Town Square

Post a New Topic

Tensions grow between LASD and Bullis Charter

Original post made on Sep 11, 2018

Los Altos School District board members on Monday night accused Bullis Charter School of not being forthcoming with its enrollment growth plans. Trustees say that years of good-faith cooperation between the two agencies is threatening to unravel.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 1:53 PM

Comments (66)

Posted by Bcs parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:00 pm

The question isn’t if Bullis parents want a mega school or multiple campuses. It’s whether parents in LASD would rather have a spot at the charter school. LASD is shrinking and BCS is growing. Families are already voting Sangeeth. They are doing it with their feet.

Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:09 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

If housing prices keep going up will there be any students left in the Los Altos / Mountain View area?

It seems odd that nobody is considering expanding an existing site - perhaps vertically - especially since student loads ebb and flow - increasing over a five year period, then decreasing similarly.

Los Altos and Mountain View seem to think that student numbers will continue to grow. Why not simply give Egan to the Charter School and start over? Has anybody asked what the Charter School really wants?

It sounds like lawyers are getting involved, most likely to the detriment of everyone.

Posted by Shrinking LASD
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:13 pm

Actually, it's worth realizing that LASD is shrinking even apart from BCS taking on new students. This year I am hearing LASD enrollment at the start of the year dropped by 160 over last year. Is this due to BCS? BCS only grew by 20 students, and some of these are from outside of the district (likely 7th graders from MVWSD getting into BCS at the upper level).

The thing is this year is going to be repeated next year. Aside from any BCS growth, LASD is going to shrink by 100 students most years going forward.

So, if losing students means LASD closes schools, there's going to be one closing
anyway, apart from BCS. That's why it is so puzzling that they are talking about spending on new sites, when others will need to close. But Sangeeth Peruri doesn't think it makes sense to maximize use of existing sites before buying new ones. Obviously BCS will need to split across multiple sites if they grow, because we can't just leave those buildings sitting empty! We can't have a school with 200 kids in it. We've got to fill those classrooms somehow, and that's how charter schools work. Just because back when it was 500 kids it wanted to be on one site doesn't mean the same goal will prevail when it is 988.

Posted by Happy LASD parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:15 pm

I’m voting with my feet too. I’m absolutely loving my LASD schools and wish that BCS would stop playing around with the district money, wasting all of our time and resources. With this behavior, it looks like a cap at 900 will be easy to come by.
And no, not everyone is moving out of Los Altos. Housing prices are rising because more money is moving in.

Posted by Nutmac
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Bullis is a great school, but its administrators are frankly, well, bullies.

Many of their staff and/or parents frequent various message boards like this one arguing for closure of Covington, Egan, and various other public schools.

Posted by Shrinking LASD
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Look, Egan is falling apart. It has one building built back in 2001, and the rest of the place is mid-century.

It wasn't a BCS person who suggested using the new Kohl's land and its brand new school for Egan. It was a rep from the city of MV. It was set out to investigate this option. This wasn't closing Egan, this was giving it a new $75 Million facility on a similar amount of new land. Homestly, I can't believe someone is saying anyone wants to CLOSE Egan.

And then there's Covington. Yes, since it only opened in 2005 effectively, it would make sense to not have it running today. It was opened because of feared enrollment growth. Now the enrollment growth has not only dropped off but reversed itself. So, if you do accounting, it's LIFO. Covington could be repurposed. But BCS has not opposed SHARING the site. It's LASD which mindlessly has this idea that only one school can operate even on 20 acres of land at Covington. That's not coming from BCS.

Of course, it's Other Peoples' Money as far as the LASD board is concerned. Spend spend spend. Every kid that goes to BCS saves LASD $6000 because LASD spends $15000 or so on those kids, and they only bring $7800 with them when they leave LASD for BCS. LASD keeps $6000 or $7000.

Posted by Eyes Rolling
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:31 pm


"I don't know why a brand new facility that's only about half a mile away is unthinkable," Johnson said.

So Egan could move there, no?

Santa Rita parent Herb Marshall said that moving Egan to Mountain View runs contrary to the district's "neighborhood school model," while parent John Keeling called it a "no brainer" that traveling north of El Camino to Mountain View for school would be far more dangerous for Egan students than Bullis students.

WHAT? How so?

"Junior high kids are walking by themselves, biking by themselves. Charter school kids -- maybe not so much," he said

BCS has 300 + Middle schoolers, getting close to EGAN numbers.. Belief me Egan has tons of kids that are driven to school. More kids are driven than ride bikes.

Parent Jim Flynn, whose office is at the corner of San Antonio and El Camino, said he was "very concerned" about not only traffic safety but general crime in the shopping center area, including bank robberies, hazmat emergencies and public urination.

But this OK for BCS?

Ivanovic said he "objected" to the way the option was raised by Abe-Koga, and that it constituted a "violence of the norms of the task force."

Wow, just wow. Please do not re-elect him. This is a ridiculous comment.

This is site is not safe for your kids put perfectly OK for BCS? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Posted by Chris
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Peruri questions whether Los Altos wants a "mega school" in its midst. Does Mountain View? How many MV students actually live within walking distance of the San Antonio site? Will English language learners (one of MV's most important challenges) benefit at all? Do their families have the ability to drive them two and from school, after school activities? It seems to me that MV was much too ready to volunteer the land without any true knowledge of the ability of the [unknown] school to provide any benefit to MV as well as LA students. Did MV carefully vet potential future plans for growth? MV "gives," but I'm seriously uncertain what we will ever receive in return.

Posted by CEQA by MV
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 11, 2018 at 5:12 pm

CEQA by MV is a registered user.

Here's a simple objective solution: Let Mountain View be the Lead Agency for the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review of this new school & public park project. The "Project" includes $23 Million of Mountain View money anyway. They have a big stake and the environmental impacts will be felt by Mountain View residents who can't walk to a neighborhood school. Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are supposed to be evaluated under CEQA. Do you think a walkable school has less GHG than 900+ BCS parents driving their kids even further to school?

Otherwise CEQA is a waste of money. Do you think LASD as the Lead Agency would refuse to certify the EIR that lets them do an environmental alternative that doesn't have the least significant impacts? Ha!

There are over 1,600 new housing units approved or in construction RIGHT NOW within walking distance of the site. I predict those units will produce a lot of kids. Tech workers who currently live in SF apartments and get chauffeured to local companies are getting older, married and having kids. But they still can't afford to buy anywhere near here. They will move their new families into these new luxury apartments in a great school district (LASD). LASD will then grow near this proposed school site, but the kids will be driven deep into Los Altos instead of walking.

Posted by Lynn
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Margaret Abe Koga should be commended for bringing an out-of-the-box idea to the 10th site committee, but instead she is nastily reprimanded by board member Ivanovic? It's clear that the LASD board set up the committee to bless their pre-determined path and her creative thinking got in the way. Remember, this same committee was forbidden from exploring options using existing LASD land.

As enrollment continues to decline in LASD, we must be willing to make adjustments to the current facilities in order to accommodate all public school students (including charter) instead of pursuing this outlandish Kohl's scheme.

Posted by LASD Parents should be furuious
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 5:38 pm

This is a disaster in the making and this LASD board is to blame. They could nip this problem in the bud by letting BCS have Covington. Instead, they insist on wasting the entire bond funds and trying to force BCS into a very undesirable location for a school. Parents of every LASD school not named Covington should be furious! They are putting all of our neighborhood schools at risk with this Fortress Covington approach.

Posted by JB
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Does anyone really think the Kohl's location is a good site for a school? It appears to me that the LASD board has three primary goals in selecting this site: Get MV residents to kick in ~$100million in park funds and TDRs, move BCS to a terrible location as far away from the school founders and the center of the district as possible (in the hopes that most families will drop out and the school will close), and select a site that will help them convert bond money into operating budget by selecting a site that would be easy to lease to retail clients when they close the school in the future (as was done with Purissima Hills, Eastbrook, and Bullis-Purissima (though the last one was thwarted by the parents that opened BCS).

LASD has more land per student than any district in the peninsula. Re-configure the existing schools and use the bond money to improve ALL of the facilities. But, of course, several of the board members have/had kids at Covington, so they would never consider that option....

Posted by DavidR
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 6:29 pm

“Board member Bryan Johnson said it would be helpful to know why the Bullis community is so against being relocated to a school north of El Camino Real.”

I can’t agree more. If it’s a choice of displacing a school of car driven kids versus one of walking and biking, BCS should be perfectly fine moving half a mile away.

Posted by Furious LASD Taxpayer
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2018 at 6:36 pm

So LASD is blaming BCS for offering an alternative that parents prefer to LASD schools? Perhaps they should examine WHY parents are choosing BCS.
LASD knows that its enrollment is declining, partly due to demographics and partly due to parents choosing BCS over LASD. If they go forward with the ridiculous purchase in MV, they will have to close schools or operate them with a few hundred kids. That's really expensive to do. So why not blame BCS for the LASD Board of Trustees continuing bad decisions?
I am fed up with this board of trustees. Time for a change!

Posted by Not a parent
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 11, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I am saddened by the LASD community voicing the sentiment that their kids matter more than BCS kids. Apparently it is ok to send BCS and NEC kids across El Camino. Apparently it is ok to relocate BCS time and time again.

This is absurd. Share the Covington site with BCS (in exchange for a cap on enrollment) and use the bond proceeds to improve ALL the schools.

Posted by Bart
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Same old, same old. Have been involved in this quagmire since 2003. The solution remains to repurpose an existing LASD school for BCS. (In exchange cap enrollment at BCS.) For 15 years now the LASD Board has lacked the guts to take on this short term pain.

The district does not need a 10th school site, but if a new school is opened in Mountain View, it should be a neigjborhood school for those local residents on the periphery of the district, per the LASD priority of neighborhood education.

Posted by Anon Ofcourse
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Its sad how frightened LASD is of BCS growing beyond 900 and trying to be anti-competitive. LASD has more facilities, more money than BCS- just offer a comparable or better option. I know for us it was just two things in the orientation that pulled us to BCS. "Early focus on STEM and the extra option for Arts". I can't imagine a single LASD parent that would say they don't want that either. Those are simple things to do. If a for profit- Mathnasium can do it- LASD can do it.

Advice- Stop fighting BCS- honestly it isn't that much better than any LASD school and this from a BCS parent. Partner with them and you can both be better off.

Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 8:24 pm

Sadly , the outcome of the current trajectory is entirely predictable; i.e., if LASD tries to force BCS onto the Kohl's site, then as soon as the 5 year litigation moratorium is up, BCS will sue and nothing will happen except bitter acrimony and the enrichment of the lawyers for years to come. Sharing the Covington site, with an enrollment cap, and using the bond money to improve all the facilities is the only plan I've heard/read so far that can avoid this horrible outcome. I would like to hear from anyone why this is not a workable plan.

Posted by NEC
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 11, 2018 at 8:59 pm

Per 10th site meeting, the numbers speak for itself:

LASD students living in NEC: 689
BCS students living in NEC: 97

If the goal is to solve the NEC growth, then give those NEC kids their deserved neighborhood school!

Posted by Tom
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Although it is not a perfect solution, consider turning the Khol's site into a much larger park and recreational field with possibly a small after school activities center (for STEAM!). Students could congregate there both before and after school and if the density of students increases in that area due to all the housing construction as forecast, then a bus service could be provided to Santa Rita, BCS or wherever. This service could be trivially funded by a tiny fraction of the bond money and the busses could be all electric. If it must be done, the best way to get across ECR in an environmentally and traffic friendly way is en masse.

Posted by Anon
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm

“Board member Bryan Johnson said it would be helpful to know why the Bullis community is so against being relocated to a school north of El Camino Real.”

You'd have to look at the totality of the situation. It's not really CLEAR that BCS opposes this location. Perhaps their concern relates to one or more of these factors:

(a) The plans show a massive building with insufficient indoor space for 900 kids and an underestimate of the reasonable cost to construct so much space, as short as it is of normal LASD space standards. So fix this, maybe BCS says differently.

(b) The site is drawn with an unusable breakdown of outdoor space. Too much green space and fields. Not enough outdoor space for recess and lunch. Layout doesn't provide room for added outdoor blacktop space under supervision of the teachers in the building. Not clear if there is any fencing to protect kids outdoors, keep balls out of the street, etc. LASD schools for 550 kids normally have over 2 acres of outdoor blacktop space with room for play structures and other apparatus normally found at every school. This school is supposed to serve 900, which means it needs nearly double the outdoor blacktop space. So fix this, maybe BCS says differently.

(c) To appeal to the city, the district is misleading about the amount of field space available for park uses. Gives rise to questions about whether the district ever provides such space. So fix this, maybe BCS says differently.

(d) The site is just undersized to serve 900 students. LASD has recently present "optimum capacity" data that shows all existing campuses serving max 4800 students. Every other site is minimum 10 acres and there are 11.5, 16, 18 and 19 acre sites included therein. So LASD says it's "optimum" to have no more than 4800 kids on its 115 acres, or 42 students per acre. This site is 9.5, so that translates to this site being suited to 400 students. So why is this site being targeted at more than DOUBLE what the district says is optimal? So fix this, maybe BCS says differently. (It could at least be held to just 600 students. BCS is growing to 1200 soon anyway, and will be well over 900 before the site even opens.)

(e) The area does deserve a neighborhood school. However investing $75 Million or $100 Million in building a site means that any neighborhood school someday using the site would be also subject to either too little outdoor space or wasting valuable indoor space. Would such a school be 500 students like the district's norm or would it be larger? Why should these kids be treated differently? So fix this, maybe BCS says differently.

Posted by Bring it On
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 11, 2018 at 10:10 pm

Buckle in, fasten your seat belts. This is about to get real. Neither LASD nor BCS will bend. This was always going to end up back in court. The 5 year detente was a head fake. LASD used the time to raise funds and put in motion a plan to site BCS in MV and they're pretty darn close to the finish line w/ the Kohl's site and MV's City Council's capitulation to their more affluent neighbors. BCS on the other hand has been steathily focused on taking the show on the road. By offering MV Whisman BCS 2.0 tailored to that demographic, they are helping the gentle giant wake up and ask themselves, if I can get BCS 2.0 for my community at one of my other schools, why am I giving up a bunch of economic/tax concessions to solve LASD's problems. I got BCS 2.0 coming my way, why must I take the refugees from BCS 1.0, too? I don't need 2 BCS on my turf - how confusing is that going to be for all the families in MV (esp when a good chunk don't even speak English as their first language). And the cherry on top of the sundae is in fact BCS' plans to grow to 1800-2000. Today LASD is at 4500 students and BCS is at 900, for a total of 5400. If BCS grows to 2000, then LASD will fall to 3400 - or lose 1100 students. You would need to shut down at least 2 schools and probably rezone the balance. And that's how BCS says checkmate.

So LASD, ball is back in your court. You geniuses backed yourself into this corner. Liked a caged animal, BCS has gone rabid and like a wild animal will do anything to protect is young (or vision/existence in this case).

It's so lose-lose and 100% obviously that all of the board members and administrators on both sides have never sat thru a rudimentary lesson on prisoner's dilemma. But this sure makes for good drama. It's like the best Netflix show EVER!

Posted by Dee
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 11, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Dee is a registered user.

What a disappointing bait and switch by the LASD Board members. All of them have been consistently justifying acquiring the Old Mill site and then this Kohls site by saying that the NEC deserves a neighborhood school to absorb enrollment growth (which growth is occurring only in the NEC area and for BCS) - but now Johnson and Taglio insist that putting BCS in the NEC site is the only logical use for the NEC site - what happened? As Abe-Koga noted, the LASD Board seems disingenuous to claim concern about Egan students crossing El Camino when they don't seem to care about NEC students currently having to cross El Camino (in addition to not being concerned about the safety of BCS students, who are drawn from all around LASD and range from K-8, many of whom would have to cross El Camino by bike or foot to an NEC site). These are all our public school kids, and I don't think the LASD Board is serving the public interest of the taxpayers and the families in our district by whipping up an us vs them sentiment again! Contrary to Peruri, BCS does not "siphon off" kids and "force" school closures - it's about public school CHOICE, folks! It is deeply disappointing to hear that despite the many months of investing taxpayer money on pursuing these options (supposedly for a neighborhood school, mind you) and at the end of a FIVE(!) year agreement, tbe LASD Board has wasted so much time and money with so little to show for it and still hasn't officially discussed this with the BCS Board, yet Peruri, Ivanovic and Speiser are quoted in this article as trying to lay blame on the BCS Board for not being cooperative? It's sad that their public grandstanding and private hypocrisy is going to lead to a lose-lose for LASD taxpayers and the kids in our district.

Posted by Ugh
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 11:01 pm

I have to laugh at Ivanovic and Peruri comments that BCS isn’t being collaborative or forthcoming. LASD has unilaterally steamrolled ahead w this ridiculous shopping center plan without ever consulting BCS. Did they really expect them to just roll over and accept this impractical and inferior site? Lawsuits appear to be inconsequential to LASD while we the taxpayers continue to foot their bills.

Posted by Surprised?
a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2018 at 11:18 pm

LASD voters- did y’all really not see this coming when you voted for a $150M bond without any commitment as to how the money would be spent? All under the guise of reducing (nonexistent) overcrowding? You kind of deserve what you’re getting now. Unfortunately those of us who voted NO will also be paying for this wasteful folly. I’d like to know how much they’ve already spent on all this searching and planning that will end up going nowhere so just money down the drain. Next come the lawsuits. Vote these LASD clowns out.

Posted by Ted
a resident of Gemello
on Sep 12, 2018 at 12:07 am

Ted is a registered user.

The QUESTION on the agenda was whether the Los Altos School Board members would REVEAL their intention to park BCS at the new site in Mountain View. The ANSWER seems to be NO. The ball remains hidden. The con game goes on.

Posted by Cloudy with a chance of rain
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 12, 2018 at 6:55 am

The $150M bond is going to be pissed away. LASD will close 1 if not 2 schools in the next 6 years. BCS will continue to rage like Hurricane Florence is right now - it will be the dominant school system in LASD and will have at least 3 outposts in the MV quarters. None of the current generation of LASD board members will still be serving having been run out of office like the Trumpians will at the midterms - their names forever tarnished. Ivanoic - shame. Speiser - shame. Johnson - shame. Peruri - shame. Taglio - shame. Just like the scene in Game of Thrones. The current BCS leadership will retire patting themselves on the back that they got what they wanted finally after 15-20 years.

But that's just Act 1. Act 2 starts with a new dawn and cooler heads prevailing on both LASD and BCS sides. There will be empirical proof by then on whether this BCS method actually works. No more sample bias on the student side - once you are serving more of MV, you will see if this works or not. Over time, BCS will revert to the mean - it scores, its performance, its impact can not continue to exceed traditional performance bands. Over time, BCS will BE the new LASD. How's that for irony and the legacy of the LASD board! Congrats and well done - how's the union like you now.

Innovator's dilemma, Schumpeter's capitalism. Google vs Yahoo. It's just the way the world works and we all have the best front row seats.

Posted by Simple Solution to this Mess
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 7:41 am

Memo to LASD BoT:

There is a solution out there which won't result in lawsuits or multiple neighborhood school closures.

Step 1 - Close Covington and move BCS to that campus. (in return, BCS agrees not to outgrow that campus)

Step 2 - Move 6th grade to Egan/Blach

Step 3 - Spend the Measure N bond funds to upgrade existing schools


Why won't you do it, LASD BoT? Why?!?

Posted by frisbee
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 12, 2018 at 8:25 am

frisbee is a registered user.

The kids north of El Camino need a public, neighborhood elementary school so they don't have to cross El Camino. That's what the new school should be. The new school is not big enough for BCS, anyway. BCS should go to another district site with sufficient room, such as Covington, which only recently re-opened (relatively speaking).

Posted by Surprised?
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 8:55 am

@Dee - I agree with everything you’re saying except LASD never had any intention of creating a new school NEC. That carrot was dangled only to get support for the bond. First, there was never any overcrowding that moving 6th grade to Middle school wouldn’t solve. 2nd, they don’t have the enrollment nor the budget to administrate an additional elementary school. Where would they get the money for that? LASD is shrinking, not growing. So to open a NEC school they’d have to close an existing neighborhood school which in all practicality would have to be Covington since that was designed as a middle school so all those kids have another neighborhood school. LASD panders to (or is part of) that well funded “never close Covington- we hate BCS” base which is why they created this whole move BCS to MV scenario to begin with.

Simple Solution to this Mess solved the problem but LASD doesn’t want to solve the problem. They want to “win” against BCS. The irony in all this is that if LASD wanted to get rid of BCS they should have adopted their educational model since that’s obviously what is drawing so many parents away from LASD into BCS. Innovative education is attractive and their methods are well researched and well documented as successful.

Posted by Hoping
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 12, 2018 at 9:11 am

Completely agree that 1) giving Covington to BCS along with hardcapping permanent growth, 2) reallocating Covington kids or make BCS give them preferential treatment in the lottery, 3) moving 6th grade to the MS, and 4) facilities upgrades to all sites/schools is the way to spend the $150M.

Not going to happen with the LASD leadership that we have all voted in, unfortunately. That's bad on the whole community for being sleep at the wheel.

Instead, either or both Oak-Springer and Almond-Santa Rita will be consolidated. LASD has a contingency plan and a rank order of school closings and always has (but won't share). You would reconstitute the district based on geography (radius) and miles to school as opposed to population. Gardner Bullis will always stay alive (it's too symbolic of the fight to close and there are too many powerful aka rich families to offend). Covington would also survive because it too is too symbolic as the headquarters, so all the other schools are destined to be the ones disadvantaged.

The families, PTAs and staff of the Impacted Schools should know what's coming to them. If your child can age out of LASD and into the high schools by the time this comes to pass, count your lucky stars. If you have kinders or 1st graders, heaven help you. You have no idea what you are getting yourself into.

Posted by NIMBY
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 9:14 am

“It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view.”
― George Eliot, Middlemarch

Let's get real. If the LASD Board really wanted to solve the facilities problem with BCS, there are a number of reasonable ways to do this which don't entail buying 10 acres of new land in the most expensive retail location. (Refresh on some interesting ideas which LASD pretty much ignored: Web Link

Here's MY idea - since LASD enrollment is shrinking, why not "share" the 20 acres with Covington? Why do we have to CLOSE Covington? Give residents at Covington priority enrollment to BCS so they receive something for the concession of having extra traffic in their neighborhood. Their real estate prices and rental incomes will go up - I promise it! If they want to stay at their neighborhood school of Covington, they may and if they want to try something different, now they have a choice!

Then use the existing BCS site at Egan for an NEC school and spend a good chunk of money making it into an amazing program enviable to the one at BCS. All schools get a piece of the $150mn bond money since no new land was purchased! I don't think it's rocket science, it's just dealing with some vocal NIMBYs.

The LASD Board sold residents a $150mn bond to solve the facilities problem and that didn't happen. Now it's time for the community to take back control and vote them out this election cycle.

Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 10:06 am

If BCS increases their enrollment to 1800, LASD pays $4K per child so that would mean that LASD would have to pay $7,200,000.00 per year. How is that fair that LASD is paying for kids outside of the Mountain View/Los Altos district boundaries? LASD is already paying $3,300,000.00 currently for their 825 students. They have more than doubled their enrollment since they opened. If BCS continues to increase their enrollment, LASD schools will have to close due to insufficient budget.

Posted by Ignorance is tragic
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2018 at 10:10 am

@LASD Parent, I hate to say it, but you are ignorant. I'm very sorry to tell you that. 99% of students attending BCS are LASD residents so by definition, they are NOT outside district boundaries. I think you just need to go home.

Posted by @ Hoping
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 10:15 am

Why would you think that santa Rita or almond would be consolidated? They each have close to 550 students. They are both very full. It’s more likely that smaller schools like Loyola would be closed. Curious why you said that.

Posted by @ @ Hoping
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 11:18 am

The morons running the district would consolidate Almond and Santa Rita onto one campus and move half of those kids to Covington.

Posted by Lynn
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 12:38 pm

It does NOT cost LASD $4000 per BCS student. If you believe that, please ask the LASD board for their analysis before repeating this lie. LASD is a Basic Aid district and therefore they are allowed to keep a set amount of funding despite how many students they educate. So without the 900 in-district students that currently attend BCS, LASD has a lot more money to spend on their own students. This is why they no longer run S.O.S. campaigns as they have done in the past. Sure, there is a cost to maintaining the two portable "camp" schools that BCS resides in, but that could also be negated if they were willing to reshuffle and allocate underutilized space on one of their other campuses to BCS.

Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 3:51 pm

It is mentioned in the article that BCS would like to discuss their enrollment numbers in a private session with a mediator. Do we even know if their enrollment numbers are and will it be increasing as much as this says it is? Transparency please BCS.

Posted by Costs
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 4:22 pm

The truth is that it saves LASD money to have kids move to BCS. The only way that
it could not would be if LASD kept paying the teachers and some classified staff for 900 kids attending BCS. 80% of LASD's expense is for teachers and classified staff supporting the classrooms. LASD saves something like $9K per child by not needing as many teachers. Also of course, LASD needs a whale of a lot fewer classrooms in this scenario too, and that's not free either.

Posted by When
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 4:28 pm

The big question on this bit about growth is when? This year LASD shrank by 160 students and Bullis Charter was capped at growing a max of 20 more. Where did the other 140 LASD kids go?

LASD keeps getting confused about now and the future. By the time this new school could open, even if BCS were to hold at 900 students (or even 880 as they were last year), the LASD enrollment at the start of that year would have shrunk from 4300 last year or 4140 this year. It will likely be at about 3600 students, even if BCS stayed at 880. Yes, it will shift around. There will be fewer at the 5 schools that don't serve NEC kids where some added housing will bring in some new families. In the schools which have NEC kids, the drop won't be as much.

Bullis Charter said to the demographer that it will be several years, maybe even 5 before they reach 1200 students. This is consistent with how they have grown from 600 to 900 over the last 4 years and then held steady this year. The idea about 1800 has to relate to 10 years from now. LASD just doesn't think well when it comes to timing things over 10 years in the future.

Posted by @When
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 4:37 pm

I think you will see a dramatic increase in BCS growth next year because they hate the idea of being forced onto the Kohl's site. It would not surprise me if BCS accepts every single in-district applicant for the 2019-2020 school year.

Posted by Phil Aaronson
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 12, 2018 at 5:29 pm

The LASD plan was to send BCS to Mtn View, on the other side of El Camino, and to hopefully (in their minds) offload Mtn View kids to BCS and to both preserve their own school sites from disruption and to make their own schools more attractive to Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents. It doesn't take a genius to read those tea leaves. There's a long history here, so this should not come as a huge surprise to anyone. What also shouldn't come as a huge surprise is the reaction from BCS. They said, fine, we'll grow. I suspect the amount they will announce they'll grow by will be exactly calculated to fill either the Egan or Blach sites on top of the new 900 person Mtn View site that's been proposed (or both). My suggestion would be for the LASD board to start making peace overtures. Now. Offer to let the BCS board design their own school on the new site with a budget, and to build one that is made to match their own curriculum instead of the cookie-cutter, least square feet in every category design Mr. Kenyon has been angling for. Do something to show that they are, a) supportive of BCS and it's mission and b) willing to negotiate to avoid further escalation. No one, I hope, wants a return to litigation.

Posted by Conspiracy Theory
a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2018 at 8:08 pm

This is what I mean about when. If BCS wants more room next year they need to reach agreement
with LASD by December, or they need to make formally a Prop 39 facilities request by then too.
They would then specify exactly what size they will be next year. So it's not going to be secret for
long, unless LASD reaches an agreement and chooses to keep it secret.

No, I don't think they will add enough room to take every student who has applied. That would be way
too big. It wouldn't be practical. But the main thing to appreciate is that they need more space NEXT YEAR,
not in 4 more years when some new construction can be done after land is purchased and Kohl's is
obliterated, etc. The thing is BCS voluntarily accepted less space than they need for their current
size. They are on very little space at Blach. Adding even 50 or 75 new students next year is going
to be a problem for LASD, because they also need to make up the lack of space for the current 900.
And, of course, there would likely be 50 or 75 more the following year, so LASD might want to think ahead.
This isn't a case of needing space all at once for 1800 though.

The thing is, LASD had notice that BCS wanted to grow beyond 900 way back 5 years ago. The 900 limit
was temporary, and LASD's position was they would have a solution well before now. Ooops. Didn't work.
This is no surprise that BCS would want to grow. They agreed to a limit back then that kept them from
growing by 70 this year, but instead made this year just a bump of 20. This is not the time to also expect
them to do no growth next year. It wouldn't be fair to the students waiting to get in.

One thing I think people don't realize is that there are empty classrooms at Oak and at Loyola, and there
will be more still next year at these 2 schools. We're talking maybe 4 to 6 empty classrooms. I guess LASD might
seek to use one of these clusters of classrooms to serve growth from BCS. These schools don't have the clout of Covington to resist all sharing. It really isn't unreasonable to share a site with part of the charter school. It would take time to work out and LASD has stalled this out to the last possible minute. They have had 5 years to plan and they have had discussions where BCS indicated their plans for next year starting over 6 months ago. LASD just isn't very good at looking ahead in time.

Posted by Fake News by LASD BOT
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 12, 2018 at 10:50 pm

I am surprised none of the LASD PR team has been recruited to work in the white house.

1) Fact- LASD could not afford to educate all the BCS students. That is right. LASD actually has more money to spend on each LASD student with more students going to BCS. LASD keeps all tax revenue but has less students. Simple math is that LASD spends more money per kid as a result. Do the math

2) Fact- LASD enrollment is declining by a whole school over the last 3 years. Yet LASD wants to build a new school for enrollment growth. LASD does not want to consolidate any campuses, and spend the savings on improving the quality of the program and existing schools. Get the data and look for yourself

3) Fact- LASD uses their board meetings to spin fake news and get the community all worked up over baseless lies LASD perpetuates.

4)Fact- 6th graders do better with a middle school model- LASD is one of 2 districts in the state of CA that do not have a 6-8 middle school experience. LASD does not want to move to this model because of facilities.

5) Fact- LASD will float another bond to fix up our current schools after they spend all the bond money to build a new school on the 10th site. Taxpayers should be told the truth NOW.

Get your facts. Dont believe in the fake news. Get educated.

Posted by Day trader
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 12, 2018 at 11:06 pm

There's a bit of a North Los Altos vs South Los Altos favoritism. The LASD board caters to Gardner Bullis and Covington. There's no real representation or affinity for Oak, Loyola or Springer which are clearly not growing in population as reported above. The growth is all in Santa Rita and Almond. But that's where the conundrum lie. Santa Rita and Almond have a more diverse population, their facilities are more taxed, they are more commuter schools given the NEC dynamic, and it's in the zones that "normal" families are applying to BCS at a higher ratio than anywhere else in Los Altos. It's self selection and self preservation for those families. Why keep my child in a less desirable public school in LASD when I can, for the same commute and proximity put my kid into BCS at Egan. The countless times I've heard that logic from families is comparable to the number of times I see a Waymo car on our local streets here.

LASD isn't one unified, monolithic thing like BCS is. It's actually a federation of 3 states - the rich ones (Gardner, Covington), the poor ones (Santa Rita, Almond), and the ones likely to secede, though not on their own volition (Oak, Springer, Loyola). Go back and track the capital improvements by school and other resource allocations from prior bond measures.

If this was the stock market, you go long on Gardner, Covington while shorting Almond and Santa Rita. Oak, Springer, Loyola will be all about option value to see who takes them out.

Posted by @ Day Trader
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 7:47 am

Love your analogy. So true! But the LASD BoTs DON'T CARE! That's the beauty of the whole thing. We have a very corrupt BoT. Someone should write a book.

Posted by Santa Rita Parent
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

That's an interesting analogy, Day Trader, but not very accurate in regards to Santa Rita (I can't speak for Almond). Santa Rita is certainly not "poor" or a "commuter school" or less desirable than BCS. In my experience, the Santa Rita community is amazing and loses very few students to BCS. One thing I have observed, however, is that new families who move into the Santa Rita attendance area are told by the district that Santa Rita is full and they have to attend a different LASD school. Many of these families inevitable end up applying to BCS where they are welcomed with open arms. It's a shame because Santa Rita is actually not full (my opinion) and the district is manipulating these new families in an effort to balance attendance across schools.

Posted by Santa Rita mom
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 12:57 pm

@ santa Rita parent — thank you for your tactful comment; I agree completely. Santa Rita is in no way a commuter school or poor. The community is very tight knit. I literally know 1 student who left after 6th for BCS.
Ironically we were in the Almond boundaries when we were overflowed to Santa Rita. I think that some grades are full at SR but definitely not all, you are right.
I wish more people weren’t so quick to slam neighborhood schools when they’re upset with the district. Our kids matter too.

Posted by All kids matter
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Yes, all kids should matter. Which is why it is even more appalling that Bryan Johnson (a SR parent btw) said that LASD doesn't want its kids crossing El Camino. Well, MV kids cross all the time to get to SR, Almond and Covington. If BCS is put on the ridiculous 10th site, then MV kids are still crossing El Camino and so are 800+ BCS kids (and despite what they say, many ride bikes or walk).

So why do MV and BCS kids matter less? I agree that neighborhood schools are great. So make the 10th site a neighborhood school, not a lottery school. Or better yet, save the money and fix all the LASD schools and move 6th to Egan/Blach. That helps everyone.

MV City Council -- wake up and realize the game going on here. My guess is that if you stipulate that it should be a neighborhood school (and you can't make BCS be one) you would see the LASD Board of Trustees enthusiasm drop considerably.

If that happens, and you are afraid of not getting a park, well, if the site is BCS you can be assured that LASD will do EVERYTHING possible to marginalize what is built there -- building and outdoor space.

And it's time for McAllister to recuse himself no matter that the ruling is. It is unethical (though maybe yes or no unlawful) for him to be voting when the alternative is perhaps losing Covington as a site for his preschool.

Posted by LASD strategy?
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Maybe LASD wants BCS to grow as LASD pockets $6,000 + (since LASD is Basic Aid, not per student reimbursement) for each student that attends BCS. So if BCS grows to 1200, that means $7.2 million extra for the even fewer kids left at LASD. Interesting strategy -- act terribly and get reward financially. Maybe they are smarter than they appear.

Posted by Pay attention
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 2:31 pm

People better pay close attention to what’s going on. The Don’t Move Egan Group has mobilized and are supporting the current LASD BoT because they want to maintain small neighborhood schools and they fear BCS growing to the point of closing those neighborhood schools. IMO this is naive and may be their upending because the LASD board has shown that their top priority is to buck BCS not to reach an amaiable compromise which everyone can live with (consider the fact that they could have moved to a 6-8 model years ago yet continue to ignore that obvious solution to not needing a 10th site). If BCS retaliates by growing enormously the end result will be the closing of more schools. The district can’t afford to keep all the schools open without commensurate enrollment. They could give BCS to Covington now and maybe get an agreement from BCS to cap their enrollment in exchange. Under that scenario, with 6th grade moved to middle school, everybody that wants one gets a small neighborhood school, BCS gets their own campus and (what’s left of) the $150M can be used to improve all schools. It’s a win-win. But I don’t think the majority of residents are even aware of that reasonable compromise. That support group needs to mobilize to educate their friends and neighbors to the best solution and to vote a supportive LASD BoT. And fight for it. Otherwise we’re goong to be mired in litigation and back to an ugly LASD vs BCS feud and the $150M will be pissed away on litigation and/or construction of a school that will be outgrown before it’s even completed.

Posted by Not rocket Science
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 13, 2018 at 2:32 pm

Day trader's observations that Santa Rita and Almond are the "armpit" schools to the LASD Board are not inaccurate. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look around those campuses and see how dilapidated they are. Covington and Gardner Bullis definitely get preferential treatment. LASD permitted the Grizzly Center thru a private donation and claimed that donor would not allow those funds to be shared with other schools. Imagine if a rich parent at BCS offered free laptops and new furniture for his kid's classroom only, not the rest of the school....other parents would be up in arms. At LASD, a $2million+ donation for only ONE school is apparently permitted.
Web Link

Posted by @ pay attention
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 3:59 pm

It appears you’re making an assumption that some residents are idiots. I assure you we are not. The K-6 model is very loved by all schools at LASD. Just because MVWSD doesn’t use this model doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. My kids thrived in 6th at santa Rita and were well-prepared for 7th in junior high.
I think more people are aware of what’s going on than you give them credit for. I don’t think there’s a simple solution of “move 6th to middle, give away Covington, and call it a day”. That’s not a win-win for both sides. So on we go.

Posted by What?
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 4:01 pm

@Not rocket science- since when are parents not allowed to donate to their own school? PTAs raise money for their own schools all over the country. I don’t have a kid at BG but BGs grizzly center certainly doesn’t harm my child. If a parent buys a car for his 16 yr old should he also buy one for everyone else in the class?

Posted by @ rocket science
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 4:02 pm

While I appreciate your example of giving to one classroom, when one parent donates to their own school, the district cannot force them to share their donation with multiple schools. The district can either accept the one-school donation gratefully or deny it because it’s “not fair”. We are not at GB, but if a big donation comes into GB, I’d still encourage them to accept it.

Posted by Not my kids
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 13, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Sorry to inform Bryan Johnson et al, but LASD kids have been crossing El Camino since there was an LASD. Please look outside your own do you think ALL NEC kids currently get to school?! I even see VERY young kids (looks like 1-2nd graders crossing ECR on their bikes alone.) These kids need and deserve a campus of their own.

Check out pic from this afternoon:
Web Link

If any LASD trustees are reading this: "Open eye, open eye." as my Chinese mother used to tell me when posing for pictures. You guys keep screwing yourselves with your short-sightedness. Had you not vehemently opposed the election of Tanya Raschke (and Amanda Aaronson before Tanya), you could have a BCS ally that would currently be thumping the tables on your behalf to BCS parents to accept the Kohl's deal. (Duh - ALL Crossing residents are dying to have a public park next to them.) Instead you got yourselves some real gems as trustees - lame ducks and uninspired, self-interested idiots who like to hear their own voices. Please learn from your mistakes - even my pets know how to do this. You can too.

Posted by Crossing ECR
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 4:12 pm

Kids cross ECR to get to better schools than the city they live in. Based on scores and parent experience, LASD (and BCS) > MVWSD. To everyone complaining, would you rather NEC kids go to MVWSD? They do live in Mountain View don’t they? They’re happy to go to LASD.

Posted by Pay attention
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2018 at 4:54 pm

@@Pay attention- I’m sure that the K-6 model is loved by some LASD parents and not so much by others. But regardless of your view, the fact is that there’s a ton of room at both Egan and Blach and moving 6th to those campuses would eliminate the need for a 10th site. 6-8 is a well researched and well accepted model throughout the country and asking taxpayers to foot a $150M bill just because some parents prefer K-6 is unreasonable. While your kids thrived in 6th at Santa Rita I’m pretty sure they would have thrived at Egan as well. Don’t be so fearful of something new. It’s called flexibility and working for the good of all. If you choose to dig in now the folks behind you at Santa Rita are probably going to pay a price and could even lose their whole school.

Posted by 6-8 model makes sense
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 13, 2018 at 5:32 pm

Because the 6-8 model has been proven to be the most effective, most curriculum for 6th graders is based on a middle school model. As a teacher, it is more challenging to teach that curriculum in an elementary school. Middle school has a different structure to the day and also has specialist teachers. By not adopting this model, LASD is making putting 6th grade teachers and children at a disadvantage. Why? Because if they moved 6th graders to Egan and Blach, any need for a 10th site goes away.

It's time LASD did what is best for students, teachers and families -- go to a middle school model.

Posted by resident
a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 14, 2018 at 9:00 am

This is a challenge problem with long history, need a fresh view to solve it.
We don't want to waste tax money on the fight, we want to allocate the resource to every kids.

Vote Ying Liu for LASD board at

Posted by Bart
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2018 at 6:44 pm

My kids currently go to a 6-8 middle school, and I do agree first-hand with the comments above that this is the best model. Until they reached 6th grade, I had a different opinion.

And the education “professionals” should also have been aware for a long time that this model has some great advantages.

Looking back over the years, I agree it’s likely the main reason LASD does not run 6-8 middle schools is to avoid giving an existing elementary campus to BCS. All sad and frustrating—the LASD/BCS saga continues, we are collectively $150M+ poorer, so much time and energy has been wasted, and the children do not benefit from the best educational model.

Posted by Also
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2018 at 7:54 pm

@Bart - they won’t benefit from the best educational model and the LASD kids won’t get the needed improvements to their schools either.

Posted by Abe Froman
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 12:27 pm

Anyone hear the new LASD enrollment numbers?

Posted by Enrollment Numbers
a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2018 at 10:35 pm

Logically, the LASD enrollment numbers should be down 200 from what they were at the start of last year. This is because of the diminished population at each age level, starting with K in fall 2015. Last year's 8th grade class had 564 students.
As each class moves up they are replaced the next youngest year. K this year
was under 400 and Pre-K was lower as well. Because nearly every grade is smaller
than the next oldest, the trend results in about a 200 student decrease this year.
It should be similar next year as well and after that too, and so on. Hopefully some new kids do move into housing in the San Antonio area and along El Camino Real, but these are small numbers compared to the population declines.

It's weird that LASD is sitting on this. Perhaps this means they are about to pull the trigger on the Federal Real Estate deal. Obviously they can't hide the population decline much longer. They must be in denial about next year, but it will drop too. Before this new school can open, LASD will have lost 600 more students to population drop off. What ignorance there is to not react accurately to the situation.

Posted by This is disgusting.
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 25, 2018 at 2:05 am

I've read enough of this crap. I'm never voting for another school bond in this city again. This is petty, stupid, and ridiculous. I don't and won't have kids so I'd normally just stay out of this, but seeing the arguments here I think the money should be repurposed to benefit everyone (not schools). And get off my lawn!

Posted by A concerned LA property owner
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2018 at 3:37 pm

This is a situation where all outcomes look terrible.
- Spending $150M for a new site is a waste of money, when there is more than enough land at the existing schools.
- Having more kids crossing El Camino Real, whether BCS or otherwise, to go to a school next to shopping mall, is not good for anyone.
- Damaging the unique character of Los Altos neighborhood schools, where kids walk and bike to school, is awful for our community. It is our kids that create the fabric of the community, where neighbors become friends. The existence of BCS already has damaged this fabric. Giving them Egan or Covington and forcing even more kids to commute (to where?) would make the problem even worse.
- A separate but related problem is the addition of so much housing in Mtn View and the strain it will put on Santa Rita, Almond, and Egan.
- The best solution would be: Dissolve BCS, reintegrate the kids into their neighborhood schools, spend money as needed to upgrade/expand existing sites. Redistrict LASD to exclude Mtn View and let Mtv View buy & build the Kohl's site for a K-8 school.
- Unfortunately, it seems that BCS parents care less about the community and more about being able to send their kids to a semi-private school on the public dime. Change my mind if I'm wrong.

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


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

The Economics of Residential Rooftop Solar
By Sherry Listgarten | 49 comments | 4,792 views

Neighbors feeding neighbors: Rebyl Food connects Coastside community
By The Peninsula Foodist | 4 comments | 1,941 views

Dating/Dating Profile: Say What You Are Looking For
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,901 views

Why Give Up Delicious Things?
By Laura Stec | 13 comments | 1,713 views

Business tax in Palo Alto
By Steve Levy | 0 comments | 1,427 views