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LASD makes Bullis an offer on new facilities

Original post made on Feb 10, 2010

The Los Altos School District is waiting for a response from Bullis Charter School leaders regarding its offer for next year's classroom facilities, which was approved by trustees at the end of January.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 11:34 AM

Comments (21)

Posted by New Facilities?, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Headline seems disconnected from the description of the offer :)

" the district offered the same space for next school year, 2010-11, as it did for this year."



Posted by Joe the Plumber, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Talk about holding the school district for ransom.


Posted by parent-at-large, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Don't forget the FOUR kindergartens! BCS wants to add another class and had solicited "input" from the current parent population, but had in fact already requested space from LASD. So much for what the parents think...or anyone else for that matter....


Posted by Bob, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm

parent-at-large,

Are you aware that the BCS has applications for over 13 kindergartens worth of students for the upcoming year? It seems like a forecast of 4 was woefully inadquate to address the onslaught of demand.


Posted by gracie, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Just because you have demand to get in doesn't mean you should admit everyone. Regardless of space issues, many of the parents at BCS do not want their child at a huge school. Many of the parents did not even want a 7th or 8th grade, yet here we are. I'd rather my money be spent on education rather than lawsuits.


Posted by Stop the Madness, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Headline should read:
LASD PLANS SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN CLASS SIZE
K-3 increasing to 25, 4-8 increasing to 30

A few thoughts-
- Enough students to fill 13 kindergartens! Hats off to Bullis Charter School for offering an outstanding and innovative program. It's time to create a few more Los Altos Charters. Mandarin Emersion? PACT? Replication of Bullis but on a different campus?
- With class size increasing why is Gardner Bullis remaining open? Almost all of the students there live closer to either Santa Rita or Covington. Gardner Bullis is a total drain on the school district resources and funds. All day kindergarten? 230 students? Many from out of the district? Why is this fair or reasonable to the vast majority of LASD students? Think of how much Gardner Bullis impacts on Egan. If the charter school could move to the Gardner Bullis site, Egan would have its entire campus back.
- I have hope that the new board will work the charter school. The charter school is here to stay, it's time to stop wasting tax payer money trying to defeat it. Instead, think about why the charter school is so popular, despite it's less than ideal campus. LASD parents seem to want an alternative to the one size fits all schools now being offered.






Posted by Stop the Madness, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Headline should read:
LASD PLANS SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN CLASS SIZE
K-3 increasing to 25, 4-8 increasing to 30

A few thoughts-
- Enough students to fill 13 kindergartens! Hats off to Bullis Charter School for offering an outstanding and innovative program. It's time to create a few more Los Altos Charters. Mandarin Emersion? PACT? Replication of Bullis but on a different campus?
- With class size increasing why is Gardner Bullis remaining open? Almost all of the students there live closer to either Santa Rita or Covington. Gardner Bullis is a total drain on the school district resources and funds. All day kindergarten? 230 students? Many from out of the district? Why is this fair or reasonable to the vast majority of LASD students? Think of how much Gardner Bullis impacts on Egan. If the charter school could move to the Gardner Bullis site, Egan would have its entire campus back.
- I have hope that the new board will work the charter school. The charter school is here to stay, it's time to stop wasting tax payer money trying to defeat it. Instead, think about why the charter school is so popular, despite it's less than ideal campus. LASD parents seem to want an alternative to the one size fits all schools now being offered.






Posted by More Precise Madness, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

It's actually worse:

- LASD is planning to increase Kindergarten class size to 25, grades 1-3 to 30 !!(up from 24 this year and with most class aides gone this year); 4-6 are already at 30.
- LASD itself projects that BCS might reach 550 kids in a few years and hints at a possible new round of boundaries/attendance changes.

see here (page 6 of the PDF) Web Link


Posted by Evan, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 11, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I'd put my son in Bullis, but I don't agree with their methods of shaking down parents for tuition, er, I mean money. Funny no one likes to talk about that aspect of the Bullis Charter School in spite of the high property taxes I am already paying.


Posted by BCS Parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Evan,
There is not any tuition for BCS. Most families donate to school. The money goes directly to the school. BCS spends about the same/student as do LASD schools. BCS does not get any school bond money, or money from local property taxes. BCS gets around $7000 from the state. Parents make up the difference. My donation is less than I paid for preschool. I am happy to pay it- my children are getting an outstanding education from fantastic teachers and administrators.


Posted by parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2010 at 7:19 am

Here we go again. Move on people!! Gardner Bullis is actually limited in size by its geography - remember all the boundary discussions three years ago? BCS is actually too large to fit at Gardner Bullis unless it were to split into an upper campus and a lower campus like Pinewood. Instead of using resources to sue the district over and over again and to pay PR people, use it to proactively locate a viable site for the school.


Posted by Evan, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:18 am

Call it what you like, donation, tuition, fees, shakedown, blackmail, that's the way BCS works. People on the inside know what's going on. Extra-curricular activities cost even more. Sorry, my 5-figure salary can't compete with the the 6 and 7-figure salaries coming out of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. It's pay to play on a public school campus no matter how you look at it and the district attorney should get involved. We've already drained enough money from LASD.


Posted by parent-at-large, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

The extra funds provided by parents at Bullis Charter ($4K/child this year on average) supplement the $7K provided by the state. Otherwise the school could not afford a full-time, onsite art, music, and environmental science teacher. Not to mention a drama teacher, after-school drama program, during school co-curriculars (electives, these are free), after school extra-curriculars (these are free), field trips (there is a charge but they are subsidized should a family be unable to pay), assemblies (free--Wild Cats, BMX bikes, Karate, robotics, to name a few).
The funding model works, and without reforming Prop 13, it is the ONLY one that will in California. It is the same one used by Los Altos Education Foundation--donate your suggested $800/student/year to get art, music, and tech at the lower grades and tech and smaller classes in Jr. high. Otherwise all the schools would be left at Alabama level funding. This would pay for 12 teachers, a half a secretary, and a principal.
The irony of many peoples' critique is that they say, "I'm not gonna be taken for a ride and pay that!!", however, it is a tax-deductible amount. $4K is really $2.5, and $800 is really about $500 for most people. FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR FOLKS! For teachers, art supplies, field trips, etc. For a well-rounded, top-notch education, whether you choose BCS or LASD. The point is, if we all stop contributing and those schools fail, those SAME parents who whine about donating will turn to the private schools and beg to have their kids admitted. Well, I got news for you folks! Pinewood takes about 30 kids/year in only a few grades and charges $30,000 not a penny of which is tax-deductible.
Let's work with what we've got and DONATE to the best of our ability to the MV-Whisman Ed. Foundation, LAEF, or Bullis-Purissima Charter. IT WORKS! This ensures our childrens' future. Without it they will be using 10 year old textbooks, have no aides, huge classes, etc. In fact, Los Altos schools can avoid larger class sizes if the parents start making NOISE and tell the Foundation they are willing to GIVE To make up the difference! Go to a School Board meeting and ask Tim Justice, how much will it cost?? How can we get our aides back and afford to keep class sizes small? I'm willing to be that even on a 5 figure salary, most parents in LASD can come up with a couple hundred bucks a year (times 4,000 kids) to help up the ante. Otherwise everyone will be vying for those 30 Pinewood spots and the kids will suffer, our economy will suffer, and you parents drinking $6 lattes will be VERY sorry you didn't step up to the plate and meet your obligations. The state is broke, folks, it has to come from us.


Posted by Evan, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Well, thanks at least for confirming that a quality public school education is no longer free, especially if you live in Los Altos and regardless if you already pay high property taxes. $4,000 might not be a lot for you, but it is for me.


Posted by Martha, a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 12, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Martha is a registered user.

"BCS does not get any school bond money, or money from local property taxes. BCS gets around $7000 from the state." Actually, if you are getting $7K from the state, that is coming from property taxes and it's most likely the same as what LASD gets per student. Do you mean parcel taxes? Different thing.


Posted by parent-at-large, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Hi Martha, I have delved into local school finances DEEPLY when doing research on placing my kids and my undertstaning is this: Bullis Charter is not technically part of LASD. Therefore it gets state funding just like MVWSD or any other (non-basic aid) district to the tune of about $7K/student/year, NOT linked to local property taxes. In addition, since the charter was authorized by Santa Clara Country Office of Ed (against the wishes of LASD), when the parcel tax was renewed about 2 years ago in LASD, the organizers did not include Bullis Charter as a fund-ee. Therefore BCS get no parcel tax $$ while all other schools in LASD split that (about $5 mill/year). In addition, LASD is now Basic Aid, which means they don't get that $7K directly from the state per pupil any more (as of last and this year); instead LASD "keeps" property tax revenues above a certain amount owed to Sacramento. At this point in time, it works out to slightly MORE than $7K/student/year, or else they would drop out of Basic Aid :)There is a slight advantage to being basic aid, and it does draw from "local" sources, but the LASD officials have no actual control over the revenue. If local housing values stagnate or go down, their local revenues do as well,and LASD is looking at a shortfall as are other districts even though their money is "local".
That's my understanding. Therefore Bullis Charter is slightly less well funded at the per-student level, and does not benefit from the parcel tax. Of course it also does not draw from the Los Altos Education Foundation, which benefits only LASD district schools (which the Charter is not, technically, as it was added in by the County and "housed" in the district). Bullis Charter has it's OWN Foundation which is highly successful and makes up for that dual funding gap.
In ANY case, as a parent of 2 public school attendes, I urge ALL parents at ALL public schools to donate generously to their foundations, and to vote for their parcel taxes, to avoid California slipping into LAST place nationwide. We are awfully close!!!!


Posted by amazed, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 15, 2010 at 8:29 am

I must say that a big reason why I have a beef with giving money to LAEF is that the money doesn't stay with the school like it does with BCS. LAEF is money that the the non-profit (remember, the director gets a hefty salary out of these contributions) collects and divvy's up to the district to do class size reduction, pay for an art docent, etc. I think we should go the route of how Cupertino does it and have each school drive to collect their donations from the parents within their school and therefore, the money stays with the school. How much of my $800 donation stays with my home school where my kids go to school? Don't forget that these people with high 5 and 6 figure incomes have huge mortgages, property taxes, insurance, and kids to feed and clothe. It's just not that easy to say ok, poney up $800/kid or $4K per kid... and in the end, I'm not seeing a direct benefit to my own child.


Posted by amazed, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 15, 2010 at 8:53 am

I was curious to the poster who indicated class sizes in LASD is going up to 30 for grades 1-3? Where did you see that confirmed. I had not heard that but have been combing the district news to find out more. Or maybe... they don't want us to know....oh boy.


Posted by amazed, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 15, 2010 at 9:02 am

I see it now in the losaltos online page... smack there.. in black and white. not good.....


Posted by Martha, a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 9, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Hi, parent-at-large,

I completely agree with your call to parents to donate as generously as they can, it is vital.

I do know that BCS does not get any money from LASD's parcel tax or LAEF, but part of the funding I believe does come from the local property taxes. All public school funding starts off with an allocation of the property taxes generated in the boundary area of the charter or district, I think, and the state just "fills the bucket" if the per-student allocation does not meet the revenue limit. I know that part of the concern districts have over charters is that they do, in fact, impact the revenue of the local school district, so some of that property tax revenue must be getting redirected to the charters. I don't know the formula. I might be mistaken, but this was my undestanding.

I think that both MVWSD and LASD became basic aid not so much because the property tax portion of their funding came up to the revenue limit, as that the state was lowering the revenue limits. So the bar came DOWN to meet the property tax part of the revenue bucket. It used to be that revenue limits stayed where they were and you became basic aid when the portion of taxes that were allocated to the schools equaled or exceeded the per-student limit. MVWSD became basic aid this year, but I was told it's because the state was lowering the amount they would pay out per-student. You're still somewhat better off, because if you can stay in basic aid status, you're not so much at the mercy of the state -- though they still cut other funding not tied to the general funds. MVWSD is getting hit with the funds for English language learners, GATE, etc. disappearing, apparently.


Posted by combination classes???, a resident of another community
on Mar 10, 2010 at 7:23 am

Going back to the subject of facilities, the BCS board meeting minutes provide a bit more detail on what "might" be in store for the LASD kids ( Web Link )

"Peter Evans reported that he and Andrea Eyring met with LASD Superintendent Tim Justus, Business
Manager Randy Kenyon, and board member Doug Smith regarding LASD's preliminary Prop 39 offer
to BCS for the 2010-2011 school year.
The LASD team reported that they are looking at loading district classes at 30 students per class
including Kindergarten and plan on running combination classes throughout the district. Because BCS
plans on maintaining our present class size at 20 or less in grades K-3 and 25 or less in grades 4-6, we
will have to use the given space creatively."


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