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New parent group forms to oppose Bullis

Original post made on Aug 7, 2012

A group of parents and concerned citizens have formed a coalition to defend the Los Altos School District against what the members of the "alliance" say is the overzealous and overreaching leadership of Bullis Charter School.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 6, 2012, 2:11 PM

Comments (34)

Posted by Voice of Reason, a resident of Willowgate
on Aug 7, 2012 at 8:03 am

BCS, a privately operated but public funded, really went too far for too long. Its families are much wealthier on average here, because it has a very biased preference for THE/THAT preferred area.


Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

Everyone has a preference for their area.

Ever try to get your kid into Huff grade school? If you're not in their attendance boundaries you can forget about it.

BCS is not breaking any laws. The courts, at all levels, have already made that very clear. The only way anything will change is to get the law changed. That's where the effort should be spent.


Posted by Ron, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Your claims have nothing to back them up. "They have lots of money and are biased to only accept rich people" is not only false, but backed up by nothing but your own bias against them. You can argue whether or not they should have won the cases they won. But they DID win them, multiple times, and the district keeps refusing to comply. I have no problem with changing the law, but the district should comply with the law as it exists today.


Posted by LASD Resident, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I wish LASD would give offer magnet schools. Mountain View and Palo Alto both have some great ones. Compared to our neighbors we really have very few poor kids in LASD schools. If we had magnet schools then we would have a better mix of students at each school. LASD has created a system where two of the schools have the wealthiest students while two others have all of the poor ones. Claiming that BCS is the cause of the problem seems a bit unfair to me.

Who are the parents in this group? The way I understand it is that it largely consists of parents who live very close by to their neighborhood school. They don't want to see a decrease in their property value. Where were these parents in 2007 when many of us in the Mountain View section of LASD where moved to schools that were far away from our homes? I believe that move was done to fill Gardner and Covington. One of those schools should go to BCS now.


Posted by BCS effectively is a private school, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

BCS allocates half of the "quota" to 10% of the community, or the preference area. Everyone knows about it. Everyone knows that it is effectively a private school using public resources. Ooops, I also used "every". This is the truth.


Posted by BCS effectively is a private school, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm

The LASD community is speaking out.


Posted by BCS effectively is a private school, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm

The LASD community includes most of the general public which doesn't like what BCS has been doing.


Posted by Neighborhood parent, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

The BCS preference area has a neighborhood school. BCS isn't a neighborhood school like any LASD school. No neighborhood school has a preference area, but a neighborhood area by definition.


Posted by Yoda, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 8, 2012 at 9:17 am

When does Darth Vader show up to fight the Alliance?


Posted by Get your facts right, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I am very bothered by comments that claimed BCS operated like a private school. BCS's charter is granted by Santa Clara County Board of Education, a public entity. Every year BCS has to submit reports to SCCBE for review, its budget audited, and the charter needs to be renewed by the SCCBE every 5 years. What part of it makes it private school? And don't say that it's because BCS asks for donations because LAEF asks for donations too. And don't s say that because BCS ask for more money because as as charter it receives less public funding per student that traditional public school. And don't say that BCS only accept children from "rich" families when BCS's lottery is public and fair.


Posted by TechHead, a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Yawn. Who cares. Bullis is obviously here to stay.


Posted by LASD Resident, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm

LASD arranges it's schools to serve those who live in Los Altos, close to the schools. Most of the BoT's live very close to a school. Parents are objecting because their entire social life is built around their kid's school - how sad is that? We don't need to have all of these schools.
Gardner and Covington should be combined into one school and BCS should get it's own campus. Why is it so hard to come to this conclusion? Most students at Covington live close to another school. Most LASD students at Gardner live closer to Santa Rita or Covington . There are some out of district kids there - but they have a lot of great choices in Palo Alto. Close Gardner - give it to BCS and be done with it. Gardner families can choose between Covington and Santa Rita or maybe go to BCS. Time to stop this ridiculous and costly fight. I am tired of Mountain View getting the short end of the stick. If a new school is built it should be built in Mountain View for kids at the Crossings.


Posted by BCS effectively is a private school, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 8, 2012 at 11:17 pm

BCS is controlled by a board which is not elected, and is operated as a private school. The school isn't really accountable to the general public, unlike any LASD school.

The enrollment discrimination is not just about areal preference, it is also about not much lower percentage of English learners, special needs students, Latinos, and socially or economically disadvantaged students.


Posted by BCS effectively is a private school, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm

The straight facts are: the preference area has 10 percent of the district population, but in the so-called enrollment lottery the other 90 percent of the district population just get 1/2 of the quota. That's 1:9 ratio. Talking about fairness?


Posted by Get your facts right, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

The BCS board reports to SCCBOE, which is an elected entity. And it was created by CA charter law. Private schools do not need to be audited nor need to renew "charter" by presenting its programs to any government agency.

BCS's overall student populations covers the whole LASD district. The number of students from the "preference" area are decreasing because the siblings of current students have precedence over the "preference" area. It's not 1:9 ratio, please research again before making unfounded accusations.


Posted by BCS effectively is a private school, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

You are so out of touch with the reality.

The BCS is NOT elected. NONE of its members is elected.

The enrollment lottery allocate only half of the new slots to the OTHER areas which has 90% of the district population, while the other half (50%) is reserved for the preference area (of 10% of the population). That means (50%/90%):(50%/10%) = 1:9. Simple and solid math! Face it.


Posted by Voice of straight facts, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

No wonder the public is generally on the opposite side of BCS.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 9, 2012 at 11:08 pm

"The BCS board reports to SCCBOE, which is an elected entity."

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


Posted by funny about the reporting to the elected entity, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm

It can't be funnier.


Posted by Another Dave not from Cuernavaca, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm

" . Private schools do not need to be audited nor need to renew "charter" by presenting its programs to any government agency. "

Yea, right! Obviously they have never seen a private school go through the accreditation(sp?) process.

My question is: Is the BCS board elected or not?
I don't care to whom they "report".


Posted by Bart Carey, a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2012 at 8:39 am

BCS is a public school, but in some aspects gives the impression of a private school. The phrase a public school privately run is probably a good one, expressing the conflict that many feel.

I have a problem with the lack of democratic election of the BCS board. This is the decision-making body for the school, the body that pushes lawsuits which the larger district/public is forced to defend, and the body which wants to control a public school site, but without public accountability. These decisions which affect our public assets, and the education of all our children are not made by the detached county board, and are not made by any democratically-elected officials.

The BCS web site gives no information in regard to the method of selection or terms of board members. In the past it has been very difficult to get information in regard to the appointment of board members, or whether there exist board terms.

The self-selection process has resulted in board members over the years with anger hanging over directly or in philosophy from the years Bullis-Purissima school was closed and BCS was founded. This is not a board refreshed by elections or accountable to our community, not even accountable to BCS parents.

BCS and our whole community could take a big step forward if the BCS board walked the walk of a public school, with democratic election of directors. The concept seems rather basic, but is highly resisted by the BCS directors. Maybe they could start simply by allowing the BCS parents to vote for the BOD controlling their public school.


Posted by BCS Parent, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm

BCS parents vote with their feet. If they didn't like what the board was doing, they don't have to be at the school. Nonprofits do NOT have publicly elected boards. If they did, a group of people could change the mission of the nonprofit. If enough parents don't like what the BCS board is doing, they can start their own charter school.

What seems to be lost in this discussion is that BCS is oversubscribed EVERY year. Why do so many families want to get into BCS rather than go to LASD?


Posted by Bart Carey, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2012 at 10:24 am

The concept of "voting with your feet" is interesting, but that's not how I usually vote for public school officials. I think BCS parents also deserve to vote with their hands on a ballot, sort of like they get to do for LASD board members.....

BCS is a great school, and it speaks well that the school is oversubscribed. This is not lost in the discussion--it's simply not part of this discussion, and does not address the impression of a public school privately run by a hand-picked board.

I have heard the comparison of the non-elected BCS board to nonprofit boards too many times before, and have to say I think that argument is rather desperate. Maybe I just don't understand. Tell me more, how does this justify non-democratic governance of a public school?

It is probably not the most unifying or practical suggestion that unhappy BCS parents should start their own charter. Maybe the right thing is to simply start with a ballot.


Posted by non-profit board member, a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm

CA corporate code on non-profits usually have the default method of electing board members by a majority vote of their members. What Bart may be talking about, why not think of the "members" of BCS as being the parents at the school. (this is under the control of the County BoE when they approve a charter). Then the people controlling the board would be very interested 'members', but not the self-appointed board it is(?) now. BTW, charter schools receive public money and are under the CA Open Public Records Acts. if they don't post their governing documents, and minutes, you should formally ask, in writing, to view them or be sent copies. Fiat Lux


Posted by Fresh view, a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2012 at 12:33 am

Here's a website that seems to be reporting BCS/LASD issues in a rational, factual way. (Not to mention all the reports on Los Altos City Council comings and goings...)

Web Link

Perhaps Los Altos Politico can unearth how the BCS Board is elected/appointed next...


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm

No matter what is and how it is being said, the BCS board which controls the school is NOT elected. It can be said that BCS is not really a public school.


Posted by come again??, a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm

"taxpayer" - you're saying 'NOT elected board' = "not really a public school".
Where did you get that definition of public school??

No wonder we have so many ill formed opinions running wild around here...


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 16, 2012 at 9:17 am

That's very illogical of you, Mr./Ms. "again??".

I said: "No matter what is and how it is being said, the BCS board which CONTOLS the school is NOT elected. It can be said that BCS is not really a public school."

No wonder some people are just twisting other people's and their own words, and think that their opinions are informed while "so many" others are ill formed. That can NOT be more arrogantly funny.


Posted by Advocate, a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Actually, STRS (State Teachers Retirement System) recently announced they may not allow teachers at charter school without publicly elected school board members to participate in STRS. Not a definition of "public school", but certainly makes a statement. The teachers at Bullis Charter are in STRS, I believe.


Posted by BCS Advocate, a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 16, 2012 at 10:03 pm

It appears that CaSTRS is referring to an potential IRS regulation that is making them consider their position on charter school teacher participation. The CaSTRS announcement about the issue even uses the term "Public Charter Schools".

"Potential IRS Regulations May Affect Public Charter Schools"
Web Link


Posted by Heather Rose, a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2012 at 7:46 am

I am a parent volunteer working with LASD to pass a bond measure in support of all the schools. In looking into building a new school in Mountain View to provide, LASD has found little support from the City of Mountain View. The issue is one of land use. The City prefers commercial properties in the area of Mountain View served by LASD. Since a school will generate no sales tax, the City has no interest in one in that area. However, if parents in Mountain View attending LASD schools spoke more with their city officials, this could change.


Posted by Heather Rose, a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:08 am

Someone suggested that LASD combine Covington and Gardner Bullis and use the GB campus for BCS. That would result in one school with over 800 K-6 students. Current policy of LASD is to keep elementary schools under 600 to preserve the community feel of the schools. Furthermore, the GB campus presents two problems of its own. First is size and accessibility. It is smaller with only one entrance. The largest school population on that campus ever was 405 students and BCS is already much larger than that. Also due to its configuration stepped on a hillside, GB would be very expensive to update in order to provide equivalent facilities for the BCS middle school program. Second is that GB is the last of four school sites that still serves all of the residents of Los Altos Hills. GB serves a very important function of building community for a population that is very spread out. LASD board has made many promises to not try to shut this campus down again. While BCS was founded by parents who had GB campus closed to them, and BCS retains a geographic preference for the old district boundaries of that school, the majority of new Los Altos Hills students do not attend BCS. Closing GB would be denying the last remaining school to the Town and breaking many previous agreements.


Posted by Heather Rose, a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

Some folks have requested that LASD offer Magnate schools. I agree that the choices Palo Alto offer: neighborhood and choice (Spanish immersion, Mandarin immersion, English style instruction, open classroom style) would be great in LASD, but there is not the population size or funding to support this. Even though LASD has top API scores in the state, it does not have as much money per student to spend as Palo Alto. Offering choices is expensive.


Posted by Heather Rose, a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

The real issue with BCS and charter schools in general is lack of funding. Adding a new school is expensive and the amount of money provided by the state to charters is not enough for a physical school and too much for an online school. So, we gave BCS asking for donations to make up the difference and online charters being run as profitable businesses. The laws and practices around charter school funding need to change to support the reality of the costs. Special needs students are three times more expensive than regular students to educate and they need extra space for their special instruction. Current prop 39 practices do not consider this.


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