Bullis, LASD continue to butt heads | February 3, 2012 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - February 3, 2012

Bullis, LASD continue to butt heads

by Nick Veronin

The battle between Bullis Charter School and the Los Altos School District continues.

Officials from the local charter school have rejected the preliminary offer of facilities approved by the district board Jan. 30 — calling the district's proposal unacceptable, unfair and illegal less than two weeks after it seemed the entire conflict had come to an end.

"I'm deeply disappointed by the offer," Bullis board member Anne Marie-Gallagher said. "It astonishes me. I don't believe the offer is legally compliant."

Marie-Gallagher said the district has once again failed to offer the charter school "reasonably equivalent" facilities as required by law. She said the district's new offer proposes to give Bullis facilities on two campuses — with students in kindergarten through sixth-grade continuing at its current site on the Eagan Junior High School campus, and putting seventh- and eighth-grade students at Blach Junior High School.

"Bullis runs an integrated K-8 program that must be housed together," Marie-Gallagher said. Splitting the school over two sites, she added, is "just not fair."

Mark Goines, president of the LASD board of trustees, contends his district's offer is in line with the final order handed down Jan. 18 by a California appellate court, ending a lengthy legal conflict over school facilities.

Goines said that splitting the school is the only tenable option the district has — outside of building an entirely new campus. Given Bullis' current size, the only way to accommodate the school on a single campus would be to close a school and replace it with the charter, he said.

Goines said that Bullis has repeatedly requested that the district do just that with its Gardner Bullis School in Los Altos Hills.

"I think it's unreasonable to ask other families to give up their neighborhood school for the benefit of their charter school," Goines said. "Nowhere in the law does it say we must close a high-performing school to make room for a charter."

If he had the money and the community support he would gladly approve the construction of a new campus, he said.

"The idea that they will build us a timeline sometime in the future doesn't help us," Marie-Gallagher said, insisting that Bullis needs space immediately. "We're simply asking for fairness now, and I don't believe there is any reason to wait. I simply don't believe that we need to buy new land and build a new school to accommodate Bullis charter school in this district."


Posted by LASD taxpayer fedup, a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

The Los Altos School District is under capacity and even their own demographers project a reduction, not increase, in student population. LASD just changes the data (or ignores it) to create the conclusion they've predetermined. LASD is 1) operating more school sites than it has money to run and redrawing attendance areas will not only reduce LASD's overhead (which subsidizes Palo Alto Unified School District Students attending LASD schools--which is insane in a basic aid district--) but will help the LASD kids have MORE, not less programs if LASD would be fiscally responsible in this regard; and 2) even after redrawing attendance areas to consolidate so that a permanent site is available to BCS PUBLIC school students, NONE of the remaining LASD schools will be full in terms of capacity. After redrawing attendance areas to provide the Charter school with facilities reasonably equivalent to those the LASD students enjoy, the LASD schools will not be overfilled--and to suggest the community should go into debt to build a new school site is simply a ruse to delay equitable treatment to charter school students and is fiscally irresponsible given there is ALREADY enough permanent facilities to house ALL public school children in LASD. Finally, the claim that LASD families enjoy "neighborhood schools" ignores those hundreds of families who used to be able to walk to their school (like Santa Rita) but who now have to drive across town (to Gardener Bullis) to fill that WAY under-capacity school. Those crying about "neighborhood schools" are in it for themselves and disregard the inconveniences the other LASD families have been dealt by LASD's redrawing attendance areas back in 2008. Oh, let's not forget to mention the closure of Bullis-Purissima, a neighborhood school.

Posted by Fan of SiliconSerf, a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2012 at 8:28 am

in case you missed it:
Posted by SiliconSerf, a resident of the The Crossings neighborhood, 20 hours ago
SiliconSerf is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online

Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Saint Clara was a tiny but prosperous District of Sotla. There were three villages in the district, Upper Sotla which was tiny but very prosperous; Middle Sotla which was large, populous, and prosperous but not quite as prosperous as Upper Sotla. Oh and finally there was the small village of Lower Weiv, which sat on the other side of the Royal Road. But such was the prosperity of the district that even the serfs living in Lower Weiv were also prosperous.

All were happy, for their castles were great centers of learning and were governed by a board of Elders. One smaller castle was in Upper Sotla, and the rest were scattered throughout Middle Sotla, and alas, there were no castles in Lower Weiv. Fortunately, the residents of Lower Weiv were welcomed at the nearby castles in Middle Sotla. All were happy, until one day it was decreed that the castles needed to be renovated, for indeed the battlements were beginning to crumble. Gold was collected across the district for the renovation, and it came to pass that the castles were renewed one by one. Now whether it was intentional, or not, the small castle in Upper Sotla was left for last. And the worst fears of the villagers of Upper Sotla indeed came to pass, for while the castles of Middle Sotla were made shiny and new, it was decided that their small castle would be closed, for the board of Elders had spent all the gold on the castles of Middle Sotla. Truth be told, the castles in Middle Sotla looked half shiny and new, for much of the renovation seemed to center on the administrative parts of the castle and not the parts of learning, which was strange, and made many in the district wonder if the gold was spent wisely?

Intentional or not, best intentions or worst, the people of Upper Sotla were greatly angered by this slight and resolved to open their own castle and indeed this is exactly what came to pass. The Overlords of the Kingdom of Saint Clara decreed that equal space should be provided for this new castle. Now remember, the board of Elders could have given the old run down castle in Upper Sotla to the people there, but their hearts were filled with jealousy, and they feared that a new castle might eventually surpass their own. So instead the elders chose to spend additional gold on a temporary castle placed on on the jousting grounds of one of their castles nearest the Royal Road far from Upper Sotla. Indeed, they expected the people of Upper Sotla to abandon the project, but they did not. Soon, the shabby little temporary castle lead by the people of Upper Sotla was turning out scholars and craftsman, knights and archers of the highest quality. This without the large jousting grounds, and archery ranges of the other castles. Despite the lack, they began to win many tournaments and ribbons.

Recall the serfs of Lower Weiv, for they had no castle of their own. While they were welcomed at the nearby castles, each year the board of Elders debated which castle the serfs of Lower Weiv should be sent, to start their studies. And so, over the years, the serfs were scattered across many castles, and this too angered the serfs of Lower Weiv, for again, intentional or not, Middle Sotla was slighting them. Recall too, that in placing the temporary castle for Upper Sotla as far from Upper Sotla as they could, or so it appeared, the board happened to place this temporary castle very close to Lower Weiv.

The success of the new castle was like a thorn in the side of the board of Elders, for this new castle was not under their governance. In hopes of cutting off support for the new castle, or so it appeared, they reopened the castle in Upper Sotla at great expense. Surely the people of Upper Sotla would be satisfied now! But alas, the Upper Sotlian memory was long. Other events came to pass as well. When the board reopened the castle they held a great gathering, for they would need to move people from castle to castle to fill up space, and it was decreed at that gathering that all of the serfs from Lower Weiv would be sent to the castle farthest from home, on the other side of the district. Additionally many in Middle Sotla would need to be moved as well. This angered Lower Weiv, and recall again, the new temporary castle was placed closest to Lower Weiv. But many others were angered as well, and the applications for the new castle that lacked the spacious jousting grounds, and archery ranges soared anyway. And so it came to pass, that instead of cutting support for the newest castle, the board of Elders instead succeed in swelling support for the new castle and many traveled there from across the district.

Soon though, the news of the space the board of Elders placed the new castle reached the Overlords of the Kingdom of Saint Clara and they were angered, for they had decreed a castle with equal space, and low, where were the jousting grounds? And the spacious archery ranges? And so they decreed again, more forcefully that the new castle be given equal space.

Oh how this new decree caused much tearing of hair and beards throughout Middle Sotla, for in their minds, hadn't they been generous? Would they need to give up one of their castles? Which one?! Might it be the one their own children attended? They could not see, nor remembered the slights, intentional or not they had caused Upper Sotla and Lower Weiv. Nor did they recall that they had repeated opportunities to make amens. And so our tale continues. For the board of Elders is indeed prideful, and more jealous than ever of the success of this new castle and this is overcoming what should have been frugality with their own gold. After the Overlord's decree they sent forth a messenger with an insulting offer that flew in the face of the Overlord's anger. Peace and calm in the district would not be restored with the path chosen by the Elders. Who knows where this tale will lead, but I fear it will be quite some time before we can say the lines, and they lived happily ever after.

Report Objectionable Content

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm


Posted by outside observer, a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2012 at 12:22 pm

This whole thing just looks crazy to us from the outside, but we have choice programs here in Mountain View that fluctuate with demand so we have looked at the issue very differently. We haven't looked at it as an us vs. them problem, but as an issue of how we allocate resources fairly across different educational wants and desires. If I were an LASD parent I would be asking myself how I could get BCS programs at my neighborhood school. BCS seems to have really good programs--Mandarin, lots of interesting electives, music, drama, PE, a very collaborative environment. Wouldn't it be a good thing for a larger campus to welcome BCS and have the kids at that school possibly stay at BCS as part of any rezoning? I don't get why this is so divisive - think about the education your kids are getting not just about whether it's convenient for your kids to walk to school. Change can be a very good thing, especially in regards to education in this country. There's lots of work to do to make it better for our kids. Even in LASD.

Posted by BCSisAprivateSchoolPubliclyFunded, a resident of another community
on Feb 6, 2012 at 7:27 pm

What a poorly written tale.

Gardner was renovated ($12M) before reopened, and some BCS parents returned to that school. Till these days, BCS continues to operate and discriminate Hispanics, Disadvantaged, English learners, Special Education students, and students from most of the LASD District. Effectively, it is trying to close one of the highest performing schools in California.

Posted by Ron Haley, a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2012 at 8:58 am

Gardner was renovated at a cost 0f $13.9 million. BCS students selected as follows;
1. Sibling preference
2. Old Bullis district 50% preference (less than 30% of current population)
3. Double blind lottery.
There is no discrimination.

Posted by Fan of Silicon Serf, a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

That's the best you can do David? Poorly Written!? It's the best item that anyone has ever posted on the subject pro or con.

Posted by yourVeryMisleadingQuarter-truths, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:26 am

Who is David? Is it another person who is "jealous" of you?

Ron, check your BCS' annual report about its students' make-up.

Posted by BCSwantsToHide, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2012 at 12:37 am

Web Link

Why does BCS want to hide its agenda from the public?

Posted by LASD twists the truth, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 8, 2012 at 9:02 am

Earlier quotes from Doug Smith indicated he was trying to get BCS to sign a confidentiality agreement. BCS didn't think that was necessary. How can you have open meetings with a confidential agreement, Doug?

Posted by Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Since we're all showing off our creative side (see the above 500k post in which all of the BCS "PR Firm Talking Points" are weaved into some sort of... story)... Take a look at this hilarious send-up from one of our community members who is against the closing of thriving neighborhood community schools:

Web Link

For more information and background on this "school" which is intent on closing our public schools, please see:

Web Link

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields