News

Charter school lottery delayed as disagreements fester

Both sides point fingers, arguing the other is negotiating in bad faith

Officials from a new charter school and the Mountain View Whisman School District locked horns at a school board meeting last week, accusing one another of stonewalling over strict accountability measures the district is seeking to impose.

The ongoing dispute meant that Bullis Mountain View's March 7 enrollment lottery would have to wait another day. And after an icy back-and-forth over which side is delaying the process and failing to negotiate in good faith, board members agreed that the argument was going nowhere and cut off the conversation.

Mountain View Whisman's school board reluctantly agreed on Dec. 20 to approve a new charter school in the district. Bullis Mountain View, an offshoot of the high-performing Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, aims to draw a significant number of low-income students who speak English as a second language. The school will accept 168 kids from kindergarten through second grade for the kick-off 2019-20 school year.

The school board's approval came with strings attached, including demands that the charter school make several changes to its admission preferences and academic assessments, and a concrete requirement that it enroll a certain number of low-income kids. Charter school officials agreed to those stipulations -- at least in concept -- shortly before the Dec. 20 meeting, and both sides were expected to hammer out a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on how to meet those obligations.

With important deadlines looming, district officials and Bullis Mountain View's leadership appear to have made no progress towards a signed MOU. Jennifer Anderson-Rosse, Bullis Mountain View's head of school, told board members at the March 7 meeting that she has serious outstanding concerns about the district's requests, and accused the district of failing to even discuss the terms of the agreement after late January.

"Although we had hoped that the district would work with us in good faith concerning its conditions of approval, the district has twice refused to discuss any of our concerns," she said.

Between the failure to come to the agreement -- and a demand by the district to show up and present to the board on the night of the enrollment lottery -- Anderson-Rosse said the March 7 lottery has been postponed to an undetermined date.

The draft MOU put together by Mountain View Whisman district leaders is a lengthy 20-page document outlining the expectations and rules of engagement that would drive the charter school's relationship with the district over the next three years, and many of the details are both uniform and uncontroversial. But a few sticking points have left Bullis Mountain View's founders uneasy. Among them is the demand that the charter school have student demographics that mirror the school district's population, specifically the number of kids who are economically disadvantaged. Doing so, Anderson-Rosse said, enforces a demographic quota that amounts to illegal discrimination.

"We cannot accept a district condition that is clearly against the law, so we won't," she said.

Other problems flagged by the charter school include requirements that sibling preference for admissions be removed or placed as a lower priority -- which Anderson-Rosse said would unfairly split families -- and that the charter school be required to use the district's reading and benchmark assessments three times a year. To date, the district hasn't shown Bullis Mountain View what those tests even look like or how the results would be used to assess performance, Anderson-Rosse said.

"This would impose moving targets in a dark room where we could not know if we met the districts demand until months later. This is unheard of and unworkable," she said.

Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph did not dispute that the discussion over the terms of the MOU petered out in January, but argued the onus is on Bullis Mountain View to adhere to the district's conditions -- saying the charter school has made "no progress" toward that goal. He said that Bullis Mountain View representatives are telling parents of prospective students not to worry about the requirements for economic status when signing up, and warned that the charter may be preparing to enroll kids in defiance of the district's conditions.

"What we are hearing and what we are seeing is that you plan on continuing with your enrollment priorities the way you wrote them out the first time -- which the board did not approve -- and then on top of that you aren't providing us with any information that suggests you are making progress towards any of those issues that need to be resolved," Rudolph said.

The delays not only hold the future enrollment of the charter school's 210 student applications in limbo, but it complicates planning for staffing and facilities at district schools. Between retirements and resignations, the district won't have to fire any teachers as a result of Bullis opening, but it's unclear precisely how many teachers will need to be at each campus for the upcoming school year.

School board member Jose Gutierrez criticized Bullis Mountain View representatives at the March 7 meeting for blaming the the lottery cancellation on the district's request to present at the meeting, and said that he was expecting a substantive presentation from the charter school rather than a verbal update.

"This is not a conversation in good faith," Gutierrez said. "And so we need to document everything in writing and share that with the superintendent and the board. If we ask you to share a presentation, make a presentation. Do not waste my time."

Board member Devon Conley said she believed the lottery was put off because Bullis Mountain View wasn't able to recruit the number of low-income families it claimed it could -- something charter school leaders deny -- while board member Ellen Wheeler encouraged both parties to work expeditiously to sign an agreement, outside of public board meetings if necessary.

Adding further difficulty to the cold exchange was the board's self-imposed time limit. Bullis Mountain View representatives were scheduled to present during the last item on a packed agenda, and trustees elected to extend the meeting only until 11 p.m. After blasting through what was supposed to be a lengthy discussion on a new school in North Bayshore and discussing the process under which the district would appoint someone to Bullis Mountain View's board of directors, charter school representatives had less than 30 minutes to unpack what had transpired behind the scenes since Dec. 20.

It's unclear what a compromise would look like between the district and the charter school. Rudolph told the Voice after the meeting that the district's conditions were approved by the school board and are non-negotiable. Low-income students must to be the top priority for enrollment admissions and the demographics must match the district's student population. The charter school needs measurable test scores that "shall exceed district-wide assessment results for all pupil subgroups by not less than 5 percent," according to draft MOU language, with no grace period for teachers and students to get accustomed to the new school. Rudolph said he does not have the authority to unilaterally negotiate new terms.

None of those requirements should be onerous, and they largely reflect what the charter school said it would do in its proposal to the school board, Rudolph said. Demanding that Bullis meet these requirements is simply holding the school accountable for its promises.

"If you didn't intend on enrolling low-income students and you didn't intend on closing the achievement gap -- which was what the whole argument has been centered around -- then it shouldn't have been included in the charter," he said.

Anderson-Rosse said her goal is to get "clarity" on ambiguous language in the MOU, rather than compromise the terms, so that Bullis Mountain View can move forward with its lottery and tell parents whether their children can attend the school.

Rudolph said the charter school has failed to provide even the most basic of information in recent months, like enrollment applications and promotional materials shared with interested parents. Instead, the district office has made California Public Records Act requests to compel Bullis Mountain View to provide documents. Those requests have been fruitless thus far.

District officials offered to meet with Bullis Mountain View representatives on March 22 to talk about the MOU, though Rudolph said, as of Monday, the charter school had yet to accept the offer. The agreement must be signed by June 30 at the very latest.

It's unclear what would happen if Bullis Mountain View moves forward with the charter petition as written and ignores the conditions set forth by the school board. Rudolph said it's too early to consider the possibility, but that he would likely consult with legal counsel about the district's options.

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Comments

77 people like this
Posted by Making friends
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:34 am

Bullis doesn't have a good track record of getting along with school districts does it?


57 people like this
Posted by Bullis trying it's best to hide their enrolment schemes
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 11:42 am

You gotta keep out the riff raff, eh? Any classes on how to bribe Ivy League coaches?

Don't look closely. There's nothing to see, we promise.

-Scheming Bullis


45 people like this
Posted by Public School Choice Advocate
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Public School Choice Advocate is a registered user.

Folks, Make no mistake that this is a school district playing extraordinarily hard ball and using every anti-charter tactic in the book to derail school choice for MV residents. Taxpayers, parents, and all citizens should be outraged that huge amounts of taxpayer dollars and administrator time are being misused to derail a genuine effort to serve the underserved in MV. This is obscene, and the school board should censor and seriously review the performance and priorities of the Superintendent driving this. This should be about students, not Teachers' Unions and School Board Associations defending their turf at the expense of children.


71 people like this
Posted by Oh Puh-leeze
a resident of Bailey Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:04 pm

These Bullis apologists and blamers are too much.

"Don't believe your own eyes and ears, don';t believe what has already been seen by all. Bullis is the victim here"

LOL. Say it again, it was HILARIOUS the first time!


30 people like this
Posted by District Overreach
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:23 pm

The district is trying to play hardball with pit-bull Gutierrez trying to play (par)legal eagle. Good luck with that strategy! Adding illegal elements to the MOU and then insisting that there's no negotiation possible is just not going to work.

Fortunately, it seems possible that cooler heads on the Board may dial back these tactics. Stay tuned ...


18 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:33 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

I'm sure the MVWSD's legal advice, if it is still from the Ross Valley charter school fight's attorney (to the death - classroom by classroom all-the-way-to-appeals-court district-loss) years of litigation are before us. The Board needs to realize, that Sue Ann is a pit-bull when it comes to 'fighting public charter schools'. She is absolutely great - to sic on felonious charter 'operators'. (see the California School Boards Association U-Tube).

But this particular lawyer seems to advise no compromise, and fights to the finish (District pays of course, win or lose)

If the Board majority, is not willing to take back this power, from the Superintendent, and force mediation/ get it's own lawyer?

How much in New Taxes - will the public approve to to help 'fight the good fight, the anti-charter fight' over the next decade? Fighting, is estimated to have cost our neighbor, Los Altos, millions.

When the SURVEY for new school taxes comes up - JUST ANSWER the Survey - NO!


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

MV Voice - reporter. Did you get, can you post, the 20 page document? I know for the MVWSD it is probably their policy to 'lawyer-client privilege' this (withhold) but Bullis MV?

BTW I did not hear Gutierez's comments as entirely one sided, I though I heard him say "he said / she said." So I took the quote above to mean - Superintendent's side of events (written) and BMV side of events (written). IN PARTICULAR I understood the good Trustee asking for SPECIFIC DATEs. Let's see a calendar of events! (is what I thought he was getting at)


28 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Why are commenters equating a point like agreeing to district testing standards as the district "playing hardball"? If Bullis provides at the very least an education on par with the other schools in MVWSD, that should be table stakes. No?


20 people like this
Posted by @Bored M
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2019 at 2:03 pm

The district has not agreed to provide BMV any information regarding those district tests. How can you expect them to agree? Especially when it's clear the district is doing everything they can to sabotage BMV.

Case in point: "Bullis Presentation" at DELAC meeting Nov 26, 2018:
Web Link

I'm told this presentation (given verbally thus no paper trail) was all about trying to persude people to not sign up for the charter.


37 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm

@District Overreach

I understand that, but at the very least we must meet California test standards. Let's check that box and assume we're all good. Then above that is there something unusual that MVWSD does? You're right, I don't know if there's a "gotcha" in the requirement, but if Bullis is killing it in Los Altos with a very similar curriculum, this seems like a moot point. MVWSD is not pushing kids to test at multiple levels ahead, is all I'm saying. Seems like noise on the Bullis side.

As for admissions criteria, I can see how that is a sticking point, but Bullis came in promoting its intentions to serve the less privileged in the city. That's good stuff and I am for it. But also remember to create their programs in Los Altos they ask for $5k donations per kid. There's a hefty cost to their administration.


84 people like this
Posted by Mistral mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2019 at 2:51 pm

I'm confused as to why the BMV head of school thinks it would be illegal to have BMV's demographics reflect that of our district. If they are using district resources, their demographics should be the same. I thought they were jumping at the opportunity to serve low SES students. I feel like we can't trust what BMV is telling us about their priorities.


32 people like this
Posted by Bullis Admissions Scandle
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Wait for it. It will all come out, and IMO, it has to, for the betterment of the community. Grab your popcorn. Names will be named.


41 people like this
Posted by Math is hard
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:02 pm

My understanding is that the oh-so-onerous benchmark tests the district is requiring are the same tests already being used in MVWSD schools. I cannot think of any reasonable explanation for refusing standard benchmarking.

But I am cynical and think it will be hard for Bullis to get their $5,000/family not-quite-required “donation” if they aren’t allowed to target and prioritize wealthy families.


25 people like this
Posted by District Overreach
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm

It's NOT "standard" benchmarking. The district has its own benchmarks which are separate from the CA statewide benchmarks. I suspect BMV would agree to use the standard CA benchmarks.


56 people like this
Posted by Bait and Switch
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:07 pm

This is typical Bullis. Say one thing and do another. OF COURSE, they don’t want a MV school primarily made up of economically disadvantaged students. They want skim the cream of the district in terms of the better students and then show high test scores. They could then say how superior they are to the REAL public schools (and not the legal fiction definition).

No wonder they are balking at making their charter dependent on bringing a minimum number of economically disadvantaged students. And, even worse, being held accountable to showing how their methodology is better than the legitimate public schools!!! The gall!!! :)


28 people like this
Posted by @district overreach
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:12 pm

You don’t think that the tests being used within all the other schools in the district should be used across all of the district-funded schools?

I would argue that a test used at all of the district’s schools is, indeed, standard. Additionally, the professed BMV argument is that the benchmarks are opaque. If they’re being used across all the district schools, then that argument is patently false.


22 people like this
Posted by Math is very hard
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 13, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Math is very hard is a registered user.

I'm very suspicious of this 5% improvement in every subgroup. Every subgroup? Even subgroups without statistically significant numbers? What about high achieving subgroups within the district? Does it matter if they're on par so long as underserved subgroups show better than 5% improvement? I hope the goals are written in a way that makes sense but I'm not optimistic. The *exact* demographic makeup of the district requirement also strikes me as strange. I thought the goal was to reach underserved students? Even a purely random selected sample of 200 students from within the district will show quite a bit of variability in terms of makeup (dust off your stats, there are tests for this), but I didn't think that was the goal. Depending on how the requirements are written, this might be a very reasonable goal, or it may be extremely unlikely ever to be met. It's all in the details. But I would have expected a goal of x% of low income students, as the obvious requirement, instead of what I'm reading above.


14 people like this
Posted by District Overreach
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:38 pm

@@district overreach

You think the district benchmarks are not opaque because they're used in district schools? Name a sample question used in the benchmark!


11 people like this
Posted by Math is hard
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:39 pm

@math is very hard, you may be surprised to read that I agree with you on both points in your most recent post. BMV should be required to have at least the percentage of socio-economically disadvantaged students as mvwsd. Given their original marketing, I’m sure BMV would have no problem whatsoever with this requirement.

I also agree that requiring a >5% score increase among populations too small to be measured by the CA benchmark is impossible and shouldn’t be requested by the district. And that a 5% increase in scores among already high-performing students is not something BMV can realistically achieve.


12 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2019 at 4:40 pm

They really should not call it a lottery as that implies that the "winners" have won something of value, which is not the case here. Instead of lottery, they should call it "semi-random sorting process".


14 people like this
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 5:31 pm

I guess the (para)legal eagle Gutierrez wasn't on the top of his game since he wasn't able to stay in a four-star hotel on the district's and taxpayers's dimes the night before.

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 6:59 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

to Math is Hard etc. The metric (measurement instrument) that BMV seems to have no problem with (I'm guessing) is the CA standard Common Core Smarter Balanced test. Required in 3rd grade and up. Standardized.

The MVWSD uses its own internal tests, and, THESE ARE NOT STANDARDIZED and used throughout the state and nation as Smarter Balanced tests are. Even worse - the MVWSD has reported over the last several years that their own tests (2 or three times per year before the Smarter Balance tests) are not particularly good predictors. AND even worse for tracking comparisons - The MVWSD internal tests KEEP ON CHANGING DESIGN AND CONTRACTORS.

I would say - (and this was going on during my term on the Board, after Smarter Balance was starting up) BETTER THAN NOTHING - but not very good, and certainly not statistically reliable or consistent.

Anyone with even a hint of statistical training or sense, can pull up the reports to the Board, on these MVWSD internal tests, and see the very low level of statistical significance - or reliability - that they represent.

proof - left for the reader
[for some unknown reason - the MVWSD refuses to use the Smarter Balance Interim Assessments fm. the state]
Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:20 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

standard assessment instruments available for 2018-19 3rd grade
number of questions:
IABs (English Language Arts and Math), total 181
ICAs ELA & Math, total 82

California Department of Education: Testing & Accountability
Web Link
QED


6 people like this
Posted by Public advocate
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm

For the record, when the Ross Valley Charter last sued RVSD they lost. RVC was suing for 11 homeroom classrooms they were awarded no additional classrooms. NONE. Though on some sort of continuation on a separate issue they added at the last minute to their suit, they got 500 sq ft for special ed.
Think how much public money they wasted to get the ugly portable they now have.


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 8:13 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Ross Valley won in trial court. But not enough, so they appealed. And on Appeal, the final judgment of that court gave more space to the charter (I think it was more than 500 - more like a K size classroom - but what the heck!). So yeah - this whole Ross Valley uncivil civil war (battle 2), ended up with the charter having more space, than the district granted as the charter grew.

I disliked the holy warriors, the Crusaders, that that Marin County fight spawned [ they showed up in MV at a Board meeting ]. Sort of like a Monty Python sketch (search for the Holy Grail) it seems to me. :-) an old man's sense of humor, watch OUT for That RABIT!


8 people like this
Posted by Just the facts
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:04 pm

Actually, Steven, you are wrong. Ross Valley won as the judge sided that their teaching station allocation was correct. The Ross Valley Charter School was offered 8 and they were suing for 11. After the preliminary ruling 100% on the side of the school district the charter caught for more special ed space for FUTURE special ed students and they were awarded an additional 500 sq ft. The charter then appealed for more apace and to make sure the space was at their current campus. They won having the space at their campus but we’re jot awarded more space. If you are going to speak on a matter like this I would recommend that you are actually educated on the facts first.


16 people like this
Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:24 pm

Last week Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 126 into law. This legislation requires charter schools to abide by the same rules of transparency as public schools do, and somewhat restricts their ability to game the public school systems. Could the Voice please do an article on how this law might impact the BMV situation?


9 people like this
Posted by Ross Valley. Irrelevant
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Mar 13, 2019 at 9:25 pm

They really should butt out of this. Troublenmakers. Compared to us they have far fewer low income. All their schools are like Huff.

As for requiring the charter to match demographics consider that all the schools here are different. The district should not make a charter school match the average when it does not do that itself. Look at Mistral. Look at Castro. Side by side great variance. You are welcome Mistral lady.


30 people like this
Posted by MV Parent
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:16 am

I didn't really believe that Bullis had magnanimous intentions in the beginning, and this is really just sort of proving my thoughts true. I also feel like they were disingenuous with listing the Mountain View residents on their board, several of which were in the LASD area of Mountain View. And they still list one true MVWSD resident who is in the process of moving out of state.


23 people like this
Posted by Mtn View Mom
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 14, 2019 at 4:39 am

Mtn View Mom is a registered user.

I was very open minded about Bullis when they cane onto the scene in MV scene even though they had such a rocky history in Los Altos. But I’m definitely souring.


44 people like this
Posted by Los Altan
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:25 am

The comments above about BCS not wanting low income students are spot on. They want to skim the cream of the crop so they can boast about high test scores.


37 people like this
Posted by Bullis Admission Scandal
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:46 am

Then once they skim the high performers and big "Donation families" they can say, see, look how good our system is.
This is the very well to do stacking the deck to pretend they are winning.

Now that the Feds are starting to serve high schools with subpoenas, I really hope the light can finally be shone on tactics that what EVERYONE knows are in place.

It's become very clear: BULLIS HAS ADMISSIONS TACTICS THEY WANT TO HIDE!
This is why they fight like crazy anytime someone wants to look at their admissions schemes.


3 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 9:24 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Just the Facts. Thanks for your recent research. I did mine back when Ross Valley anti-charter school people showed up (totally unexpected!). You are spot on (I think, maybe 11 # was total, not "new"). The War up in Marin Co. and the appeals decision (which I did search out and read - love Google Scholar with CA law checked) were just very interesting - and do not have much local impact. "He said / she said" eh!

BMV (Bullis Mountain View) may be in the same predicament/fix as Stevenson (Choice). Hispanic and Economic Disadvantaged parents are really afraid of environments like Stevenson. It has helped cripple their (parent&administrator) ED recruiting efforts for many years. They (Stevenson leaders) also shoot themselves in the foot on this [I've seen the meetings over the years - where the Spanish translators show up late - then sit with Anglos - and the public meetings, were the Stevenson School Site Council or Foundation has tried to excluded members of the public]

What (to change the subject) GOOD / EXEMPLARY EXAMPLES of community representative enrollment 'priorities' can MVWSD show for Stevenson? The good Dr. Rudolph can show none! (That is a challenge My Man!)

Very early in this charter process, at the 'acceptance of application' Bd. meeting, I publicly commented to the Board, on this item, that The Economically Disadvantaged student "priority" should be placed first, moved up to #1. If BMV does not accept that ? (easy to do - just admit ED families until MVWSD's district average is met, let the rest of ED be in the general lottery, if needed). Dr. Rudolph - what is your administration's formula / process for Stevenson? Why (particularly Trustee Laura Blakely) are you allowing Stevenson segregation to continue! Trustee Gutierrez - we need your 'raised voice' on this issue of "segregation" also. Speak up! *you have the office, you have the 'bully pulpit'*


9 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 14, 2019 at 9:50 am

SRB is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson
" I publicly commented to the Board, on this item, that The Economically Disadvantaged student "priority" should be placed first, moved up to #1. If BMV does not accept that...".

Well, it's what MWSD put as a condition in the MOU and it sure looks like Bullis is not accepting that.

btw: MWSD has put out a lot of information re: dialogue with that charter school
Web Link

This stands in sharp contrast with BMV which is not disclosing anything about its board meetings (assuming that board has ever met) and is dodging CPRA requests by playing the "it's not my real name" game.


1 person likes this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 11:55 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Thank you SRB of St. Francis Acres. I'll look at all the "dialog" in the link you posted.

BMV may be acting IMO irrationally if their Board of Directors is listening too closely to Their lawyer! "Not my real name" is not the game. The California Public Records / Open Meeting / Open government act for charters that was recently signed by the Governor (yeah!) does not take legal effect until the first of January 2020 (next calendar year). Charter organizations, like the California non-profit corporation for BMV, seem to be (currently) running only under the California Corporations Code. There are no Public Records Act requirements on California public-benefit non-profit corporations! [if their were, we could all request records from Silicon Valley Community Foundation to reveal the inner workings of their past very-publicized HR scandal]

So - sit it out & hope reason will prevail (quickly). - See Kevin's new article on "Bullis MV to accept old Stevenson site"


4 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 14, 2019 at 12:12 pm

SRB is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson

From Bullis petition:
"All meetings of the Board shall be held in accordance with the Brown Act. The Board shall maintain policies and procedures regarding self-dealing and a conflict of interest code, including annual Form 700 filing requirements in compliance with the Political Reform Act, Government Code section 1090, and Corporations Code Conflicts of Interest rules, and which shall be updated with any charter school-specific conflicts of interest laws and regulations."

So yes, it's a "not my real name" game to dodge CPRA requests.


14 people like this
Posted by Cloudy Thinking
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:27 pm

The family "sibling" priority for a charter school has no real effect on diversity. Consider the impact of removing it. Right now it doesn't matter because there are only 3 grades. A low income family is equally likely to benefit from it in the future. Getting the kids to school and picking them up is a daily chore. It helps everyone to allow the entire family to attend the same school.

The lack of such a priority for Stevenson is likely one of the reasons why they are way out of balance with the district's overall diversity. Say a low income family is able to get a kid into Stevenson. Well, his brother and sister have to go to another school. It's a problem daily.

Now with BMV having the high priority for low income, the sibling priority is even more likely to affect a low income family positively, because down the road there will be more competition. There's no cap on the amount of low income kids. The sibling priority will be very important to the low income students at the school.

It may SOUND good to say the low income priority should be #1 above all else, but it can undermine the long term health of the school. Also, it doesn't prevent the school from reaching the similar economic diversity relative to the district as a whole, and in fact, exceeding the low income component.


9 people like this
Posted by question regarding choice
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:41 pm

Do district choice school (Mistral & Stevenson) place economically disadvantaged families above sibling for their lotteries? If not, should they? How does a student attending Bullis differ from attending an existing district choice school?


13 people like this
Posted by Cloudy Thinking
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:42 pm

The district has redrawn attendance boundaries so that the source of low income students at Huff is drastically reduced. Last year Huff had 605 students with 52 low income kids. Mistral has 165 out of 389 kids at low income levels. Castro has 223 out of 253 kids at low income levels. Bubb has 106 out of 571. Landels has 125 out of 534. Monta Loma has 183/448. Theuerkauf has 234/369 LOW INCOME. Stevenson, side by side, has 28 out 391 kids that are low income.

OK. Now, the district as a whole has 34% low income kids. People are so self-satisfied saying the charter school is pulling the wool over eyes in dodging a requirement to MATCH the district's 34% level.

HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE WIDE VARIATIONS BETWEEN THE OTHER SCHOOLS? What the heck is going on? And consider that next year Huff will drop in size and that drop will have 70% low income kids removed from Huff, meaning that it's fraction of low income will be lower still. It's already 8% low income compared to the district average 34%.

Wake up and realize what's the real situation.


11 people like this
Posted by Cloudy Thinking
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:47 pm

There's a common realization that the people the most sensitive to a complaint are actually some of the biggest violators of the issue being complained about. If BMV only has 25% low income kids, which is way under the district's 34% average, what does that do? It still means they are closer to that average than any other school in the district. This isn't mathematics broadly, it's the science of statistics and sampling. This would be the only school to COME CLOSE to the district average. Also, it's just as likely to hit 45% in the future, which will be over the average. The process of selection is complicated. Starting with just 3 grades is HARD statistically.

I think that BMV should possibly agree to drop the sibling priority for ONE YEAR and then reconsider it in the future. The problem is idiots are making all sorts of assumptions about the effects without really thinking it through.


11 people like this
Posted by Cloudy Thinking
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 2:55 pm

If the Board of Trustees want's to see high low income enrollment, then it should direct the stuperintendent to HELP the charter school recruit low income kids. It's placed at Theuerkauf so they should encourage those students to choose the charter school. The problem is the actions in the past have been exactly the opposite. That's why there is a problem with the district placing conditions on the charter school beyond what's already in their petition. Taken together, they are effectively shutting down the charter school arbitrarily.


19 people like this
Posted by Cloudy Thinking
a resident of another community
on Mar 14, 2019 at 3:13 pm

@Ross Valley

I looked up your district. Out of 2094 total students, you had a grand total of 237 low income FRPL students! The previous year, out of 2233 total students you had 221 low income students. This is all under 10% low income students, compared to Mountain View having 34% low income students. This is the kind of selfishness which we are dealing with from these Ross Valley entitled parents who think the low income students don't deserve an education. You should be ashamed of yourself, especially because you are comparing your situation to Mountain View, which has 2 individual schools each with more low income students than you have in YOUR ENTIRE DISTRICT!

Ross Valley go home!


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2019 at 6:27 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@question regarding choice

Thanks you for this question, most people have the wrong beliefs about how all this works and I am happy to provide the facts.

"Do district choice school (Mistral & Stevenson) place economically disadvantaged families above sibling for their lotteries?"

UNLIKE BMV, NEITHER Stevenson NOR Mistral have ANY authority over the DISTRICT-RUN enrollment lottery for the choice schools!

Stevenson is TOLD by the MVWSD how many students and which students have been selected by the district-run lottery system for Stevenson enrollment. Stevenson has ZERO input on this process and CANNOT reject any student, nor give any priority to any student.

At Stevenson, even if a family openly declares they will NOT donate any money and will NOT put in any volunteer hours, those families cannot and never have been dis-enrolled by Stevenson because Stevenson has no such authority. Also, the names of parents and how much they have donated or volunteered is NOT available information in any case. Volunteer hours are NOT tracked at all, so nobody would know if any specific family is not participating.

Stevenson is NOT allowed to go out to the low-income communities to "recruit" low-income families. Stevenson, like all the other MVWSD schools, has openly publicized "information nights" with Spanish translation available, but very few low-income families show up. Same problem with Mistral by the way.

BMV (and all charter schools) have the power to select their own enrollment and run their own lottery as they see fit. BMV is also allowed to, but have NOT done, serious recruiting in the low-income communities.

The MVWSD lottery rules are known public information, the results of the lottery are also public information.

For BMV, it's all done in secret with whatever rules they wish.
MVWSD has required BMV to change that and make the lottery rules fit the claims of BMV leadership about their supposed goals. BMV has publicly rejected these changes.

"If not, should they?"

What Stevenson parents have always asked for is support from the district to actively recruit low-income families, but that has never been provided by the MVWSD.

"How does a student attending Bullis differ from attending an existing district choice school?"

BMV wants to use their own rules to suit their own true intentions.
MVWSD trustees want BMV to have lottery rules to reflect the CLAIMS the BMV leadership has made about it's goals.

For example, BMV claimed their student achievement would be "better" than the results of the other MVWSD schools, but BMV was forced in a Board meeting to admit that even if BMV results was only 0.01% "better" then BMV has "proven" itself. The MVWSD Board has required that BMV results be 5% higher on the state mandated tests than the MVWSD results, but BMV has fought that from the start.

BMV claims they are all about serving the low-income kids in our district, but everything that BMV leadership has done seems designed to prevent or discourage or anger the low-income community. BMV leadership have pretty much angered everyone and the last people who would want to be at BMV are the low-income families, they generally prefer to avoid drama in their schools if at all possible. The low-income families don't want to find themselves at the core of political fights.

And remember, BMV was NOT invited to MVWSD by the low-income families asking to be "saved" by Bullis, in fact, NOBODY invited Bullis here. BMV forced their way in for their own purposes and intend to use their own rules to accomplish their true goals, which is clearly NOT in the best interests of the low-income kids.


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 14, 2019 at 6:55 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@question regarding choice

Look at it this way, it was the BMV leadership themselves who have always made the claim that BMV was specifically about providing the best possible education for the low-income students. BMV claimed their goal was 45% (or more) low-income students. BMV made enrolling low-income students it's primary issue and main reason to exist.

By BMV's own words (if their words mean anything at all) BMV must give enrollment priority to low-income students ABOVE siblings of current students and ABOVE the kids of BMV leadership and ABOVE the kids of BMV staff. Once BMV enrollment reaches their stated goals, then I can see the rules evening out.

So, if BMV actually meant what they say, they would keep free/reduced lunch kids at the top of their priorities until they get at least 25% and then go to a lottery with no special priorities for anyone, then if they reach 45%, they can go to the BMV Board kids first, BMV staff kids second and siblings third with further low-income kids last.

At the very least, BMV should have no special priorities at all and be required to recruit like crazy in the low-income neighborhoods all across the district and then use a transparent random chance lottery run by the DISTRICT to select which kids get in to BMV.

The district could easily run a fair "no priorities" lottery for BMV, since after all, it was the BMV leadership itself that claimed their goal was to get as many low-income students as they could enrolled in BMV. A "no priorities" district-run random lottery would be legal, transparent, fair and would make BMV live up to their claims that they are all about helping the low-income students.

But we already know BMV will fight that to the bitter end and if they are allowed to run their own lottery, we can assume they will cheat even on the rules they claim they are using.

"Do district choice school (Mistral & Stevenson) place economically disadvantaged families above sibling for their lotteries?"


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:07 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Thanks ST Parent. :-). Stevenson Foundation is a California non-profit corporation and they have specifically IMO, tried their best to recruit low income students/families that live around the school site. [my personal observations when I was a School Board Member/ you should run] The PACT program, when it was at Castro, did the very best it could, to engage and recruit low income kids - and it did a 'reasonable' job in that particular environment - with the parent-leaders of PACT at-that-time. If you all could pull up ed-data.org, and pick the Co., District, and School and then "demographics" tab, you can get a multi-year trend chart (graph) on how that ED or Hispanic (your preference) # or % of the student population of Stevenson changed (PACT -school at its current site).

There does NOT have to be One MOU. For all three years - or for 'things not yet negotiated'. I can easily WHITE OUT the areas of current disagreement - and there is MOU #1 ready to sign. ENROLLMENT - "preference" is the word used in the federal and state laws. HISPANICS in this instance cannot get it! Economically Disadvantaged can legally get it! Siblings can/may get a "priority" BUT - BMV be damed - it does not have to be, or it does not have to be #1.

Rudolph&his lawyer / Anderson-Rosse&her lawyer are not a good mix. An EXPLOSIVE rather than a SOOTHING mix.
MOU #1 all that is currently agreed (use white out)
MOU #2 Enrollment priorities (according to federal law - these may be offed to Economically Disadvantaged)
and BTW- Anderson-Rosse's family preference #1, fell to the wayside with the Board's chartering vote!
MOU #3 ...

Sibling Priority does indeed affect the first year and subsequent year school demographics (@ Cloudy Thinking - think again?). One sibling in lottery gets admitted - (priority #1) So, their sibling twin in the current lottery also gets admitted. For each set of twins (or triplets) each child assumes the collective chance of the entire SIBLING GROUP. If a bunch of rich people's children (or just the non-poor. :) are in the lottery - year 1, they entirely skew the demographics for the NEXT DECADE of the school.

I understood (I hope rightly) that Castro Dual (Spanish Language) Immersion program and school always gave a preference in enrollment, up to 50% of the enrollment, from families with native Spanish speakers. (I think this is the only common exception - and it is only good for Spanish speaking families, that used to have to "sigh a waiver'). It is not a nationality or an ethnic origin test. It is only a Spanish speaking language criteria. It is explicitly allowed (I believe - can't quote federal law) only for the purposes of ELL student language acquisition! In Glendale CA, my hometown, there are native Armenian speaking families and Armenian DI programs! If you are a Spanish speaking family - it does not help getting a "priority" into an Armenian DI program in Glendale USD.


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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:45 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@ST Parent: a few errors in your last postings. Semantic quibbles maybe, but that is how laws are interpreted by the courts.
Charters are not allowed to "select their own enrollment" (process). This is decided at the charter granting process, in a back-and-forth with the LEA or County BOE granting the charter. Also- Setting the enrollment "priorities" and specifying how they are administered. This includes how the lottery, if needed, is run. An MOU, specifically for this, modified and tweaked year-by-year may be required.
[Los Altos is not the chartering organization (LEA) for Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, the Santa Clara County Board of Education is the charter granter. So Los Altos SD has no say in this.]

No one from MVWSD has any legal power to tell the parents running the non-profit Stevenson Foundation corporation that they cannot help recruiting kids into entering Stevenson's lottery. They have run a quite elaborate effort. But it is rather unsuccessful for recruiting Economically Disadvantaged.

Assume Good Intent. @ST Parent - you seem to be loosing it. So time to cool down, please.
{"we can assume they will cheat" ????]


56 people like this
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 14, 2019 at 8:58 pm

Grew Up Here is a registered user.

Is anyone really surprised that when push came to shove, BMV did not take concrete actions to meet the goals it claimed it supported in its charter?

It's appalling that BMV continues to put forth this charade that it wants to help SEL students in MV while at the same time refusing to take any real steps to do so.


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 14, 2019 at 9:22 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@SRB thanks for the reading link.(update MVWSD) Yes - I understand some of your "it's not my real name" complaints. But, it is really, really clear, if the MVWSD's Rudolph is getting legal advice from DWK at (probably) close to $1,000 an hour - there are A LOT of corporation naming mistakes. If computer code - it would have "crashed".

Even in the presentation/layout of the MVWSD's web page. "Bullis" is used indiscriminately to describe in turn the operating corporation running a charter school in Los Altos, and an entirely different corporation - that has applied for a Public Charter from the MVWSD. A request to the inordinately uncooperative Bullis in Los Altos is unfortunately conflated by bad (inexact) corporation names. It the DWK lawyer (for Rudolph) confused or overworked? Is the Bullis Charter School Superintendent, Wanny Hersey really such a so-and-so? (or it looks like his lawyer sure is)

Take the two bull rams - into the same pen - and let them ram heads against Each Other until they are senseless.
Then take the two lawyers, for MVWSD and "Bullis Mountain View", same.

then ... do it a different way...


9 people like this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Mar 15, 2019 at 8:13 am

SRB is a registered user.

@Steven Nelson

- Page 2 of Bullis' October presentaton is entitled Bullis Charter School - Los Altos to present the existing "Bullis Charter School (BCS)"
- Petition (Affiliation with Bullis Charter School section) identifies BCS as the "sole statuary member" of BMV (meaning full control over who sits on BMV's board)
- both presentation and petition make it abundantly clear that BMV is BCS' brainchild.

I always thought of you as a stickler for transparency, hard to understand why you'd apologize for Bullis' answer to MVWSD CPRA request: it's not our real name -even though we used it in our presentation-, BCS never corresponded with nor does have any information about BMV's board -even though we control their board and some of our board members sit on BMV's board-, BCS never corresponded with anyone about BMV -even though its our brainchild- ....





24 people like this
Posted by Transparency
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 15, 2019 at 10:28 am

Transparency is a registered user.

I see people lauding MVWSD for their transparency on this issue. That's laughable! MVWSD is only transparent when it suits their interest!

Here's a test: Try to find out how much money they are spending on legal fees fighting BMV.

You will NEVER get an answer. Not in any released budget documents. Not in response to a PRA. Not by asking at a board meeting.

The only way taxpayers (ie the people paying the bill) will ever find out is if a majority of Board members ask for it and that is most unlikely to ever occur.


15 people like this
Posted by ResidentSince1982June
a resident of another community
on Mar 15, 2019 at 2:38 pm

ResidentSince1982June is a registered user.

It's very evident that the superintendent of MVWSD is winging it without legal advice in his request for public records from Bullis entities. This characterizes his style which causes a lot of confusion in other ways. I don't know what he expected to find.

Much of the comment on here appears to come from Ross Valley people posing as reidents of the local area. The pessimism about BMV recruiting low income kids is an example. Whoever has such pessimism is totally uninformed. Unlike Ross Valley, which has only 8% low income students, Mountain View has 35%. People affiliated with Bullis have been hosting summer education camps for low income Mountain View residents for several years now, and they have made personal connections that way. So one comment about "Bullis" not having done anything to reach out for recruiting pruposes is way off the mark just from that. Comparisons to Stevenson reaching out are in order. Did Stevenson every do anything to make a connection to the low income community similar to the Bullis summer camps? Does Stevenson have any native Spanish speakers participating in their outreach?

The comment above about Stevenson not having control of its composition is a joke. The excuse is that the school district has the control. Well, are we really to believe that if it wanted to, the school district couldn't steer some low income families to apply to the Stevenson program and then see that they were elected? Isn't it the obligation of the school district to make all opportunities available equally without discrimination based on socio economic status? They have widespread segregation economically in the schools. Low income students are concentrated by design in several schools. Yet the school district does nothing to spread these students around to other schools which have better performance. There was a state law that allowed families from low performing schools to move to other schools. So the district relied on token compliance with that requirement to cover itself. Now that regulation was changed, and the district quickly moved to block the right of low income students to continue to transfer say to Huff on request. We're talking big variations here, with extremely poor test performance at many of the district's schools and excellent performance at others.

So if the DISTRICT has full control over who goes to Stevenson, and it is not a school based on any residency, then there is a real issue of discrimination there.
For the board to show such preoccupation with a not-yet-real discrimination by BMV shows they are aware of the issue. They are not clear about what they want from BMV. They seem to want BMV to be an entirely low income school. However, that would just continue the same discrimination shown by the district in the past. The district can't continue to foster policies which segregate the low income students in separate schools, even if such schools have an alleged special program like dual-immersion or like BMV's attempt to serve the low income community. To do this service, all BMV has to do is to get CLOSE to the average district population. It's a distraction to say the percentage must match exactly or exceed. That is nit picking designed to thwart the mission of BMV.

It's the Ross Valley people sowing the idea that BMV will have NO low income kids, or only 8% low income kids like Huff. It's not that hard in a district like MVWSD which does SO VERY POORLY in serving 1/3 of its students to get some kids who are low income. Giving priorities to family members is especially important to the low income community so going after that priority is another way to undermine the outreach to low income kids.

I hope this works out. The district is really ham handed in their approach to this. That's not so much surprise, as this big boundary attendance shift has been even worse. This has got to be due to Rudolph. He's not very good at dealing with a diverse district like MVWSD with all the changes going on. There's also the way he's handling the situation in North Bayshore. Not good. Hope it gets better.


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 16, 2019 at 6:06 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@ResidentSince1982June

Hey, Res, student enrollment is NOT some sort of "election" by some group of voters. Where did you get such a weird idea?

You also misunderstand the MWSD desired rules for BMV enrollment priorities. It's MVWSD that wants low-income families ALWAYS at the TOP of the priorities list and non-low-income siblings BELOW any low-income students. Get it?

The district COULD help Stevenson PACT attract more low-income families, but in all the 21 years PACT has existed, the district has NEVER made any such efforts or helped Stevenson's efforts in any manner.

"Did Stevenson every do anything to make a connection to the low income community similar to the Bullis summer camps?"

Stevenson does NOT have a $5,000 per student ask from parents to support summer camps. The PACT Foundation (PTA for Stevenson) asks for $300/kid but only gets about 70% of families donating that.

PACT was LOCATED for 3 years on the Castro campus and has MANY friends in the low-income community, but that has NOT translate into large percentages of low-income families applying to Stevenson.

"Does Stevenson have any native Spanish speakers participating in their outreach?"

Yes, we have even held Spanish-based information nights where ALL the presenters were native Spanish speakers.

"The comment above about Stevenson not having control of its composition is a joke."

NO, it's a FACT!
NOBODY at Stevenson has ANY control over what the MVWSD district does in regards to the enrollment at Stevenson. Stevenson does not even know from year to year how many Kinder classes we will have. Sometimes, the ST principal does not get notified until well into summer.

"The excuse is that the school district has the control."

Again a FACT, not an excuse.

"Well, are we really to believe that if it wanted to, the school district couldn't..."

There is your problem, I said STEVENSON has ZERO control over enrollment, I did NOT say the MVWSD had no control. In FACT, the entire control is in the hands of the DISTRICT OFFICE and in the minds of the low-income families themselves.

STEVENSON has ZERO control over enrollment and there is very little Stevenson can do on it's own without support from the district, which has NEVER been provided.

"...steer some low income families to apply to the Stevenson program and then see that they were elected?"

ELECTED???????
You think the students get "elected" by some sort of "vote"?????

"Isn't it the obligation of the school district to make all opportunities available equally without discrimination based on socio economic status?"

Opportunities, yes, but arm-twisting low-income families to achieve some political goal is very different.

Low-income families have exactly the SAME opportunity to apply to either of the choice schools, but they mostly wont do so because they prefer to attend their local traditional neighborhood school.

"They have widespread segregation economically in the schools."

Not by school district design, but by where people live.

"Low income students are concentrated by design in several schools."

No, by where people live, based on the property values.

"Yet the school district does nothing to spread these students around to other schools which have better performance."

Go ASK the low-income families if they wish to be BUSED around to far flung schools to make certain people "feel" better. They wont thank you for sending their kids to schools farther away from home.

"There was a state law that allowed families from low performing schools to move to other schools."

Yes, and some years Theuerkauf was that school and some people did switch schools during those years. TH no longer qualifies under that law. None of our schools does.

"We're talking big variations here, with extremely poor test performance at many of the district's schools and excellent performance at others."

Don't compare schools, compare sub-groups of students, or better yet, compare the PARENTS educational backgrounds.

"So if the DISTRICT has full control over who goes to Stevenson, and it is not a school based on any residency, then there is a real issue of discrimination there."

NO, because the people still have to willingly APPLY to go to a choice school!
You cannot FORCE low-income families to choose Mistral or Stevenson or BMV.

"For the board to show such preoccupation with a not-yet-real discrimination by BMV shows they are aware of the issue."

NOBODY claimed BMV was going to "discriminate" against low-income, it was BMV who claimed they were going to enroll 45% low-income students. We simply know they cannot achieve that promis and want BMV to admit they were lying.

"They are not clear about what they want from BMV."

It is VERY CLEAR, we want BMV to either live up to their public promises or admit they were lying to the public and used the MVWSD low-income families as an excuse to put a new Bullis here.

"They seem to want BMV to be an entirely low income school."

NO, BMV claimed they would get 45%, we just want them to put it in writing or admit the truth.

"To do this service, all BMV has to do is to get CLOSE to the average district population."

I think everyone would be totally shocked to see BMV get even half of that percentage of low-income families, in fact, I would be shocked if BMV even gets 10%. I would guess closer to 5% would be more likely.

"Giving priorities to family members is especially important to the low income community so going after that priority is another way to undermine the outreach to low income kids."

NO, just the OPPOSITE in fact!
The MVWSD Board wants low-income families to ALWAYS be at the TOP of the priority list for BMV and place siblings of NON-low-income-families BELOW new low-income kids.

BMV wants to put low-income families BELOW non-low-income siblings and BELOW BMV founders/board/staff.

Clearly, you have only a fragmented partial set of information and you are drawing all the wrong conclusions from your puzzle with most of the pieces missing.


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