While the Los Altos School District described its April 1 facilities-sharing arrangement to Bullis Charter School as "the most generous that the district has ever offered," it seems that officials with the charter see it more like a cruel joke.
"LASD might say this final offer is its most generous yet, but in terms of where we are today and where we're going, we still have a lot of work to do to get to 'reasonably equivalent,'" BCS board member Joe Hurd said in an April 4 press release.
Each year, in accordance with Prop. 39 -- shorthand for California's charter school law -- Los Altos district officials have provided an offer of facilities to the charter school. And each year, for the past four years, while district officials have maintained that their offer is "reasonably equivalent" to what students in similar district schools have, BCS officials have contended that LASD has not met that requirement.
This year the trend continues, as officials from both educational organizations blame the other for being unreasonable and continue to battle each other in the courts.
"The district doesn't believe we should exist," Ken Moore, chair of the BCS board, told the Voice while speaking about a recent court ruling in favor of the district. That ruling, issued in March, denied the charter school's attempt to block an LASD request for information on Bullis' donors and admissions practices.
While Moore has said the district already has all the information they need, and is simply trying to stall and vilify the charter school with such requests, LASD board member Mark Goines said in the aftermath of the ruling that it was BCS officials that were attempting to draw things out. "Our experience with BCS is that they question every court decision," Goines said. "I'm very disappointed in how long this has taken."
Judging by the tone of the press release issued by Bullis in response to the latest facilities offer from LASD, Goines is in for more disappointment.
The Bullis release states that the latest facilities offer for the 2013-14 school year is once again inadequate. According to Janet Medlin, chair of the BCS Prop. 39 subcommittee, the new offer will ensure that Bullis' Egan site will be "more crowded than ever," that the charter's sixth-graders won't have any access to blacktop space, and that under the LASD proposal, a "school-wide assembly will be impossible" for BCS.
While officials at Bullis say that LASD is not providing them with enough space and that they are being unfairly treated, Goines remains skeptical. Goines said that the charter needs to turn over information on registration and fund-raising practices to prove that they are being treated unfairly. "Part of their claim is that they are being hurt," Goines said. "Are they really?"