News

Bullis Charter School receives $2M in federal COVID-19 relief for small businesses

Parents pick up their children fom Bullis Charter School's North Campus on Oct. 23. Photo by Magali Gauthier

Bullis Charter School has been awarded $2 million in forgivable loans through a federal relief program meant to help struggling small businesses pay employees and other big bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Altos charter school applied for relief through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) in order to offset an anticipated cut in state funding, and received the funding last month. Though the funding was primarily intended to assist small businesses that have shuttered or cut staff due to the pandemic, private schools and public charter schools can, and have, applied as nonprofit corporations in order to tap into the funds.

The $669 billion program is under increased scrutiny after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined last week to disclose the recipients of the forgivable loans, raising concerns over the lack of public accountability and whether the money is reaching the intended recipients.

What has been disclosed to date, however, is that several charter schools in the North Bay and Southern California have received PPP funding in addition to Bullis Charter School. And charter school associations across the country have encouraged their membership to do the same.

Although charter schools are in many ways public institutions, receiving taxpayer funding along with oversight from a state or local chartering agency, the PPP underscores that they also serve as a dual role as private organizations that operate independently from public school districts. They can also use that status to apply for funding relief alongside private businesses that is otherwise unavailable to public schools.

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The East Bay advocacy group In the Public Interest, which has long been critical of the proliferation of charter schools in California, released a report this month finding that Oakland charter schools received a combined $19 million in funding through the federal relief program. The group describes the use of PPP funds as a case of "double dipping" on public funds for the same purpose.

"Because charter schools are currently receiving full funding as public schools intended to maintain employees, while at the same time receiving funding as private entities that are also intended to maintain employees, taxpayers are left covering what appears to be the same bill twice," the report concludes.

Summit Public Schools, which operates a network of charter schools in California and Washington has also reportedly accepted at least $6.8 million in funding through the federal program, according to the New York Times. The network operates Summit Everest and Summit Prep in Redwood City and Summit Denali in Sunnyvale.

In a statement Tuesday, Bullis Charter School officials maintain that the PPP was tailored for nonprofit organizations as well, and that the roughly $2 million would be used to continue paying teachers and staff. Bullis Board Chairman Francis La Poll cited data showing the charter school receives significantly less funding per student than the rest of Los Altos School District, where it resides, and that already-low funding is expected to decrease next year.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed 2020-21 state budget, which estimates that California faces a massive $54 billion deficit in the coming year, eliminating what had previously been a budget surplus before the pandemic devastated the state's economy. La Poll said the May budget's nearly 8% cut in state funding for schools is going to put a dent in the school's revenue at a time when costs are going up.

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"Our teachers and staff worked extremely hard to provide high-quality online education experiences for our students this spring, and our school will face additional costs due to COVID-19 in the fall," La Poll said.

Bullis Charter School receives the majority of its $15 million annual budget from the Los Altos School District, which provides funding to the charter school based on the number of students it enrolls who live within the district's boundaries. In the case of the 2019-20 school year, the district transferred $8.3 million in funding to the charter school.

Charter school officials have long held that this funding is inadequate and far below the per-student funding Los Altos School District students receive, and has sought to fill the gap by requesting $5,000 per student in annual donations from its families. The charter school was expecting to receive close to $5 million in fundraising during the last school year, according to budget documents.

Bullis officials say that they are expecting a "significant decrease" in fundraising support for the coming school year, adding to the state cuts and putting the school in a difficult financial bind. Representatives from Bullis Charter School's foundation declined to comment.

During Bullis' charter renewal in 2016, staff at the Santa Clara County Office of Education warned that the charter school was too reliant on what it called "soft revenues," and that depending on financial contributions was a problematic way to balance a budget. At the time, more than one-third of the charter school's annual revenue was contingent on these donations and grants, and it was not clear whether the charter school had any guarantee the foundation could maintain its level of support in future years.

Outside of concerns about a big drop in funding from private sources, it does not appear that the charter school is poised for a massive decline in public funding. Los Altos School District Assistant Superintendent Randy Kenyon said they expect to transfer an estimated $8.1 million in funding to the charter school in the 2020-21 school year, only about $200,000 less than the current year. External sources of funding like the $2 million PPP loan does not affect the district's funding obligation for the charter school, Kenyon said.

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Bullis Charter School receives $2M in federal COVID-19 relief for small businesses

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 6:34 pm

Bullis Charter School has been awarded $2 million in forgivable loans through a federal relief program meant to help struggling small businesses pay employees and other big bills during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Altos charter school applied for relief through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) in order to offset an anticipated cut in state funding, and received the funding last month. Though the funding was primarily intended to assist small businesses that have shuttered or cut staff due to the pandemic, private schools and public charter schools can, and have, applied as nonprofit corporations in order to tap into the funds.

The $669 billion program is under increased scrutiny after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined last week to disclose the recipients of the forgivable loans, raising concerns over the lack of public accountability and whether the money is reaching the intended recipients.

What has been disclosed to date, however, is that several charter schools in the North Bay and Southern California have received PPP funding in addition to Bullis Charter School. And charter school associations across the country have encouraged their membership to do the same.

Although charter schools are in many ways public institutions, receiving taxpayer funding along with oversight from a state or local chartering agency, the PPP underscores that they also serve as a dual role as private organizations that operate independently from public school districts. They can also use that status to apply for funding relief alongside private businesses that is otherwise unavailable to public schools.

The East Bay advocacy group In the Public Interest, which has long been critical of the proliferation of charter schools in California, released a report this month finding that Oakland charter schools received a combined $19 million in funding through the federal relief program. The group describes the use of PPP funds as a case of "double dipping" on public funds for the same purpose.

"Because charter schools are currently receiving full funding as public schools intended to maintain employees, while at the same time receiving funding as private entities that are also intended to maintain employees, taxpayers are left covering what appears to be the same bill twice," the report concludes.

Summit Public Schools, which operates a network of charter schools in California and Washington has also reportedly accepted at least $6.8 million in funding through the federal program, according to the New York Times. The network operates Summit Everest and Summit Prep in Redwood City and Summit Denali in Sunnyvale.

In a statement Tuesday, Bullis Charter School officials maintain that the PPP was tailored for nonprofit organizations as well, and that the roughly $2 million would be used to continue paying teachers and staff. Bullis Board Chairman Francis La Poll cited data showing the charter school receives significantly less funding per student than the rest of Los Altos School District, where it resides, and that already-low funding is expected to decrease next year.

Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed 2020-21 state budget, which estimates that California faces a massive $54 billion deficit in the coming year, eliminating what had previously been a budget surplus before the pandemic devastated the state's economy. La Poll said the May budget's nearly 8% cut in state funding for schools is going to put a dent in the school's revenue at a time when costs are going up.

"Our teachers and staff worked extremely hard to provide high-quality online education experiences for our students this spring, and our school will face additional costs due to COVID-19 in the fall," La Poll said.

Bullis Charter School receives the majority of its $15 million annual budget from the Los Altos School District, which provides funding to the charter school based on the number of students it enrolls who live within the district's boundaries. In the case of the 2019-20 school year, the district transferred $8.3 million in funding to the charter school.

Charter school officials have long held that this funding is inadequate and far below the per-student funding Los Altos School District students receive, and has sought to fill the gap by requesting $5,000 per student in annual donations from its families. The charter school was expecting to receive close to $5 million in fundraising during the last school year, according to budget documents.

Bullis officials say that they are expecting a "significant decrease" in fundraising support for the coming school year, adding to the state cuts and putting the school in a difficult financial bind. Representatives from Bullis Charter School's foundation declined to comment.

During Bullis' charter renewal in 2016, staff at the Santa Clara County Office of Education warned that the charter school was too reliant on what it called "soft revenues," and that depending on financial contributions was a problematic way to balance a budget. At the time, more than one-third of the charter school's annual revenue was contingent on these donations and grants, and it was not clear whether the charter school had any guarantee the foundation could maintain its level of support in future years.

Outside of concerns about a big drop in funding from private sources, it does not appear that the charter school is poised for a massive decline in public funding. Los Altos School District Assistant Superintendent Randy Kenyon said they expect to transfer an estimated $8.1 million in funding to the charter school in the 2020-21 school year, only about $200,000 less than the current year. External sources of funding like the $2 million PPP loan does not affect the district's funding obligation for the charter school, Kenyon said.

Comments

Privileged Lives Matter?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:45 pm
Privileged Lives Matter?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:45 pm
27 people like this

Exactly how much public funding does Bullis need to operate? What's the 'get' per student of this additional public funding?

How many Bullis families *needed* a school-provided laptop during the shutdown? How many didn't have access to broadband at home?

How many neighborhood public schools have fundraising efforts (through foundations, PTAs, etc.) that result in $5m? How many raise a tenth of that? A twentieth?

What does this type of public fund grabbing teach the students at Bullis? At other schools in the area?

If you're a student at Bullis, and you have been benefiting from the education a well-funded school provides, during these turbulent times you've probably already been considering the effects of systemic inequalities and the incomparable wealth disparities in our area that support and maintain those inequalities (along with a host of other social ills), you're well on your way to confronting your school's leaders about the part they are continuing to play in that problem. Will you stay silent?

The historical narrative of Bullis' leadership is littered with stories of opportunism, elitism, and defiant arrogance. Isn't it time to change that narrative?


Public School Choice Advocate
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:51 pm
Public School Choice Advocate, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 16, 2020 at 10:51 pm
21 people like this

As a public Charter School, BCS families pay rent or property taxes just like LASD parents. However, BCS receives much less public funding than it should, as LASD chooses not to share with all public students equally. This PPP loan is a rare opportunity to temporarily close the funding gap.


Facts Matter
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:54 am
Facts Matter, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 1:54 am
17 people like this

Per LASD's June 1 and 8 budget presentations, since LASD is a basic aid district, LASD revenue is actually *increasing* by $2.5m in 2020-21 because they will be transferring less per student to BCS, while LASD's property tax revenues are increasing 5% - meanwhile, LASD's enrollment is declining. AND they said they are also applying for federal and state aid! Speaking of "public fund grabbing" by a very affluent district during a time when their revenue is up and enrollment is down! LASD's only problem in the short term is that they bought that wasteful 10th site and now revealed they expect hit to lease revenues since facilities have been closed during SIP - also 24 Hour Fitness just filed for bankruptcy. Wish LASD hadn't wasted so much of our money and attention on real estate that we don't need instead of focusing on students. Clearly they didn't put nearly as much attention or effort into the inadequate remote school. THIS is the real story....


Matt
Slater
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:33 am
Matt, Slater
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:33 am
2 people like this

Charter and private schools do share with public schools the desire for money and more money. Public schools increase operating funds by using borrowed (bond) money to reduce operating expenses. Teaching housing - in place of some pay - is likely here. Local school districts will next propose higher parcel taxes. The state legislature may also create new ways for local schools to raise money - albeit probably not from the big corporations.
The biggest expense is personnel compensation - current and vested. Students really need to learn from home or in small groups at homes or workplaces. Covid-19 will continue its march. Other viruses will jump to humans and spread - viruses that could kill children directly. But institutions and special interests tend to resist change. Some lying politicians just pretend there is no epidemic. Take in the in-door Trump campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday - at your local sports bar. Cheers.


Privileged Lives Matter?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:32 am
Privileged Lives Matter?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 17, 2020 at 9:32 am
15 people like this

So, BCS students...

Note the voices above spinning of the basic aid funding as a grab vs. the formulaic apportionment of funds that it is. Simple research with a primary source of information like state law destroys those claims. LASD doesn't ask the state for these funds, nor does it apply for them. Basic aid is determined by formulas primarily influenced by property taxes which school districts do not control. Also research if fund transfers to BCS are state mandated and influenced by per pupil formulas determined by the state or by the district. Ask yourself why would they mislead you and want you to believe LASD has so much control over funding for BCS?

Also ask yourself, about what poster Public School Choice Advocate calls the "opportunity" Bullis is taking advantage of: grabbing Paycheck Protection Program funds meant to help keep small, private entities in operation. Public school funding (and lets not forget how often Bullis fans like to tout that it is a public school) has not stopped. Public schools aren't under threat of closing up shop due to COVID-19 and LASD will still receive funds it has to pass through to BCS using those per pupil formulas.

Is Bullis a public or private entity? Taxpayer alert: double-dipping Bullis wants it both ways.

Way to add to your historical narrative, BCS. After the disastrous failure to enter MVWSD it's starting to look like the BCS leadership is compromised. Too much privilege does that sometimes.


Shouldn't PPP be for struggling companies?
another community
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Shouldn't PPP be for struggling companies?, another community
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:24 pm
16 people like this

The Bullis Foundation has millions of dollars in reserve that could be used during this crisis.
Why should a public school that has lost little or no funding during shelter in place be taking money that is meant to keep small businesses alive? Any loss in funding for the next year is just speculation at this point, since the state has not finalized a budget.


Carl Sagan
Stierlin Estates
on Jun 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm
Carl Sagan, Stierlin Estates
on Jun 17, 2020 at 7:36 pm
1 person likes this

"California faces a massive $54 million deficit in the coming year"

I think that you're off by a factor of 1,000 there. A $54M deficit would be easy to fix.


LongResident
another community
on Jun 17, 2020 at 7:46 pm
LongResident, another community
on Jun 17, 2020 at 7:46 pm
13 people like this

LASD is having fewer and fewer students each year and BCS is having more and more.

LASD keeps a healthy reserve on the order of $8 MIllion and yet BCS benefits from none of this reserve. LASD also has a $140 Million pot of bond money and a big line of credit.

Per LASD student, LASD takes in about $15K per year and to BCS LASD provides and average of
about $8K per year. 100 students moving to BCS frees up about $700K out of the LASD budget. This PPP thing was weird, but I don't see any special part of that problem being that it benefited a 1200 student charter school which must somehow cope with very cramped facilities at a time when spreading out students in increased amounts of classroom is the norm. LASD has unused classrooms at every school. BCS already has to use each room every minute of the day.


Politics
The Crossings
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:58 pm
Politics, The Crossings
on Jun 17, 2020 at 10:58 pm
7 people like this

Didn't take much time at all for the negative political attacks to flare up. Just like with our Tweeter-in-Chief you know it's going to happen.

Meanwhile the actual educators at LASD and BCS focus on teaching in spite of the upheaval around us. And the administrators focus on making it all work, somehow. That's not going to stop just because somebody has a beef or an axe to grind.

From the ancient wisdom of internet comments we have this pearl: don't feed the trolls.


ex-Hooli person
Rex Manor
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:34 am
ex-Hooli person, Rex Manor
on Jun 18, 2020 at 12:34 am
2 people like this

I'm glad that some of the "stimulus" money went to a worthy cause. I didn't have high hopes.


Really Good Foresight on BCS' part
Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:31 am
Really Good Foresight on BCS' part, Cuesta Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:31 am
10 people like this

Don't hate the players, hate the game. The federal government set this in motion and the charters across the nation, like many other organizations, were able to avail themselves to this. Nothing wrong with it. Charters are businesses too and deserve a hand out like many of the others negatively impacted by coronavirus. The $2million is not an unreasonable loan amount and it will be put to good use keeping BCS staff at the ready. BCS teachers and staff are people too - many in our communities. We should be happy that they are downstream recipients of this. Would you have preferred it went to a large Fortune 500 instead? If not a Main street, sole proprietor, why not an educator? The fact that this is being portrayed as a BCS vs LASD thing completely misses the point (we've been become stigmatized on this topic like many other national social issues). We should be rooting for every local organization - including BCS for being able to tap into this. The societal impacts if they didn't would be horrendous.


It's just BCS, being BCS
Bailey Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 7:48 am
It's just BCS, being BCS, Bailey Park
on Jun 18, 2020 at 7:48 am
10 people like this

There are many reasons, a historical legacy if you will, why BCS is seen as the pariah school of the area. Hey, now they can afford more lawsuits!


Stronger Together
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:12 pm
Stronger Together, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:12 pm
6 people like this

Our community is so much stronger with an innovative public school choice that has gets far less public funding than LASD. From LASD's June 8 finance presentation, for 2020-21, LASD get $14,180 per student just from property taxes and parcel taxes. This does not even include LASD's additional revenue from other federal and state sources and LAEF and also rental income from BCS and their other tenants). Meanwhile their slides show that they will only transfer $7,433 per student to BCS (net of LASD's reimbursement for BCS' small number of out of district student). The amount LASD transfers to BCS is the minimum amount legally required to be transferred - it is LASD's choice not to share more equitable funding, they are not prohibited from doing so (contrary to inaccurate @Privileged's post - and the reference to LASD applying for federal and state aid is not referring to basic aid but extra aid that LASD said they will be applying for, if you watched their presentation). In addition, LASD has bond measure funds. To call BCS as a "well-funded" school compared to LASD is demonstrably false. Our community is very fortunate to have a public school like BCS that can provide such an amazing program for students drawn very evenly from around our district, while getting a fraction of the public funding that LASD gets to keep. LASD should thank BCS for educating district students for a fraction of the cost that LASD spends on its students.


Facts Matter
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm
Facts Matter, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 5:31 pm
4 people like this

@Shouldn'tPPP: to correct your note, the PPP is specifically for small businesses and non-profits, not just small businesses. And by the way, that program is now expected not to run out of money, so it is not a zero sum problem. Also note that starting in late March or April, the Governor sounded the alarm to public schools (doesn't apply to basic aid districts like LASD and MVW) to brace for much gloomier scenarios than originally expected and that the state budget guidance in May and even July could end up being revised even further down later in the year (even after the school year starts) - this is the way the state budget works. To brush off the cuts as "speculation" is not to be aware of the Governor's office specific dire guidance to the schools over the past few months or how the state funding works in practice.


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jun 18, 2020 at 6:23 pm
3 people like this

I am sorry.

But to me Charter Schools cheat regarding their student populations, so they get manipulated scores. Then they use them to claim that they are better than public schools. Then they divert public funds from those schools. And these schools are for-profit. Simply put they are cheating the system and stealing from the public school systems.

And isn't this the school that had a financial relationship with a Mountain View City Council member? Thus having a conflict of interest?

I just don't buy the idea that a for-profit school ever has the community it resides interests, it only has it's own mission and investors.

But the PPP was so poorly engineered that this school qualified for it. And that means the next PPP will have to close that loophole.

When will the State of California get it that the Charter School systems are a scam?


Stronger Together
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:09 pm
Stronger Together, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:09 pm
Like this comment

To clarify the numbers I cited above, those are from LASD's own highlighted, published revenue numbers - there are a lot of different revenue components, so the gap between LASD's public revenue per student vs. what they transfer to BCS for each student is probably more....


LongResident
another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:04 am
LongResident, another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:04 am
Like this comment

To Mr Business Man: The financial flow from the city councilman's side business investment was to LASD as opposed to the charter school. It's one of the ways LASD itself gets extra cash in a way not available to any charter school.

It's not clear that anything improper was involved, but the councilman voted in a way which was perceived a negative toward the charter school, not in support of it. So later he did recuse himself from voting on a subsequent version of the issue between LASD and BCS.

I don't know why you would take issue with having a charter school, when you see the numbers provided above. The existence of the charter school taking responsibility for 1200 LASD residents SAVES the district quite a lot of expense. The difference in the characteristics of the students is infinitesimal between LASD and BCS. You have to be very picky to draw a distinction. Each year is different. Kids tend to stick with the charter once they enroll there, but some can and do go back to LASD at any time. The district reserves significantly higher quality facilities for its owns students while providing dregs and cheesy portables to ALL the charter students (and less than 20% of kids at district's traditional schools).

Yes, the charter school has to fundraise to approximate the level of education spending at LASD schools, because LASD schools benefit from an extra $7K per student per year owing to its own tax supplements to what the state considers minimum spending. So the charter school fund raises to make up about $4K extra for each of its students.

And so the saga winds on...


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:45 am
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:45 am
2 people like this

LongResident

What you just described technically is unconstitutional.


If Charter Schools are providing more funds for their students, it wqould be a violation of the 14th Amendment.

Simply put even the California Constitution also has a provision that educational resources must be equally provided to all students in the state of California.

But corruption and cheating is amok in the state.

Sooner or later someone is going to take this situation to court and have this uneven resource plan declared unconstitutional, and require that Charter Schools provide that surplus to the general student population. Please look at the case of Vergara V. California, Serano v. Priest, and Butt v. California
Web Link.

And this article California Constitutional Law:
The Right to an Adequate Education

(Web Link)

Spcifically:

Since the California Supreme Court’s decision in Serrano I, there is
no doubt that the state constitution guarantees the right to an education,
and an education that encompasses more than simply “access to a
schoolhouse.” Although equal protection litigation has done much to
level the playing field, thousands of students are still deprived of a bare
minimum of educational qualityan unconstitutional result given the
text and history of the constitution, the education case law in California,
and the similar conclusions of supreme courts nationwide. The Supreme
Court of California must weigh in on this issue, to reduce confusion in
the lower courts and produce a more just educational system for
California’s children. The citizenship approach, in which the supreme court evaluates whether schools provide enough education to teach
students to be citizens, finds support in the history and language of the
California Constitution, in corresponding constitutional provisions
guaranteeing civic participation, in the education case law, and in the
logical underpinnings of article IX. An inadequate education is not an
education. This is the approach that the court should take.

And when that occurs, watch how fast the Charter Schools will close because they will not be making a profit from the educational business.

Sooner or later it is going to hit Charter Schools like a ton of bricks.




LongResident
another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:24 am
LongResident, another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 1:24 am
2 people like this

Oh Dear Mr Business Man. What you say about equal funding is not
the case at all. Each district in California is eligible to raise
as much extra money as it wants without reducing the state funding.
That's partly why the district in Mountain View Los Altos and Palo Alto all receive so much more funding per student than those in San Jose. LASD has a foundation which raises an extra $3.2 Million for its 4000 students. MVWSD has a foundation that raises an extra $700K for its 5000 students. In LASD the PTA's at each school raise around $200K and they spend a lot of that on things that save the district money. Since there are 7 elementary schools that's another $1.4M right there.
No rule against it. But the exact amount depends on the members of the PTA at each school. It's not the same and its not shared between schools


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jun 19, 2020 at 6:19 am
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jun 19, 2020 at 6:19 am
Like this comment

LongResident

I guess you are not familiar with the New Jersey case which the Jersey Supreme Court ordered that the "regional" funding model was unconstitutional and led to a state wide funding practice where all schools were ordered to be provided equal funding per student. That information can be found here

(Web Link.)

In effect that is occuring here in California, the Abbott v. Burke case stated:

"THE HISTORY OF ABBOTT V. BURKE
In 1981, the Education Law Center filed a complaint in Superior Court on behalf of 20 children attending public schools in the cities of Camden, East Orange, Irvington, and Jersey City. The lawsuit challenged New Jersey’s system of financing public education under the Public School Education Act of 1975 (Chapter 212).

This was the first salvo in the historic case, Abbott v. Burke, which is widely recognized as the most important education litigation for poor and minority schoolchildren since Brown v. Board of Education.

Beginning in 1981, ELC argued that the State's method of funding education was unconstitutional because it caused significant expenditure disparities between poor urban and wealthy suburban school districts, and that poorer urban districts were unable to adequately meet the educational needs of their students.

The case eventually made its way to the NJ Supreme Court, which, in 1985, issued the first Abbott decision (Abbott I) transferring the case to an administrative law judge for an initial hearing.

Eventually it required the state to pass the following:

The Remedial Directives
In 1990, in Abbott II, the NJ Supreme Court upheld the administrative law judge’s ruling, finding the State’s school funding law unconstitutional as applied to children in 28 “poorer urban” school districts. That number was later expanded to 31. View the Abbott Districts

The Court’s ruling directed the Legislature to amend or enact a new law to “assure” funding for the urban districts: 1) at the foundation level “substantially equivalent” to that in the successful suburban districts; and 2) “adequate” to provide for the supplemental programs necessary to address the extreme disadvantages of urban schoolchildren. The Court ordered this new funding mechanism be in place for the following school year, 1991-92.

In response to the Abbott II decision, the Legislature approved the Quality Education Act (QEA), which modestly increased foundation aid levels for the Abbott districts, but failed to provide parity funding.

In 1992, the Abbott plaintiffs went back to the NJ Supreme Court, asking for a decision on whether the new funding law met the specific terms of its 1990 decree. The Court remanded the motion to a trial judge with instructions to develop a full factual record. Following an extensive trial, the remand judge found that the QEA failed to meet the Court’s 1990 ruling and recommended the law be declared unconstitutional as applied to the urban districts.

In 1994, the Supreme Court affirmed the findings and recommendation of the remand judge. The Court then entered its second remedial order, Abbott III, directing the Legislature to adopt another funding law by September 1996 that would assure “substantial equivalence” in per pupil foundation funding with suburban districts and provide the necessary supplemental programs.

In December 1996, the Legislature enacted its second funding law – the Comprehensive Education Improvement and Financing Act or “CEIFA” – in response to the Court’s 1994 decision. In January 1997, the Abbott plaintiffs asked the Court to declare CEIFA unconstitutional for failing to achieve compliance with the Court’s prior orders. The Court acted quickly on the motion and in Abbott IV found CIEFA unconstitutional as applied to the urban districts.

The Court also took more decisive action. First, the justices ordered parity in foundation funding for the 1997-98 school year, resulting in an immediate state aid increase of $246 million. Second, they ordered that parity be continued in future years until the Legislature, through new or amendatory legislation, could “convincingly demonstrate” that resources adequate for urban schoolchildren to meet established academic standards could be provided at a level lower than the amounts expended in the successful suburban districts.

Finally, the Court ordered that a second remand trial be conducted by a designated judge, this time for the purpose of developing a full evidentiary record of the need both for supplemental programs (including early education) for urban schoolchildren and for capital facilities improvements in the urban districts. The State Education Commissioner was directed to prepare and present a study of these needs, including recommendations for funding levels and a plan for program implementation.

On review of the trial court’s decision, the Supreme Court in Abbott V accepted many of the supplemental programs and reforms, and a plan to fund capital facilities improvements, recommended by the remand judge. The Court also modified several recommendations and established a unique process whereby urban districts were afforded the right to seek additional funding for supplemental programs and capital improvements if they could demonstrate the need. Districts were also afforded the right to seek administrative and judicial review of decisions by the State Education Commissioner denying requests for supplemental funds.

Taken together, the 1997 Abbott IV and 1998 Abbott V rulings directed implementation of a comprehensive set of remedial measures, including high quality early education, supplemental programs and reforms, and school facilities improvements, to ensure an adequate and equal education for low-income schoolchildren.

The Abbott remedies were strikingly detailed and comprehensive. The mandates also broke new ground in school finance and education policy in the United States. No other state had equalized – or assured “parity” – in the education resources provided to children in its lowest-wealth communities at the level spent in more affluent ones. New Jersey was the first state to mandate early education, starting at age 3, for children “at risk” of entering kindergarten or primary school cognitively and socially behind their more advantaged peers. The Court’s “needs-based” approach to providing supplementary programs and reforms was an unprecedented effort to target funds to initiatives designed to improve educational outcomes of low-income schoolchildren. Finally, New Jersey undertook the most extensive construction program in the United States designed to ameliorate the severely deficient condition and quality of school buildings in low-wealth neighborhoods.

So BCS is on borrowed time. The State of California should have implemented a uniform funding per student requirement so that ALL schools will have equal resources to educate students. Thus ALL students get their Constitutionally guaranteed equal treatment under the California Constitution.

If that means the state will be required to withhold funds from Mountain View to balance that funding, so be it. Or the alternative is that the state TAKES money from Mountain View and gives it to another community.

What we are seeing here is the "haves" of Mountain View trying to ensure that their children have a competitive advantage over poorer cities and towns in California. Like the College Admissions scandal. This cannot be allowed under these circumstances


LongResident
another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm
LongResident, another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 4:33 pm
Like this comment

Aren't you familiar with the Serrano decision in California 1976. It
made changes to equalize public money being provided to public education.
However, all these decisions only apply to public money. The public
schools in California receive private grants all the time, to individual
places, not state-wide.


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jun 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jun 19, 2020 at 4:49 pm
2 people like this

In response to LongResident you said:

“Aren't you familiar with the Serrano decision in California 1976. It made changes to equalize public money being provided to public education.

However, all these decisions only apply to public money. The public schools in California receive private grants all the time, to individual places, not state-wide.”

PPP IS PUBLIC MONEY FOR ONE THING. ALSO ANY PUBLIC FUNDS THAT END UP IN BCS ACCOUNTING MAKES IT A PUBLIC SCHOOL. Meaning if they get any grants or education funding by either the Federal, State, County or City, your argument is completely incorrect. THUS either BCS receives absolutely no form of public funds at all and retains itself as a private school (meaning they do not share any space with a public school) , or that claim is of no value.

Second, ABBOTT v. BURKE continued to 2017 thus creating more rights to underserved students in California due to the 14th Amendment. In fact after 1976 the Abbott case expanded the state requirements significantly. You really didn’t read the entire history I provided the link to did you?

Maybe the reality is that BCS once it receives any public funds wound up trapped into the Abbott case.

Maybe the BCS has to give up PPP in order to avoid this trap?


Shouldn't PPP be for struggling companies?
another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 5:10 pm
Shouldn't PPP be for struggling companies?, another community
on Jun 19, 2020 at 5:10 pm
7 people like this

@FactsMatter - Bullis is using a taxpayer-funded program that was designed to keep businesses and non-profits operating through the COVID-19 crisis while Bullis has no such problem. Making smart business decisions is not the same as making the best decisions for the general public.


LongResident
another community
on Jun 20, 2020 at 3:10 am
LongResident, another community
on Jun 20, 2020 at 3:10 am
Like this comment

The PPP was designed to create employment. It has certain rules that allowed charter schools to qualify. Remember that charter schools are different from one to another as to how they operate especially between states. They have different class sizes and different student to teacher ratios.

No one can say in advance how the funds will use and they apply to employment through February 2021.

its entirely possible that the local school might be able to keep more teachers on staff or even need to hire new teachers. An elementary school normally has students taught by more than one teacher to some extent. Some teachers work in multiple classrooms. Under health rules this may not be practicable for the next year. Having a teacher move from one classroom to another may be a risk that is not acceptable to health authorities. So it's possible that more teachers might be needed with fewer students per teacher.

So, PPP could be satisfied by the hiring of more teachers, creating teacher employment, which was the point. Or at least it could avoid the layoff of teachers which can't be used be cause they used to work in 3 different classrooms alongside another teacher who was dedicated to each one alone.

LASD has extensive reserves which could be tapped to supplement operational needs. They levy a parcel tax which brings in $10M per year and they have talked of increasing this. Only a small portion of this funding is shared with the charter school, like maybe 5% whereas the charter school has 20% or more of the total students in the district.

It's not so easy to judge. It's already true that more teachers are employed per student in the charter than in LASD traditional schools, not counting administrators. Any sort of squeeze could cause layoffs. PPP to the rescue.


Rename it Betsy DeVos Charter!
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 8:35 am
Rename it Betsy DeVos Charter!, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 8:35 am
4 people like this

At a time when we should be thinking of ways to reduce systemic racism in our country, Charter Schools like BCS continue to hoard privilege, just as DeVos and Trump encourage. I would be ashamed to be a Bullis Charter parent or supporter. When Mountain View School District asked BCS to snap to demographics that are representative of MV’s population and BCS scrapped their plans to open a MV franchise, it became abundantly clear: BCS PERPETUATES SYSTEMIC RACISM and this move to double dip on public funds only bolsters that claim. Does the school give out MAGA hats when they win the lottery? Gosh how do these people even sleep at night? Disgusting.


Rename it Betsy DeVos Charter!
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 8:36 am
Rename it Betsy DeVos Charter!, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 8:36 am
2 people like this

At a time when we should be thinking of ways to reduce systemic racism in our country, Charter Schools like BCS continue to hoard privilege, just as DeVos and Trump encourage. I would be ashamed to be a Bullis Charter parent or supporter. When Mountain View School District asked BCS to snap to demographics that are representative of MV’s population and BCS scrapped their plans to open a MV franchise, it became abundantly clear: BCS PERPETUATES SYSTEMIC RACISM and this move to double dip on public funds only further bolsters that claim. Does the school give out MAGA hats to their incoming students?? Gosh, how do these people even sleep at night? Disgusting.


Rename it Betsy DeVos Charter!
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 8:36 am
Rename it Betsy DeVos Charter!, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 8:36 am
2 people like this

At a time when we should be thinking of ways to reduce systemic racism in our country, Charter Schools like BCS continue to hoard privilege,t just as DeVos and Trump encourage. I would be ashamed to be a Bullis Charter parent or supporter. When Mountain View School District asked BCS to snap to demographics that are representative of MV’s population and BCS scrapped their plans to open a MV franchise, it became abundantly clear: BCS PERPETUATES SYSTEMIC RACISM and this move to double dip on public funds only further bolsters that claim. Does the school give out MAGA hats to their incoming students?? Gosh, how do these people even sleep at night? Disgusting.


The Business Man
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 9:00 am
The Business Man, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2020 at 9:00 am
2 people like this

LongResident

Now you are just try evade the issue again.

PPP is public funds, Federal, State Countyy and city educational grants are public funds. Thus this school is subject to the Serrano case and the Abbott case.

Thus this school is likely going to lose a lot of money if anyone decided to go to court again to reinforce the equal rights to an education in the CA Constitution and the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.


If BCS wants to avoid this, they must become a solely PRIVATE funded school. THERE CANNOT BE A PENNY OF PUBLIC MONEY PROVIDED TO IT.

Then you would be correct.

BCS better return the PPP loan for it will cost them much more in the long run.


Some of these claims are not like the others
The Crossings
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:30 pm
Some of these claims are not like the others, The Crossings
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:30 pm
Like this comment

Some comments here are normal respectful discussion working toward truth. Some of the comments here are more like the dumpster fire we have on Facebook, Twitter and around the internet, where othering and provoking is the name of the game.

Some folks pretend to be on the blue team (my team) but their actions and tactics here are just like Trump and the right-wing media.

Privileged? Greedy? Discriminators? Cheaters? MAGA? De Vos? None of these claims stand up to scrutiny - if they were true the enemies of BCS would have killed it a long time ago in our blue community in our blue county in our blue state.

How to sort out what's true? Visit the school. Get to know the families and teachers and administrators. The BCS haters want to shape your opinion first before you get to do that.


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jun 20, 2020 at 1:56 pm
6 people like this

Let's get this straight, I am not a BCS hater.

I am a CHARTER SCHOOLS IDEA hater, meaning private schools trying to make money of the public funds, using public land, and NOT being subject to public rules, and cheating by cherry picking students.

So i am simply asking for this process be reformed so that it is not a cheating industry.

Parents Chose to enroll their students, they are BIASED because of it. Teachers and administrators are paid by them, they are BIASED because of it.

If you want to get a unbiased opinion, ask the students that go to the schools that BCS borrows land from that aren't the BCS students what they think? The same goes for the Parents, Teachers that also are not affiliated with BCS?

What your trying to propose is that we only listen to BCS and their supporters. I respectfully do not agree where public resources are taken by a private industry.

UNLESS THEY COMPLETELY ARE IN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL PUBLIC EDUCATIONAL PROCESSES, WHICH MEANS ANY STUDENT IN THE DISTRICT AND REGION OF THE BCS SCHOOL MUST HAVE FREE ACCESS TO THAT SCHOOL AND ITS RESOURCES.

You know that doesn't happen. CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE A PUBLIC SCHOOL RIP OFF.


Some of these claims are not like the others
The Crossings
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:12 pm
Some of these claims are not like the others, The Crossings
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:12 pm
Like this comment

There's no shortage of charter school hate with the same arguments repeated rehashed remixed at every opportunity for 17 years in our community.

You know what happens when someone with a little curiosity stops by, looks around and talks to people?

It becomes plain that the people are real human beings, not some abstract idea to hate.

It becomes clear that some folks have told the truth and others have lied about facilities and conditions (and what else?).

It becomes apparent that kids, teachers, parents, administrators are walking the walk of education, openness and community in the positive sense of those words.

I'm talking about finding the truth of people's lived experiences. To deny that truth or denigrate it, especially based on assumptions and prejudged opinions, is unjust.

But don't take my word for it. See for yourself.


The Business Man
Castro City
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:46 pm
The Business Man, Castro City
on Jun 20, 2020 at 11:46 pm
2 people like this

In response to Some of these claims are not like the others you said:

“There's no shortage of charter school hate with the same arguments repeated rehashed remixed at every opportunity for 17 years in our community.”

You haven’t provided any evidence to contradict it, you simply criticize the messenger you said:

“You know what happens when someone with a little curiosity stops by, looks around and talks to people?”

Like yourself, a “have” that is obviously defending the unfair advantages created by this corrupt business You said:

“It becomes plain that the people are real human beings, not some abstract idea to hate.”

Yes these are corrupted politicians that make money off of stealing from public funds to provide private education. You said

“It becomes clear that some folks have told the truth and others have lied about facilities and conditions (and what else?).”

Who are they, not just an anonymous poster on a public website that does not provide independent unbiased evidence, but intead trues to “kill the messenger” You said:

“It becomes apparent that kids, teachers, parents, administrators are walking the walk of education, openness and community in the positive sense of those words.”

Maybe the privileged ones like yourself and the SELECTED and CHOSEN few. This is just another SCAM to rip off the PUBLIC education systems and create an elite class of education off the cost of the rest of the education system, and you know it. You said:

“I'm talking about finding the truth of people's lived experiences. To deny that truth or denigrate it, especially based on assumptions and prejudged opinions, is unjust.”

Again, you are not addressing the reality that sooner or later the Serrano precedent will be applied to CHARTER schools, it is inevitable, thus forcing CHARTER schools to only get funds from their PRIVATE benefactors. The CHARTER schools are threatened by it, and they will fight any attempt to force educational equality in the state of California because they want to sustain the unfair educational advantages that are unconstitutional.


SRB
St. Francis Acres
on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:36 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
on Jun 22, 2020 at 9:36 pm
3 people like this

The reason there is an appearance of double dipping is because all public schools (including charters) were eligible for the CARES act. Only charter schools can ALSO get PPP loans (same pot of money local restaurants can apply for).
The CARES Act included $13.5 billion in direct funding for K-12 districts. ($1.65 billion for California).
Distribution is based on a district’s share of federal Title I funding which uses a formula based primarily on the number of students whose family income is below the federal poverty threshold of $26,200 for a family of four and who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

This dashboard shows how these funds were distributed in California:
Web Link
Based on need (number of students matching the criteria), MVWSD was set to receive about $500,000, LASD $80K , MVLA : $200K ....and BCS: $0

The criteria for a PPP loan is very different, applicant only needs to document and certify economic need due to COVID. Since BCS is a public charter school, I hope the Voice will obtain BCS' PPP application so that the taxpayers can assess that need.


attorneys in charge
Bailey Park
on Jun 23, 2020 at 9:41 am
attorneys in charge, Bailey Park
on Jun 23, 2020 at 9:41 am
1 person likes this

not surprising in the least. the charter school's leadership has long been overrun with lawyers, even from the very start, which may cause them to guide org policy and community culture by what is legally possible rather than what is educationally advisable or ethically responsible. thus they're litigious against the community and constantly arguing some entitlement claim. their new board president is the worst offender. poor little fella must be harboring some kind of grudge.


LongResident
another community
on Jun 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm
LongResident, another community
on Jun 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm
Like this comment

On the lawyers comment: Schools even traditional public school district have
to borrow money regularly. They have a relationship with their banker. It's
probably the banker who informed the charter school about the availability
of the loan. At that point the operators of the school have a fiduciary duty
to do what's best for their organization. So they took the loan. Times
were uncertain and the government offered a special loan program. Pass that by
and there's no way to make it up down the road if things turn even more dire.

One of the known problems with this program is that it favored in all regards
those businesses which have an established borrowing relationship. Left behind
are those who operate without regular borrowing or factoring of accounts due.


LongerTimeResident
Cuesta Park
on Jun 23, 2020 at 4:32 pm
LongerTimeResident, Cuesta Park
on Jun 23, 2020 at 4:32 pm
4 people like this

BCS runs itself like a private school. There is a "lottery" but they have few students in Special Education and those who need governmental financial assistance. They spend so much on marketing to make themselves look so wonderful. I know a teacher who used to work for BCS. I won't go into details but I would never send my children there. BCS will always be BCS. Sigh.


ResidentSince1982
another community
on Jun 23, 2020 at 4:54 pm
ResidentSince1982, another community
on Jun 23, 2020 at 4:54 pm
Like this comment

PPP gave a loan to the company that flies deportations for the US Government. Interesting: Web Link

If you randomly select public school including charter students living within LASD boundaries there are something like 10% receiving special education services. The proportions vary from school to school. LASD operates a resource room at each elementary school staffed by 1 FTE credentialed teacher with special education certification and some aides or assistants. These are LASD employees and members of LASD's unions. The proportions are similar at BCS but they use a different model and most of the special education staff works for the County Office of Education. BCS provides a lot of services under special education. Saying that it doesn't have many such students is wrong.


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