Los Altos district needs to compromise | February 10, 2012 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |


Mountain View Voice

Opinion - February 10, 2012

Los Altos district needs to compromise

Short of the sheriff showing up to escort school children to their rightful classrooms, it does not appear that the Los Altos School District will abide by the law and provide reasonably equal facilities to the Bullis Charter School as ordered by a state appeals court — a decision recently affirmed by the state Supreme Court.

District trustees rejected any move toward a compromise that acknowledges all the students are part of the Los Altos district and deserve equal treatment when it comes to assigning school facilities. Instead, after losing their last chance to overturn the appeals court order, the LASD simply ignored it and said it would assign Bullis K-6 students to the same crowded line-up of portable classrooms it occupies now in an Egan Middle School parking lot and send its grades 7-8 students to Blach Middle School, some four miles away.

Not surprisingly, Bullis cried foul, finding the preliminary offer not only unacceptable but "unlawful," in the words of Bullis board member Anne Marie Gallagher. The charter school will no doubt will look to yet another court action to enforce the earlier rulings affirming the right of their 465 students, nearly all of whom live in the district, to equal accommodations.

Unless a compromise is forged, the current LASD trustees, who voted to spend $60,000 on their losing state Supreme Court appeal, will likely waste even more precious school dollars trying to defend their cause.

As we said last December, as a basic aid district, Los Altos receives the bulk of its financial support from local property taxes, an amount that is not dependent on the number of students attending LASD schools. The district receives the same amount whether or not the Bullis school exists.

But now, 465 students attend Bullis, which is totally supported by state funds, taking the obligation away from LASD. Given that LASD, through taxes and parental support, spends about $11,000 per student, the district saves $5 million a year by not having to educate the Bullis students.

So in our view, rather than force Bullis into a parking lot of portable classrooms, about the only rational solution is to hand over an entire school to Bullis and be done with it. At last count, less than 300 students attend the Gardner Bullis School in Los Altos Hills, by far the lowest enrollment of any school in the district. These students could be transferred to other district schools to make way for Bullis Charter School. This would place 465 students on a proper school campus, which is their right as residents of the Los Altos school district. Their presence would not detract from the district, which would save millions of dollars in basic aid funds, perhaps enough to build a new school elsewhere in the district.

This dispute has gone on long enough. We do not believe any piecemeal solution will be acceptable to Bullis or the courts. The Los Altos district may not believe it is fair play for Bullis to demand a school site. But the decision is not up to the district. Proposition 39 dictates that charter schools must be given "reasonably equivalent" space and facilities. Portable classrooms on a parking lot are hardly "equivalent." Charter schools are here to stay. And it is time for the Los Altos district to recognize that fact and move on.


Posted by Andrew, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:35 am

A well stated article, I fully agree with.

Posted by Ed Reform Advocate, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

Nice to hear an opinion that looks at the simple legality of this issue and highlights the injustice without being emotionally charged. Unfortunately, I fear that the posts that precede mine will probably make up for this tenfold (judging from posts on other news/community sites). I encourage those who engage on this chain to keep in mind that it is about a "good faith" offer by a district to a charter school. Not about giving everybody just what they want...hence the "compromise" that a resolution to this issue will require.

Posted by Community Member, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

The Bullis Charter School was created as the result of the anger of local parents being faced with the shutdown of their neighborhood school. The Gardner Bullis neighborhood school has since reopened, and Bullis Charter School offers another option for local kids, in its current Egan location.

The attendance growth of LASD is mostly a result of families moving to our community for the great quality of our neighborhood public schools or because of new real estate developments. The increase in attendance at BCS is due to the quality of its education, but also professional-grade and heavy PR, marketing, and recruiting efforts towards prospective families, something the LASD does not engage in, since it is a public school.

Considering how the closure of a successful LASD elementary school has led to 8+ years of anger and division within our community, your suggestion of closing an entore local school (whether it be Gardner Bullis or another) and displacing hundreds of local students to house Bullis Charter School cannot be seen as the only way for BCS to continue to provide choice to local residents.

I urge less polarizing representatives from both parties to come to the table - without lawyers - to brainstorm on ideas to make both LASD and BCS parents satisfied with a solution. The solution should not be about one party "winning" and another "loosing"- compromises from both sides should be expected. Another 8+ years of uncertainty, frustration, and anger is not the way to build a community nor is it a way to educate our children.

Posted by LASD parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:56 am

Is the statement about BCS saving the district money and receiving its funding elsewhere (other state money) accurate? Are there other offsetting obligations not mentioned here? In all the recent rhetoric this is not a fact I've come across yet, though I admit I have only begun following the story relatively recently.

Posted by David Cortright, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

In my reading of the court decision, it says that LASD failed "to apply the proper legal standards in its facilities offer to Bullis, in violation of Proposition 39." "the mandate of Proposition 39 [is] that a school district conduct a fair assessment of the facilities needed by the in-district charter school students so that those facilities offered meet the reasonable equivalence standard." It does not go so far as to dictate what a reasonably equivalent offer is. So as long as LASD rectifies the deficiencies in their assessment, and uses that assessment in support of the facilities offer, they are complying with the ruling.

Reading over the preliminary offer that LASD submitted to BCS for 2012-13, it appears to me that they have done this. Here is the relevant text from that document:
"The District understands the court of appeals decision to mean that a facilities offer can satisfy Proposition 39’s requirements despite an alleged “site size” discrepancy. Indeed, the court of appeal acknowledged that the District could neutralize an alleged size discrepancy by offering “facilities qualitatively superior to those of the comparison group schools” by other measures under Proposition 39.

As set forth herein, the District’s facilities offer generally allocates teaching, non-teaching and specialized teaching space to BCS in excess of the amounts provided to students at the District’s comparison group schools. These classroom, administrative and specialized teaching spaces, rather than the marginal spaces included in the “total site size” calculation, are the spaces most relevant to providing a quality education to students. As such, the amounts of space allocated to BCS for teaching, non-teaching and specialized teaching space provided to BCS in these spaces in excess of its allocation were considered in weighing the total site size factor."


Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

Wow, now the BCS lies are up to $5 million per year. Gee, why not $50 million? Since you're just going to fabricate lies, you might as well go all the way.

The FACT is that BULLIS CHARTER SCHOOL COSTS OUR DISTRICT MONEY. It takes money away from disadvantaged kids in the "other" schools the rich people at BCS would like to ignore and gives it to themselves.

Please see:

Web Link

MV Voice should be ashamed of themselves for publishing such blatant and incendiary lies. They should know they are making enemies out of "the 90%" of citizens here that do not attend the "billionaires only" school at BCS. This is copy straight from the BCS PR firm.

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:23 am

Correction on that link above:

Web Link

Posted by Karen, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

Your Opinion comes right from the mouths of the BCS PR firms lips! You don't know the situation and are behind the times. Your language is inflammatory (parking lot?) All, of the school sites could be considered sitting on parking lots! And most, if not all the schools have portables. BCS is an 8 year old school and a charter, permanent buildings could be created, but haven't yet. So, please stop with the complaint about portables!

BCS started out as a small school, less than 300, I believe. There was an existing camp school at Egan, so it made perfect sense to site them there. Now it has grown and includes a middle school. The middle schools in the district have the least density of student bodies per acre, so, again, it makes perfect sense to site the BCS middle school on the Blach campus, especially since the district is required to provide middle school facilities including track, tennis, science labs, etc. (Required because LASD students have these items - reasonably equivalent.) Remember, the district is not required by law or the lawsuit to site BCS at an existing school site. They are only required to give them "reasonably equivalent" facilities and many of us believe that can be accomplished at the middle school sites.

You are behind the times in suggesting Gardner Bullis site be given to BCS. Many parents from both groups recognize that the site is too small and too remote for the charter. But, if the Mountain View Voice is so quick to suggest a site, would you "advocate" for the Springer school site?

Finally, the LASD school board is required to give consideration to all students in LASD. Requiring children and families to not attend their neighborhood school doesn't work and the board has recently been loudly reminded of this.

Also recently, there has been a fledgling site that has brought together parents from the entire district to discuss the issue of where to site BCS as well as other issues. There is a lot of thoughtfulness and consideration and hard information provided there. I encourage every parent and resident of the district to ask their PTA rep to help them to join the Facebook page LASDVoices. I believe you can also join on your own. Try it!

Posted by Covington Mom, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

LASD doesn't have any extra buildings sitting around. Giving a permanent, dedicated facility to BCS requires LASD to close a school - absent some other creative solution.

Which school would the author of this post like to close? Which 500 children should be divided up and sent to other schools? The last time LASD closed a school, it promised to move the entire school community together, just relocating them to a brand-new school. That wasn't good enough, so some angry parents broke off and started BCS. Imagine what would happen if one of the schools were closed now and the children divided up. A second charter school? More lawsuits?

The one thing I can guarantee wouldn't happen is that the community would come together. It would only add to the anger that has divided our community for the last 8 years.

The only solution is to get really, really creative, and to find another source of money to acquire additional facilities. That will involve a concerted effort by every member of the community, either to pass a bond measure, to raise millions of dollars, or something else. The only way for the community to come together is for the two entities to stop suing each other and enter into discussion.

Posted by LASD parent, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

I completely agree with Karen's comments. The LASD should not be required to close a high performing school and give it to BCS. That is favoring one group of students over another, and I doubt the courts would require that. The only solution that is fair to everyone is to find another site that can be given to BCS.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

It's great to see another terrific editorial by the MV voice.

Covington Mom -
Please read the article. MV voice suggests that GB should be the school to close. It is the easiest but not the only solution. Most of the kids at that school do not live anywhere close to it. GB has a very large attendance area - going all the way to the top of PageMill and crossing Foothill Expressway. The University Ave portion and area around Foothill College are actually closer to Covington. The portion along Los Altos Ave is closer to Santa Rita/

One solution might be to reopen the BCS Charter and include GB kids in BCS if they elect to do so. Otherwise they could attend the LASD school of their choice. The PAUSD kids could go to PA schools or if the district wants to continue to pay the bill they can go to LA schools.

Another school bond isn't needed, right now. The district may need to build a school at the Egan site -- that's closest to the growth area.

For those of us who are new to this:
David Cortright not only posts under his own name, but also posts as:
Just Mom
and a bunch of other ones.

I try to read all of the posts and I really like to here from the other side, but I always skip over anything from David Cortright because it really isn't doing anything to solve the problem.

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

@MV Native is once again doing what all BCS people do: he's lying.

I have gone on record, many times, advocating things that David Cortright explicitly does NOT advocate (for instance, that BCS should be SHUT DOWN) yet they still find it fun to create this SMEAR that myself and all LASD parents are actually just one person.

Also, did you know? Those 131 letters to the SCCBOE were also all forged by ONE PERSON, a non-parent blogger known as David Cortright ( Web Link ).

My hope is that, at some point, David can prove some damages and haul these people off to court for libel. That would be fitting turn-around since they've already threatened David.

This is the year that BCS people are running scared. For the first time EVER parents are actually taking notice of this issue and getting organized. We currently have the #1 and #2 videos about Bullis Charter School on Youtube and our information site about BCS ( Web Link ) is prominently displayed along side all of the other anti-BCS blogs and news stories (David Cortright also owns Bloomberg, who wrote a negative story about BCS).

The only good thing about this story is that is actually calls out a very common lie told by BCS: that they "really don't want to close a thriving neighborhood public school".

They absolutely do, always have, always will. Despite how impractical the GB campus might be (with less than SEVEN actual usable acres of land and far too small for BCS) they don't care because this NOT ABOUT KIDS OR EDUCATION.

It's about revenge and spite.

Posted by Andrew, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

Yes, posting on these articles often seems like merely feeding the troll, and I tend to write off opposing opinions as more of DC's psuedonyms, which is unfortunate as it stifles any real dialogue.

To those suggesting coming together to find creative solutions, the time for that was 8 years ago. LASD has not shown good faith. Now it is only about legally complying with the law, as they have been ordered to do by the state supreme court. Right now, with their current offer, they are not complying with the law. Apparently until they faced with actual enforcement they will not do so. This will ultimately hurt the children they are supposed to be serving, and when that happens they will try to blame BCS.

Regarding the posts stating that 'BCS was started because parents were angered at the closing of their local school" - this is a misdirecting half-truth. The closing of the local school provided the impetus for a group of parents and educators to come together and create an alternative model of education to better serve the needs of these children.

Posted by Not David, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:52 am

BCS is in no way, shape, form, or intent, a charter school as envisioned by the State. It should be shutdown. The Los Altos parents are naive and fools for trying to compromise with BCS. It is just playing into their game. BCS will continue to sue for more and more, even after their appeasement. I firmly believe the only way to get BCS to a rationale position is to fight fire with fire. Sorry, that's how BCS operates (as a business entity for that matter) because BCS is playing a zero sum game, while LA parents are trying to find win-win solutions. Los Altos parents should ban together to sue the State of CA and Santa County School Board to seek to shut down BCS are an illegitimate charter school sucking tax payer money. That will be the only way for BCS to move rationality or otherwise change their charter to be a true charter school for the benefit of the greater community, not the privileged class.

Posted by A Different Opinion, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Lest anyone be misled, this is article is one "opinion." The opinion of many others is that the offer from LASD is completely in compliance with both Prop 39 and also with the most recent court ruling (because it addresses the court's requirement to provides BCS with additional square footage).

The LASD proposal splits BCS because BCS has outgrown the Egan site. Since BCS has expanded to 7th-8th grades, no campus other than Blach or Egan can provide "reasonably equivalent" junior high facilities like the gym, tennis courts, track, and science labs that BCS now shares with Egan. But neither Blach nor Egan is big enough to house the entire charter school, since BCS has grown so large. If neither Egan nor Blach is big enough to house BCS in its entirety, and the other LASD sites do not offer "reasonably equivalent" junior high facilities, then what do you propose as a viable alternative to splitting BCS between 2 campuses?

Another point is that the "northern" part of the district is and has been the fastest growing part of the district. Already the area north of El Camino has about a school's worth of students where there is no school. With all the residential housing units now being built in and around San Antonio shopping center, LASD needs all available space in the northern part of the district to accomodate the growth. Covington and Gardener are both necessary to keep Almond, Santa Rita, and Springer under 600 students. (All 3 schools had been close to or above 600 students previously). Space will also be needed at Egan to accomodate the growth.

Instead of attacking LASD for its failure to provide BCS with its own campus, perhaps the MV Voice should redirect its efforts towards asking the MV City Council to set aside land for a new school to accomodate the growth from all of the residential housing projects that it has been approving. Where Target or Safeway currently are located would be great locations for a school if those stores plan to move into the rebuilt San Antonio shopping center. Another campus must be located before LASD will be able to accomodate the wish-list of BCS in addition to meeting the needs of the 5,000 students enrolled in LASD.

Posted by Frustrated Parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm

What even recently seemed like some "extreme" opinions coming from the LASD side are looking more and more rational.

I agree with the poster above: the "let's talk it out nicely" elements in the LASD are starting to look like tools. It's like trying to have a "give a little, get a little" conversation with Bill Gates--they just see your generosity and openness as weakness.

BCS needs to be STOPPED. These people will stop at nothing to close our local neighborhood schools and spread our kids all over the place because for them its about WINNING at all costs.

So I agree: let's start printing posters from that website and hanging them up all over town.Citizens here need to see what's really going on. We need to stop this before BCS and more like them come and close all of our schools.

Posted by Andrew, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

After being told that they need to comply with Prop 39 law, LASD went and gave BCS the worst offer it has in years. They would appear to prefer to force this back in to court, either as a delay tactic, in hopes of a more sympathetic judge, or just so they can shift the blame for their policies, when they are forced to close a school to house BCS.

Posted by FedUp, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I will admit that I am not an unbiased observer. That bring said, I am appalled at the following two facts about the BCS campus that cannot be spun away:

1. BCS does not have a cafeteria. They have a bunch of picnic tables under a tent. If it rains, BCS students eat at their desks. If it's hot, they eat at their desks. If it's cold, they eat at their desks. Not only does this mean BCS cannot have regular school lunches (I imagine the catered lunches is one reason BCS has the "billionaire" reputation), it also means students don't have that time to relax away from their teachers and teachers don't gave that break from their students.

2. BCS doesn't consistently have a school library. While much research is now done online, library sciences are about more than the Dewey decimal system.

How can LASD offer a facility without these two basic resources - again, a cafeteria and a library - and call that reasonably equivalent and adequate?

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I forgot to add that
Joan J Strong is also David Cortright.
And for the new ones:
Not David
Frustrated Parent
and generic LASD Parent - could also be David.

Sometimes he starts a new alias with a semi rational tone -- but the ranting comes back quickly. He likes to CAPITALIZE verbs.

Posted by Tara, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I find it comical that BCS is now claiming the facilities being offered by LASD are "illegal" when their entire charter is based on a scam. They do not offer unbiased, equal education to the community. They instead pick and choose their high performing students and then flaunt their test scores. They better be performing off the charts at that rate!! They don't educate any special needs children or have low income families in their charter and require a "suggested donation" from each parent of $5,000...suggested meaning you are put in a public email or the equivalent that you did not pay and are basically blacklisted as a parent was what I was told.

How then is it considered a "public education" that should be funded by the LASD when there are thousands of other kids that would benefit greatly with that $ being spent on kids whose parents could and should pay for a private education. The BCS is run like a private montessori school with our tax dollars. Shame on them.

Posted by Tara, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm

It should also be noted that Santa Rita does not have a cafeteria and the kids do the same as BCS kids when it's cold and rainy. We as parents are not complaining. Our library is a small, portable room that is threatened to bf closed each year due to lack of funds. We have no gymnasium. Welcome to budget cuts and PUBLIC CA schools.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

One further comment David Cortright. Most of what he says come directly for talking points generated by the LASD BOT, The state school boards association, the teachers union- local, state and nationally, and the LASD lawyers. He just takes it a step further. He is a monster created by LASD talking points. The same talking points that have mislead our community and created a bunch of willing law breakers. Setting a really poor example for our children.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Tara might be David.
Tara capitalized PUBLIC david also lives to put PUBLIC in Caps

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 1:57 pm

@MV Native: Do you actually have "anything" to say that isn't just a personal attack?

Posted by Springer Mom, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

@ FedUp Springer school doesn't have a cafeteria, either. The kids eat on picnic benches, and the benches used to be unprotected -- a shade screen was just recently installed for them. There's no gym, and the library is under threat of being shut down due to budget cuts. Welcome to LASD.

Posted by parent, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

picks and chooses their students? it's a lottery... how can they pick and choose their students?

Posted by BCS parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Fed up at Springer should be Fed Up All Over! You could have all the things you currently lack if your trustees would give BCS a campus, and stop wasting time and money trying to a. underwrite GB and b. thwart BCS! The money is there, it is just not being spent on your sons and daughters the way you wish it were. Demand better, help BCS find a site and lets all focus on fixing our budgetary woes. If the Trustees won't do this, the Courts are going to make them.

Posted by LASD Taxpayer, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

The ironic thing in all this is that the idea and encouragement to start the charter school came from LASD itself(!), specifically former and retired superintendent Marge Gratiot (she sent an email to a community member saying it was a faster way and more cost-effecitve way to start a school). This was well documented in the San Jose Mercury News that provided objective coverage during the early years. To obtain a copy of that email simply file a Freedom of Information request with LASD and please post it so everyone can read it and enjoy the delicious irony.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Most things that I post are either neutral, or positive. I will post negative comments when they have a point. Acting BCS with falsehoods and lies doesn't help solve the problem. Making up things doesn't either. BCS is now 10% of the district. It needs a school. The most logical cost effective place to put it is at Gardner. The only reason that Gardner was reopened was to try and get rid of BCS. So it's had a nice run, but it really is costing the district lots of cash.

@ LASD Community
What I don't get is why everyone else in the district is so against BCS having the Gardner campus. Because really it would be much better for the majority of people in the district if BCS was there. Here is why:
Egan will get it's campus back
Traffic congestion on Portola will improve.
Kids who were moved from Santa Rita to GB can now return to Santa Rita.

and more money for your kids and your kids school:
PAUSD Hills kids can return to PA schools -- saving the district 1/2 million a year.
LASD will have lower admin cost. - Doesn't have to pay for Principal, office staff etc.

Other possible solutions are giving BCS 10 acres at Egan. Switching with Santa Rita or sharing with Covington. But Closing GB makes the most fiscal sense for the district.

bond etc, will not work. Where is the site? Why waste this money?
Schools open and close all of the time. There used to three high schools now we have two.
In 1981 we had the:
Mountain View Eagles
Los Altos Knights
Awalt Spartans
Now we have:
Mountain View Spartans
Los Altos Eagles
and Eagle Park.

That was way more difficult --really really hard - tough choices were made, but it was done much more professionally than the current situation.

Posted by Shut it Down!, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

@ BCS Parent -- very typical response. Love to see you in court when LA parents get off their arses and sue BCS, Santa Clara Board of Ed, as well as State of California for permitting BCS to even exist at all. This school violates the entire rationale for charter schools, and it doesn't even perform better than the high-performing schools of LASD. It just sucks the money out of the system with no benefit to the general community or the population it should be supporting and helping.

Let's shut it down and stop appeasing these blood suckers!

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm

@ Springer
I am really sorry about your library, I think your kids should have access to it. I have heard many LASD parents complain about this. You should be able to open your library with parent volunteers, but you can't. The reason you can't is that there is a state law that says once a job has been occupied by a salaried employee it can't be preformed by a volunteer. Thank the teachers union for that one!
Laws like that are the main reason that charter schools were created. Charter Schools aren't unionized, so they don't have to work around all of the union work rules. We have a library in a portable classroom at BCS. It didn't open until right before christmas because of construction delays by the district. Parents have worked countless hours to get the library up and running and now they staff it.
I don't want to dismiss the job that librarians do, I think they are awesome professionals.
But wouldn't it be nice to have your library open more than a few hours/week? I am sure that your have parents who would be willing to help.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Shut it down is also David Cortright

Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I've been sitting back and watching this mess for the last few years, I don't have a dog in this fight as we're MVWSD but I have to tell you my opinion of BCS has gone way down in the last year. It seems like they grew the number of students without regard to space and really just seemed intent on taking over a campus. I'm not sure what LASD is supposed to do other than close a campus (and I doubt that was the intent of prop 39).

Oh, and I don't know of any elementary schools here that have cafeterias. Our school doesn't even have the nice sun shades that the LASD school and BCS have Most elementary school libraries are housed in a single portable and only open part time. Public schools here have very basic and limited facilities.

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Sorry for the long post, but I've been wanting to do this: as my namesake is "context" I'd like to provide some...

So many parents I talk to simply don't believe what is going on here. It's too preposterous to be true (and they don't believe that they can "really" close a thriving neighborhood public school so I'm grateful for today's article in that sense).

Today's lesson in context is understanding the motivations behind the members of the BCS cult.

Why would these people be so driven that they would send their children to an inferior experimental school when they could afford any private school they wanted? Why would they launch a multi-year war on a community even though everybody in town is going to hate them for it?

It's important to understand that, besides a chunk of parents at BCS that don't have a clue about any of this ("victims" we can call them) the rest of the BCS community are hardened fanatics who believe the ends justify the means and will snatch at every law or construct that appears handy regardless of what they thought of it moments before.

In reading all of their writings for the last few months and getting a lot of "insider" tales from the past, the motivations of BCS supporters distill down to the following:

1. Revenge against Those Who Wronged Them. This one is hard to believe until you read the actual history behind the school. It's a DEEP hatred of the LASD Board and it's PERSONAL. This is the reason BCS was started in the first place, and the exclusive motivation of its founders. They could have started any kind of school they wanted, and every option was far easier. They instead, very consciously, chose the nastiest, more divisive path they could.

As this was the genesis of BCS however, years have gone by and these motivations are giving way to a "new guard" with fresh new motivations:

2. Win at all costs. Many of the second-tier of BCS followers are your typical "killer" executives who joined the school to build up their Rolodex and have a life motto that reads, "beat em any way you can". For this personality type, the "game" is more important than the reason for it. (Note how BCS people don't even want a free, new, tailor-made campus because that would NOT involve the pleasure of "winning" their "game". [Children would win, but they aren't part of this game]).

3. Politics, with a union-hating bent. Although there is clearly a LOT of this driven by BCS propaganda ("parents aren't allowed to help at the library" and other lies), clearly there are a lot of anti-union True Believers at BCS who are there as a form of protest.

4. Pure Republican politics. Look up the donations for some of the BCS founders and community-members: most are hard-core Republicans. Related to #3 above, they see Charters as a way to get at Democrats. [As somebody who grew up an R, I find this insane].

5. Militant Mandarin. Some supporters are militantly dedicated to teaching kids Mandarin--so much so that not only do they refuse to pay for lessons themselves, they support BCS ("no matter what") because of their FORCED teaching of Mandarin from Kindergarten. They believe that all schools should force kids to learn Mandarin and want to help BCS in their bid to take control over our entire District.

6. Good Marines. Call this personality type, "my country, right or wrong". This sort of person will line up for a cause if there's even a thin overt reason to do so (ex. "my school"). When you see somebody reiterating the BCS public relations talking points VERBATIM while obviously not even knowing anything about the subject they are talking about--then you got yourself a Good Marine.

There are also some who are combinations of the above. To be fair there are going to be many parents who want to support their children's school and are basically "drafted" into this war (on both sides, to be sure).

I say all of this as a warning to LASD parents who think, incorrectly, that compromising with BCS will accomplish ANYTHING. There is only one way this war will end: with BCS being shut down. Until then they will keep attacking and attacking. They are fanatics and they won't stop.

Insofar as you cede their right to exist, you invite them to rip our neighborhood public schools apart. There is no middle ground here.

Posted by Shut it Down!, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

@ ContextMan -- so right you are!!

@ MV Native - I am not "David Cotright". There are a vast amount of people in the community that feel this way. You have no clue at the ground swell BCS is causing in the community. I suspect either we will lawyer up an counter sue BCS, Santa Clara Board, and State of CA or grab our pitch forks and torches like in the old days.

Posted by Billy Joe Bubba, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

Sooooweeee, we got's a good cat fight going on here. Billy Joe says pull up a seat and watch a good ole fashion slug-fest internet-style. This good old boy that dominates the forums is wound up tighter than the girdle of a minister's wife at an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Forget about the 3 R's you learned in school. This fella's preaching a whole new way of educat'n: the new 3 r's are ranting, rhetoric, and rage. Way too much time on his hands, don't you think? Billy Joe's head is spinning just keeping track of all the different handles this dude is using. Reminds me a fella I went to school with back in the day -- this old boy, Cooter, was nuttier than a port-a-potty at a peanut festival if you know what I mean. And this fella Cooter was a fierce debater especially since he had more personalities than that squirrelly old gal, Sybil. Cooter was even dyslexic before it was fashionable. Billy Joe says "remember its all about the keedz." Peace out.

Posted by LASD parents, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Billy Joe:

Thank you for your hilarious post. I almost fell out of my chair. LOL. Finally a voice of reason and sanity in these forums that have become a breeding ground for crazy, twisted rants. Look forward to more postings from you!

Posted by Andrew Rasmussen, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Dear Mtn. View Voice,

Is this the official position of the paper? I find this editorial biased, uninformed, and unthoughtful. You echo the tired talking points of the BCS board.


Posted by Jesse, a resident of Castro City
on Feb 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Is this near the Day Worker Center?

Posted by parent, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

@ tara
"They do not offer unbiased, equal education to the community. They instead pick and choose their high performing students and then flaunt their test scores."

Can you explain to me how they do this? I have personally been to their lottery (which we unfortunately did not win).
As an unhappy LASD parent, I wish the energy going into this fight would go into figuring out how to offer more of what BCS offers at the LASD schools.

Posted by Rita, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Really MV Voice? "Sheriffs escorting children to their rightful classrooms"? My children ARE in their rightful classroom. This opening statement is so incredibly insensitive and offensive. In fact, it kept me from reading further.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm

HMMMM I suspect that Rita might be David Cortright - since she capitalized ARE.

Posted by Tara, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm

It seems I may have upset some people in my previous comments. Let me first start by responding to the woman who did not get into the BCS lottery. It is my basic understanding that if your child gets into BCS and does not meet the strict curriculum or exhibits any type of behavioral issues they are asked to seek out other education because the child is not a "good fit" for the school. This has happened to friends who now have their kids at the neighborhood schools. What public school can get away with that unless the child is literally bringing weapons to school? Our poor teachers have to teach whoever they get no matter what their background or education level and take that student to make them the very best they can be. That may not have allowed the highest test scores and so be it.

In response to the union arguments and public schools, my comments were meant to serve as a call for the whoa is me attitude. Boo, hoo we don't have a cafeteria and our children have to eat at their desks when it is cold. Boo,hoo we don't have a proper library. BCS is not a PRIVATE school...the school is operated and funded by the LASD. Therefore, my argument is simply why are the BCS students more entitled to a cafeteria or library and the other schools are not simply because BCS doesn't have a union. We all pay taxes to support the same equality of schools. Blame or no blame, it comes down to what is fair and to argue about things that the other kids have compared to what the BCS students have right now. I cannot possibly feel sorry for the BCS community and their complaints of picnic tables and portable libraries when that is what we are all up against in a public school system in the Los Altos School District. Present stronger arguments of why BCS is entitled to take over a neighborhood campus than no cafeteria or library.

Posted by registered user, sam t, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm

It's a shame that Mountain View Voice chose to write an editorial as though its talking points were gleamed from anonymous postings on various message boards.

I urge everyone who wishes to engage in a civil dialogue between BCS & LASD parents, and the general community, to stop posting here and join our facebook discussion. As of now that's the best way we can solve this as a community.

Web Link

Posted by Just a mom, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

@ Parent of Slyvan Park neighborhood...BCS does hold a lottery, yes. And, well, if it's a lottery, it should all chance in terms of getting in and so how could that be construed as hand picking their student population??? Well, here's my reasoning why it is: The priority of the lottery selections is a problem:, first 50% to LAH, then to sibs of those, then to the rest of the planet. This pretty much "cherry picks" a child from a more engaged parent(s). I am NOT saying parents who live in a different zip code are necessarily less engaged or interested in their child's education, but it is true they are less likely to have the luxury of extra time and money to pay attention as much as some one in a different socio-economic position. And, yes, LAH is not full of ALL gazillionaires (my son's term), but there is a fundamental difference in the level of engagement of that parent with an ELL child from across El Camino who shares a one bedroom apartment with 4-6 family members and both parents work non-stop just to put food on the table. Phew...long sentence. Does my point make sense? The other way is YES, BCS definitely "shows you the door" if you do get a lottery spot and your child is too much work-has special needs that they do not want to deal with. Or, they proclaim a learning difference is really a "behavior problem" and a "parenting issue". The teachers and administration then start treating both the parent and the child with such blatant hostility that the family ultimately leaves the school because that environment is more than anyone should have to bare and not conducive to learning. I have personally experienced this and have met many former BCS families with the same experience. So, they exclude ELL, low socio-economic status and kids who "don't fit". So, yes, they do cherry pick their student body.

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Well, given that the forum editors here seem to have a broad sense of humor, please take a look at some community-created content in the form of the top-ranked Bullis Charter School videos, Web Link and Web Link .

Funny AND educational.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm

The previous four posts were all done by David Cortright

Posted by LASD parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 9:39 pm

@tara You hit the nail on the head. Wise LASD leaders should seriously look at why charter school enrollment has grown. It is not just about marketing, there are parents who have been in both district schools and BCS and there are differences. I'm not a lawyer, but maybe this situation needs binding mediation. Remember that elected boards are going to see things through the eyes of their constituents and it may be illogical to expect otherwise. The schools belong to the community they serve, not just the parents with children currently in school. It's unfortunate that the county didn't think through the potential consequences of their original decision 8 years ago, but completely undoing what they did will hurt the children who are happy at BCS now. None of this is the children's fault. If we as a community are going to truly care about all of the children in our community, then we need to get out of the blame-game now. Most of our children will be attending high school together, so we really are the same community. This seems like a bad divorce where the parents need a mediator to help them put their children's needs first. I think it will take someone without any vested interest in the outcome to bring some sanity to this situation. Remember, our children are watching us.

Posted by Just a mom, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm

@ MV Native

My comment is from me, just a mom, NOT David Cortright. I have strong opinions about this issue and have been at both BCS and LASD. Come meet me for coffee if you still think I am David Cortight. I promise you my mom outfit of sweat pants, pony tail and bags under eyes will set you straight. Plse don't assume all posts who point out BCS faults are David Cortright. It simply isn't true. And, I meant it. You wanna meet for coffee and talk?

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Don't get rick-rolled by MV Native. He will respond to every post automatically with, "David Cortright wrote that". It's just a BCS strong-arm tactic to clutter these forums with spam so the messages are harder to read... He's probably a temp paid by Larson (the BCS PR firm who also wrote the original article here).

Posted by Springer, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I just can't sit back anymore. The library at Springer is in a portable. It has been in a portable for years. The library has been open full time (all day, lunch and recess) for years...including this year. . It has been staffed by an amazing librarian for years and enjoyed by all. Parents are amazing, as they help and volunteer daily. The library is NOT being closed. They are looking for a new librarian, but there is no talk of the library closing. Teachers take their students into the library weekly. Parents can't run the library full time (yes, there is a classified union, so there needs to be a librarian hired) but it is not the teachers union that requires this. As for the horrible teachers union, the Los Altos teachers salary is almost at the bottom of the pay scale in the county. Why doesn't anyone talk about the high school (MVLA) teachers who make the highest salaries in the state? The Palo Alto teachers make $40,000 more a year than the Los Altos teachers make. The BCS teachers make a decent salary, but if you know any of the teachers there, they are not there long. There is a huge turnover rate at the school. Last, the BCS is not SAVING the LASD a penny. It is very upsetting that the Editor of the Mountain View Voice would state such inaccuracies. Unbelievable. The paper has lost my respect and support. I just think the whole situation is sad. The teachers union in LASD are not the money hungry people you think. They have not fought to get high salaries like neighboring school districts. They haven't gotten COLA for about 15 years and their salaries have fallen way below others in California. "The LASD parents and teachers have joined the same team. We are fighting for our neighborhood schools and for the children who live in our community. The Charter School us anti community. I can't believe they are picking on the teachers - the teachers of all people? They are the bad guys? I can't sit idle now and read these blogs. As a passive member on this issue, now the VOICE has made me passionate about fighting the BCS . I was all for LASD giving them a school, but not now. The VOICE has me outraged!

Posted by Springer Mom, again, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Yes, Springer had classroom portables, staff room portables, library, art, science room portables. Outdoor tent over picnic benches for the children to eat on at lunch. How is "poor" BCS suffering a mile away? We have the same thing at Springer. By the way, we LOVE Springer School. We love being able to walk to school, ride our bikes to school in any season of the year. The BCS knew that their school was in a location located out of their neighborhoods. Why do they think they are entitles to more than what most of the other schools have? Why should they choose to kick children out of their well attended neighborhood schools? They act like they deserve more. Don't they love their school? It's the people, family and friends that build a school and community, not the facility that they are housed in. We are happy at Springer, portables and all!

Posted by GT, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Methinks "Springer" is a new handle being used by our dear friend David Cortright. Keep 'em coming Dave/ContextMan/DeepGrizzly/Joan J Strong, et al!

Posted by LASD Community Dad, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:12 pm

I think that reasonable people can differ on the value of charter schools, or perhaps even on whether this innovation approach should be limited to areas lacking high-API-score alternatives. Personally, I very much appreciate the new ideas and approaches schools like BCS bring to education, and especially, the added choice BCS brings to our community. But in any case, I suggest that those with differing opinions take them with their State representatives.

It appears to me that most other attempts to criticize the charter school's 8-year slog toward fair treatment are either somewhat (and understandably) misinformed, or in a few cases, seemingly delusional (and no ContextMan, I'm no vengeful, Republican, Mandarin, killer, marine, though admittedly, I did shoot a rifle once ;). For example, I wouldn't push too hard on the loony idea that BCS is costing the district money. The more that's discussed, the more light gets shed on the BCS share of parcel taxes that LASD receives, but to date, has withheld and spent itself. (Incidentally, this is also the main reason why the BCS Foundation has thus far been forced to ask its parents for more money than LASD's Foundation asks.) If BCS suddenly closed, LASD would be hit by the roughly $10k per student costs to educate hundreds more students, but receive substantially less than that in added revenue.

Also, a new talking point that suggests the unfairness of "forcing the district to close one of its high performing community schools" also seems misleading and revealing. It either fails to recognize, or attempts to cover over, the facts that:

- BCS kids are district kids too. Again, if BCS suddenly closed, LASD would need to make room for these students anyway. (This is why the law makes sense as district students who choose the charter school are simply switching from one district campus to another. Of course, this could require some degree of redistricting, but in the eyes of the law, this cost is worth the benefit of school choice and innovation.) Naturally, if complying with the law and housing all of the district students fairly results in more kids per campus than desired, its LASD's job to then work toward adding a new campus.

- LASD has had 8 years to provide equivalent facilities to the charter school, an entire generation of BCS students in trailers, even with a perfectly adequate and unoccupied campus available for about half of that period. To BCS parents, it's as if LASD has chosen to keep the real BCS campus "closed" for 8 years. Each year, very similar, ultimately empty promises on finding a long-term solution have been announced. Unfortunately, any LASD movement toward such a solution seems to have been largely anchored, and thus precluded by a handful of loud, vindictive-sounding voices (such as ContextMan's). The LASD facilities offers were so far from equivalent that the Appeals Court, in judging that LASD had been acting unlawfully, made a point to mention that there was also evidence to support a finding that LASD had even been acting in "bad faith." So, being "forced" may well be LASD's only politically feasible path to compliance.

- Lastly, the suggestion that a high-performing community school would be lost seems misleading at best. Not only would the campus be used to continue to support a very high performing community public school, but it would allow a truly innovative public school choice a chance to blossom.

Cheers, and have a great weekend!

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

@LASD Dad:

What then do you suppose LASD spends this massive windfall on? Kickbacks for the board members? A secret slush fund for wild parties? What?

I'm very sorry BCS has been ripping you off year after year telling you a pack of lies that our District merely "squanders" money and that they need your donation to make up for it. The facts, if you actually care to tear apart the financials (and not, please, by the corrupt EdTech people) is that LASD "squanders" this money paying for things like education for special needs kids and retired teacher pensions and benefits that WE ALL are responsible for (you don't get to opt out and stick US with the bill just because you think they should have never done that). The FACT is that BCS costs the District money, which is taken AWAY from needy kids.

But I don't suspect you'll ever dare to look up the financials yourself. Just keep thinking of other crazy things the District might be spending this money on like free fancy cars for teachers or something.

And sorry, but you fall under the classification of "Good Marine". You are mindlessly reiterating BCS talking points and accepting them on faith because it's "your school, right or wrong". Speak with a little authority of the facts and maybe you can graduate to the next level of BCS ends-justify-the-means fanatic.

And as for vindictive voices, the article here implies that my children should be hauled out of their school by the sheriff.

But you didn't notice that did you, private?

Posted by amused, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

It is easy to see why Craig Goldman, Sup of MVWSD, did not want the Los Altos Superintendent job when it was open. Not even a lawyer would be interested in the mess that now exists from the decision to close the local LAH school about a decade ago.

Posted by LASD PARENT, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:07 am

After having read all te comments from parents who have kids in BCS and other LASD schools.

I think both BCS and LASD board and government should work on a solution so we do not have to close the schools.It is wrongful to target some schools.

I agree with the parent who said it is not right to close a school which is performing well just to accomodate BCS.I also agree that kids from BCS belong to the district and should be given equal opportunity.

If portable classrooms are a suggestion that work we should do it.

The main thing we are forgetting is that these are kids and their future which is at stake.How much the district spends and how much BCS saves the district and other issues take a back seat.All kids should be treated equally and given a fair chance.

There is already a slow and suppressed anger for last 8 years among everyone by closing a school we will increase it a lot more and affect the kids morale and confidence.

Posted by LASD Community Dad, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

> And sorry, but you fall under the classification of "Good Marine"

Darn, I was so hoping for the next level up, "Militant Mandarin" !


Posted by MV Parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:32 am

If BCS wasn't there, LASD would need to another school to house 450+ in-district kids currently attending BCS. There is no additional school because LASD didn't anticipate or plan for growth. (I realize the money has been tight the past few years, but '03-'07 were $$ years.)

It's hard to see a solution that would make BCS parents happy without negatively effecting some local LASD school. It is a zero sum game after all. But we're here only because LASD board didn't plan well, and that's their job! Why isn't anyone talking about holding LASD board members accountable for this mess?

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 2:37 am

BCS is currently housed in District-owned classrooms on District-owned land... they'd clearly re-jigger things somewhat if BCS suddenly stopped existing, but it would save the District a lot of money overall.

The reason nobody talks about the District is that:

1. The billionaire BCS board wants to kick our kids out of our campuses.

2. Their excuse for this awful act is "the District leadership are [pick some negative] so therefore the blame for this horrible offense should be on them".

Maybe after the BCS threat is gone, we can go back to our normal business of criticizing the District for various things but in the current war we must stand with them in solidarity against a common enemy.

Posted by LASD teacher, a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:48 am

First of all, the Board who temporarily closed the old Bullis Purissima (where I taught at the time) is LONG gone. The LASD Board changes every few years. They are voted in by the public and rotate/change. The BCS is appointed and can stay for years and years and years with some of the parents from 8 years ago, still are on the Board. Interesting, don't you think, that all the rotating LASD Board members have been on the same page with dealing/discussing the BCS. Not one LASD Board member, through the years, have thought differently. It's hard to be "friends" with the BCS when they sue the LASD community children at every turn. Don't they (BCS) realize that the children in this community are the ones hurt by these lawsuits. They do NOT care about the children who live here. Those lawsuits are taken right out of the budget every year. Programs are cut. Once again, they have sued the LASD (once again) this past week. They cost the LASD children a million dollars every year. The LASD Board wants to meet in transparent meetings with open notes to the community, the BCS Board only will meet with them in closed sessions and the meetings are not made public. The LASD Board has been meeting with them, having lunch, dinner, etc., but you never hear about this because it is "secretly demanded by the BCS" and the LASD Board is fighting this. They want every meeting to be public so the community knows that they are (once again) trying to talk. I am not sure why the BCS Board wants to "pretend and portray" that the LASD is not WILLING to meet, when they are in fact meeting weekly. It is very disturbing to me, as a teacher, to hear all this vindictive talk from the BCS parents. I am not sure why the BCS is feeding lies to their parents and the community. It's really unfortunate and hurtful to the children involved. Also, the editor of the paper did NOT state the facts correctly. This is very disappointing. I was teaching at Bullis Purissima when it closed temporarily. I am still teaching in the LASD. I lived through the whole stressful situation eight years ago and can not believe that the BCS is still being so divisive so many years later. I think it's because their Trustees are still hanging on to some sort of vendetta against the LASD. Why are their Trustees not voted on if they are governed by the public? It is all pretty upsettling that there is so much hatred toward the local school district - including the teachers who work with the children everyday. Do you realize how ridiculous all of this is? Even if they were given a castle on a hill, they are still going to be ripping apart the very heart of our community, the schools and children. It is selfish of me, but I am so glad that my own children didn't have to grow up in a community with so much bitterness and angst towards the teachers/schools they attended. I can only imagine what the children at Los Altos High must talk about when reading the local newspapers. Grown adults fighting over THIS? The BCS hatred is toxic and everyone can feel it, including the children. It is very sad!

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:58 am

LASD Teacher is David Cortright? Web Link

I hope that's the case. It doesn't sound like k - 6 teacher. They usually have excellent writing skills.

Posted by ContextMan, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

@LASD Teacher -- don't respond to the above poster. If you look you'll see he has sent the exact same response to every single post here. He is a temp hired by Larson PR (BCS's high-paid PR firm) to disrupt online forum communications by LASD parents.

Posted by LASD Parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:33 am

LASD Teacher brings up a good point. The LASD board has changed over the years. But one high level staff member has been around awhile. Randy Kenyon, assistant superintendent was the one who told the consultants to fudge the facility numbers. Why hasn't he been dismissed or at least disciplined for that dishonest action? Randy Kenyon is the key architect in what appears to be a years-long vendetta against BCS.

I don't think the district can heal itself until there are some high level changes in the administration. They run the show. The board just rubber stamps the reports and recommended actions.

Posted by Another Springer Mom, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

It's beginning to bug me that every post that is not BCS-supportive or just stating fact is deemed to be David Cortright. Do you think that he is the only one with an opinion about BCS in LASD? David Cortright isn't even a parent at Springer, so how would he be able to talk about the library & lack of cafeteria. Library hours were reduced again this year, now there's no librarian and the only time the library can be open is when there's a substitute or a teacher has the time to take the class there. I believe that none of the schools in the district have a cafeteria and that hot lunches are "catered", then served by parent volunteers. I grew up on the East Coast where schools had real cafeterias & gyms. I was stunned to learn that the schools here are deemed too small to have such amenities even though every school, by itself, is 2 times larger than the elementary school I went to. Also, when it rains the kids have to eat at their desks, just like every other school in the district (unless you happen to bring something with nuts, then you are sent to the multi so as not to contaminate the classroom).

Why can't BCS parents fundraise for a new campus because we all know that the cost of the land is usually more than it costs to build, then have the school district put up buildings? The school district isn't swimming in cash these days.

Posted by Oak/Blach Parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 10:34 am

Dear Mountain View Voice,

I agree with the comment posted by Andrew Rasmussen. As a member of LASD community, it is upsetting to see a local paper such as MV Voice published such insensitive editorial article over such sensitive issue in this community. The article is unthoughtful to say least. I am very disappointed and am deeply offended.

No children in the district has one large school to attend K-8. They all attend K-6, then middle schools. Exactly the way the LASD is asking the BCS children.

Dear Mtn. View Voice,

Is this the official position of the paper? I find this editorial biased, uninformed, and unthoughtful. You echo the tired talking points of the BCS board.

Posted by Fed up LASD parent, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

Recently I read an article about reporters not doing their jobs and just using "articles" written by companies, instead of doing their own unbiased investigative reporting. This article looks like it was not written by a reporter, instead the BCS PR machine that keeps churning out the same stuff.

Posted by LASD choice proponent, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 11:14 am

Not only do 465 students currently attend BCS, but 100s more LASD students try their chances every year - BCS is 3 to 4 times oversubscribed by LASD families alone (let alone those from out of district who apply). It's time to recognize that this age old belief that facilities belong to the district and not the students who go to school in them is completely passe. The district is living in the dark ages of top down, centralized planning. We live in a networked world, where choice matters. People are choosing the type of education BCS provides at a rate higher than the district is willing to allocate funding or facilities for. While we are sitting here arguing over which buildings our kids go to school in, kids in Shanghai are scoring 1st world wide in math. Kids in the US are scoring 23rd. Let's put this silly argument behind us and let parents choose the EDUCATION that they think will best prepare their children for the future. How about we let everyone who wants to choose something innovative, do so. It could be BCS or it could be a tech school or a Mandarin immersion program or a Spanish immersion program.
BCS needs more space because the space it currently has has been deemed illegal by the courts. End of story.
All LASD kids need more options because that's what more and more parents in our district are demanding. Let's quit thinking about the walk to school and the buildings they spend their time in, and start thinking about what they are LEARNING once they get there.

Posted by Waverly Park Observer, a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 11, 2012 at 12:24 pm

MV Native, YOU REMIND ME OF AN [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language] WHO'S ONLY COMEBACK TO ANY COMMENT IS AN "I know you are, but what am I?". I'M CAPITALIZING EVERYTHING. I DISAGREE WITH BCS. I MUST BE DAVID CORTRIGHT.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Great Post LASD Choice - I agree with you. All parents in LASD should have a choice. I wonder what the district might be like if all the schools were charters. Every school could come up with their own priorities and enrollment formula. Some schools might choose to except students from their neighborhood first then the remaining slots could go to students throughout the district who are interested in their program. There are so many creative parents and teachers in our area -- I think terrific programs would result. BCS proves that you can get good API scores, with out making it the entire focus of your program.

I think the two best programs the LASD has right now were created by parents -- the garden program, and by teachers working community members, -- the kahn academy.

The BOT seems to focus on maximizing API scores.

Posted by Terms of Use, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Might be worth for some of the posters to read mvvoice.com Terms of Use

Web Link

Posted by MV Mama, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 11, 2012 at 2:42 pm

MV Native, except ≠ accept.

I know a few BCS parents. They have become insufferable over this and their school. I now avoid them.

Posted by Parent, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Thank you MV Voice for stating the facts. Perhaps some people think BCS wrote this article because it's so searingly accurate, and that infuriates those who trusted the district when it told them it was being fair. BCS kids do not have the acreage or playing fields or non-teaching space that LASD kids do. Plain and simple. They are crammed into less than half the space as the same number of kids at Covington. Why is this fair? In fact, it is not fair. BCS said it 8 years ago. The 3-member appellate court said it in October. The 7-member Supreme Court said it a month ago. As anyone knows, repeated noncompliance with court orders requires law enforcement (i.e., sheriffs) to force compliance with the law. Those are the facts, so the opening sentence of your article is not outrageous; it is simply the truth. Hopefully that won't have to happen in our community if LASD would just wake up and do the right thing by allocating campus space fairly.

Posted by Billy Joe Bubba, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Sooooweeee! All this hootin and hollerin is just too much fun. Billy Joe just cancelled his 'scription to cable TV cause who needs Jello wrestlin and monster truck ex'bitions with this entertain'n mud-slinging goin on. This feller, Con-Man, is meaner than a big ole sack of rattlesnakes. Reminds me of my friend Cooter who gots himself arrested once for being a cyber-bully bubba. This is old boy had the meanest old lady. Poor ole Cooter had to take out his unhappiness on all them chatty folks in the chat rooms. Old Cooter was persistunt -- wouldn't stop arguin like a bloodhound clenching a tasty bone. Repeatin the same old stuff over and over until every'on was just worn out. Billy Joe says play fair. You can't have the kettle calling the pot black if ya know what I mean. Billy Joe's mama, bless her soul, always learned us with great southern wisdom: "don't pick your nose while you eat, and if you live in a glass shack, don't you be throwing no rocks at your neighbor." The first part was the hard part for all us Bubbas. Funny thing is about all these squirrelly posts is that it don't amount to a hill of tabacky chew. Don't make no difference to that LSD board. That good old rascall, Mark Twain once writ: "God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board." Amen Twainy. And then the good lord turned right around and made a heep of self-impotent bloggers/forum posters! Billy Joe had to see a shrink a few years back on account of that billy goat that kicked me solid on 'side of my head. So asked my doc, read these here posts and tell me what ya think. "Billy Joe, these folks are more confused than a termite inside a yo-yo." Then she used them fancy doc words: "obssessuv compulsiv, pasive aggressive, and just plan pissed off." One of them little fellas luves to scream and use dem tall letters. Reminds me of my little piglet, Claudine. She was an ornery lil creature always fussin and fightin. I just had to grab her, lie on her back so I could scratch her lil belly. Over time with a lil attenchion she mellowed out a bit. So I says, lets get dis fellar some therupy or maybe he needs to find a website that haz a lot of pictures if you know what I mean. Billy Joe wants to give this little lady, Margie Gratchet, the Bubba Bullseye Award for startin all this great contra-versy and conversatin 8 years ago. She opened up a Pandory's Box and walked away with a great pention. Lord knows all this entertain'n chit-chat keeps my pay-per-view bill down to nuthin! Billy Joe says "remember its all about the kiddies."

Posted by registered user, Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 5:01 pm

@Fed Up LASD:

This is standard practice in the tech industry--it's VERY common.

It's what PR firms like Larson Communications (the BCS firm) do for a their money. The call this practice. "astroturfing"--fake grass roots support for their product. Firms like this also typically provide products described as "social networking services"--the output of which we see littering this discussion.

What we're looking at here is basically a BCS paid infomercial (note the odd lack of a byline to the above "article").

This article, then, is the voice of the BCS Board of Directors. This is what they would say if they could just publish an article under their own names. THAT is very telling.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Just a reminder to everyone -
Joan J Strong is David Cortright.

In fact the first time Joan posted here, she fooled me, and I think a few others. It was the whole registered user thing. I think that DC was trying to go for a more rational poster.
It took a few posts, but the CAPS soon came out, and then the rants started.

Posted by registered user, Los Altos resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I am appalled that this newspaper would print such an editorial. Who wrote it?

The charter school does a huge disservice to the Los Altos community and its children. My children attended both types of schools (small BCS-type school and the district schools) and we find the district schools to be far superior.

The whole tone of this article is offensive, not to mention inaccurate.

Posted by registered user, Bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

MV Native, don't forget good old Harold Barton. I know there's a thread on here somewhere that initiated the transition of that screen name to Joan. Maybe he'll be back again after a long hiatus.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

Los Altos Resident -
It's really inaccurate to say "The charter school does a huge disservice to the Los Altos community and its children. My children attended both types of schools (small BCS-type school and the district schools) and we find the district schools to be far superior."

In what way the charter school doing a huge disservice to the community? It's offering a choice and providing competition. Anyone who values freedom of choice and excellence is likely to disagree with you.
Also there isn't any significance in your claim that your children went to a small BCS type school and that LASD schools are better.
1. If apples are better than oranges, Then apples are better than grapes. Of course not. What you are trying to say is that all schools that are not LASD schools are similar and that really doesn't make any since.
2. BCS has 480 students - it's not a small school, it's the same size as other LASD schools, and larger than two of them. It's just squeezed into a tiny postage stamp of a campus.
3. Let's say that your children went to BCS and then LASD schools and you found the LASD schools far superior. That still wouldn't be significant, it's only your opinion.

Instead what we have is many people trying to transfer into BCS for the few open spots in each grade level. Is that significant? Well yes, because it is actual data, with many people applying for the few open spots.

Please back up your statements with data.
In what ways does BCS cause harm to the district?

It's great that you liked LASD schools, many people do. They compare favorably to schools with similar demographics. Most of the LASD schools score an 8 or 9 on the CA similar schools ranking. This means that in a sample of 100 comparison schools with similar demographics, LASD schools are in the 80th to 90th percentile. Not stellar, but doing well. Covington and Egan score a 10. Exceptional? I will let you be the judge. Here is a to the state of California Ed DATA
Web Link

BCS, by the way, scores a 10.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

Oh yeah, who can forget good ol Harry? Didn't he use another one before that?
I think it was David Binetti? Something like that.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

A few people have expressed their outrage at this editorial. So I thought we should look at each of it to find out what is so offensive. I would love to hear from LASD folks about it. I know when other papers have printed stuff about BCS that is unfair or inaccurate I get very upset. So I am wondering why this one produces so much angst?

Let's look at the opening statement:

"Short of the sheriff showing up to escort school children to their rightful classrooms, it does not appear that the Los Altos School District will abide by the law and provide reasonably equal facilities to the Bullis Charter School as ordered by a state appeals court — a decision recently affirmed by the state Supreme Court."

Dramatic? Yes. An accurate assessment of the current situation? Yes.
Please understand that LASD has been told by the highest court possible that they are in violation of the law. LASD has a choice, follow the law or break the law. The Board of Trustees choose to become outlaws. It is as simple as that. When you break the law you need law enforcement to enforce the law. So the opening statement is dramatic but is certainly something that could happen if LASD continues down it's current path.

So LASD supporters what do you think is wrong with the opening statement?

Posted by registered user, Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

Interesting bit of math applied to one of the BCS lies I just noticed.

They CLAIM that they have a "gap" of $5000 per child in all of their communications, which is why BCS needs to gather this tuition from all of its parents.

They CLAIM that they run a more efficient school because they can offer all sorts of luxurious benefits to kids (viz. the field trips around the world) because they are more "efficient" and LASD, presumably, squanders this money on useless things and mismanagement.

The FACT here is this: according to the BCS foundation website--their own words--the "gap" is actually only $2800, not $5000.

But wait, there's more.

They CLAIM that LAEF adds $1000 per child to LASD's budget. A quick bit of math shows: the REAL number is about $500/child based on last year's numbers.

So the REAL "gap" is: $2300*.

A key pillar of BCS's existence is their alleged efficiency over that of LASD. This, like everything else about BCS, is a lie.

Parents of BCS should stop giving this scam more money until they get honest with them about why they must pay this tuition.


Soon we will document how that $2300 that the District allegedly "withholds" from BCS is actually NOT sufficient to make up for the cost of Bullis Charter School.

If you add up the District's obligations to maintain the buildings BCS inhabits, it's obligations to needy kids and retired teachers--then you are WAY PAST $2300 per year per student (more on this later).

In other words, contrary to the LIE that BCS somehow saves the District $1m per year, the FACT is that BCS COSTS US MONEY.

They TAKE money away from the District who supports ALL students including the least advantaged and the GIVE IT TO THE RICH parents of BCS.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Here is a link the report that "Joan" is referencing. I will let you make up your own mind.
He is not using the total/student that the district receives from tax payers dollars.
Web Link

Posted by registered user, Bikes2work, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I find it quite sad that the Voices are actually arguing about who spends less per child. Let's just race to the bottom. I honestly don't care who spends less. We should all be trying to spend what it takes to provide a world class education for all kids in the district.

Posted by registered user, Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 3:47 pm

My numbers are from the BCS foundation website. Just go to the home page. If there's other mysterious money missing, why didn't they list it there?

To be sure, there is a LIE on that page in that it says LASD receives $1000 per student from LAEF. That is not true: the actual number is about $500/student. As we're talking about the real "gap" being $2800 vs. $2300, that is quite material.


Totally agree. This whole situation is very, very sad. Mountain View schools are on the right track and have more funding that BOTH LASD and BCS. I suspect they will pass us in test scores and other metrics soon.

The rich philanthropists in our town who created this mess gave us a one-two-punch.

First, instead of investing in our public schools they are suing our public schools in order to get free things from them. Whether it is "legal" or not to do what they are doing, there's no imaginable way to consider it "charitable".

Second, by creating this giant mess they've precluded any serious new money from coming in. Who would want to invest their foundation money in a District who is under attack? They'll send the money to Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, etc.

Posted by registered user, mom of three, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Tamara? Is that you?

Posted by registered user, Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Um, folks... Libeling David Cortright probably won't get you sued since these accusations of the entire BCS opposition being him would probably just get him an awesome ultra-high paying job if anybody actually believed that one person could do all of these things--so proving damages would be hard.

Libeling an LASD Board member... well... then you most certainly WILL get taken to court and yes, the Sheriff may get involved if you don't pay the settlement...

So @mom-of-three (ccc? is that you?), I'm sure you'd hate to see some of those $millions in your trust fund go to an LASD board member... So maybe you should retract that statement?

Posted by registered user, Los Altos resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm

The charter school does a huge disservice to the community and it's children by suing the school district at every turn. It's sucking up resources that otherwise would go directly to eduction of children, those that attend Bullis and those that attend the district schools. In the process, it's damaging part of what makes Los Altos a desirable place to live.

The marketing makes the charter school sound great, but I think prospective parents need to really think twice about how it compares with other schools in the area. Important things to consider are the school's administration, teacher experience and turnover, and how the school contributes to the community.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Mr. Cortright,
When you choose a new alias you should make sure that it makes sense. If you are going to use Los Altos Resident as your moniker, then I suggest you select resident of another community as your location. It's difficult to live in Los Altos and Downtown Mountain View at the same time.

Posted by registered user, Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2012 at 10:15 am

Speaking of the "real" David Cortright, I would like to direct reader's attention to this write-up on the facilities offering from the District:

Web Link

Although I personally do not think the exact legal details are the crux of this issue (this is a moral and policy issue to me), the legal issues here actually have by far the most to say about what is going to happen in the next 12-24 months.

No matter what sort of discussion we're having here and elsewhere, the fact is that BCS is going to sue and the District is going to defend itself--and what the court that decides will dictate what is going to happen, not our discussions here and elsewhere, and not between the two Boards involved here.

(The only viable long-term plan to "solve" the BCS situation is to educate parents in Los Altos and Hills about the "real" BCS and force the school to close from lack of interest).

Now to the legal analysis, David here points out what has been bothering me as well: that all the "armchair attorneys" are wrong--including many on the LASD side.

What you "think" prop 39 means does not matter. A careful reading of the Ruling by the appellate court and a reading of the Offer by the District shows that they are following the law exactly.


So I ask the BCS people are who are so fond of mindlessly hiding by "the law" as if that justifies whatever sort of injustice they commit: what if you lose your appeal next time? Then what? Will you admit you were wrong?

Remember, live by the sword, die by the sword...

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 13, 2012 at 10:28 am

Speaking of yourself -- and your ranting..........
and I really do not like your last comment... What are you referring to? Frankly you scare people.

Posted by registered user, SiliconSerf, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

The facilities offer by the LASD is a nice ploy. They're starting off with a ridiculous low-ball offer and and then agreeing to be open for talks? Negotiation 101. That people are actually defending the initial offer as legitimate is sort of funny, or sort of sad, I'm not sure which. Offering a single, combined classroom for 7th and 8th? That isn't contiguous? I applaud the hutzpah, but lets not pretend it's in line with what a student would *reasonably* be provided if they went to another middle school in the district. Unless there's a single room middle school taught by Laura Ingalls hidden in the hills somewhere we don't know about.

As for the elementary school, the only difference between this offer and past ones which were found to be in violation of the law (with far fewer students) is that they're now counting the Egan patch soccer field as 100% BCS instead of shared? Good luck with that.

If we're following the typical playbook, the BCS board will counter with an equally over the top demand. They should demand LASD closes Egan and give it to BCS or something. They'll find the middle ground eventually, I hope, or yes, BCS will again file a lawsuit and probably win. Again. Please pass the popcorn!

Posted by registered user, Joan J. Strong, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

The District has nothing to negotiate. DaveC's analysis makes it clear to that BCS is not going to win their case or the appeal. They are just using the courts as a harassment tactic--which we parents have shown is not going to work since we've given our District a clear mandate fight these law suits until hell freezes over if necessary.

Posted by registered user, MV Native, a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Tamara? Is this you? Posting as a Los Altos Resident, yet living in Old Mountain View.
Still not giving us any data. And insisting that we are all brain washed by clever marketing?