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LASD narrows down new school options

Original post made on Aug 14, 2015

After months of soliciting public opinion from hundreds of district parents and residents, the Los Altos School District may finally have a firm handle on what the public wants to do with $150 million in Measure N bond money.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 14, 2015, 2:11 PM

Comments (76)

Posted by Grow Up 6th Graders!
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2015 at 11:41 pm

In many districts, sixth graders have been thrown into junior highs (re-named "middle schools"). Do you want your (or anyone's) sixth grade girl (or boy) subjected to junior high misfits? Just say NO - and then back it up with political action.

Posted by Chad Hoke
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

After reading through this twice, I'm still not clear what options are currently 'in play' for the district. Covington dual campus site and San Antonio circle?

Posted by fyi
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Graham and Crittenden have 6 through 8 grade for 50 years. Same for Palo Alto schools. They don't just mix in. 6th grade is a transitional year which eases the change from elementary schools.

Posted by fyi Taglio
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

Increased density? The 201 site is 4 acres plus maybe a 4 acre city park next door, not yet in existence. Covington is 16 acres with a 5.5 acre park that was bought as a city wide asset for Los Altos, and is barely used during school. Much less "squeeze" at Covington, and no purchase of land for $100 million! Is the man just trying to spend money?

Posted by Los Altos Taxpayer
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 15, 2015 at 7:27 pm

Here are two solutions that make sense:

1. Build 300 student magnet school at Egan/BCS site; preference to NEC (North of El Camino families)
Reduces populations at Santa Rita, Almond and Covington
Reduces traffic at Egan, Santa Rita, Almond and Covington
Choice school so NEC does not feel isolated
Parent interest in magnet school

2. Build a second school at Covington; remove district offices and preschools, work out sharing as needed of Rosita park, consider joint project to construct a 3rd city gym (or other facilities).

Option A: Second school is BCS K-8
Presumably some NEC/Covington population will choose new school at Egan which mitigates the net traffic increase into Covington
More central for BCS population so should result in more walking/biking
Could create needed additional city recreation space

Option B: Second school is "new" Egan; Current Egan becomes BCS; Covington K-5/6 co-locates with new Egan
More central location for Egan Students
Reduces traffic from NEC families traveling to Covington as some would choose Egan magnet school)
Could create needed additional city recreation space

Either option allows the change to a K-5, 6-8 model should LASD prefer.

Posted by Another Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 1:40 am

There is only one option that makes sense:

-Close Covington and move BCS to that campus
-Move 6th grade to Middle Schools
-Spend Measure N bond funds to upgrade existing schools we already have

Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 7:07 am

There is only one option that makes sense:

-Spend Measure N bond funds to upgrade Covington buildings to a state-of-the-art educational facility,

-Close Covington and move BCS to that campus.

Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 9:49 am

BCS has an image problem, and comments like the above do not help. Many already view BCS as a cheaper alternative to a private school, like Keys School in Palo Alto from which they believe BCS modeled its curriculum. Add to that selfish and arrogant statements from BCS parents calling for the closure of a well performing school to hand over for themselves. Sympathy for the BCS situation isn't high with these comments while considering how well their program currently is run where they are located.

Posted by Parent for Measure N
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 10:06 am

The public voted for and passed the Measure N bond as a way to prevent the overcrowding of the schools and their campuses. Facility improvements are secondary. A lot of LASD parents would rather forego a new multi-room or solar panels or other trivialities in favor of keeping classroom sizes small, a proven ideal student population size, and a campus density that will not worsen the already dangerous traffic situation for the kids. People in this community, an affluent one that can easily support the bond tax, voted for Measure N knowing their tax dollars will likely pay the premium costs of land to build a new school in a location that will address enrollment growth.

There was a lot of resistance with the belief that a majority of the funds will go to support BCS getting their own campus at the expense of addressing enrollment growth and campus crowding. This is why Measure N passed with the small margin. Those that did vote for Measure N knew that taking the cheap route will absolutely not solve our problem. Closing a school in favor of BCS will overcrowd other campuses, be it crowding Blach or Egan or increasing the enrollment at the elementaries, to the detriment of the education of our kids. Sharing the Covington land with BCS will significantly degrade the already horrible and unsafe traffic conditions when you consider the realities of a 1500+ population megacampus.

We voted for Measure N knowing that a dedicated campus, either for BCS or LASD, is the solution that is worth paying for. Options like 201 San Antonio plus the land from Mountain View could be a viable option. City of Los Altos land, like Hillview, or Los Altos Hills land, like private land or public land like O'Keefe, are also options that are far more worth the cost than closing schools or squeezing more kids onto the same plot of land.

Posted by Measure N Votes
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 1:00 pm

I'm disgusted to see the issue of small class sizes mixed in when it has already been achieved for the most part. The slightly larger classes have NEVER been due to lack of classrooms, but rather due to a lack of teachers. Teacher salaries are paid for out of operating dollars, not out of bond funds. Recent budgets have provided more operating funds to hire teachers compared to the 2008 recession period, and already class sizes have headed down.

Measure N was not based on reducing class sizes.

This issue of a 'small school' is separate from the need for more land. You can put 2 small schools side by side and have very small class sizes, and also a friendly grouping of just 3 classrooms per grade for the schools. Does anyone accuse BCS of not having a small school, just because both of their 2 sites are adjacent to 610 (Egan) or 500 student (Blach) Jr High schools? No. You might get 1000 students on that site, but BCS at Egan is a small school with small class sizes.

So, sure, simplistically if land were available, buy it. But this 4 acres at 201 San Antonio Circle is neither cheap nor sufficient in size. If another 4 acres is bought in conjunction with use of $10 Million in Mountain View funds, the cost to the district is still going to be $110 Million for the LAND ($120 Million total). Or else it will be some fixed term lease and still cost $80 Million but expire in 30 years.

So, you can and should use existing land. LASD could build 5 complete new 500 student K-6 schools for the $150 MIllion, if it buys no new land. Covington is the best example because it has so much space already owned by the district, and is next to a large city park that could be shared as everyone expects Mountain View to allow (why ot Los Altos????) But there is room at other sites as well for some of these 5 new elementary schools. Spending on Land is just not economically viable, even with CHEATING the students at one of the schools and putting 1000 BCS students on 4-8 acres whereas LASD has 500 studnets on 10 acres everywhere else.

Posted by Measure N Votes
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Forgot to add that the site at Egan is plenty big enough for a great Middle School campus even with the Elementary School located where BCS now is. The district's architect presented Egan parents with 2 options for adding clusters to serve 6th grade LEAVING THE BCS "Camp" kludge in place. If you spend $100 Million on buying 201 San Antonio Circle, you still have to remodel those 1980 office buildings to meet school building standards of today, which will be pricey. Once that has done, there will be little funds left to do a good job at upgrading the Junior High schools to fancy Middle School sites. The original district architect plan to add 6th grade classrooms will be the most we can afford.

People should realize that a purpose-built school to replace the Egan Camp School could be done for $30 Million. It can have direct access to San Antonio Road for its parking and drop off. It can be 2 story. It can be much much better than the hodge podge of crummy temporary buildings (NOT ONE PERMANENT) that has worked for TEN YEARS.

So, it's a question of wasting money on land or doing something cost effective for the district. 75% of the voters are just taxpayers with no kids in the district. They're not going to be be very happy if the trustees blow $100 Million on some crap school "Just for BCS" at 201 San Antonio Circle.

Posted by How Selfish
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm

How Selfish for the BCS people above, to argue for spending LESS MONEY to house them as opposed to MOST OF THE BOND. The clearly just want the bucks.

Posted by Los Altos Citizen
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

If this has to come down to cramming in over 1500 kids onto Covington, and having to deal with the traffic safety nightmares, or spending extra money for separate land, then I'm all for paying that premium cost. Have you had to deal with the morning traffic gridlock near Covington? Are you familiar with all the near misses and actual accidents that have occurred at the over crowded
Egan and BCS location due to the excessive commute and school traffic?

Improved lights, extra entrance ways, busing, and staggered start times are not going to improve the failed traffic-pedestrian level by any serious amount. Nor am I willing to let our kids be variables in such experiments by the city and the school. A guaranteed solution that will work are separate sites for separate schools.

These taxpayers without kids in the schools also care about how well our schools are run and the return benefit to the citizens of the district. There are a majority of non school aged households who are willing to pay for the premium to ensure LASD maintains its excellent model and thankfully don't try to reduce this to the lowest cost bid.

Posted by Traffic Mystery
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

My, my, how on earth does Los Altos High School ever do it with 2000 students on Almond Avenue? They don't even use "Improved lights, extra entrance ways, busing, and staggered start times " to speak of. Somehow it works. And gosh, some of those kids DRIVE TO SCHOOL IN cars. Teenagers are the safest drivers of course, so that helps.

What a crock. The traffic issue is a total red herring. It's what the NIMBY's say that want to keep the density on the Covington+Rosita 22 acres down to a historical low value. It's not based in fact.

Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 7:57 pm

I agree that it be traffic issue is a red herring. While I have not personally experienced the school commute, my driver has not ONCE complained about it all these years.

Covington should move aside for our higher performing school.

Posted by Los Altos Citizen
a resident of another community
on Aug 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

Traffic accidents are a truth. In fact, Los Altos High is up there near the top of the list of traffic accident spots within the city. Web Link It's well known the now mega campus of BCS and Egan has had numerous close calls and accidents involving kids and cars. It would be a far reach of logic to assume a more recent Los Altos traffic commission report places Egan/BCS high on the list today. What proof do you want that mega school sites are not the safest, especially for young kids?

This community, and the LASD staff, are expected to look for solutions that are in the best interest of the education and safety of the kids. Cost is secondary. That is what we expect out of, and is why we elected, our school and city leaders.

Posted by Los Altos Analysis
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 1:27 am

Interesting that Portola in front of Egan doesn't even appear on the list of accidents in that last post's web link. (Web Link I guess Egan and BCS are working very well, safety wise.

The enrollment at BCS+Egan has been substantially the same for several years now.

Naturally everyone would prefer that there be no traffic incidents near schools, but the fact is that the cause is almost always the crazy inattentive distracted parents of the kids attending the school. There are loads of complaints about behavior at every Elementary School, for example Almond. Its not surprising that there would be a proportionate increase, but that doesn't mean that splitting the kids across two locations would be any safer. The listed accident rate at Los Altos High school is less than 5 per year for 2000 students. An elementary school with 500 students might have fewer incidents, but is 1 per year really shocking? Do you really think any elementary school around gets away with less problems than that? With all these cell phones and overachieving parents, it's a miracle there aren't more than 1 per year, frankly.

Posted by Not a BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Measure N. The $150M "Covington Stays Covington" tax. I guess its great if you've got a student at Covington. Not so great for everyone else.

Posted by Data Driven
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 3:09 pm

It would be great if the board of Trustees could be honest with us. School enrollment data really doesn't support adding an additional elementary school. As you can see below, Los Altos School District enrollment is declining in the lower grades. It is a clear trend.

LASD 2014 - 2015 District Enrollment by Grade ( from DataQuest)

Grade k - 474
Grade 1 - 469
Grade 2- 474
Grade 3 - 496
Grade 4 - 541
Grade 5 - 549
Grade 6 - 524
Grade 7 - 588
Garde 8 - 560

In fact the average enrollment for grades k-3 is 478 students. The average enrollment for grades 4-8 is 552. None of the LASD campuses are currently over crowded. They are all under 600 students. If you removed the six graders all would be under 500. Let's look at what would happen in you sent the six graders to the middle schools. In the example below grade 4 is used because if this plan where emplemented next year these students would be in grade 6.

Total and 2014/2015 grade 4 enrollment for each school.
Almond - 545 - 76
Covington - 553 - 79
Gardner Bullis - 337 - 55
Loyola - 526 - 91*
Oak Ave - 459 - 71
Santa Rita - 568 - 88
Springer - 538 - 81

While it is true that having 1400 students and two schools at the Covington site might be a bit much, that scenario is easy to aviod. To enable a sharing arrangement, the enrollment of Covington should be further reduced. This could be easily accoplished over time by using several methods:

1. Granting an enrollment preference for BCS to Covington Students.
2. Slowly over time, sending Covington students to other nearby schools in the Covington neighborhood that will now have room - Springer, Loyola, Almond. In fact Springer and Loyola should be able to encorporate a large portion of the Covington enrollment and keep their population under 500.
3. Move NEC students at Covington to a closer campus -- either Almond or Santa Rita.

Time for the truth -- a new school isn't really needed and doing so will damage everyone else by leaving nothing to spend on any of the existing campuses. If you are doing this to preserve your kids school, then say so. If you are doing this to stick to BCS, tell us the truth.

People still remember the mistakes of the last bond, the LASD Board of Trustees is cleary headed down the same path.

* While Loyola currently has 526 students it's enrollment numbers are dropping rapidly, last year there were only 60 students enrolled in Kindergarten, 49 in first grade, 71 in second and 66 in third. This is a dramatic contrast with the upper grades, fourth grade had 91, fifth a whopping 101 and sixth 88.

Posted by Data Driven
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm

One addtional observation ---- If you use the current average class size for grades k-3 ( this years 1-4 graders) and projected it out yo 2019 you end up with a totall enrollment of about 4, 300 students, 275 less than current totals. If you instead use the average enrollment for grades k-2 of 4250 stuents - 300 less than current totals. That certainly allows room for growth.

The real reason that you might want a new campus is to provide an LASD run neighborhood school to NEC. You don't need to buy very expensive property to do this. This school could be build at the current BCS site. This school could could draw from both sides of El Camino and both sides of San Antonio. The school could help balance out district loads by helping to reduce enrollment at the two largest schools - Santa Rita and Almond and it would provide releif, if needed, from an influx of new students to the NEC, the most likely place to expierence growth.

One further observation, if the 201 San Antonio site is purchased and a new school is built there, this school should be a neighborhood school for the neighborhood students, the same as every other neighborhood in Los Altos - some of which have more than one school serving them. Placing BCS there and saying there is a now a school nearby isn't going to cut it. All that does is provide a school to a small subset of students in the NEC that win a place in the lottery. Even with a preference you are not being fair to the NEC students who would have to choose BCS as there school if they wanted a close by school. What if they prefer the LASD program? Shouldn't they benefit first from all of this money you just dumped into a new school? If it is your policy to provide neighborhood schools, then provide them.

You might argue that closing and or sharing ( how you argue this with sharing I am not really sure, but there seems to be resistance by certain board members, ie Covington parents, to sharing) denies students of a neighborhood school. This is not the case with Covington. There are three other schools that are in the Covington neighborhood so closing or sharing Covington does not deprive students of a small neighborhood school.

Posted by Data Overlooking
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 5:39 pm

LASD has abandoned all plans to open an ADDITIONAL School. They just plan to keep the 7 elementary schools they currently have plus BCS. Your data doesn't support reducing the number of LASD elementary schools, even without 6th grade. Moving 6th grade makes little real difference in site capacity, because the MOST 6th grade classes anywhere is just 3. That's not enough for another each of K-5.

But the situation is also less growth than you imply. In 2013-2014, on the first day of school, the total K-6 was 3471 students. The number grows slightly throughout the year. In 2014-2015 the 1st day of school K-6 was 3475 students, or just FOUR additional students K-6. As the year went on, the number went up to what is shown in dataquest, e.g. 3527. Still, that's just a growth of 52 students in all of K-6. 7-8 went from 1079 to 1148. So most of the growth per grade was in Jr. High.

Posted by train noise safety concerns?
a resident of Bailey Park
on Aug 17, 2015 at 5:39 pm

> 4 acres at 201 San Antonio Circle is neither cheap nor sufficient in size.

My other concerns are a) how the train noise may affect the classes, and b) whether the proximity of the railway could be a hazard for the students.

I was in particular thinking about this student suicide : Web Link .

Posted by Data Data Data
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Well, you could add one classroom per grade K-5 to any elementary school by converting the 3 6th grade classrooms with an average size of 26, and then adding 3 more portables with an average of 23 students each. So the school enrollment at any site would grow by 23 x 3 or 69 students. Those 69 students at 6 schools would allow for eliminating the 7th school, partly by moving 6th grade and partly by increasing enrollment at each remaining school.

It won't solve the whole issue to just move 6th grade to Middle school, not without also increasing enrollment in total and going to 4 or 5 classes for each of the other grades.

Posted by Data Driven
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 6:58 pm

@ Data Overlooking:

It's good to hear that LASD has dropped all plans for an addtional school. Now they need to do the right thing and drop plans to purchase real estate. There isn't a large enough parcel available and what is avialble is much too expensive. Place BCS in a sharing arrangement at Covington, reduce Covington's size. That seems like the best plan for everyone, even Covington.*

@ Train noise
I agree with you - It is not a good choice for a school site, in fact it might be yet another atempt to decrease the popularity of BCS, as in "don't go there, you might end up next to the tracks". LASD has a long sad history of trying to get rid of the charter school this way -- splitting campuses, trying to send it to the far side of Sunnyvale, making up stats - you get the picture. I guess what everyone should be asking is, is it worth it? Should we spend 100 million or so trying to get rid of BCS. So far it hasn't worked, why throw good money after bad?

* imagine how angry everyone will be at the Covington Crew if each school doesn't benefit from the bond.

Posted by Data Overlooking
a resident of another community
on Aug 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Oh, you know, spend spend spend. I certainly agree that a land purchase or lease is questionable, and more so if it results in a much more dense school than is the LASD practice. Typically now 505 kids have 10 acres or more at their school. At Covington 553 (similar size to Almond, Springer and Santa Rita in population) have not just the standard 10 acres but access to 15.5 acres. The district offices consume maybe 2 acres, so LASD has stated in past calculations that Covington kids had access to 13.5 acres.

So compare that density to this idea of a 4 acre parcel being home to 600 BCS kids. Quite dense. Or if they get Mountain View park funds and buy another 4 acres, they say they'd put 900 kids on 8 acres (or maybe just 7 acres). Covington at 41 kids per acre. The new school at either 150 kids per acre or 110 kids per acre.

How does that even seem like a possibility to the LASD Trustees?

Put 1400 kids at Covington (with 2 schools including all of BCS) and you have 103 kids per acre before removing the district offices. Remove the district offices and you have 90 kids per acre. Make a deal to access Rosita Park (as discussed for Mountain View's potential new park next to 201 San Antonio Circle) and the density for 1400 kids on the Covington+Rosita combined site goes down to 65 kids per acre.

Which is closest to LASD's established practice of 50 kids per acre in elementary school? 65 kids or 150 kids per acre. Oh, and the 150 kids per acre deal costs $100 Million in bond funds EXTRA.

Shazzam Mr Wizards, I think we have an obvious course of action.

Posted by EJ
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:01 am

Let's spend the bond wisely. The best way to do this is to not buy real estate, the cost out weighs the benefits. We should be looking at ways to improve the education for all of kids, that means building new facilities as needed at each campus that goes right along with the stated purpose of measure N. We also need to build for the growth, also part of measure N. The charter is taking all our growth, we really have not had to deal with it. Pains me to say it, but thank you BCS.

We need a place to place the Charter, off by itself, with out spending big bucks. They don't seem to want a new school, so why go to the great expense of giving it to them? There have been several suggestions involving Covington, I can see why its a popular choice, they do have some extra room. Then there is the reality check, the current board is going to do everything to make sure Covington isn't in play, at least not as a home for BCS. We need to look at other options:

1. Turn Covington back into a junior high - or even k-8 school - either Blach or Egan moves to Covington and BCS would take over one of those sites. Result - fantastic new school for our LASD students. BCS has room to grow, and expand, keeping LASD schools smaller.

2. Combine Gardner and Covington at either the Gardner or Covington site ( more likely choice) Works if you move six graders to the junior highs. BCS moves to the vacated site.

3. Combine another Covington area school with Covington, move BCS to the vacated campus - Springer and Loyola are the most likely choices for that. Redraw attendance boundaries so that Springer and or Loyola students get sent to another close by school. Add in a preference for BCS in the vacated schools attendance area.

Posted by Gary
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 21, 2015 at 2:48 pm

I think we should consider moving Egan to current Covington location. It could solve many problems and leave enough money to spend improving every site. Here is an outline of the plan:

1. Trade land -- 6 acres at Hillview for 6 acres at Egan.
2. Move Covington to brand new Hillview.
3. Build a fabulous wiz bang Middle School at Covington / with shared fields at Rosita. - move Egan there.
4 Move BCS to current Egan site -- keeps them next to NEC to help with growth - prevents overcrowding at SR and Almond.
5. City builds fabulous recreation complex at Egan and new gym at Rosita.

Leaves most schools untouched, creates enough room at each school for growth and places BCS by themselves.

Posted by @Gary
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Construction costs on Covington for the new Middle School and bringing old buildings up to current code would be $75 Million, at least. They'd want a track which would be very difficult to do without also perhaps relying on Rosita Park. Those neighbors would fight that. Also, the traffic for a Middle School at Covington would be much more than the elementary school, even one which has 1/2 of its students being driven from across El Camino Real 3 miles away in Mountain View. You could alleviate the 250 students from NEC with bus service pretty easily, not not so the middle schoolers. Likewise converting Egan for BCS use would be expensive, maybe $30 Million. A new school at the Los Altos Civic center would rise ALL THE neighbors in that area to complain about traffic concerns, which would simply be worse than 1400 kids at Covingoton. It would also cost $30 Million.

So once again, this solution uses up nearly all the available funds leaving nothing to upgrade Blach or the elementary schools.

Sorry, I don't see the cost effectiveness of this, though it does anticipate well at providing for most all of the affected students. It does fail to address the poor school location for the NEC elementary kids, who would keep commuting long distances into Los Altos each day in this plan. It also doesn't allow well for potential future shift in LASD population to the point that a larger fraction live in the NEC area, which is likely or at least strongly possible.

Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 3:45 pm

That's not a very good list of ideas, "Gary". The worst of them is moving Egan to Covington. Covington and Blach are too close to each other to have as the only 2 middle schools. Covington is also inside the Blach attendance area. Moving Egan there makes no sense at all! Assuming the City would ever approve a land-swap in the first place (they wouldn't) then why not do the land swap between Hillview and Covington and move BCS to Covington?

Posted by The solution.
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Of course, the solution that is staring us all in the face is to close the charter school and fold it's students into the truly public (and high performing) schools in LASD.

It's a shame that a loophole in Prop 39 is allowing publicly funded, yet privately operated schools (AKA "PRIVATE SCHOOLS!") to be formed in high performing school districts. That was never the intention of the law and it is only after a ton of money being spent on lawyers were they able to capitalize on it for the benefit of a wealthy few.

I don't think BCS can be closed simply because we have too many schools in the district, but if they continue to interfere with district operations in the frivolous way they have been doing, then they should be issued a warning, put on probation and THEN closed. It's funny that a so-called model of education does not believe in consequences for themselves. Well, not funny....

Posted by The solution really
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

BCS has not "interfered" with LASD operation. Far from it. Without BCS, the other elementary schools apart from Oak would each have to find room for average 100 students, spread around across K-6. In reality, some schools would need to handle 125 more and some schools only 75 more, but it would quickly force boundary shifts for attendance areas anyway.

Not only that, but LASD would have to handle these extra kids with incremental funding (retrieved from what it now pays BCS) of around half of what LASD spends per kid at present.

In reality it would be easier to fit more classrooms on a school like Covington than at a school like Gardner Bulls. Would the district use this fact? They have plans which claim Gardner cannot handle more than the current 350 students as it is. If this were true than the growth would be 120 on average at the other schools, and be 0 at Gardner, and probably vary between 80 and 150 at the other schools. Or, Covington could grow to 800 students while Santa Rita, Loyola, Springer and Almond remain at 600. 800 students could easily fit at Covington, if operated as an LASD school. But it would upset LASD's "small" school mantra one way or another.

Posted by Data Driven
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Time to look at some more data. Here is a chart from the BCS 2014 - 2015 Facilities request from Bullis Charter School

Table 3: In-District Classroom ADA Broken Down by Grade Level and District Schools Where
Pupils Would Otherwise Attend

Covington----- 63
Santa Rita------90
Egan ----------54
BCS n-District--- 678
Do you really want to dump that many students back into LASD schools? Let's look what would happen at the elmentaries:

Almond-------104 + 545 = 649
Covington----- 63 + 553 = 616
Gardner-------156 + 337 =493
Loyola---------82 + 526 = 608
Oak-----------33 + 459 = 492
Santa Rita------90 +568 = 658
Springer-------65 + 538 =603

Guress Oak might be okay. Gardner not so much, no place to put the extra influx.
So maybe moving six grade might help? Even with that most schools will be way over 500. Which is the target number.
So how about that new school ( 120 miliion or so for property and new buildings) The small size is going to make it difficult to hold many kids - maybe 300 or so. Mostly coming from Santa Rita , Almond and Covington. Of course this is looking at numbers from 2 years ago, not the future growth numbers. So where are those kids going to go and how will you balnce things out? The answer is a attendance boundary shift.

We had a huge one a few years ago - mostly kids Mountain View were moved around. This time it will hit kids in Los Altos -- everyone will need to shift around to fill in empty spots - get ready for drives over to Oak and Springer.

Of course BCS isn't going anywhere and I don't think the majority of Los Altos School Residents want them to. They just don't want BCS taking over their campus.

One other thing to consider, students at BCS cost less to educate, leaving more money for the remaining LASD students. If you were to move all those BCS students to LASD then you would need to hire a bunch more staff, and pay for their salary, benefits and retirement. Why would you want to do that? As a basic aide district the amount to spend per student increases when the amount of students decrease. More students at BCS means more money for LASD.

You might not like BCS but you should be happy that it exists, it is constantly amoung the top 20 schools in the entire state and its keeping LASD schools from over crowding. Find a place to put BCS where it can grow even larger and we will all be better off.

Posted by Huh?
a resident of another community
on Aug 21, 2015 at 9:22 pm

BCS is keeping other schools from overcrowding???? Wow. What a joke.

The idea is to close it which will open up space. Sure, some shuffling would happen, but don't forget about Measure N dollars which would make it all happen.

The problem is that BCS is essentially an "extra school" to have to find facilities for. A very litigious and disruptive school.

If you are so confident that most residents of LASD supports Bulllis, then let's put it to a district vote: "Should BCS be closed and the savings used to make improvements to ALL schools in the district."

Dare you to out it on the ballot! B
Put up or shut up, as they say.

Posted by Yeah Huh?
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2015 at 12:57 am

That sounds like the convoluted reasoning of that cartoon character :Joan J Strong: in that Huh? message. BCS is an extra school? OK, that's what we said. No issue there. But the students don't VAPORIZE without BCS. In fact, this year, on trend, BCS has more of the students within LASD. This reduces the number of students attending the traditional schools, the one with a real set of school buildings.

You have it wrong though in that BCS has NEVER had similar facilities compared to the traditional school. In that sense, BCS is a Ghost school whose receives shoddy treatment compared to the privileged students attending LASD's legacy of 10 acre school sites. Yet, somehow, these students elect to attend a school which is not receiving any funds from LASD's parcel tax, nor any funds from the excess contributions local property tax revenues make beyond the statewide average school funding amounts, which is considerable.

So, operating dollars, BCS is denied about $5000 per student per year.

Legacy capital assets such as land and buildings, BCS is denied access to anything approaching what 750 LASD students normally use. Covington parents crow about their 16 acres of land for their 500 students and can't even conceive of sharing that large site with EXISTING students in an EXISTING STATE AUTHORIZED PUBLIC SCHOOL in the Los Altos School District. It's shameful, but there's hope. Hopefully this idea of spending $100 Million on a 4 acre office building site will prove TOO EXPENSIVE to play with for much longer.

Posted by Haha
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Made up numbers aside, it's a joke to think that the LASD schools have BCS to thank. LASD was a top tier district before the charter school reared its ugly head to take revenge on the other area parents and students.

BCS cost LASD many millions of dollars in legal expenses and, even worse, were a huge distraction. The (lost) opportunity costs of dealing with them hurt the educational opportunities of the public school students.

Close BCS + Measure N = Solution!

Posted by Parent
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 22, 2015 at 3:34 pm

@ Yeah huh? --
Good call, looks like JS has reared his shiny head. Still trying to stir up trouble. Most of us have moved beyond that. BCS is the extra crowded campus that needs a permanent home. We all benefit from excellent public schools - be they charter or traditional neighborhood schools, I am happy that we have both.

@ Gary, @Gary and all others with great ideas. Great plans, all better than what Trustees keep trying push on us. Sure, they want to keep Covington as it is, but that has a very high cost -- no improvements anywhere else. It will also result in keeping BCS at the two junior highs.

The current 750 BCS kids can't fit at 4 acre office park. So why keep going down this path. Some of us in the know realize that the Trustees have the office park in mind for BCS, not a neighborhood school. Is that what we really want to do? Spend the entire bond building a school that won't solve any problems? At the most you might be able to move part of BCS off of Blach, Is that worth giving up improvements at the other schools? Is it worth keeping six graders at the elementary schools? Is it worth putting off doing anything for four years? BCS has a five agreement and we are in year two. Is it worth having crowded LASD schools? Sure its great to have Covington by itself, but at what cost?

LASD has lots of land they just need to use it more productively. Keeping Covington as 16 acre elementary school -- with various private preschools is not a good use of resources.

Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2015 at 7:20 pm

I agree with "Parent" above. Rather than closing our superior charter school, we need to close Covington and move Bullis there.

Just because I'm a charter school mom, does not make me biased. The test scores alone should warrant all 16 acres be given to us.

Oh, and I don't appreciate the board trying to move is to Mountajn View!!! That is on the wrong side of El Camino and we will be back in court to fight if we have to.

Hand over Covington!

Posted by Yeah Huh?
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

There would be nothing wrong with locating BCS in Mountain View if it was 8-10 acres of land as the district has REPEATEDLY said they would provide to their new school site. It's when they use the excuse that allegedly land is more expensive in Mountain View than anywhere else to absurdly scale back the size of the land involved. The truth is that the land is about the same cost per acre as it would be near Egan-- $10 Million per acre. This is arrived at differently in Mountain View, where the separate sale of a property's development rights (for commercial purposes) is needed to reduce the cost of the school land purchase. With a lease of land, you can't take advantage of this MV zoning feature, so they will overpay if they do a lease, on a per acre basis.

That fake BCS Parent above has a lack of understanding of the situation. He'd be the first to gripe about BCS getting a 6-8 acre site for $100 Million plus remodeling costs. For the school board to try to hold it to 4 acres as a workaround is not worth even considering. At 900 students, BCS will be the equal of TWO of the LASD elementary schools, or 1 elementary school and 1/2 of a middle school. Either way, the current land usages for such students is 20 acres.

Oh yeah, that's not comparing to Covington which has 16 acres for 500 students. That really makes a lot of sense fairness-wise.

Why not just SELL OFF 6 acres of land at Covington for Housing development, get that $60 Million windfall in the bank, and then use that to buy a school site for the 10th school in LASD? No need to close Covington.
Better still, work out a land swap. That might make more properties available for consideration in the NEC area. A lot of landowners would love to get into housing development in Los Altos.

What does fake BCS Parent think about that? What's his answer to that one?

Posted by Helen
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Let's solve this problem by providing great school sites to all our kids. That starts with the LASD Trustees making some difficult decisions. When you make a decision you need to look at all the workable solutions, not just the one that you came up with ( Ms. Logan and her playground on the roof school, Mr. Tagilio and his office complex, both ideas, it appears, inteneded for BCS and not an LASD school) Its tough, I get it, but why cling to one idea? Especially if that idea is wasfeful and most likely won't solve the problem? First define the problem - LASD is growing, BCS has asborbed most of the growth, but needs a place to go. We also need to improve each site some schools need a little, so a lot and there is only so much to go around. Trying to onece again punish BCS by cramming it into a small site next to the tracks doesn't seem like a very good solution. Even if you are not a fan of BCS do you really want to spend the entire bond on yet another attempt to get rid of BCS? Most likely not, unless you are just completely warped, and don't have any kids in school.

Enough of the negatives, lets actually try and solve the problem. Start by looking at the pluses and minuses. I know, seems pretty basic, but one wonders if they have actually doen this.

Let's start with an easier one, moving six graders to the middle schools -
Plus - Most of the state already does it this way. Six graders will have access to specialised instruction and better facilites. Reduces the total number of students at every campus.
Minus - Doesn't solve where to put BCS. BCS is at the middles and needs to move to have enough room for this to work. Some six graders may be too young for this. Some schools ( Oak and Gardner Bullis, might end up very small)

Idea #2 - Split campus at Covington -
Plus - Effective use of a big space. City is willing to loan Rosita during school hours. Creates space for BCS to be on one campus. No real estate purchase - bond funds can be spent on educational spaces rather than property purchase.
Minus - Shifts traffic from Blach and Egan to Covington. District office has to move. Covington has to share its site.

Idea #3 - Purchasing a school site in the NEC
Plus - If site is used as a neighborhoood school then provides a school in a growing area that doesn't have a school. Could be combined with #2 to reduce the number of students at a two school Covington. Mountain View may provide some funding to maintain a small ( 1 acre) park space at the school.
Minus - Expensive - There are not any sites large enough for a school and what is available is very expensive and located next to the train tracks. Most if not all o thef bond could be consumed on this one project. If BCS is placed here, not all of it could fit, leaving a BCS campus at either Blach, Egan or both.

Idea 4 - School for the NEC at the BCS site. Move BCS to Covington.
Plua - school for the NEC close to the NEC. Reduces number of students at Covignton as NEC students could go to new school. Provides a large campus for BCS, see #2. Bond funds can spent on improvements instead of real estate.
Minus - school is not directly in the NEC. Covington has to share it's site. District office has to move. Increases traffic.

idea 5 - close Covington move BCS there.
Plus - Most kids in Covington still have a school close by to attend. BCS is moved off the Egan and Blach campus to site large enough for them.
Minus - Closes a school.

There are also other ideas. I don't understand why the board is clinging to #3 it seems like the least workable solution and the most expensive. A combination of 1, 2 and 4 seems like the best idea. As it provides a school site for the NEC and BCS. It also keeps all of the schools open and moves six graders to the middle schools. The NEC school at Egan could be on the small side - 350 -400 students and could draw from both sides of El Camino.;

Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Our charter school was born because we our beloved Bullis Purissima was closed. Any solution LASD comes up MUST result in the closure of a public school. We will not rest until this happens.

I support Helen's idea of "idea 5 - close Covington move BCS there."

Let's get this done.

Posted by Fake BCS Parent Strikes Again
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2015 at 8:14 pm

He's rewriting history. Gardner Bullis used to be called Bullis Purissima but it was only closed for 2 years, quite some time ago. Then they reopened as a new program offering for the first time all-day kindergarten to any K student in the district, and they attracted about 100 students to that program. Originally, Bullis Purissima was only 350 students. At the time they had the 100 student K program there, Bullis Charter was only 250 or so students, and only a part of them came from the old Bullis school! Since that time it has grown to the point that it is well over 700 students, and only 150 of them come from the area that would otherwise attend Gardner Bullis.

What has made BCS continue is its innovative program which appeals to students THROUGHOUT the district looking for something different than the LASD program. The LASD program innovates too, but may of its innovations are simply copied from BCS.

So that's what you have. It is just not true that the 2 years Gardner Bullis was out of service is the reason we have 700-800 students attending BCS today. False in its entirety, that fake parent is. What IS true is that the Covington campus originally lacked students to fill it. For that reason, LASD redrew attendance boundaries and roped in students who had previously attended Almond, Springer, and Loyola. Covington was a school built with no plan for use. That's why there was faltering and this conversion of Bullis Purissima to a K-only program. That's why the district spent more on an all day K program in the first place, just so they could make use of all 7 elementary schools they now had to operate.

And today, Gardner Bullis handles 325 students of whom 40 come from PAUSD and 75 or more previously would have attended Santa Rita. Meanwhile Santa Rita is filled with kids from Mountain View north of El Camino as are Covington and Almond. What's really needed is to close Covington SO THAT THE MV kids can have a school for their neighborhood, but the district keeps it open out of a failed promise.

Posted by Ouch
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2015 at 10:54 pm

These charter folks should remain civil. Some of their postings are downright roode!

Please stop trying to disrupt the school district. The court and board of supervisors have had enough of your shenanigans.

Posted by Yeah Huh?
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 1:51 am

Well the one thing that is nice is that there is plenty of time to work out a solution. The charter school has the best facilities ever once they finally open what was started over the summer, as opposed to having a construction site at Blach right now. Close but no cigar. On the other hand, they will surely finish before the year is out!

The truth is that the district never projected very many added students very soon. Mostly they were concerned with getting BCS to agree to squeeze in more students at the 2 junior highs. BCS countered that renting land to the stepping stones preschool at Blach was taking up valuable land. So they compromised and LASD paid to relocate stepping stones to the spacious Covington campus which still has lots of empty land. And then they smashed in still more Portables at Egan, beyond the Pale of what anyone would have thought BCS would accept. So a little give, a little take.

It's worth noting that this gives BCS about 8 acres of land and about 50,000 square feet of indoor space, quite a bit more than what is contemplated at 201 San Antonio Circle.

How interesting.

Posted by Yeah Huh?
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 2:00 am

Plus BCS has bought its own 4000 square foot multi purpose auditorium at Egan, which it wouldn't be able to locate at 201 San Antonio Circle. Not as nice as the one at Santa Rita, but still, I'm sure they'd rather have it than not.

Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 12:40 pm

The headline says "LASD narrows down new school options"

The headline is false. After reading the article, it is clear that they haven't narrowed down a thing and are no closer to solving this mess than they were 2 years ago.

Posted by Another Observer
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 2:46 pm

@ Grow Up 6th Graders!

6th graders are far more closely aligned to 7th and 8th graders physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually than they are to Kinders through 5th graders. When my first kid was a kinder, I trembled at the thought of her having to leave her safe little elementary school and go to middle school in 6th grade. By the end of 5th, when the kids were obviously starting to change from little kids to pre-teens, and the girls were getting catty and mean, I couldn't wait for it. 6th grade at middle school was very good for my kids, and for their friends as well. Bigger pond, more friends, more teachers, more responsibilities. It was also good, in my opinion, for the 7th and 8th graders on campus. The 6th graders, while starting to behave like the older kids in many respects, brought their childlike play to the lunch yard, which made the vibe more kid-like. Really, not as scary as people think. My kids loved the change, were very ready, very happy, and have become well-adjusted, smart, well-educated adults.

Posted by Jean Struthers
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 3:10 pm

It seems that the school administration does not need a school site for its business---storing materials and offices.
there's lots of office space in this area. Lets keep the school site(Covington) for school use.Put the administration in an office building or warehouse type of structure. Let them have the site along the tracks or along El Camino.

When my kids were in the LASD there were many more schools. Purissima ,sold - Eastbrook, sold- Portola sold. Covinton was a wonderful school a big junior High. I bought the furniture from the classrooms when it became an elementary school. It has the biggest amount of land and more potential space for expansion.

The mountain view kids have the worst commute over El Camino. They need a school in that area especially with the huge new apartments in the SanAntonio corridor. It seems that that area has always been short changed. where can a building go to serve them???? Help the district solve this problem.

Posted by School Sites
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

The area north of El Camino in LASD is pretty small, about 1/4 of a square mile. All of LASD's territory is probably about 9 square miles. The travel distance to schools in Los Altos is mostly on the Los Altos side of the border. The school which always served the kids from Mountain View was Portola Elementary which was closed and sold in 1981. It was located at Portola and Jordan. It was closer than any of the 3 schools that the Mountain View kids attend today, split up 3 ways.

My point is that I don't see the absolute necessity that the school for the MV kids be in Mountain View. It worked fine back when they went to Portola. The equivalent today would be to turn the current Bullis Charter School at San Antonio and Portola into an 8th elementary school site for LASD. It's about 7 acres of land already owned by LASD and used for BCS for the past 11 years. Even if the Egan school adds 6th grade, the district hired an architect who prepared two plans to add 6th grade without using any of the BCS school land. So there you go. Maybe way less expensive, but a perfectly good way to get a neigborhood school for the MV neighborhood near there. But LASD doesn't WANT to take those MV kids away from the 3 distant LASD schools they attend today, because each of them would be too small to operate economically.

Posted by Observing
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Aug 24, 2015 at 4:37 pm

I don't have any kids at BCS or in LASD schools and really consider my self nuetral. This is an interesting debate, but If I had chose sides just based on online conduct, I might have to go with the charter school supporters. They really seem to do a better job of conducting themselves online. What I have noticed is the worst that they do is criticize the LASD school board members, fair enough, there elected. They have a few posters that go on and on, but nothing mean, just not so interesting. Once in a while they might let a not so nice comment slip through, but it nothing like the constant barage from some ot the mean spirited LASD supporters, such as that Joan J Strong person and the sarcastic troll claiming to be a BCS Parent here. They sure do like to make stuff up.

Let's try and keep it civil.

Posted by @Observing
a resident of another community
on Aug 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

Thank you. We at Bullis appreciate your public show of support. LASD made a big mistake in closing down our school and we will continue to press until one of theirs is shut down too. Some of the other parents refuse to take this seriously and want to come to some sort of compromise, but until the Covington campus is ours, we will do what we have to.

Posted by mojo
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Keep in mind, silly joker, that BCS is an LASD school, even more than any other. It's the only school where everyone attends by choice. It has at least 50 students living where they could attend every school in LASD that uses assigned attendance. It represents the entire district very well. And none of them were school age when Gardner was closed. Just you I guess, apparently.

Posted by Elitism
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2015 at 1:31 am

"Keep in mind, silly joker, that BCS is an LASD school, even more than any other."

LASD is PRIVATELY operated, yet publicly funded. It is not MORE of a LASD school than the truly public ones.

I love the comment somewhere above that claimed that LASD is stealing innovations from the charter. What a joke! All of BCS's "innovations" were "stolen" from initiatives in other schools across the country. Most of those schools were public!

Rather than constantly attack the public schools in the district, I wish these Bullis zealots would chill out and give up their fight to close LASD schools.

Posted by Not a BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2015 at 10:40 am

LASD has hoodwinked the voters into approving a $150M tax increase to deal with "enrollment growth". Enrollment growth which is never going to materialize. Rumor has it that LASD enrollment is actually DOWN by 60 students this year! LASD is running out of levers to keep the enrollment above minimum thresholds at every school. Move to full day kindergarten? Done that. Add transitional kindergarten to every school? Done that. Force new families to the district to attend schools in greatest need of enrollment boost? Done that. Add students from PAUSD to Gardner Bullis? Done that. Given the declining enrollment of the district, we should be outraged if the $150M bond money is wasted on overpriced real estate for a new school!

Posted by Basic Aid Basics
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Declining enrollment is a fantastic thing for a basic aid district, but only if you use it wisely.

As a basic aid district LASD gets to keep the excess property taxes. Its funding does not depend of Average Daily Attendance, because our property taxes EXCEED, the state minimum ( same is true for MVWUSD and MVLA) . So basically you have a fixed pot of money. Fewer students attending district schools means more funds to spend for each remaining student. Pretty cool, hun? Except when you act foolishly.

Acting wisely means following a clear education plan and acting to make it happen. Example - every student can attend the school closest to their residence, most students have a school within a 1/2 of their house. Attendance assignments are adjusted so that no school is larger than or smaller an agreed upon number. Foolishly would be providing extra schools to a neighborhood just to keep a charter school from having access to that space. That's wasting money on something that is not part of your stated mission. So instead of spending money on hiring more teachers to reduce class size, instead you spend it on keeping an extra school going, even if you don't really need it.

Acting wisely means acting in the best interest of students and not adults. Example: Using bond funds to provide improvements to every campus. Acting foolishly means doing things to try and get rid of the charter school, like sending them to the Sunnyvale/Santa Clara border ( legal costs and wasted employee hours) or building a new school on a tiny spot of land and trying to cram them in there. ( waste of money that should be spent on improving all of the schools)

Acting wisely means making tough decisions. Acting foolishly means clinging bad ideas or just plain floundering around.

Here's hoping that our Board of Trustees can act wisely and are not bottom dwelling flat fish.

Posted by Basic Aide Basics
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2015 at 3:47 pm

Acting wisely means you stop the misinformation campaigns. Example: Stop insisting that BCS costs extra! BCS saves money.. BCS depends on ADA - which comes out of LASD bucket, however LASD gets to keep the remaining amount which means extra money for students in LASD schools. It's a lot of extra money - 700 LASD students at BCS. Each leaving about $4000 behind. Acting foolishly means keeping up the lies, it only works for so long then the entire thing comes crashing down on you, plus it makes it difficult to defend bad decisions.

Posted by LASD Operations
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm

The Elitism guy says it right. LASD is PRIVATELY OPERATED yet PUBLICLY FUNDED. There goes Randy Kenyon leaving $2.4 Million dollars in tax revenue out of his projections for this year. What a crock. It's his weird take that this certain revenue should not be forecast because he doesn't know how to spend it. LASD puts on programs most often found in private school. All day kindergarten. MVWSD has kids who could benefit from that. Why don't they do that? Low income plus ELL both fit a large part of MVWSD's kids, but still no all day kindergarten. Who does it? LASD with only 2% both low income and ELL. LASD the private school system for Silicon Valley.

I wonder how MVWSD will spend its $2.4 Million when they receive it? It's something which falls to all districts which used to be Basic Aid back after the 2008 recession cut the state school funding for the then revenue limit district. It was their " Fair Share" contribution basically in the form of a loan which has now been repaid out of last years' California budget surplus. But the cash transfers in the coming months.

I hope MVWSD counts their funds up front, unlike the PRIVATE PRACTICE of Randy Kenyon.

Posted by Not a BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Shut up, Joan.

Posted by Sky is fallling
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 12, 2015 at 11:30 pm

My kid goes to BCS. I pay extra and don't mind it much- I think I ought to- for the little extras I get. I'm also guilty that by doing so I am probably hurting my local school Almond. Honestly, I don't even know if BCS is better than Almond because I haven't experienced Almond. It's possible tomorrow I may want to switch to Almond. I like the choice and I would like all LASD and the BCS school to prosper. It hurts me to see the fighting between them and I wish grownups could lead by example and show kids how to exist in a world of competing priorities, ideas and directions. It doesn't need to be 'me me' or 'screw you'. Compared to other problems of the day- refugees from Syria, trouble in mid east, low scores in CA school, low wages, high house prices- the problem of how to best spend $150M to improve schools seems like a problem- a lot of people in the world would happily trade for. I'd recommend just divvying it up between the 10 schools and let them decide what to do with it- and solve the problem it was supposed to. BCS- you get $15M, Covington- you get $15M- you need to handle an extra 100 kids next year onwards or you are fired, etc. - move on...Life is short, kids will be out of school soon and face the real world. I cant imagine what elementary school they went to will ever matter in their lives. so no point stressing over it.

Posted by $150 Million
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2015 at 11:54 pm

As for divying up the $150 Million, also divy up the existing buildings. Make sure everyone gets the same square feet. That's fair. All the schools should have at least 25,000 ft of purpose-built space, even BCS.

Oh, and count BCS as 2 schools. BCS has over 800 students, and that's 1.6 times the average size.

So, yeah, be fair. BCS gets 2 shares of $13.6 Million each, and 25,000 square feet of the buildings at Blach and at Egan.

That's fair.

Posted by BCS is Unconsitutional
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2015 at 12:28 am

BCS should get twice as much as the public schools?!? That is why there is such animosity in the district. Just because their students are wealthier, they feel they are more entitled than the rest.

It's sad that little Washington State has beaten California to the punch with regards to how charter schools are robbing from the public school system:

"Washington state’s Supreme Court has become the first in the nation to decide that taxpayer-funded charter schools are unconstitutional, reasoning that charters are not truly public schools because they aren’t governed by elected boards and therefore not accountable to voters."

Web Link

California needs to follow Washington's lead and stop these privately run schools from robbing both tax revenues and expensive school property from the public schools. The only reason LASD is having problems at all is due to the assaults on public education by the private-yet-publicly-funded BCS.

Of course, we can now expect some postings from the usual character(s) in town who will claim that BCS is good for the district, but I think we all know their motives.

Posted by Cindy
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Yep, Joan just couldn't stay away. Still trying to fight the battle for the unions and politicians in their pockets. Nice work JS.

You've done enough. Time to quit, while the quiting is good. You already did once so do it again.

My hope is that LASD and BCS can work together. BCS doesn't seem interested in LASD spending the bond on land aquistion for a new BCS campus. Most people in LASD don't want that either.

Best bet is stop trying to destroy BCS, learn to cooperate and spend the money at each LASD campus.

Posted by Cindy
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2015 at 3:39 pm

One last observation. I don't think joan started out as a union supporter, in fact it was just the opposite. He just saw it as means to an end he was trying to accomplish. Sad that he put as all through this. He accomplished exactly nothing.

Posted by BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm

I don't care if our school is unconstitutional! We pay more income and property tax than the average LASD family, so we deserve the best. We get Covington and you people will just have to deal with it.

Posted by BCS Uncle
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm

Covington is not special except it is twice as big as the other elementary schools. Here's an idea. Move the district offices into an office building, and SHARE Cpvington between the existing school itself and ONE of BCS's 2 sites. The one at Blach is only 1.5 acres in size. THat's too good for BCS. Yank that away from us and give us the spare odds and ends at Covington that the school there doesn't use and doesn't really need.

The only problem is that it is too cheap. It saves so much money, that it will never happen.

Posted by Public or Private
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm

The Washington State Supreme Court completely struck down their charter school law. Web Link

This law narrowly passed (after 3 prior defeats) due in large part to heavy funding by Bill Gates, the Walton family (of WalMart wealth -- and not WA residents). The court ruled the law unconstitutional because charter schools did not have accountability, transparency, or governance subject to local democratic processes. Funny, these are the same objections many people in LASD have towards BCS. The WA legislature could easily make the law constitutional by addressing these issues, but that would diminish the ability of the newly emerging "education industrial complex" from being able to siphon off public funds without public control.

In either case, the LASD BoT should secure a site for a neighborhood school for NEC and leave BCS as-is (albeit with their fair share of upgrades). Who knows how long this failing charter school experiment will continue anyway...

Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm

California Charter scores dive.

Web Link


Posted by Good points
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm

Charter schools are unconstitutional AND their performance is now going down. The Santa Clara Board of Education needs to wake up and yank BCS's charter at the next available opportunity.

Prop 39 was passed to improve failing school districts. LASD is one of the top school districts in the country and funding should not be siphoned off so that the very wealthy parents can keep their kids segregated from the merely wealthy students.

That is the reality. Everything else is a smokescreen.

Posted by Not a BCS Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Fortunately, I am not, but family friends are. I don’t understand why we let these private schools stay open. There is a very scary thing happening nearby in Sunnyvale.

News Article:
Web Link

A charter school in Sunnyvale has been closed down, because one of their staff has molested (I would call it assaulted) a little girl. The school (“Spark’s") is authorized by the same entity that authorized BCS’s charter. The Santa Clara Board of Education. When asked about how they could let this happen, here is the response from the Board:

"While the Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized Spark's charter, it is up to the charter school's board and administration to comply with conditions such as conducting employee background checks. "We don't oversee day-to-day operations of this charter," county Office of Education spokesman Ken Blackstone said.”

Focus on this: "We don't oversee day-to-day operations of this charter,”. That’s right! Charter schools take public funds and can pretty much do what they want. Background checks? Nah, it’s not important…?? What?!

That is exactly how BCS operates. Secret meetings and a flaunting of district safety rules and requirements whenever possible. They rely on the Board of Education to stick with their policy of: "We don't oversee day-to-day operations of this charter,”
It makes you wonder what is REALLY going on at the charter school. With so much money to spend on lawyers, you can bet things happen that the public will never hear about. Behind their wall of secrecy, they take public funds and use them to attack LASD, which must remain transparent. When will the Board of Education, the voters, or the legislature wake up and fix this!?

Posted by Moronic Observations Abound
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2015 at 10:59 pm

LASD sends children to Walden West. Walden West also had a staff member molesting children, but allegedly multiple kids, over time.

So, watch out.

If you send your kids to LASD, beware! This is the way these public schools operate!

Web Link

Posted by Moronic #2
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2015 at 11:01 pm

More info on Walden West: Web Link

Posted by @Moronic
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 1:44 am

You are aptly named! :)

However, you raise a really good point. Walden West operated without adequate supervision and with lack of visibility into their procedures. This is how charter schools like Bullis operate. Incidents like this could be happening at BCS and we would never know about it.

I really hope that Bullis makes a mistake big enough to warrant revocation of their charter. Any one of a dozen parents whose kid goes there could fully fund BCS in perpetuity, but they seem to like mis-using public money for themselves. Shameful.

Here is a site that tracks the predator problem at charters:
Web Link

Posted by Failing Public Schools with Oversight
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Here are some links about the terrible education and unserved students at many of our nation's public schools. The schools are all overseen by elected boards and they all consume mass amounts of public funds with low accountability.

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by More URL's
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

More examples of public money in public schools failing:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Still more URL's
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:50 pm

The system won't talke them all in the same message, so here's some more links to stories about wasted money and poor success in public schools:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Public School Inequity
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:52 pm

Here's another link about yet another aspect of the lack of innovation and failure to address every type of student in public schools in Calfiornia:

Web Link

Posted by Not in MV
a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 10:56 am

I'm glad MV has such excellent public schools.

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