is time to stop the name calling. I am glad that we have excellent public and private schools in our area. The more choices there are the better it is for everyone. If people are not interested in those programs they won't go there. No reason to disparage them.


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Posted by let's be fair
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:27 pm

I agree that BCS is offering great programs. That's can't be disputed. My concern is if that's the best way for Los Altos to spend their limited funds. Should we have one unified school district or have several public schools and one quasi-private school with all these great programs? My kids are now beyond the 8th grade but this issue still affects the schools and ultimately, my property value. Values have gone up but did not keep up with Palo Alto which doesn't have the LASD/BCS issue. They spend all their school dollars on schools.


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Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 6:32 pm

Are you trying to make the point that the more taxes dollars a school receives the more worthy it is? Good luck with that one! Let's ask the taxpayers:

Taxpayers of LASD you pay about $12000 dollars a year to educate a student in an LASD school and $6000 to educate a student at BCS. The students at BCS have a great program including a longer school day. BCS is the top scoring school in the district and offers extensive STEM, arts and foreign language programs. Which program should we continue with?


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Posted by Quasi Public Unions
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 1, 2014 at 9:04 am

Public Schools are run for the benefit of the teacher unions. This war was lost long ago. Anyone who thinks public schools are run for the benefit of students is naively following teacher union propaganda. All teacher unions want is more money and less work. When is the last time you heard a union teacher say "I think the school has enough money".? I'll tell you when, NEVER!

And yet BCS, and btw all catholic schools too, offer a better education at 50 to 75% less that LASD.

A school voucher system is the only route forward that would force accountability on these slacker teachers.


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Posted by Quasi falsehoods
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 1, 2014 at 9:37 am

@Quasi Public Unions is naively following right wing, corporate education reform propaganda (and I'm a registered Republican). First, BCS is not cheaper than LASD. When comparing cost to educate a "typical" student (i.e. not special needs, or ELL, or low-SES, BCS is actually substantially MORE expensive than LASD. They are heavily subsidized by outside money which is not a scalable alternative to public schools. They also haven't magically figured out how to offer enhanced curriculum, lower class size, and longer days at lower cost. Anyone who believes they have was absent the day they taught basic economics at school.

Secondly, while I absolutely oppose unions in general, and believe many of the unionized teacher horror stories to be true, that hasn't been my family's experience in LASD at all. In fact it was just the opposite. Based on 18 child/years of direct personal experience with LASD I only saw a couple examples of "slacker" teachers. The vast majority were dedicated, professionals who often went above and beyond to serve the students in LASD.

Why don't you drop the hateful, mindless dogma and actually try to understand the real root cause of problem schools vs simply spewing canned, anti-union talking points?


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Posted by Where the money goes
a resident of Gemello
on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:59 am

BCS spends money on educating it's current students. LASD spends money on retirees.

Much of the tax payer funds that LASD is spending goes to retirement and employee benefits, like promotion before an early retirement. The unions and school administrators work hand in hand with their buddies on the school board to make it happen. Think that our local boards are the exception? They aren't. Recently Los Altos School District hired a principal out of retirement for Almond School. She was a big spender and got the PTA to spend big bucks, actually more than half of the PTA budget on play that she had a leading role in.* After a year or two the LASD Board rewarded her for her short term of service and promoted her to Assistant Superintendent. She did that job for a year then she retired.

Now LASD is going to shell out extra retirement pay for this employee for the rest of her life, because retirement pay is based on at the last 2 or 3 years of service. Getting a promotion in the last year of work means getting a huge lifetime benefit. In this case it will be around $30,000 extra/ year. Think that is insignificant? It's enough to buy a laptop computer cart with enough computers for an entire classroom.


*weird huh? Shouldn't the roles go to kids? There are some great local theater groups that she could have participated in. Anyway Almond is currently picturing themselves as a theater school. They want to use your tax dollars and build a theater at Almond. Apparently their new MPR built in the last bond go around wasn't enough. We are still paying for that one. Meanwhile, they want to turn the current MPR into a 1990's style media center ( Gardner is getting one so they should too) with computers and books not sure why they want to do this, seems a bit antiquated to me. Maybe Almond should look to BCS for inspiration.

The LASD BOTs refused to provide BCS with an MPR, so BCS raised funds and built it's own MPR. Sure its made out of portable buildings, but it works, and it is used all day long for drama classes. In fact this year BCS was one of only 14 schools in the entire state of California to be named a Distinguished School for the Arts. They did that with out a fancy theater.


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