LASD, Bullis pass five-year agreement

Focus shifts to bond measure draft and approval

After a marathon mediation meeting that ended at 4 a.m., the Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School last night both voted unanimously to approve the five-year agreement between the school district and the charter school -- ending years of litigation and millions of dollars spent in legal fees.

At the July 28 special meeting, Los Altos School District board members said they were able to hammer out the final details of the agreement in the early morning hours prior to the meeting. Board president Tamara Logan said there were some tweaks to the language of the agreement, including a change to some enrollment numbers, but nothing major. Board members voted to approve the agreement 5-0.

Logan said the Bullis Charter School board voted 7-0 to approve the agreement at around 11:32 p.m. last night after a lengthy closed session meeting.

"I'm relieved and excited," said district board member Doug Smith. "I think the agreement gives us a great tailwind going into discussions about the bond."

During public comments prior to the decision, LASD parent Sangeeth Peruri said he was grateful that the board spent so much time and effort to get the agreement done in time for the meeting.

"I want to thank the board for all their hard work," Peruri said. "I'm hopeful that both boards will approve the agreement."

The five-year agreement, announced early this month, will end all litigation between the the district and the charter school, end disputes over enrollment numbers and open up new space at Blach for Bullis Charter School. The agreement will also replace the piecemeal facility use agreements that had caused contention between the two parties every year.

Both Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District say they have spent millions in legal fees over the decade-long disputes over school facilities.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Winners = lawyers for both sides. Losers = every tax-paying resident who DOESN'T work for Bullis.

Like this comment
Posted by Losers Not!
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I have to say that this drawn out battle is a tribute to incompetence on the part of the LASD trustees. Last night I listened to Tammy Logan say this all took so long because it was necessary to get here. What perverted logic that is. This is the same agreement that Bullis proposed 18 months ago. In the months following that, it was LASD which broke off the talks with Bullis. However you look at it, the talks then could have continued and they could have put in their 11 hour negotiating sessions at that point. This would have resolved things a full year earlier and saved LASD $ 2 Mlllion in legal fees they then spent after refusing to continue negotiations. These board members need to be held accountable.

Similarly recently it was Doug Smith obviously who dragged use of Hillview into their plans for the Bond. The bond is going to fail. The reason LASD finally compromised wasn't because of some concern for SDC students. It was because they realized that there really is no new land where Bullis can be located, and continuing to have them share the Jr High sites is the best option possible. It's a tribute to Bullis that they accepted such a small site over at Blach.

That will be 700 students next year and 900 before long, making much more efficient use of land space that the rest of LASD does.

I believe this saves taxpayer money for ALL taxpayers. LASD is not exempt from the laws that require continuing to provide classrooms and other school space to students who split off into a charter school, for whatever reason.

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Posted by Losers Not!
a resident of another community
on Jul 29, 2014 at 3:22 pm

An additional factor is that LASD has collected from all sources $12,000 per enrolled student this year plus about $6,000 for each student enrolled at Bullis. LASD only passes on the $6000 amount to support the students at Bullis. This leaves them more money to pay for their overhead services like special education, district administrators, curriculum development, operating Parkland for use by Los Altos residents, etc.

Like this comment
Posted by Dan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 6:02 pm

LASD Trustees are the big losers here. They really wanted an end to BCS and this agreement means that the funny business has to stop. Tax payers are the real winners. No more tax dollars going to Mr. Smith's father's law firm is a big win for everyone.

Like this comment
Posted by We all lost
a resident of Castro City
on Jul 30, 2014 at 6:45 am

The true losers are the people feverishly trying to point out who "won" and who "lost"
EVERY tax payer has lost, but now the bleeding has stopped. That's not a win. Of course the lawyers did rack up piles and piles of billable hours, so nobody won except them, and even then, only financially. I'd bet the lawyer's families feel they lost as well: "When is daddy coming home?"

Egos drove this, and as you can see, many egos are still wrapped up in it.

Like this comment
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?

Like this comment
Posted by Looks Suspicious
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Jul 30, 2014 at 11:28 am

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment/personal attack]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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