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Guest opinion: Don't be fooled by Bullis Mountain View

 

Head of School Jennifer Anderson-Rosse recently published a letter announcing the cancellation of plans to open a charter school in Mountain View this fall. She made claims implying that Bullis Mountain View (BMV) has been the victim of unfair treatment by the Mountain View Whisman School District (MVWSD). A review of the facts reveals Bullis' claims to be false, and leads one to question whether Bullis ever truly intended to serve low-income students in Mountain View.

Although their petition was approved on Dec. 20, BMV did not inform the community until March 7 that they would not comply with MVWSD's conditions for approval. Those conditions included enrollment priorities that would ensure BMV would serve the student population they claimed to want to serve. "Our intent is to mirror the demographics of the Mountain View community, and our plan is to offer a priority enrollment for low-income students," BMV stated initially.

In her letter, Anderson-Rosse falsely claims that "several" of the conditions attached to BMV's approval are in violation of state law. While state and federal laws clearly prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, nationality, race/ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, there is no law against providing enrollment priority to socio-economically disadvantaged (SED) students. The California Charter Schools Association points to the requirement that charter schools should "develop and implement admissions and enrollment policies and practices that ... are designed to contribute to a diverse student population that is reflective of the community in which the school is located." It also states that one of "the primary authorities governing charter schools admissions policies and practices are ... Certain policies and practices adopted by your charter authorizer regarding the admissions process." It is puzzling to see BMV claim they can better educate students from low-income families, and then back away from giving them top priority enrollment.

BMV has not acted in good faith in their communications with the Mountain View community and MVWSD. BMV was asked by a variety of stakeholders to defer its plans to open a school in Mountain View. MVWSD asked BMV for a one-year delay so they would be able to assess the effects of newly drawn enrollment boundaries. About 400 parents and community stakeholders from around Mountain View co-signed an open letter imploring BMV to defer its plans, highlighted the damage that would be brought to neighborhood schools, and pointed out BMV's lack of cultural competence. Since the time of the charter's approval, district requests for information from both Bullis Charter School and BMV were ignored or denied.

Anderson-Rosse claims "The district specifically left siblings out to separate families and undermine the success of BMV," as if to imply the district had removed sibling enrollment preference altogether. In reality, the district asked that enrollment priorities be re-ordered, placing SED students before siblings in order to assure a representative percentage of SED students. If BMV were to not meet enrollment targets for SED students in its first few years and provided priority to siblings of currently enrolled, non-SED students in subsequent years, it would be unlikely to ever achieve enrollment of a significant population of SED students.

Bullis' failed attempt to expand its brand and open a school this fall has wasted taxpayer money, but even more concerning, it may cause real harm to the very students BMV claims it wished to help. BMV is already having a financial impact on the district, and the resultant budget cuts are negatively impacting our children.

I hope that the Santa Clara County and California boards of education are paying close attention to what has transpired here in Mountain View. The proliferation of charter schools that do not incorporate inclusive admission policies toward the community they serve, and do not operate with transparency, harms our students and must be put in check.

Sara Kopit-Olson is a parent leader at Mistral Elementary School in Mountain View.

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Comments

69 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2019 at 11:30 am

Heretofore, the spiteful and rhetoric-laced anti-charter-school screeds were normally limited to article comments. It's surprising to see one presented as a "guest opinion."

(I have no direct stake in the matter at all. But the kinds and tone of rhetoric deployed against what appears to many observers to be a real increase in school choice has been striking.)


19 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2019 at 12:47 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Reader
a resident of "Another Mountain View Neighborhood"
A.K.A., you live in LASD, not MVWSD

You don't understand the rules the paper uses to determine what gets space as a "Guest Opinion". If you did, you would know why this article was classified as one.

"It's surprising to see one presented as a "guest opinion.""

When the MV-Voice staff is sent a LONG well-written opinion piece which addresses an issue of importance to the community, the MV-Voice asks the writer if they wish to have it published, then their staff looks it over to see if it meets it's journalistic standards for opinion pieces.

In my case, my Guest Opinion piece needed a couple small edits, one for spelling, one for a grammar detail, the MV-Voice reporter also invented his own title for my piece, then they published it because they felt it was well-written and did properly address the issue at hand that many readers were interested in.

"...the spiteful and rhetoric-laced anti-charter-school screeds..."

The only mention of charter schools in general was pointing out:
First, that the typical charter school being opened in recent years do not set their admissions priorities to enroll significant proportions of low-income families, just like BMV.

Second, that charter schools hide their operations behind secrecy and do whatever they can to block any public scrutiny of their processes or decisions. The state of California stated that the use of public funds by charters required the charters to fully comply with the Brown Act and be transparent with how they use the money and how they are educating the public school kids.

Recently, the state of California got fed-up with the secrecy of the charters and passed a new law demanding that the charters fully comply with the Brown Act, just like all other schools operating with public funds.

I always wondered why the BMV leadership was so desperate to open in the 2019-2020 school year, I now think they knew the state was finally going to demand the charters comply with the laws and meet the purposes for which these schools were intended, but almost never live up to.

I have closely observed the behavior of the BMV leadership and at first I was supportive of them and I still don't actually object to the idea of a BMV, IF they will keep their promises. The issue has been the behavior of the BMV leadership.

BMV could have come in and been welcomed without backlash from the general public, but the BMV leadership made that impossible and people have noticed.

FYI, NOBODY but the BMV people care one bit about anything outsiders from other cities or counties or states has to say about charters in general. We ONLY care about how this set of leadership for BMV has behaved, we need no outsiders to tell us anything, the BMV leadership has done all this damage to itself.


48 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm

"A.K.A., you live in LASD, not MVWSD"

How about you stop the tendentious second-guessing of things you know nothing about? (A habit, to judge by another comment slightly later, to a related thread.) The guess was wrong; you know nothing about me at all. The same habit appears in the opinion piece's guesses and spins ("leads one to question whether Bullis ever truly intended to," "Bullis' failed attempt to expand its brand," etc.), which, along with the quick and labored defensive comment above about the "guest opinion," just supports my central point above: This is rhetoric, not analysis.

I've glanced at these Bullis-related MV-Voice gripe-fests for years, and amid all the emotion and rationalization, often wondered where the real "adults" went and what kind of example it all sets before the schoolchildren in town, some of whom will surely read it. I know what impression it makes on neutral observers like me.

By the way, in the real world, credible sources for assessing whether an article is "well-written" do not customarily include its own author.


30 people like this
Posted by Lies
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2019 at 2:38 pm

The author of this piece reveals astounding ignorance. What she is mixing
up (intentionally to deceive us) is the difference between preferences and quotas. This matter is well established. It's the same issue as found in affirmative action. Preferences are legal but quotas are not. The school district sought to impose a quote on the charter school and to have it apply a quote to its applicants. This is not only illegal, but it is unconstitutional.

For a nice discussion of the role of preferences versus quotas see this article in the Harvard Crimson from 1973. Web Link Maybe the author is too young to be aware of current events. Maybe she's one of these instagram followers who spends all day on her phone and doesn't really understand the world at large.

Who knows. But the district is subject to the law and it attempted to get the charter school to violate the law by agreeing to an unconstitutional MOU. Shame on MVWSD at large. Get educated!


30 people like this
Posted by Lies
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 14, 2019 at 2:44 pm

The district can't make changes to the charter petition. It approved the petition. The problem is that the district and the charter reps have to iron out a memo of understanding of how the charter petition is implemented. This always takes time. Saying they tried until March to get an agreement means they took enough time to know that the district was behaving illegally. Going public any sooner would not be a good faith effort to work things out. The problem is that the district needs to give to in this negotiation. The district's position is that there is no negotiation. That is not the truth either. The negotiation is what failed. One might as well say the district fake-approved the petition with this end in mind. They knew they could sandbag the effort even with an approved charter petition.


6 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2019 at 2:55 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Reader

"By the way, in the real world, credible sources for assessing whether an article is "well-written" do not customarily include its own author."

If you bothered reading the article, you might have noticed the author of the above Guest Opinion clearly states:
"Sara Kopit-Olson is a parent leader at Mistral Elementary School in Mountain View."

I don't know that name, I am not her, I know only a few people of Mistral and I did NOT write the Guest Opinion above.

If you bothered to look at my handle, it clearly shows which school my child attends and it's NOT Mistral.


10 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2019 at 3:10 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Reader

"I've glanced at these Bullis-related MV-Voice gripe-fests for years,"

Is that the extent of your information sources?

I have personally had meetings with the BMV leaders offering them support and advice on how to work fruitfully with the MVWSD.

I have been personally present at all the related MVWSD Board meetings and heard everything the BMV leaders have said and promises they made.

I have heard all the public comments from BMV supporters and opponents.
(FYI, I personally think the outsiders were all wasting their time, we don't really care what outsiders think.)

I was there when the MVWSD approved the BMV charter and saw the BMV leadership react to the change in the order of BMV priorities. And to be CLEAR, the MVWSD did NOT eliminate or alter ANY of the BMV existing enrollment priorities, the MVWSD simply changed the ORDER of priorities to put the Free/Reduced Lunch Program kids at the TOP of the list rather than at the BOTTOM of the priority list as BMV had originally placed it.

I am aware of the many steps the BMV leadership took that they could only take if they knew they had been properly authorized.

I have read the BMV petition and the MVWSD staff reports. I was there when BMV leaders made the arrangements with Dr. Rudolph about having a full-day meeting to hash out the details of implementation.

And many other things to inform myself of the entire BMV series of events.

So, pardon me if you're assumptions based on skimming years of old articles about BCS, which the BMV people constantly claim has NOTHING to do with BMV, just don't make you meaningfully informed about what has been going on with BMV trying to bully the MVWSD.


33 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 15, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Politics is a registered user.

Sara Kopit-Olson is Mistral PTA president. I don't know her or her intentions, but there is a well-worn political path from PTA presidency to school board by gaining the favor and support of the teachers' union. The union's top priority is fighting independent charter schools.

For example, in LASD, Sangeeth Peruri was Covington PTA president and strong anti-BCS activist. He then ran for LASD board on the union ticket and won with their massive campaign support. During his LASD tenure and presidency he continued to fight against BCS, and since then he's been an advisor to those who oppose charter schools.

It will be interesting to watch for whether a similar pattern unfolds in MVWSD.


8 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 15, 2019 at 2:38 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Politics

Sara Kopit-Olson is Mistral PTA president."

OK, but since I am not familiar withe her name, she has not run for MVWSD Board in the past, nor has any other PTA president I am aware of in the MVWSD. I have also not heard any candidate in the past 3 elections that had been a PTA president at the time and even ran for election.

"...there is a well-worn political path from PTA presidency to school board..."

Maybe in the LASD, but I am not aware of any such example in the MVWSD.

If anyone knows a past example, please post it, school name as well as when this person was elected.

"by gaining the favor and support of the teachers' union. The union's top priority is fighting independent charter schools."

I think you just answered your own question there!

ONLY when charter schools bully their way into a district and basically make everyone angry by their behavior, THEN the Teacher's Union gets loads of support form the general public and one of their local school PTA presidents gains enough support to get elected.

Without the charter school angering everyone, the PTA presidents have no real chance of being elected.

Again, if I have missed anyone who went from PTA president and onto the Board of MVWSD, do let me know.


7 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 15, 2019 at 3:06 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Lies

Helpful label you picked.

Here are the published facts, so take note that it was BMV who made these rules you object to and all the MVWSD did was ask that the BMV rules be reordered:

READ the quotes from the BMV petition and from the MVWSD staff report, they directly contradict your lies.

Staff report quotes:
The (BMV) Petition states that, “BMV seeks to serve the students and families in the communities of Mountain View who reside within the attendance boundaries for Mariano Castro Elementary, Theuerkauf Elementary, and Monta Loma Elementary. BMV believes that there is a need for an additional high-quality public school option in this community, an opportunity to keep and bring back families to public school, as well as an opportunity to bring the innovative school model developed over the 14-year history of BCS to serve this community.” (Petition, p. 20.)

The (BMV) Petition also states that the Charter School “will serve an intentionally diverse student demographic that mirrors the demographics of the Mountain View community both ethnically and socioeconomically.” (Petition, p. 6.)

MVWSD staff concludes:
However, upon review, most of the parents/guardians who have signed the Petition expressing their meaningful interest in enrolling their children in BMV reside in areas outside of the above-referenced attendance areas. District staff estimates that 59% of the students whose families signed the Petition reside outside of these identified zones. (Appendix 30, Parent Signatures.)

Moreover, the Petition does not contain an enrollment preference for
families residing within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools in the event of a public random drawing. (Petition, p. 131.)

To remedy this failure of BMV to abide by it's own stated rules, the staff states:

Recommendation: To effectuate BMV’s enrollment goals and purpose of serving the families residing within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools, District staff recommends that:
(1) students who are eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (“FRPM”) and who reside within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools be afforded first enrollment
preference; and
(2) students who are eligible for FRPM and who reside within the Mountain View Whisman School District be afforded second enrollment preference."

The MVWSD simply moved the FRLP kids up to the TOP of the BMV list!

NOWHERE in the MVWSD report does the MVWSD require quotas, NOR does the MVWSD ask for anything illegal. The MVWSD simply said the BMV needs to re-order their stated enrollment preferences to place the Free/Reduced Meals kids at the TOP of the enrollment list instead of the bottom!

"What she is mixing up (intentionally to deceive us) is the difference between preferences and quotas."

The BMV leadership was the ones who promised they were going to enroll as much as 45% Free/Reduced Lunch Program kids.

The MVWSD only said the BMV-written list of enrollment priorities needed to be re-ordered to place the FRLP kids at the TOP of the BMV-written list of priorities instead of at the BOTTOM.

The MVWSD did NOT set any "quotas", the BMV did in it's promises.

"Preferences are legal but quotas are not."

Which is why the MVWSD was only moving around BMV preferences and did NOT set a quota.

"The school district sought to impose a quote on the charter school and to have it apply a quote to its applicants. This is not only illegal, but it is unconstitutional."

Mainly, it's a lie, LIES, glad you picked that handle, it was helpful.


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 15, 2019 at 3:28 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Lies

What about the known legal errors in the BMV petition?
Can't those be corrected?
Even the BMV lawyer stated those were errors that needed fixing, but BMV never did.
You should really listen to the video recording of the MVWSD Board meetings.

"The district can't make changes to the charter petition."

The WHY did the BMV leadership say this the very next day after the MVWSD had their vote on it?

""In a statement Friday morning, BMV officials called the vote a milestone in the organization's plans to serve district students, and that they looked forward to working with the district's leadership and sharing the charter school's "unique educational model" with the community.

"We would like to thank all of the gracious and hardworking BMV supporters," Bullis board member Clara Roa said in the statement. "We certainly could not have achieved this outcome without their help.""

The BMV leadership seemed quite happy and proceeded to take all normal steps to open BMV in Aug 2019.

"The problem is that the district and the charter reps have to iron out a memo of understanding of how the charter petition is implemented."

Which is why we now have a whole set of published communications between the BMV leaders and the MVWSD and it is also why the BMV and Dr. Rudolph scheduled a full-day meeting for March 22nd to hammer out the details. Then, just the day before the scheduled meeting, the BMV leadership notified everyone else that the meeting was off and then lastly notified the MVWSD that BMV was no longer interested in opening a BMV this year.

BMV held secret meetings, for one, BMV tried to convince the county to give BMV a charter approval. It was after that secret meeting that BMV changed it's tune and came out with a whole new story line trying to claim that MVWSD rejected BMV when BMV had previously claimed all was well and going forwards.

"Saying they tried until March to get an agreement means they took enough time to know that the district was behaving illegally."

NO, it took BMV that long to come up with a set of lies in an effort to get out of their agreements and promises to the MVWSD and to get the lax county to go behind the backs of the MVWSD.

"The problem is that the district needs to give to in this negotiation."

WHAT "negotiation"? BMV never negotiated on anything.

"The district's position is that there is no negotiation."

NO, that's what BMV said.


39 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2019 at 4:07 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Buried in all this lengthy analysis from ST parent are many illogical statements reflecting a lack of education about the process that defines a charter school petition. I would refute some of them but it makes no difference what this uneducated person thinks. The question is whether or not the substance of the inflammatory opinion piece is valid.

We'll either hear more about that from sources with power to review and override or we won't. It's not really a political question, though the Mistral parent tries to make it one.

The program outlined in the petition is very good and has a real chance of making a difference in the educational outcome for the low income students who participate. Mountain View Whisman could adopt some of these program elements but it chooses not to basically because it has no special interest in addressing the achievement gap. Of course that itself is not addressed in the petition, but the petition sought to start a program to set an example. It wanted a mixture of students similar to the district's average makeup, but not guaranteed to match it exactly. For one thing, that mixture changes year over year. For another, quotas in admission are illegal. However, it had preferences for low income admission. These are legal and valid. The changes the district tried to add didn't make the BMV preference scheme favor low income any more. One would just try to take the low income kids from specific schools, i.e to change the makeup of the district's schools preferentially. No legal rationale exists to give those low income kids a preference over any other low income kid in the district. That makes that specific aspect illegal.

The district just wants to sabotage the program before it even gets off the ground. It would look bad for the district if the program succeeded. Of course there would be nothing learned if they don't manage to get any low income students. They wanted to get low income students. They had applicants to fill low income preferences. These facts will likely come out in more detail.


30 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2019 at 4:17 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Another aspect of the district's attempts to screw up the BMV program. They may have been trying to bias the program towards having say 80% low income students. That would be a very difficult program to implement. It will also represent a form of economic segregation since the district as a whole is about 1/3 low income. Designing a program to pull these kids out into a separate school raises many issues beyond the fact that it would be more difficult to operate such a school than one which simply matches the district's average. Designing one to serve a mixture of student economic status that mirrors the district's own is scalable. The low income only emphasis is not scalable. Covering the entire district it would absolutely be a civil rights violation.


6 people like this
Posted by tecsi
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm

tecsi is a registered user.

TO: .”Reader”

Please cite the comments your noticed that were:
- spiteful
- rhetoric-laced

And please define for us “rhetoric-laced”. I have no idea what that means,

Thanks,


-


11 people like this
Posted by @ST Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 15, 2019 at 9:18 pm

@ST Parent is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


29 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2019 at 11:01 pm

A Parent is a registered user.

You know why certain parents fight so hard against Bullis? Because Bullis is an amazing school with a great reputation, and if BMV were allowed in Mountain View, it would become the "cool" school. Bullis is so in demand that LASD fears that if allowed, literally everyone in LASD will want to go to Bullis.

Your loss, Mountain View. It's just a shame that parents fight so hard to prevent other parents from having the right to choose. I just wish they would stop spreading lies.


10 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 16, 2019 at 1:36 am

Politics is a registered user.

About the claim that BMV didn't really prioritize low-income children, and that the MVWSD-mandated priorities would have fixed that.

Let's consider how that could work. BMV's first four preferences were (summarizing):

1. Siblings of enrolled students.
2. Children of founders.
3. Children of teachers & staff.
4. Children eligible for free & reduced price meals.

It's a bit surprising to see the first mention of SED kids at #4. Why not #1? Wouldn't the sibling preference create a loophole that allows too many privileged kids to get in?

Low-income students have low-income siblings because they're in the same families. Not so many families would feature both privileged and low-income siblings at the same time. Not much of a loophole there.

What about the preferences for teachers and founders? Wouldn't those take spaces away from SED families?

The teachers preference is capped at 10%. The founders preference is a handful of families. We'd need to see low-income enrollment close to 90% before these preferences could possibly deny any spaces to low-income families.

So it's a non-issue that the low-income preference is #4. Though in the realm of perception it's a juicy piece of red meat for opponents to weaponize.


4 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 16, 2019 at 10:21 am

Politics is a registered user.

Looks like I didn't complete the thought about sibling preference.

Sibling preference only comes into play for families that already have a student enrolled via some other preference.

For sibling preference to reduce low-income enrollment, this could only happen if the preference lets privileged kids enroll in a higher proportion than what would happen without the preference.

Low-income kids mostly have low-income siblings. Privileged kids mostly have privileged siblings. Assuming family sizes are roughly equal, overall proportions stay about the same with sibling preference.

Sibling preference affects one family at a time - there's not a way for privileged but unrelated families to get in because they have no enrolled siblings to begin with. There's no loophole.

The low-income preference is in fact the top preference that has a meaningful effect on low-income enrollment, and that's the way it should be.


12 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2019 at 11:49 am

A Parent is a registered user.

As anyone who has ever been a parent knows, sibling preference MUST be #1. Otherwise, dropping a child off at say Landels and then BMV can become very difficult. By saying that it cannot be #1 is evidence that MVWSD and the opinion writer is disingenuous.

The signatures by parents? They are mostly likely all parents of school-age children. They made their choices, so BMV would not personally benefit them. So, they worked hard to deny OTHER people's children from having a choice. What is their agenda?

Bullis in Los Altos has a stellar reputation. It has over 1000 people on their waiting list and has been serving Los Altos and Los Altos Hills for over 15 years.

Parents of toddlers should be outraged. These parents took the choice of an excellent school from you for their personal agenda. But, they are likely not reading these message boards.


Like this comment
Posted by A Parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2019 at 12:03 pm

A Parent is a registered user.

Sorry, I meant to say serving most of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills and part of Mountain View and Palo Alto.


5 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2019 at 12:16 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

One point of the charter school's program to include low income kids in the success column for an MVWSD school is that scaling in the future could come from MVWSD itself. I.e. this could be a free test kitchen. Some of the recipes might be used by MVWSD in its own schools. I think one reason there is resistance to such ideas is concern and lobbying by the parents of the non low income kids. So an important element of this program in mirroring the district is just how the special features are perceived by the entire population at the school, not just the low income. To adopt in MVWSD schools, everyone has to buy in.


4 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2019 at 3:17 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@LongResident

Sad you know so little about the MVWSD.

"The program outlined in the petition is very good and has a real chance of making a difference in the educational outcome for the low income students who participate."

NOBODY has claimed otherwise, in fact, EVERY part of the advertised BMV educational methods have been used by Stevenson/PACT for the past 21 years.
And PACT was ALWAYS intended as a proving-ground for educational methods for the other schools to pick methods to copy.
NOBODY was claiming the educational programs BMV are offering were a problem. That's NOT what people are complaining about.

You did hit on a major problem in your statement above:
"...the low income students who participate."

Everyone who knows the MVWSD also knows that the hardest part is recruiting low-income families to take a chance on ANY style of alternative education.

The BMV leaders and petition said they planned on having as much as 45% Free/Reduced Meals Program kids, but when the MVWSD Board asked them how they planned on accomplishing that, the BMV leaders just said "recruitment" that they will "adjust" over the years.

The problem with putting siblings at the TOP of the priorities list is that low-income families are NOT early-adopters, they simply wont sign-up in any noticeable numbers (probably 1-2% at best the first year) until they see a track record they feel comfortable with. Even then, most low-income families will never sign-up with BMV simply due to the location. Most low-income families lack transportation and cannot attend any school so far away.

If the first priority is given to the early-adopters siblings, then the low-income families are basically shut-out because of all the siblings of the early-adopter families.

The TRUTH is, the early-adopter families don't really have anything to worry about, they are NOT going to find any significant percentage of low-income families applying to BMV. Even if BMV put all Free/Reduced Meal Program kids at the TOP of the list, they wont see even double-digits of "those poor kids" in the first 5 years. It's just not going to happen.

What BMV leaders are afraid of is that by putting low-income kids first, they fear that their REAL TARGET MARKET will run away in fear that BMV MIGHT have too many poor kids and thus many early-adopters might stand back and wait to see what the percentages are before deciding to apply.

"Mountain View Whisman could adopt some of these program elements but it chooses not to..."

NO, PACT has used all the BMV methods for 21 years and the issue is NOT the MVWSD district, it's the parents and administrations of ALL the local neighborhood schools who have NOT chosen to implement the PACT (same as BMV) methods. I mean, a little bit of Project Based Learning (PBL) has sneaked in to some of the neighborhood schools, but not much else.

BMV has NOTHING NEW to teach the MVWSD or any of it's schools.

"For another, quotas in admission are illegal."

The MVWSD did not require quotas. Just a change in the order of priorities for admissions.

"However, it (
BMV) had preferences for low income admission. These are legal and valid."

Yes, and BMV put then LAST in their list of priorities.
MVWSD put them at the TOP of the list. That is why BMV pulled-out.

"The changes the district tried to add didn't make the BMV preference scheme favor low income any more."

Moving low-income kids from the BOTTOM to the TOP sounds like they wanted to favor low-income kids more than BMV did.

"One would just try to take the low income kids from specific schools, i.e to change the makeup of the district's schools preferentially. No legal rationale exists to give those low income kids a preference over any other low income kid in the district. That makes that specific aspect illegal."

NO, there is case law on this and other district have done it over the years without being struck down.

"Of course there would be nothing learned if they (BMV) don't manage to get any low income students. They wanted to get low income students. They had applicants to fill low income preferences."

If so, then WHY did BMV refuse to even state how many they had, or even what neighborhood they lived in, or anything else?
BMV leaders did NOT even state they had ANY FRMP kids at all signed-up.


3 people like this
Posted by Cleave Frink
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Cleave Frink is a registered user.

The discussion here is pretty telling. On one side, you have all of the Bullis supporters espousing how great the Bullis model is for any district. On the other side, you have district parents worrying about how the financial strain imposed by a Bullis school would impact the remaining neighborhood schools in the district.

Both sides seem to have valid concerns. One of the things that frustrates me are the Bullis folks who seem to have this idea that the District is determined to sabotage the Bullis school. Career educators simply don't behave this way. The Bullis team seems to have every advantage at hand: A fantastic pool of potential students, an entire school site with which to begin it's experiment, a site in a neighboring district with which it can share resources and reduce it's initial resource needs, a district willing to help it take root and grow.

For MVWSD's and it's parents part, their concerns are very real that in such a small district, the impact on financial resources could be, at least initially, significant. But these will or should not be long term concerns. My experience informs me that over time, districts can accommodate these resource needs by making other choices that benefit all parties. Parents also show concerns that Bullis will not honor it's intent to serve SED students. It is unclear to me what Bullis has done in it's pass that would make it untrustworthy on this point. Admittedly, this seems to be a difficult task. In my experience, a talented administrator can make such a thing happen in our community. That person deserves support and trust and cannot proceed without such. This, however, doesn't mean this effort will be a success. It may become possible to change the mission at some point, and that, too, is the reality of Charter schools. I felt strongly about the way and the timing of Bullis' request however, I understand that there may have been some political reasons and even policy reasons for the manner and timeline in which the request was made and this is simply business. I don't attribute it to any ill will but just an attempt at some education focused folks to get the ball across the line.

The reality is that the Bullis folks and the District folks have to decided to trust each other and I don't mean the school officials, but also the families on either side of this issue. District parents and Bullis parents have to stop protecting territory. Folks need to decide that the real reason for any of this is to educate children in the best possible way. I think the District does a fantastic job. And I love Charter schools and their ability to innovate and then share many of those innovations in their home district and elsewhere. These are positives that everyone should be able to appreciate. I think the school will be a reality and we must now all get together and figure out how to make it successful. There's nothing worse than a failed school project. No one wins from such an disappointing endeavor, least of all the students for which we all care so much. My hope is that we spend the summer working together and getting everything back on track for the next school year and getting this eventuality done and done right. Here's to hoping.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2019 at 3:35 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@LongResident

You sure have things backwards, you don't know anything about low-income families or the MVWSD, just like the leadership of BMV and the people living in LASD know nothing about either. Not to mention you know nothing about PACT and it's purpose for the past 21 years.

"One point of the charter school's program to include low income kids in the success column for an MVWSD school is that scaling in the future could come from MVWSD itself. I.e. this could be a free test kitchen. Some of the recipes might be used by MVWSD in its own schools."

That has always been the mission of Stevenson/PACT for the past 21 years.
In fact, everything BMV says they will do educationally has always been done by PACT. NOBODY is objecting to the idea that BMV wants to spread it's methods to other schools, I mean, educational methods, not leadership behavioral methods.

PACT was always intended to provide a testing ground for ideas which would then be available for any of the other schools to copy. PACT families and school staff have always been ready/willing to help any school or even an individual teacher learn the PACT methods and help spread them to any other schools that are interested.

"Some of the recipes might be used by MVWSD in its own schools. I think one reason there is resistance to such ideas is concern and lobbying by the parents of the non low income kids."

Actually, just the OPPOSITE!
The middle-income and high-income public school families are always happy to spread new educational methods around and bring them into their local schools. The problem is that the lower-income families don't automatically trust anything new, they trust the old tried/true methods and are highly wary of changes.

Low-income families are not "early adopters" and are highly resistant to any changes to methods they are not already familiar with.

"So an important element of this program in mirroring the district is just how the special features are perceived by the entire population at the school, not just the low income."

The non-low-income families are always welcoming of new ideas, they are more willing to trust changes, the issue is ALWAYS trying to convince the low-income families to take a risk on something new.

" To adopt in MVWSD schools, everyone has to buy in."

WRONG AGAIN!
Sheesh, all you have to do is get one teacher or one set of parents at one school to try something new and then time will prove it to the others. You CANNOT have an "all or nothing" mentality, groups of people simply don't follow like that and it's not required.

You want to see loads of low-income people getting really upset?
Just try imposing anything new into their local school.

Sometimes, the middle-income parents get upset about something new when they see it's not working as advertised, but the low-income families want proof FIRST before they will take the risk.


21 people like this
Posted by Anti-charter Agenda?
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm

Anti-charter Agenda? is a registered user.

The real agenda of this post? Anti-charter legislation. There has been anti-charter legislation proposed by the California Teachers Association. They think they have a chance this year because Newsom won with union support. However, he recently said "I’ve long supported high-quality nonprofit charters...I’ve been an advocate, not just a supporter."

Web Link

This anti-charter effort is a quest for more money for the unions at the expense of choice for students.

Notice the guest writer's political stance: "I hope that the Santa Clara County and California boards of education are paying close attention to what has transpired here in Mountain View."

Is the opinion writer a teacher? Yep.


5 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 16, 2019 at 4:11 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Cleave Frink

Mr. Frink, I would ask if the other charter schools you have direct experience with were operating under the sort of one-sided-power laws that we have in California under Prop 39?
That is the primary source of the problem here. Prop 39 gives the charter schools 3 different sledgehammers and the school districts a paperclip.

Also, I think you have misunderstood what the "sides" are in the argument.
It's not about the educational methods nor really the budget.

"On one side, you have all of the Bullis supporters espousing how great the Bullis model is for any district."

If you mean "educational model", then nobody I know of is objecting to the advertised BMV educational model.

That's not actually a "side" of this argument.
After all, PACT has been doing everything BMV claims they will do for the past 21 years, so nobody is arguing against that.

"On the other side, you have district parents worrying about how the financial strain imposed by a Bullis school would impact the remaining neighborhood schools in the district."

Even that is a side-detail that people are concerned about, not a primary issue of the argument. The groups most concerned about that are the District Office people who have to figure out how to balance the budget and the teachers union.

"One of the things that frustrates me are the Bullis folks who seem to have this idea that the District is determined to sabotage the Bullis school."

Yes, that is the standard Bullis way, to always play the "victim card" at every opportunity. Go back and read the past decades of posts to the MV-Voice from BCS supporters and they always claim they are "victims" of a conspiracy. They never take responsibility for their own actions. BMV leaders are just following the BCS playbook.

"Career educators simply don't behave this way."

Correct, that's because it's not really about education for them.
The whole thing about "serving the low-income kids" and "closing the achievement gap" are nothing but marketing catch phrases to Bullis.

"The Bullis team seems to have every advantage at hand:"

Yes, mostly Prop 39 advantages.

"...a district willing to help it take root and grow."

Not that the MVWSD has any choice in this.

"Parents also show concerns that Bullis will not honor it's intent to serve SED students."

Ah, now you're getting to the heart of the matter, they have shown they have no intention to do so.

"It is unclear to me what Bullis has done in it's past that would make it untrustworthy on this point."

Then go ask the parents over at Castro and Monta Loma and Theuerkauf how they feel about what the BMV leadership has done. I think it will become more clear. And look to the history of the tiny few SED kids of BCS, if you can find any.

"Admittedly, this seems to be a difficult task."

Practically impossible in fact. If we know anything about the low-income parents of the MVWSD, it's that they are not early-adopters and cannot transport their kids to/from schools so far away from home and that they love the communities they have already built. They are not trustful of new things and wont gamble.

"In my experience, a talented administrator can make such a thing happen in our community."

Around here? What administrator has ever caused any significant shift in the willingness of low-income families to choose a new school farther from home?

"I felt strongly about the way and the timing of Bullis' request however,"

Now you're on track with the real argument here!
The behavior of the BMV leadership.

"The reality is that the Bullis folks and the District folks have to decide to trust each other"

NOT according to Prop 39 they don't.

"I think the school will be a reality and we must now all get together and figure out how to make it successful."

"must" being the operative word, the district MUST accommodate BMV regardless of what is good for the district as a whole, Prop 39 does not allow anything else.


8 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 17, 2019 at 12:25 am

Politics is a registered user.

Here are the often-denied enrollment quotas that MVWSD mandated:

"The Charter School’s enrollment rates of Free and Reduced Price Lunch, English Language Learner, and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students shall be at least equal to those of the District."

MVWSD asserted the legal power to shut down BMV for failing to comply.


18 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2019 at 12:36 am

LongResident is a registered user.

It's like saying no one allowed in the park beginning 30 minutes before sunset. How does anyone know when Sunset will occur? They need an astronomer to tell them.

All these statistics are not calculated until the early October enrollment reports to the state database. All these numbers change each year. None of those figures are met or exceeded by Stevenson. PACT has not developed anything to help address the achievement gap in MVWSD. Not only are the quotas unconstitutional but they are not possible to comply with.


12 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2019 at 8:07 am

LongResident is a registered user.

You can put the quota issue another way too. Only about two of the MVWSD traditional schools comply with all 3 of the quotas, because MVWSD concentrates such students at just a few schools. The SED number is defined to include FRPL plus homeless, foster youth and migrant. So it's redundant to include that except to crate a separate quota for how many homeless and foster youth are in a school. Recruiting specifically HOMELESS kids to any school is pretty pointless. It creates an additional metric for outreach which is unattainable for any except the district itself, because the data is so hard to come by. But beyond that, only 2 of 8 elementary schools exceed the average for the SED percentage that is the district's average. The district is reshuffling schools next year so no one knows how that will turn out, but the lottery for entering the charter school had to be run by now.

This set of metrics is just a way to render the charter school unable to operate.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 17, 2019 at 10:59 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Politics

WOW, talk about taking words out of context and from the WRONG section, to invent a controversy you can exploit.

People, LOOK AT THE FINANCES SECTION, that's where these Bullis people are coming up with their phony "quota" claim!

The line Bullis is exploiting is NOT in the Enrollment section and is NOT related to enrollment. The line is about finance miscalculations made by Bullis and the MVWSD asking Bullis to correct their MATH for the BUDGET, NOT anything to do with enrollment!!!

"Here are the often-denied enrollment quotas that MVWSD mandated:"

See below, the FULL text and from the FINANCES section, NOT the ENROLLMENT section!!!

"C. Finances
Multiple factors may be taken into consideration in determining whether charter petitioners are demonstrably unlikely to successfully implement the program. (Regulations, § 11967.5.1, subd. (c).) With respect to financial administration, the charter and supporting documents must include, at a minimum, the first-year operational budget, start-up costs, and cash flow, and financial projections for the first three years; include reasonable estimates of all anticipated revenues and expenditures necessary to operate the school, including, but not limited to, special education, based, when possible, on historical data from schools or school districts of similar type, size, and location; include budget notes that clearly describe assumptions on revenue estimates, including, but not limited to, the basis
for average daily attendance estimates and staffing levels; present a budget that in its totality appears viable and over a period of no less than two years of operations provides for the amassing of a reserve equivalent to that required by law for a school district of similar
size to the proposed charter school; and demonstrate an understanding of the timing of the receipt of various revenues and their relative relationship to timing of expenditures that are within reasonable parameters, based, when possible, on historical data from schools or
school districts of similar type, size, and location. (Regulations, § 11967.5.1, subd.(c)(3)(B).)

The Budget Narrative appears to utilize inaccurate estimations of Free and Reduced Price Lunch (“FRPL”) and English Language Learner (“ELL”) students in its budget assumptions. The budget assumes a FRPL rate of 40% and an ELL rate of 32%. (Appendix 20, Budget Narrative, p. 2.)

However, the District’s FRPL rate is 42% and its ELL rate is 24%.
Furthermore, the District’s rate of socio-economically disadvantaged (“SED”) students is 35%. In addition to the fact that the inaccurate figures were utilized to calculate BMV’s funding, including but not limited to the Charter School’s Title I funding, the estimates raise concerns
regarding BMV’s ability to recruit and enroll the numbers of underserved students as projected in the Budget Narrative and to therefore meet its purpose of serving historically underserved student communities.

***
Recommendation: To address the potential fiscal impacts of the inaccurate
estimates, District staff recommends the Charter School revise its budget assumptions by utilizing the revised assumptions reflecting a FRPL rate of 42%; ELL rate of 24%; and SED rate of 35%. Furthermore, District staff recommends the Petition indicate that BMV’s enrollment rates of FRPL, ELL, and SED students shall be at least equal to those of the District. District staff also recommends revisions to the Petition’s Title I estimates and for
the Charter School to submit a revised budget containing the corrected assumptions to the District no later than July 1, 2019."

GET IT YET?
The line Bullis is screaming about "quotas" over had NOTHING to do with ENROLLMENT, it was about FINANCES calculations errors Bullis made. I grant you the line they are exploiting was not well-written for it's actual purpose, but Bullis is LYING, there is NO QUOTA being required.


3 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:06 am

ST parent is a registered user.

HEY Bullis people, HERE is the Enrollment section you keep ignoring:

"D. Demographics/Enrollment Target
The Education Code provides for the charter petition to identify the means by which the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance among its students that is reflective of the authorizing district’s general population. (Ed. Code, § 47605, subd. (b)(5)(G).)

Furthermore, they require the charter petition to identify admission requirements that are in compliance with applicable law. (Ed. Code, § 47605, subd. (b)(5)(H); Regulations, §11967.5.1, subd. (f)(8).)

Admissions preferences shall not result in limiting enrollment
access for pupils with disabilities, academically low-achieving pupils, English learners, neglected or delinquent pupils, homeless pupils, or pupils who are economically disadvantaged, as determined by eligibility for any free or reduced-price meal program, foster youth, or pupils based on nationality, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. (Ed. Code, § 47605, subd. (d)(2)(B)(iii).)

The Petition states that, “BMV seeks to serve the students and families in the communities of Mountain View who reside within the attendance boundaries for Mariano Castro Elementary, Theuerkauf Elementary, and Monta Loma Elementary. BMV believes that there is a need for an additional high-quality public school option in this community, an opportunity to keep and bring back families to public school, as well as an opportunity to bring the innovative school model developed over the 14-year history of BCS to serve this community.” (Petition, p. 20.)

The Petition also states that the Charter School “will serve an intentionally diverse student demographic that mirrors the demographics of the Mountain View community both ethnically and socioeconomically.” (Petition, p. 6.)

However, upon review, most of the parents/guardians who have signed the Petition expressing their meaningful interest in enrolling their children in BMV reside in areas outside of the above-referenced attendance areas. District staff estimates that 59% of the students whose families signed the Petition reside outside of these identified zones. (Appendix 30,
Parent Signatures.)

Moreover, the Petition does not contain an enrollment preference for
families residing within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools in the event of a public random drawing. (Petition, p. 131.)

***
Recommendation: To effectuate BMV’s enrollment goals and purpose of serving the families residing within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools, District staff recommends that: (1) students who are eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (“FRPM”) and who reside within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools be afforded first enrollment
preference; and (2) students who are eligible for FRPM and who reside within the Mountain View Whisman School District be afforded second enrollment preference."

GET IT YET???
The above is the ONLY section of the MVWSD document that applies to ENROLLMENT and there is NO QUOTA involved!!!!

Bullis is exploiting a poorly written line out of the FINANCES section as an excuse to claim "quotas", but in FACT there were NO QUOTAS required.


3 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 17, 2019 at 11:24 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@A Parent

"You know why certain parents fight so hard against Bullis? Because Bullis is an amazing school with a great reputation, and if BMV were allowed in Mountain View, it would become the "cool" school."

Just to set the record straight here:
First, my child will be in middle school this fall, so I don't care which elementary school is "cool" or not, or most popular, or has the biggest waiting-list, or whatever...

Second, my objections to BMV have NOTHING to do with the budgetary issues either. It's is possible that BMV will cause some sort of negative budget issue, but I think the situation is far too complex to reasonably figure it out until BMV has operated for a year or 3 first. It's also possible the net per child in the other MVWSD schools may increase, I don't think anyone can clearly say for sure now.

Third, I have no problem with the advertised educational methods BMV says they will use, especially since every educational method BMV has mentioned has been part of the PACT program for the past 21 years, thus why would I object to another school using the same methods Stevenson does?

My objections are all about the bad behavior of the BMV leadership.

The MVWSD did NOT ask BMV to do anything illegal, NOR did the MVWSD ask for any sort of "quota". The line BMV people are exploiting was NOT related to enrollment, it was about an error made by BMV relating to financial calculations and the MVWSD asking BMV to correct the BMV math error. The line was poorly written and shows a failure of proof-reading, but it was in the FINANCES section, NOT the ENROLLMENT section and had NOTHING to do with "quotas" or anything illegal.


25 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Politics is a registered user.

Wow. I'm floored at the continued denial and misdirection about the MVWSD quotas.

The quotas that I quoted are from the MVWSD MOU, II.K.6. Section title is "EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM." I encourage everyone to take a look.

Web Link


29 people like this
Posted by Reader and Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 17, 2019 at 8:37 pm

Reader and Parent is a registered user.

I can’t believe these lies continue to be published. Sara K-O has authored an opinion piece to make herself feel better about the fact that those with options and the means to opt into a choice school serving the affluent students well or opt out of the public schools altogether and into private schools because the schools are not serving their children well are also those that have made sure there is not a quality option for low-income students. It is sad that, these well educated women have worked hard to take this option of a free high quality education from low-income families away.

Not once did I hear BMV representatives speak poorly about the District or use the clearly failing MVWSD’s data to promote their school. Anyone who has integrity and acts in good faith understands that you don’t have to demean something else in order to give meaning to what is being presented. The district and author of this piece are unable to sell the programs offered by the district, so they are resorting to slander in order to try to discredit the efforts of BMV. It is pure politics and does nothing to serve our community or the students and families better. Not one word published in this opinion piece futhers the mission of PTA, that of the district, and continues to divide neighbors. It just shows how much easier it is to speak poorly about others than it is to actually make meaningful positive change.

This opinion piece has many things that are just untrue in it. It is written as if it contains facts just like most “fake news” is published these days without fact checking, doing adequate research, and by just thinking about one side of the issue. There are many sides to any issue including this one.

The challenge for Sara K-O and the district, is to stop pointing the finger and start working on your own schools. Perhaps revisit Stevenson preferences and put the low-income preferences there. BMV tried to create something different and new and it would have been wonderful to have such a school in our community.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2019 at 2:47 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Politics
"The quotas that I quoted are from the MVWSD MOU, II.K.6. Section title is "EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM.""

WOW!!!
Thank you, seriously, for an informative and specific answer.
I encourage all Bullis people to follow your excellent example of giving a useful pointer to what they are talking about. I wish someone had posted it months ago!

I learned that BMV actually WROTE the offending "quotas" sentence!!!
BMV stated in-writing BMV would do exactly what BMV now claims is illegal!
The word "mirror" seems appropriate here.

In prior posts, I said MVWSD took BMV-written promises and used them in Staff Recommendation and Draft MOU. Also, the BMV petition is 645 pages long. Keep those points in-mind.

I saw the MOU as a FIRST-DRAFT, not singed, not proofread, nor even discussed by MVWSD and BMV.
Thus, I did not fully digest it or check it for errors, which are common in FIRST DRAFTS.
I apologize for my over-sight, but the District Staff did not spot the errors either.
Further, the offending sentence was NOT under ENROLLMENT, so it did not draw my attention.
Once I saw it, I clearly saw it was an error in the editing process of a FIRST DRAFT (by whomever wrote the MOU).

Upon searching, I found that 2 BMV-written documents were the ORIGINAL SOURCES of the offending so-called "quotas" sentences.
The BMV petition and BMV Slide presentation both contained different versions of the offending sentence.

Then the MVWSD "Staff Recommendation" document COPIED the SAME BMV-WRITTEN SENTENCE to describe an error BMV made in Budget Calculations.
This never got properly reworded in the Financial section (by whoever wrote the MOU), the two separate issues got conflated, (WORSE YET) the sentences got placed into the wrong sections of the 2 MVWSD documents.
Staff proofreading should have found these errors, but time was short.

The BMV petition, dated Oct 16 2018, bottom page 6, says:
"At BMV, we will serve an intentionally diverse student demographic that mirrors the demographics of the Mountain View community both ethnically and socioeconomically."

The BMV Slide Presentation, dated Oct 3rd 2018, bottom slide 8, says:
"Our intent is to mirror the demographics of the Mountain View community, and our plan is to offer a (in bold type) priority enrollment for low-income students."

The below shows what the MVWSD is actually asking BMV to do and it has NOTHING to do with "quotas".

The District’s expectations of BMV:
* BMV amend its enrollment priorities. Students who are eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (“FRPM”) and who reside within the attendance boundaries of Castro, Theuerkauf, and Monta Loma Elementary Schools and students who are eligible for FRPM and who reside within MVWSD be afforded first and second enrollment preference.

* To address the potential fiscal impacts of the inaccurate estimates, BMV is to revise its budget assumptions to match the District’s demographics (FRPM rate of 42%; English Language Learners rate of 24%; and Socio-Economic Disadvantaged rate of 35%.).

* To effectively compare academic performance to measure the expectation that BMV exceed District wide assessment results for all pupil subgroups by not less than five (5) percent, BMV should utilize the same benchmark and reading assessments used by the District each school year, conduct such assessments on a trimester basis, and meet assessment reporting deadlines as designated by the District.

* The majority of BMV’s Board members should reside within the boundaries of Mountain View and/or the Mountain View Whisman School District, to address potential conflicts of interest, governance concerns, and ensure local participation in BMV’s governance.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2019 at 3:21 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@Reader and Parent

"This opinion piece has many things that are just untrue in it."

OK, please give specific examples of what you are referring to as untrue.
I would really like to know, but what you have said is worthless unless you get specific.

Personally, I have no problem with a charter school in MVWSD, that's not my objection.

"BMV tried to create something different and new"

Wrong twice over!

First, the ONLY thing "NEW" about BMV is that it is a charter. ALL of the stated educational methods are already part of Stevenson PACT and have been used for 21 years in the MVWSD.

Second, BMV wants to create another BCS and make sure they would replicate the tiny percentage of low-income kids that BCS has.

"Not once did I hear BMV representatives speak poorly about the District or use the clearly failing MVWSD’s data to promote their school."

I guess you have not been attending the Bullis relevant MVWSD Board meetings, because I have heard Bullis leadership making such statements. Not to mention reports from parents who have attended other meetings given by Bullis and public statements from Bullis leadership.

"Anyone who has integrity and acts in good faith understands that you don’t have to demean something else in order to give meaning to what is being presented."

I suggest you read the BMV letters/emails to the MVWSD and what the BMV leadership has said publicly about the MVWSD.

"It is pure politics and does nothing to serve our community or the students and families better."

Exactly my words about how the BMV leadership has behaved.

"The challenge for Sara K-O and the district, is to stop pointing the finger and start working on your own schools."

The MVWSD has spent the past 7 years working on a total reform of the district and it's school programs and it's facilities. We were just about to implement the biggest set of reforms this district has ever seen... then BMV fell out of the sky and disrupted everything in the WORST POSSIBLE year BMV could have chosen.

"Perhaps revisit Stevenson preferences and put the low-income preferences there."

Stevenson parents have been trying to get the district to partner with the Stevenson community to find ways to bring MORE low-income families to Stevenson for 6 years now!

What Stevenson and Mistral have discovered is that the problem is convincing the low-income families to apply to enroll in Stevenson without Public Relations help from the District. The low-income families have not been interested in any "alternative" style of education. Even Mistral, located at Castro, has a major problem recruiting low-income families.

"and it would have been wonderful to have such a school in our community."

I don't mind having a BMV charter school in the MVWSD, what I mind is the behavior of the BMV leadership.


Like this comment
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2019 at 3:33 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@ ALL BULLIS OPERATIVES...

Got 2 simple questions for you related to the direct quotes from the BMV Petition and BMV Slide Presentation, that I quote at the bottom:

First, if Bullis Mountain View can write the below statements into their own documents and think it was legal there, then HOW can BMV now claim the same statements in MVWSD documents has become illegal????

Second, if BMV can claim they will prioritize low-income families and then put low-income families at the BOTTOM of their priorities list, HOW can BMV claim that asking BMV to put low-income families at the TOP of the list is illegal or somehow sabotages the stated BMV mission to serve the low-income community and close the "achievement gap"????

The BMV petition, dated Oct 16 2018, bottom page 6, says:
"At BMV, we will serve an intentionally diverse student demographic that mirrors the demographics of the Mountain View community both ethnically and socioeconomically."

The BMV Slide Presentation, dated Oct 3rd 2018, bottom slide 8, says:
"Our intent is to mirror the demographics of the Mountain View community, and our plan is to offer a (in bold type) priority enrollment for low-income students."

HOW can the BMV documents say the above and then the BMV leaders justify running away from their own statements?


13 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 19, 2019 at 8:41 am

Politics is a registered user.

BMV wrote all the words in their charter petition.
MVWSD wrote all the words in the MOU including the quota language.

Context and word choice are essential to their meanings. They are not the same.

The words from the BMV petition are in the executive summary, section header "The Need for BMV in Mountain View." BMV made a case for why they think their program will benefit Mountain View children in their vision of the future.

MVWSD wrote an altered legalese version into the MOU, most significantly using the word "shall" which was not there before. The word "shall" is how MVWSD turned a vision statement into a quota. On top of this, the MVWSD version is in contract language making clear that MVWSD can shut down BMV if they don't comply.

Intentionally conflating these two meanings is a deception and it's not OK. It's almost as if MVWSD chose to use BMV's words (twisted) against them as a political weapon as we see happening right here in this comment thread.


13 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 19, 2019 at 10:32 am

Politics is a registered user.

BMV's bottom (8th) preference is "All other students in California." The FRPM preference is far from the bottom, in fact it's the first preference that can have a significant impact on demographic composition.

Sibling preference (1st) causes the remaining preferences to be effective per family rather than per student. Otherwise no effect on demographics, no effect on other preferences.

Founders preference (2nd) is limited to a handful of families. Teachers & staff preference (3rd) is limited to 10% of spaces.

FRPM preference (4th) is unlimited, except theoretically the 2nd and 3rd preferences effectively cap this at roughly 90%. Since 90% is far more than the actual FRPM population residing in MVWSD, there is in fact no adverse effect from the "higher" preferences.

MVWSD's mandate to move FRPM preference from #4 to #1 has no real effect on demographics. It does, though, alter the provisions of BMV's charter petition. By law, charter authorizers are not allowed to alter a charter petition. They must approve or deny, and if approved work out an MOU. MVWSD tried to backdoor charter changes through the MOU as a political play.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Politics

A wise person said:
"Never attribute to malice that which can be better explained by incompetence."
I would add:
Especially when you're on a rush-job first-draft of a government document!

You're missing the points here, I would have to guess intentionally?
Since you're claiming that any error is always intentional, right?

First, the offending sentence in the "Staff Recommendations" was NOT present in the "DEMOGRAPHICS/ENROLLMENT TARGET" section at all. The offending sentence was in the "FINANCES" section and NOT a quota requirement.

The offending sentence was about Budget Calculations. Yes, it was not properly worded, but the financial context was clear. The use of the word "shall" was proper in the context of FINANCES.
Trying to claim that line was a demand for quotas is a cheap-shot lie.

Second, the offending sentence in the MOU was also NOT in an enrollment section, but was placed in ERROR at the very bottom of a section about "EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM" where it serves no purpose because it does NOT relate to the educational program at all.

Further, the MOU totally forgot the section about correcting the Budgetary Calculation Assumptions error and didn't even mention that important issue under the Budget and Finances section either. Again, a clear error in editing.

In my opinion, the MOU should have had a separate section labeled "DEMOGRAPHICS/ENROLLMENT TARGET" where the issue of enrollment priorities should have been addressed, but in ERROR it too was incorrectly placed into the EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM section where it serves no purpose.

Third, you're totally IGNORING the MOU section called:
"SEVERABILITY. If any provision or any part of this Agreement is for any reason held to be invalid or unenforceable or contrary to public policy, law, or statute and/or ordinance, the remainder of this Agreement shall not be affected thereby and shall remain valid and fully enforceable."

ANY HONEST person would simply point out the exact offending sentences they claim are illegal and ask for those specific sentences to be removed knowing they don't effect the rest of the contract and cannot be enforced in any case.

Now, parts that BMV just does not like, does NOT make them illegal.

"Context and word choice are essential to their meanings."

Of course, and in a 20-page rushed-job first-draft of a government document, you've got to expect human errors to be made in the editing, especially when you are trying to digest a 645 page document and then come up with a first draft MOU.

I am shocked to see so few details that the BMV people don't like about the first draft MOU.

Also, BMV could have written their own first draft of an MOU as well.

"The words from the BMV petition are in the executive summary, section"

So you agree that placement of words into the proper context matters a lot and you CANNOT go pulling ONE SENTENCE out of context and screaming about "quotas"?

As I said, when MVWSD COPIED the words from the BMV petition, they placed them in the WRONG SECTIONS and out of their proper context.

"the MVWSD version is in contract language making clear that MVWSD can shut down BMV if they don't comply."

SEVERABILITY. covers that just fine.

"Intentionally conflating these two meanings is a deception and it's not OK."

Good, then STOP DOING THAT!
MVWSD NEVER showed ANY intention to apply an illegal quota system!


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2019 at 1:05 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Politics

Hey, Politics, is your complaint about that Demographics Mirror sentence the ONLY specific thing in the Staff Recommendations and/or in the first-draft MOU that you claim is "illegal"????

Yes, I know that BMV is saying that school districts may NEVER require ANY changes to a Charter Petition at all under any circumstances. BMV says it's a take it or leave it word for word exactly as written situation NEVER open for ANY negotiations, but you cannot be claiming that all any school district can do is accept whatever the charter says and make zero adjustments, right?

HOW exactly is that reasonable? The School District is charged with over-sight and held accountable by law and the public for the conduct of ALL public schools in their district.

I would seriously love it if any Bullis person would point out other specific issues they feel are illegal.

The BMV leaders have claimed that "several" requirements were "illegal", but the ONLY one I have heard any of you mention is that one offending sentence in the Staff Recommendations and MOU.

I would also like to know more specifically what is "wrong" (from the BMV leadership point of view) with other sections, aside from the BMV position of "take it or leave it" and then we will go to the county/state and get approved by them.

Well, any Bullis people able to get specific?


13 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2019 at 4:10 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

What lies. Just read the MOU online. Clearly illegal. It doesn't use the word Quota but that's what the matching requirement means.


19 people like this
Posted by Middle S Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 21, 2019 at 10:26 am

Middle S Parent is a registered user.

@ST

Not sure how more specific you would like things to be! I have no connection to Bullis and my kids are too old to be directly impacted. However, it's clear to me that the district is fighting BMV any way they can (fair or not).

Parts of the proposed MOU are clearly unreasonable starting with the implicit quota and continuing with the requirement to utilize District assessments. As former trustee Steven Nelson has pointed out these assessments have not been shown to correlate with any other metrics. They can also be changed at any time.

Would you bet your school's existence on an assessment that could be manipulated to make your school look bad? Would be easy to do!

BMV has made specific proposals which make commonplace sense. Like extended instruction and many others. MVWSD has not shown much success with closing the education gap. I would welcome this experiment into our community.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 21, 2019 at 4:35 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Middle S Parent

Yes, I have specific questions and if anyone can offer specific pointers to specificly what they are objecting to that would really help other people understand the true specific nature of BMV objections.

So, in your entire life you NEVER made ANY mistakes in writing the first draft of anything? Must be nice being perfect, but NORMAL people make mistakes.

Have you even heard of the concept of a FIRST DRAFT?
Why do you think Rudolph AND BMV leadership set up a full-day meeting with BMV to work on discussing/editing MOU details?

@ST parent soon to be CR parent

"Not sure how more specific you would like things to be!"

That other "Politics" poster stated specifically what line of what document they were claiming amounted to an illegal "quota" system, until then, I only knew of that same sentence being used in the FINANCES section of the Staff Recommendations and it's meaning was to ask BMV to correct some statistical errors in their Budget Calculations.

That was a pretty good example of telling people EXACTLY which words in EXACTLY which document you don't like. Then to state exactly how you are interpreting those words.

"However, it's clear to me that the district is fighting BMV any way they can (fair or not)."

Being "clear" requires reliable information from original sources.

I can say YES to all of the below, which ones can you say yes to?
Were you at all the relevant Board meetings?
Did you even view the video recordings?
Did you read the entire 645 page BMV petition?
Did you read the entire MVWSD Staff Report and Staff Recommendations?
Did you read the entire FIRST-DRAFT of the MOU?
Have you actually personally spoken with the BMV leader J.A-R.?
Have you personally spoken to Dr. Rudolph about all this?

If you have not personally gathered the full set of relevant information from the original sources, your view is far from "clear".

"Parts of the proposed MOU are clearly unreasonable starting with the implicit quota"

what is unreasonable is to assume the MVWSD would knowingly violate the law, it is far more reasonable to assume that the FIRST-DRAFT MOU is just that an imperfect FIRST DRAFT!!!!

Which is why both sides were scheduled to sit down for a full-day meeting to hash out any issues in the FIRST DRAFT MOU and come to a version of an MOU BOTH sides can agree on!

"and continuing with the requirement to utilize District assessments."

Again, point to the exact lines you are objecting to and which document.
Again, if it's in the FIRST DRAFT of the MOU, then BMV leaders could have discussed making alterations to this detail.

Now, on the point of assessments. WHY does BMV object to testing their kids EXACTLY THE SAME WAY the MVWSD does?
What alternative standard testing that applies to ALL the kids if the district would BMV prefer? BE SPECIFIC!

"As former trustee Steven Nelson has pointed out these assessments have not been shown to correlate with any other metrics."

Neither does the "achievement gap", what's your point?

"Would you bet your school's existence on an assessment that could be manipulated to make your school look bad?"

Since ALL the students of the district (by grade-level) take the EXACT SAME tests, why is BMV so afraid of them?

What other standard testing would BMV accept, specificaly?

"BMV has made specific proposals which make commonplace sense. Like extended instruction and many others."

Other than extended days, EVERYTHING ELSE BMV has said it will use is already part of Stevenson PACT, so, nothing really new in BMV petition.

"MVWSD has not shown much success with closing the education gap."

NOR has ANY OTHER DISTRICT IN THE USA!


18 people like this
Posted by Middle S Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 21, 2019 at 5:40 pm

Middle S Parent is a registered user.

@ST

Wow, so only people who meet your check off list requirements have a right to participate in discourse? Ridiculous!

And btw I can say yes to all except meeting/speaking to J-A-R and Rudolph.

You really think the district MOU was a hastily drafted first version? Talk to your buddies in the District and get them to release legal billing related to the matter. I suspect they have used 5-figures worth of our money on legal fees just in the MOU.

Now let's see, how could we find a universally used way of measuring progress for students following the CA education mandates. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were such a thing!

Ever heard of CASSPP? Like it or not that's how students (and schools) in CA are measured. The only reason the district has its own tests is because they want to track how students will eventually do on CAASPP which can only be run at certain times.

And as Steven Nelson has pointed out they don't do a very good job. And as I pointed out, they could be weaponized against BMV.

Just a first draft proposal or a tactic proposed by a rabid anti-charter law firm? Like I said, let's take a look at the legal expenditures of the "we are so transparent & BMV is not" district!


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 22, 2019 at 1:18 am

ST parent is a registered user.

@ Middle S Parent

Since you're not with BMV, could you please try to be more specific than BMV is?

BMV claimed MVWSD required several illegal things, but NEVER gave specifics for what lines of documents they claimed were "several" or "illegal" requirements. BMV never gives specific information.

Legal fees? Weaponized testing? OR the 5%? Tracking evil? MOU perfect weapon? 5-figures for 20 pages? How much for 645 pages? Conspiracy theory?
HUH??????WHA????

@ST

"You really think the district MOU was a hastily drafted first version?"

Once poster "Politics" got me looking at the MOU, I saw how poorly it was organized and how poorly certain sentences and paragraphs were written, yes, first-draft with glaring flaws.

The MOU EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM section is a complete mess with all sorts of unrelated stuff dumped in. Finances section missing a vital sub-section. I just now spotted a duplicated "Risk Management" header where similar issues are covered twice...etc.

I assume the MOU was written after BMV petition delivered and before Dec 20th. I recall a different law firm was being used then by the MVWSD (but I could be wrong about that). That's not a lot of time to digest 645 pages and write Staff Report & Recommendations & MOU and do a good job of any of it.

"Talk to your buddies in the District and get them to release legal billing related to the matter. I suspect they have used 5-figures worth of our money on legal fees just in the MOU."

IF the MVWSD spent 5-figures on the 20-page MOU, how the heck much did BMV spend on the 645 page BMV Petition??? 7-figures???
What would any such information prove?

"CASSPP?"

I did ask Rudolph about this. At the time it might have gotten traction to make such a change, but shortly after that BMV pulled the plug.

If BMV CASSPP results are factually comparable to the rest of the district AND BMV shows the 5% improvement over the rest of MVWSD on the CASSPP...
oh wait... I get it now... Thanks for solving that mystery for me!!!

The TRUE problem BMV has with that whole section is being held accountable for the BMV promise to do a measurably better job than the rest of the district and the MVWSD put a 5% improvement number on it.

"...track how students will eventually do on CAASPP..."

And what's wrong with that?

"And as I pointed out, they could be weaponized against BMV."

So you vaguely claimed, but again, no specific explanation of how that would work.

"Just a first draft proposal or a tactic proposed by a rabid anti-charter law firm?"

I don't believe that Rudolph would go along with knowingly putting illegal language in a contract, certainly NOT one where he KNEW the other party would be seeking any excuse to complain.

Besides, WHY didn't BMV state exactly which MOU line they felt was illegal in the Board meeting when they claimed there were "several" illegal things being required?
...oh wait, BMV never gives specific information...

"look at the legal expenditures of the "we are so transparent & BMV is not" district!"

I cannot see how such legal fees would prove anything AND why does not BMV do the same about it's 645 page petition?
...oh wait, BMV never gives specific information...

It took me dozens of posts over months before ONE BMV poster "Politics" finally pointed out a specific line in the MOU. NOBODY at BMV has EVER been informative when asked a question I have heard or read.

J.A-R. was equally evasive the times I met with her and I never left with any answers from her, no matter how many of her questions I answered.
...oh wait, BMV never gives specific information...


1 person likes this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 22, 2019 at 1:36 am

ST parent is a registered user.

HEY ALL BMV people....

Would BMV be happy if MVWSD switched from District Assessments to the CASSPP system and then the MVWSD would use CASSPP results to determine if BMV attained the 5% improvement over the other schools of the MVWSD?

I mean, BMV claims the problem is their fear of the District Assessments the rest of the schools use to test, so, just get 5% better on the CASSPP and you're golden, OK?

Would BMV be happy if the MOU were edited to totally remove that one line on Page 14 section K.6 from the MOU and just stick with moving the Free/Reduced Meals Program kids to the TOP of the priority list?

After all, BMV keeps claiming that one sentence amounts to an illegal "quota" system, so they should be happy just to pull out that line, right?

I mean, in the BMV Petition they claimed those were the kids that they are coming to MVWSD to serve as their top priority, so why not?

Or, would the BMV leaders actually provide specific details on exactly what changes they would demand to the MOU in order to get them to come to the all-day meeting they agreed to for discussing the MOU?

The MVWSD published a nice short and clear list of issues the Board wanted, but I never heard anything from BMV except "NO, we're not going to agree to anything you want and we're not even going to talk about it.".


4 people like this
Posted by A.Source
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

A.Source is a registered user.

When I looked it up it appears CASSPP tests only begin in grade 3. BMV in its first year of operation is only opening grades k-2. The only tests BMV would take the first year are the MVWSD devised tests. No one at BMV has any insight into what these tests are. BMV requested a look see, but attempted negotiations of the preferences apparently delayed that. Later Rudolf told trustees during one of the board meetings that he saw no point in explaining the MVWSD test to BMV given that so far they hadn't shown adherence/acceptance of the MOU changes to the 'admission preferences'.

As I read it, Dr. Rudolf's MOU says BMV could be closed after the first year for not scoring the +5% on his brand of tests/assessments. And it requires scores to be better in ALL 9 subgroups.


4 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 22, 2019 at 3:18 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

It seems me that their testing plans would be subject to California Public Records Act and so should be revealed to the public at large. Developing such tests is a big deal. Probably they are using something developed elsewhere and paying a big fee. The cost for that is another issue. BMV would also need to know how much they'd be CHARGED to use the test. What a circus!


31 people like this
Posted by Middle S Parent
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 22, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Middle S Parent is a registered user.

@ST

How quickly you pivot from one position to another!

First you "shout" (using all CAPS): "WHY does BMV object to testing their kids EXACTLY THE SAME WAY the MVWSD does?"

Then you agree that perhaps CAASPP could or even should be used.

Once BMV discovered the district was not acting in good faith they walked away. You really think they are going to respond to you in the comments section of the Voice?

Re legal costs: Since MVWSD gets to spend our money, it is important to know how much they are spending on this fight against BMV. To date BMV has received no taxpayer funds so I really don't care how much they spent to develop their petition.

10 hours at $1,000 per hour is $10,000, so I suspect the district has indeed spent five figures just on drafting the MOU. In total they have probably paid out more than $100,000 in legal fees related to BMV. Since you are so well connected why don't you find out and get the district to release this information!


14 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 23, 2019 at 8:27 am

Politics is a registered user.

The MVWSD MOU was a political tool from the beginning, it was never going to lead to a real agreement.

The MOU would leverage MVWSD's legitimate oversight role into an illegitimate controlling role. The MOU would damage BMV's program and it had potentially fatal booby traps. MVWSD wrote the MOU so that BMV would refuse, giving MVWSD and anti-charter allies a rich political weapon to attack BMV with. And that's exactly what happened.

BMV did try to negotiate the unreasonable terms of the MOU, and it was MVWSD that took the take-it-or-leave-it position. Pure politics.


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