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Court to hear Bullis spat

Original post made on Jan 18, 2008

Los Altos School District board members say they are moving ahead with litigation against the county for its recent decision on Bullis Charter School enrollment.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 17, 2008, 1:35 PM

Comments (19)

Posted by Annoyed parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2008 at 8:47 am

The students at BCS who come from within the borders of the Los Altos School District don't receive a penny of the roughly $1700/student parcel tax that LASD collects from all parcel owners within their taxation jurisdiction. Mr. Pefley would do well to send about $450,000 a year to BCS to fully and fairly fund the students within his district before commenting about financial equality. Instead, LASD will waste that type of money on lawsuits with no apparent benefit to LASD or BCS.

p.s. BCS doesn't have a Mandarin immersion program

Posted by Anonymoose
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2008 at 12:31 pm

I don't mean anything bad towards BCS students, but lately I've been jokingly referring to BCS as "B*stard Child School" because nobody seems to want the school unless they're in it. It was born out of a nasty dispute between LAH and LASD. LASD didn't want it. The neighbors of it near Egan Middle School don't want it. Now that LAH and LASD seem to be back together on a public Bullis-Purissima school, LAH doesn't seem to want it now either. And like so many "love children" stories, it is truly the kids [of LASD] that suffer.

Grow up LASD and do the right thing! Move BCS to Bullis-Purissima.

Posted by Raya
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Oh my - I had signed up to enroll my child but hadn't really looked at all the politics going on... however, I do find that the administration seems to overly concerned about the Turtle migration project and making sure that everyone gave them the $3500/year/child... so, I said no... They accepted but I gladly just rejected the offer... I got a good laugh on the new meaning of BCS.... too funny.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Jan 18, 2008 at 3:40 pm

BCS is indeed a wonderful school. Students are joyful to come to school and deserve to have a place, like BCS, where they can feel excited about learning. The conflicts between all the political parties involved is a shameful reflection on how quickly our society looses focus on what really does matter in education. Happy children and strong communities create healthy well-rounded children.

Posted by Tired of Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 18, 2008 at 5:40 pm

I am certain that Bullis Charter School is a wonderful experience for those students enrolled, and I am also certain that every child in the district deserves to have his or her needs attended to so lovingly. I find it unfortunate that charter schools, which have helped many low-income under-served students meet rigorous academic expectations, are being used to further stratify public educational experiences by providing de-facto private education under the guise of public schooling. Why does educational growth have to be at the expense of someone else's child? In this case, the continued conflict is now resulting in groups of students constantly being shipped around the district because there isn't enough space in the schools where it is needed and the board wants to battle it out, possibly with good reason; possibily with purely petty politics, over percieved or overt elitist attitudes about access to, need I say again, PUBLIC education. Even if they are taking the high road, this battle will be endless and it will mean likely a full cycle of students attend K-8 in LASD without a solution, and, as a result, some students will not recieve an equitable experience. Put BCS at Bullis-Purissima and MOVE ON.

Posted by Parent of pre-schooler
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2008 at 11:48 am

If BCS wanted a preference for founding families, it should have stated it that way. That preference would be fair without being questionable under the Education Code.

A preference based on geography is overinclusive (it includes families who are NOT founders but who happen to live in the area) and underinclusive (it does not include founding families who live out of the area). It's just not right.

Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 19, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Most people do not understand that the legislature provided for charter schools for many purposes. Focusing on under-served students was only one of them. Two other reasons that people should be aware of include:

1. Educational innovation and reform: BCS is certainly doing that
2. Providing competition to the local school district: BCS is also doing that.

Anyone who doesn't think our educational system is broken, should think again. LASD may have great test scores but they teach to the test and they leave both the upper end of kids and the lower end of kids behind.

We need to give this board a message... VOTE NO on the next parcel tax coming up (by the way, they intend it to be "north of $900". Vote NO on the next bond issue. They have been so fiscally irresponsible it is incredible.

How can Mark Goines in one breath say that next year is going to be VERY CHALLENGING financially, and then approve the full day Kindergarten which costs about $130K evidently. Full day K is a service... I understand that parents like it, but this district can't afford it.

Or better yet, would someone please run a recall and recall the whole LASD board???

Posted by Parent, resident of THE LASD COMMUNITY
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2008 at 9:35 am

What concerns me more than the content of the comments is the fact that every one of them (with the exception of the Crossings) has been posted by "a resident of another community."

This is a LASD issue. Regardless of comments to the contrary, the fact is that LASD has and will continue to bear the financial burden of BCS. Consequently, it should be the elected LASD Board and LASD tax payers who determine the course of action regarding BCS.

Posted by Los Altos Parent
a resident of another community
on Jan 21, 2008 at 11:28 am

It seems that all those who want to put BCS at Bullis seem to forget that LASD needs the space or Santa Rita and Almond will have 600 or more children on campus. It would be wonderful if a campus could instantly appear near El Camino, but how would that happen? BCs has relieved some of the enrollment pressure at those schools, but siphoning off more students from LAH to the charter will only make the enrollment imbalance worse for the district.
Interesting how an obviously pro-charter parents talks about recalling the LASD board. Neither the local community nor even charter families get to vote for members of the charter board. So much for local control.
Wish those who claim the LASD board has been fiscally irresponsible would provide factual numbers indicating that the board misused funds. Of course previous boards did make mistakes in estimating the cost of building new facilities in the late 1990's. They also rectified those mistakes by changing the mangement model. Later projects definitely stayed on budget. The current board is taking action to cover the cost of retire health benefit obligations incurred over 20 years ago. These funds have to be set aside out of the budget.
They have a difficult job to balance the educational program demanded by our community with the realities of underfunding. One might quibble over priorities, but overall they do quite well.
I don't understand the heartburn with Extended Kindergarten. The same person who claims tht the district teaches to the test also complains about providing added enrichment time for kindergarteners. That person also encourages others to vote against any parcel tax increase from the amount approved 6 years ago. The parcel tax helps to provide smaller classes and enrichment programs.
Perhaps some reasonable discussion would be useful. Hit pieces are not.

Posted by MV LASD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 21, 2008 at 11:46 am

to Los Altos Parent:

Well if BCS moved to BP (or co-shared that space), Egan camp would be free and provide space near where it's needed. The LASD Board seems intent to keep BCS at this location seemingly forever, why not keep there forever another campus for the Northern part of the District?

Fiscal irresponsibilities is in display in the Board's recent decisions. In the face of upcoming State cuts, the Board has steadily refused to even study the costs of reopening BP as full K-6 vs. a phased matriculation (which would have the welcome benefit to not disrupt as many (800+) District children as currently planned.

Posted by displaced & displeased
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 21, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Kudos for "Parent of pre-schooler" for recognizing the difference between a BCS preference for "Founding Families" and a preference for a certain region of the district. The former I can easily understand. (Had I worked to found a school, I would desire the same.) The second is just more of the same politics that has been poisoning the district for way too long.

Posted by Los Altos Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2008 at 3:21 pm

The LASD board is totaly myopic on this. Opening BP has
caused all sorts of problems for the distant residents being
forced to attend this location. The camp school at Egan
should be replaced by a permanent Elementary School to serve
the Mountain View neighborhoods currently shunted all over
the city of Los Altos to attend school, so that they
are relatively close to their school. There should have been
some Mello Roos funding from the developments to fund building
a school as one is obviously needed. The problem is only
getting worse and the solutions advanced so far are crazy.
At least they should provide busing to those traveling > 1 mile.

Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 20, 2008 at 2:24 pm

One thing for certain, the legal spat won't be solved anytime soon:

See current case status here:

Web Link

case was pushed to tax day (4/15/2008).

Meanwhile, the LASD Board suspended its Full Day Kindergarten program, saving approximately the money they've spent to date on that lawsuit.

Meanwhile, BCS has gone through its 2008 open enrollment using the preferences in dispute.

Meanwhile, the LASD Board is a 1.1 - 1.7 Million budget cut next year while opening a brand new school for the same population BCS gave preference to (by far the smallest in the District and with class sizes far below the average in the rest of the District).

Posted by Matt
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 13, 2008 at 1:14 pm

According to yesterday's report in the Los Altos Town Crier, only 200 students are expected to attend the Bullis-Purisimma school next year. What a waste of money. What is the operating cost per student for BP compared to the rest of LASD schools? It has to be outrageous.

Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Mar 13, 2008 at 7:19 pm

In addition, LASD is still facing a 650K deficit next year IF it attains Basic Aid status. Where will the money come from?

Oh, and not reported by the Los Altos Town Crier, LASD was still trying to find 160K or so for furniture/supplies at Bullis-Purissima.

That's ridiculous.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 17, 2008 at 5:47 pm

So what happened on 4/15?

The docket site doesn't have any information:

Web Link

Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2008 at 9:07 am


Check that same link again:

Web Link

the case has been DENIED.

LASD has some serious answering to do now:

- how much did this lawsuit cost?
- why, after affecting so many neighborhoods and over 800 kids, will Bullis Purissima open only 200 kids next year?
- how does the district plan to deal with the fact that 2 public schools have the same (small) attendance area?
- where will the money for a permanent Bullis Charter School campus come from?

and more importantly, why reopen a school that doesn't have enough students on Day 1, while the District is deciding on 800K worth of cuts for the next year, doesn't have a contract with its teachers and a reserve about to plunge below 3%.

I don't know of any corporation that would expand its business operations in an economic downturn while facing a deficit.

Posted by Matt Raschke
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 18, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Thanks Parent,

I guess the docket wasn't fully updated when I first checked it.

At least the lawsuit won't cost any more money if they accept they court denial.

Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2008 at 9:33 am

Hopefully, when LASD looks at where it makes cuts, it will put its legal budget first on the chopping block.

For all we know, that recent lawsuit might have cost the same amount than what was supposedly saved by cutting the District's full day kindergarten program.

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