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School district ready to revoke Bullis Mountain View's charter

 

Efforts to open a new charter school in Mountain View are expected to end unceremoniously next month, as school district officials seek to revoke Bullis Mountain View's charter petition and dissolve the school before it ever enrolled any students.

Mountain View Whisman School District leaders announced their intent to disband Bullis Mountain View (BMV) last month, citing numerous violations of the school's charter and claiming it ran afoul with requirements imposed by the district. School board members voted Thursday, May 16, on a revocation process that could eliminate the charter school on June 14.

BMV representatives did not make any efforts to remedy the violations since the announcement on April 1, according to district officials, despite a May 5 deadline. Charter school leaders stated on April 4 they had no intention of continuing to correspond with the district or engage in what they called an "ill-conceived 'revocation' exercise."

The short-lived plans to open a charter school in the district were first revealed in September when parents and staff from Bullis Charter School in the Los Altos School District announced their intent to open a new school in Mountain View. BMV submitted its charter petition in October, seeking approval to open a campus with 168 students in fall 2019, with a stated goal of enrolling a high number of low-income and English learner students.

District staff and school board members alike lamented that BMV sought to open a new school during a tumultuous year for the district, with the new Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary School scheduled to open in August at the same time as entirely new attendance boundaries take effect district-wide. Hundreds of parents and district residents signed a petition opposing the opening of a charter school, arguing BMV's leadership failed to understand the culture and the needs of Mountain View Whisman students while rushing into the community.

While the Mountain View Whisman school board eventually voted to approve the charter school on Dec. 20, it was with distaste and came with a number of conditions that arguably sealed the fate of the charter school. District staff recommended a series of requirements be placed on the approval of the charter petition that BMV officials, months later, claimed were vague and impossible to achieve. Failure to meet the district's demands are among the reasons cited for revoking the charter next month.

Among the asks, the school board required BMV to enroll students in a way that "mirrors" the ethnic and socio-economic demographics of the city, and insisted that low-income students get top priority in an enrollment lottery. Once admitted into the school, students would have to take the same standardized tests used by the district, and all student subgroups would have to perform at least 5 percent better than district students.

In the months after the vote, there was virtually no correspondence between the district and BMV on how best to meet those conditions, followed by a terse and uncomfortable meeting on March 5 at which BMV's head of school, Jennifer Anderson-Rosse, told district board members the charter school had no choice but to ignore the requirements altogether.

BMV officials went on to delay the scheduled enrollment lottery, and weeks later announced they were giving up on plans to open a charter school in August -- suggesting in a March 21 letter that the district's conditional approval amounted to a denial of the charter petition.

It's likely that the revocation process that plays out through the end of the school year will be a formality rather than a fight, as BMV has severed communication with the district since early April and claimed that the district cannot revoke a charter that was never properly approved in the first place.

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Comments

5 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 21, 2019 at 12:55 pm

Was there any reporting done when BMV went to the county for approval?


10 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on May 21, 2019 at 3:03 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

"Jennifer Anderson-Rosse, told district board members the charter school had no choice but to ignore the requirements altogether."

I have a prediction: Bullis Charter will go to the County Officer of Education and get a stand-alone, guaranteed, independent school, located in and serving the Mountain View School District.

Just like Los Altos.

The County Office of Education plays it safe with Bullis Charter. The question the Members of the Education Board asked was this: Which team has the best lawyers?

The answer was obvious - it was, is and will always be Bullis Charter. Challenge them, in any way, shape or form, and their legal team will take everything you own - what you own today - what you have owned in the past - and whatever you might own in the future.

So play it safe Board Members. DO NOT challenge 'em . . . ever!


14 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2019 at 3:29 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The MVWSD's efforts to sabotage the potential success of the Bullis petition were blatant and obvious. They tried to require Bullis to use illegal quotas in admissions, contrary to the law and contrary to the U.S. constitution. I don't know if they will appeal to the county board of education. What I do know is that the reason Bullis is right is because they simply followed the law. All sorts of people urged the MVWSD trustees to ignore the law, including their own superintendent. Quotas in admission are completely prohibited. You can't open a school and say we want all low income kids, and you can't open a school and say we want 50% low income kids. The success of the charter would be measured in serving some proportion of low income kids and getting results from them that close the achievement gap. How ironic in a district like MVWSD that they killed the charter with an impossible requirement to have a specific composition exactly present in the students who enrolled. So unnecessary. Rejecting kids who were eligible solely because they were not low income enough was essentially what Rudolph cooked up as a requirement. This would act to reduce the size of the charter below it's targeted 160, and it would remove funding which was essential to operate the program. Crush kill destroy. This was clearly the attitude of the majority of the board as fired on by Rudolph from the beginning.

There were SO WRONG that it is likely any legal challenge would condemn MVWSD's actions. This isn't because Bullis has good lawyers. It's because Rudolph operated this in a such a ham handed blatantly illegal fashion. It is as if he robbed the bank and surprise the district attorney might charge him, not because of unfair prosecution as it were, but because, hey, he robbed a bank! His reasons for violating the law don't figure into the legal system.

Someone needs to help MVWSD address the achievement gap because it has gone on for a very long time and everything they do seems to be making it worse. The things we hear about the district are very worrying in all respects. Retaliations against victimes of harassment, and lack of investigation of same. Fiscal problems. Firing top level management of the district left and right. Massive achievement gap. Reassign all the district attendance boundaries making discrimination worse. Eliminate the right of those at predominantly low income schools to transfer to a different school. Rent school properties for income and then complain that new property is needed. It just goes on and on.


6 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2019 at 3:53 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

From the news, you can tell the county Superintendent must have talked to Rudloph. She has lawyers who advise the county office of education on charter matters. She would have explained the illegalities about this quota thing. Then you can see there appears to have been a reaction that she had been swayed by Bullis. But the truth is that this matter of quotas is a well known factor in education. Getting a management credential alone should be enough to inform an administrator about the illegality of certain practices. So when the county advised Rudolph this was improper, he should have taken it to heart as genuine advice. You can't just thwart a charter by requiring them to operate illegally. If they did, they'd be liable too!


3 people like this
Posted by Bored M
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 21, 2019 at 5:53 pm

@LongResident, as I understand it, the county didn't find that MVWSD did anything wrong when BMV went to it and removed itself from the discussions for the time being. I was asking for a report on that event.

Maybe after that we'll all be well versed and can each post 550+ words covering multiple topics. That'd be swell.


3 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 21, 2019 at 7:01 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to LongResident you said:

“The MVWSD's efforts to sabotage the potential success of the Bullis petition were blatant and obvious. They tried to require Bullis to use illegal quotas in admissions, contrary to the law and contrary to the U.S. constitution.”

You are making a very serious claim there. What laws or cases to you have to demonstrate this cliam? Before I can take your comment seriously you have to provide that information. You said:

“I don't know if they will appeal to the county board of education. What I do know is that the reason Bullis is right is because they simply followed the law.”

What law? You said:

“All sorts of people urged the MVWSD trustees to ignore the law, including their own superintendent. Quotas in admission are completely prohibited. You can't open a school and say we want all low income kids, and you can't open a school and say we want 50% low income kids.”

From what I know the latest Supreme Court case on quotas only made it improper to use quota on race. There is no case I can find to support your statement. You said:

“The success of the charter would be measured in serving some proportion of low income kids and getting results from them that close the achievement gap. How ironic in a district like MVWSD that they killed the charter with an impossible requirement to have a specific composition exactly present in the students who enrolled.”

In what way was the composition impossible? You are again making a conclusion with no evidence to support it. You said:

“So unnecessary. Rejecting kids who were eligible solely because they were not low income enough was essentially what Rudolph cooked up as a requirement. This would act to reduce the size of the charter below it's targeted 160, and it would remove funding which was essential to operate the program. Crush kill destroy. This was clearly the attitude of the majority of the board as fired on by Rudolph from the beginning.”

Please show us how the income standard was BIASED. Please demonstrate that the “low-income” criteria was so low that it prevented more students from being counted. So far you make a claim but you did not provide the evidence to prove it. You said:

“There were SO WRONG that it is likely any legal challenge would condemn MVWSD's actions. This isn't because Bullis has good lawyers. It's because Rudolph operated this in a such a ham handed blatantly illegal fashion.”

What law was broken here, you haven’t stated it? You said:

Simply put, you cannot claim to be a school and not have any classes or students. To me this looks like some kind of money game so that the owners of the school can reap some Federal and State tax credits on their income taxes, when they don’t seem to be educating anyone. Please describe where they are teaching students? How many are they? And are the numbers proportional to those numbers significant enough to warrant such a financial benefit?


1 person likes this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 21, 2019 at 7:42 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

As a follow up I read this information regarding the case decision made with Bullis found here(Web Link) the court stated:

"The Court further explained that, while a Proposition 39 analysis DOES NOT NECESSARILY COMPEL A SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ALLOCATE AND PROVIDE TO A CHARTER SCHOOL EACH AND EVERY PARTICULAR ROOM OR OTHER FACILITY AVAILABLE TO THE COMPARISON SCHOOLS, IT MUST AT LEAST ACCOUNT FOR THE COMPARISON SCHOOL’S FACILITIES IN ITS PROPOSAL. The Court reasoned that a determination of reasonable equivalence can be made ONLY IF FACILITIES MADE AVAILABLE TO THE STUDENTS ATTENDING THE COMPARISON SCHOOLS ARE LISTED AND CONSIDERED. While mathematical exactitude is not required, a Proposition 39 facilities offer must present A GOOD FAITH ATTEMPT TO IDENTIFY AND QUANTIFY THE FACILITIES AVAILABLE TO THE SCHOOLS IN THE COMPARISON GROUP IN ORDER TO DETERMINE THE “REASONABLY EQUIVALENT” FACILITIES THAT MUST BE OFFERED AND PROVIDED TO A CHARTER SCHOOL.

This would mean that if a charter school does not provide equal access to its education services “EQUALLY” to all the potential students in the community, then it does not qualify. Because no school can be forced to provide their own resources and facilities to a school that does not provide the same equal opportunity to the education the school provides.

So someone here has not understood that a “private” school cannot take over a “public” schools resources without proving it does not act in a discriminatory way in any way.

Perhaps you should find some resources on what is a reasonably equivalent standard, the fact is it works both ways.

Also that those resources are not for free if you read the following from the California Dept. of Education (Web Link):

“EC Section 47614(b)(1) states that school districts may charge a charter school a pro-rata share of the facilities costs which the school district pays for with unrestricted general fund revenues. The pro-rata share is based on the ratio of space allocated by the school district to the charter school divided by the total space of the district. Charter schools shall not be otherwise charged for use of the facilities.”

Bullis paid 1.17 per square foot to Santa Clara Schools, in 2014-15. What did they pay regarding Mountain View or Los Altos schools? If they have not paid any fees to use the facilities, then lets just charge them a reasonable fee, they paid $5.22 per square foot for Los Altos School during the 2009-2010% found here (Web Link). That was the last record of them providing any fees to compensate for the use of the schools. So if you count the rooms, the restrooms, the cafeterias, and other resources, that could add up quite a bit. This is a charge that should be assessed at least once a semester or a month. If this is paid, then they have the privilege to use the public facilities.


8 people like this
Posted by @TBM
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2019 at 8:46 pm

Facilities for charter schools are a separate event only being required in specific cases. You've mixed in a case about a different Bullis. No applicant for facilities as a charter school is ever required to prove anything special about the demographic make up of their students. All public charter schools have the same right, and no extra facilities are given to those with "hard to educate" or any other variant student make up. The only qualification is residency in the district providing facilities for the purposes of calculating comparisons. There's no point going down this path. It's a specious argument.


9 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2019 at 8:49 pm

We'll only know if some sort of authority intervenes on behalf of the wrongdoing done to Bullis Mountain View. Otherwise, it doesn't matter. MVWSD did so much wrong that there are more than a few sets of reasons to intervene. It either will happen or it won't. But the basic issue with the actions are that there is no point in revoking the charter for a school that never agreed to open, never conducted a lottery, never enrolled a student, and never collected any public funding. It's make work for lawyers perpetrated by the superintendent of MVWSD. Just look at the record. It's not the first bad thing he's presided over.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 21, 2019 at 9:02 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

After reading the proposal this is the conditions where Bullis should have access to Egan School.

The agreement deals with 5 rooms of 960 square feet which comes to 4800 square feet

The agreement deals with 3 rooms of 1440 square feet which comes to 4320 square feet

The agreement deals an option of 4 rooms of 960 square feet which comes to 3840 square feet

The agreement deals use of the Physical Education services which comes to 2000 square feet

That comes to 14,960 square feet

The fee per square feet is $5.22

The use of space is per semester is 4.5 months so it comes to 9 months

Thus the fees for use of the building should be $702,820.80.

If they pay this fee they are entitled to use the school.


7 people like this
Posted by These things are not the same
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 21, 2019 at 11:29 pm

These things are not the same is a registered user.

OMG Bullis Mountain View in Mountain View Whisman School District is a different charter than the Bullis Charter School that is in Los Altos School District.

*facepalm* *facepalm* *facepalm*




Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 12:01 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to These things are not the same you said:

“OMG Bullis Mountain View in Mountain View Whisman School District is a different charter than the Bullis Charter School that is in Los Altos School District.

*facepalm* *facepalm* *facepalm*

Really? I might be a bit confused because of this article:

Web Link

And

Web Link

At least it looks like they are the same to me. They clearly state they are the same school group working in Los Altos in their own presentation on page 2 it states:

Bullis Charter School - Los Altos

Bullis Charter School (BCS) currently operates one public K-8 charter school across two sites in Los Altos, CA. Enrollment preference is given to students residing in Los Altos School District (LASO), and 97% of currently enrolled students reside in LASO (100% of K-6th grade).

Since its founding over the past 15 years, BCS has been one of California's most successful public school organizations.

High-level accomplishments include:

Designated a 2016 California Gold Ribbon School and Blue Ribbon School in 2014.

WASC accredited and one of 19 schools to be named a 2015 P21 Exemplar School.

Stanford University's Design School has designated BCS, along with seven other schools, as Design Thinking Home Schools to support educators incorporating design thinking into their curriculum and practices.

BCS is a Future Ready School. Future Ready is a bold, nation-wide initiative to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success.

We have a well-established educational model that serves as a model for others throughout the county, country, and internationally. Through our strategic planning process and mission, we have sought to share our practices with others in order to impact more students. We are in our fourth year implementing the STEAM Practicum, a professional development for teachers and administrators from Santa Clara County. We are committed to diversity and inclusion and are ready to open a new school to do so.

In response to our unique model, demand for BCS programs has been great.”

You might not have known this before you made your statement. I am just making sure you’re aware of it.


4 people like this
Posted by April
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 22, 2019 at 5:22 pm

You're confused about how many Bullisses there are? How about a third, Gardner Bullis in Los Altos Hills.
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 6:04 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

April,

I understand that that organization exists.

But the submitted document I shared the link to identifies the SPECIFIC Bullis school group.

Please understand that by brining up the multiple entities with the name Bullis in it, doesn define that it was another Bullis school.

Nonetheless, if Bullis is willing to pay the $700,000 for renting the public school facilities, they are entitiled to do so.


Like this comment
Posted by Sanity Checks
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm

The Business man cost analysis is replete with issues. The charter school spread sheet he shared is the cost PER YEAR, not per month. It's not really rent. Charter schools pay their share of the operating costs of school space allocated to them as their share of school facilities.

Bullis Charter School in LASD with 915 students this year does not fit into 14,500 sq feet. It has LASD's attempt at reasonably equivalent facilities. LASD's Jr High Egan has 68,000 sq ft for 600 kids and LASD's elementary schools have about 45,000 to 50,000 sq ft for 500 to 600 kids. Bullis with 900 kids K-9 has something like 75,000 sq ft. LASD also charges Bullis fees for the little outdoor space they share with them. In MVWSD, the city of Mountain View pays to maintain the outdoor space, but LASD doesn't get this covered for most of its schools, as they are
in Los Altos.

Consider that LASD pays no rent on its own facilities and must merely cover the operating costs. LASD has very large school facilities and spends a lot to maintain them, compared to the other districts reporting their costs through the charter schools using space in that spreadsheet.


Like this comment
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 7:30 pm

The Business Man is a registered user.

In response to Sanity Checks you stated:

“The Business man cost analysis is replete with issues. The charter school spread sheet he shared is the cost PER YEAR, not per month. It's not really rent. Charter schools pay their share of the operating costs of school space allocated to them as their share of school facilities.”

I admit I have limited information. So I can be very inaccurate regarding the “share of cost” for Bullis school in effect taking public property from the public. Not if you noticed they did not continuously pay any fees to use the public school facilities. I noticed there was a many year gap of fees being paid. You said:

“Bullis Charter School in LASD with 915 students this year does not fit into 14,500 sq feet. It has LASD's attempt at reasonably equivalent facilities. LASD's Jr High Egan has 68,000 sq ft for 600 kids and LASD's elementary schools have about 45,000 to 50,000 sq ft for 500 to 600 kids. Bullis with 900 kids K-9 has something like 75,000 sq ft. LASD also charges Bullis fees for the little outdoor space they share with them. In MVWSD, the city of Mountain View pays to maintain the outdoor space, but LASD doesn't get this covered for most of its schools, as they are in Los Altos.”

Thank you very much for that information. Remember, the laws discuss prorated spaces and not the entire space of the schools. Please provide a billing statement or better yet a link to a processed check of the fees paid by Bullis. You said:

“Consider that LASD pays no rent on its own facilities and must merely cover the operating costs. LASD has very large school facilities and spends a lot to maintain them, compared to the other districts reporting their costs through the charter schools using space in that spreadsheet.”

That is incorrect, because the outstanding debt the school has today is 2019 the costs per student are found here (Web Link

The costs are Teacher Salaries $22,720,559, Other Salaries $14,570,868, Employee Health Benefits $6,720,174, Other Employee Benefits $9,741,527, Books & Supplies $1,462,229, Utilities, Repairs, Other Services $7,696,914, Capital Outlay, Other Outgo $522,051which end added up and divide by student is $14,433 per student. So lets make it simple, lets charge Bullis $14,433 per student per year.

950 times $14,433 equals $13,711,350


9 people like this
Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 22, 2019 at 7:57 pm

Waldo is a registered user.

People actually read The Business Man posts?


7 people like this
Posted by @ Waldo
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2019 at 8:54 pm

Typically I’m reading along, see TBM, likely a well-intentioned though long winded poster, and cannot ever read the thread again.

So....no.


Like this comment
Posted by Sanity Checks
a resident of another community
on May 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm

Here's another sanity check. LASD demands small schools. Their average school size is about 480 students. Still, every one of the LASD schools has added space in portable buildings. Some of the schools were built for only 200 students. They used to have a lot more sites and the design in the 50's was many many very small schools. Only Covington comes close to having no portable space.

So, if you think about it, Bullis saving LASD a ton of facilities. By herding 900 students into 2 small areas crammed with portables, LASD is avoiding adding those portables to the 9 traditional schools. If they did this the average elementary school size would need to go up to 580. Variability in where students live would mean some of the schools would be 700 or more. There would need to be a lot of portables relocated to hold those kids.

Then you have another wrinkle. The population within LASD is shifting to be more kids in the San Antonio area and less kids in Los Altos. Right now there are 800 kids K-8 around San Antonio in Mountain View. With the increased affordable housing being constructed here and added market rate apartments, it is likely that this will grow to 1100 and possible it will grow to 1800. At the same time schools like Oak and Gardner Bullis are already drawing from as large an attendance area as is practical. They are going to remain small. So if you build a new school, that could help keep the average elementary school size down, but there would be a big problem balancing the kids. Santa Rita and Almond and the new school would be large but the other schools small. But the operating costs to the district would greatly increase to increase the total traditional schools to 10.

So you need classrooms for the kids whether they are in Bullis or traditional LASD schools.


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

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