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Los Altos parents rally against moving Egan for Bullis Charter School

Original post made on Apr 9, 2019

A huge crowd of parents slammed a proposal to give the Egan Junior High School campus to Los Altos' growing charter school, calling it a bad deal that gives up the "crown jewel" of the Los Altos School District for little in return.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 1:51 PM

Comments (23)

10 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:38 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

I've got a quick question for Wanny Hersey: "If there were zero restrictions, how many students do you THINK you could get to sign onto the Bullis Charter Program?"

I agree that losing a school campus is a bitter pill to swallow but remember that the VAST majority of Bullis Charter students are, in fact, Los Altos residents.

That being said, given unlimited resources there are plenty of places in Los Altos Hills that would be suitable for a school exceeding 1500 - grades K-8. These include the Fenwick Residence, the Poor Clares site (a huge piece of land off Natoma Road) and, of course, the Jesuit Retreat off of University Ave in Los Altos.

DO not claim that these sites cannot be taken. We are within a gnat's behind of exercising eminent domain and it's just as easy to seize a piece of property from a religious order as it is from anyone else. A political can of worms? Absolutely. But what do we have now?

The current "site" for the new school is so awful I cannot begin to imagine.

Thanks for listening.


19 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:46 pm

This should be the real question:

Why does Bullis Charter School even exist???


6 people like this
Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:52 pm

Just Curious is a registered user.

"Huge crowd" is a bit of an exaggeration, isn't it?

...and event organizers estimate as many as 150 people showed up during the peak of the four-hour walkout.


12 people like this
Posted by Answer Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2019 at 2:57 pm

@Just Curious, No, I'd say 150 is a huge crowd for a local town issue like this. Compared to the usual number of people showing up, 150 is very much out of the ordinary on the large size, so in comparison, it was a huge turn out.


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Posted by Jesuit Retreat Center
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 9, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Perfect! Randy and Jeff- get working on taking private property from the Jesuit’s! You guys are hilarious. Don’t you think these two would have considered every inch west of Foothill BY NOW after 15 years?


11 people like this
Posted by Los Altos Parent
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2019 at 3:22 pm

Los Altos Parent is a registered user.

Clarification for Just Curious: The “huge crowd” was in reference to last night’s LASD board meeting, which was unbelievably packed full of parents and community members. 150 was in reference to the rally outside of Egan yesterday morning, which I’d say is pretty large for busy working parents during rush hour and those with small children, whom this would affect.


46 people like this
Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 9, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Politics is a registered user.

Let's not forget, the original idea for the 10th school site at the San Antonio Shopping Center was to put BCS there. If the site isn't OK for 7-8 now, was it ever OK for BCS's K-8 kids?

For 15 years, what BCS has wanted is equitable and equivalent facilities to operate a public school. For 15 years, LASD and their political patrons have fought to deny them this. Now here we are.


9 people like this
Posted by concerned taxpayer
a resident of Gemello
on Apr 9, 2019 at 3:34 pm

When my child was growing up I did not live in a high performing district like LASD so I had to pay tuition for my child to get a great education--why live in LA, and pay taxes if you don't like the school system? The original intent of charter schools is to provide all kids access to a quality education--especially if they lived in a poor performing district--can anyone from BCS tell me that schools in Los Altos are poor performing? and all the litigation costs have taken more $$ away from the kids..


45 people like this
Posted by Half Empty Half Full
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2019 at 4:02 pm

LASD serves 4000 kids in 4 different cities. They have two junior high schools that each have an attendance area of 8 square miles. Included in the area for Egan is a small quarter square mile on the Mountain View side of El Camino Real. Currently about one third of Egan students cross El Camino to reach Egan for school. It's not a school in their neighborhood. Egan is only in the neighborhood of maybe 10-20% of the kids who attend Egan. The rest travel to get to school, with many arriving in cars.

Going forward, the population is growing in the Egan attendance area around where the new school is going to be located. There is no change planned for 5 years. During the 5 years, LASD is going to spend $100 Million building a brand new school in the residential area planned for California Street, adjacent to The Crossings.
They have worked out a deal to get $100 Million worth of land for free, so long as it serves kids in that area. So a brand new $200 Million school is being built.

Planning in advance, the district is stating intentions to make use of this beautiful new facility to replace the aging Egan facilities. It will also be located in the neighborhood which provides 50% of its students, as opposed to the current location which is in the neighborhood of 20% of the Egan students.

Sounds like a good deal for Egan to me.


23 people like this
Posted by Half Empty Half Full
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Lucky charter school. For 15 years they have existed in really poorly laid out portable buildings using just under half of the Egan campus. No permanent buildings. Now if they way 6 or 7 more years they will get to use the 65 year old decrepit buildings that were built over the years for Egan. How dare they ask for the worst of the two set of facilities? Who do they think they are. The parents of these 1000 students don't pay any property taxes at all. How dare they!


26 people like this
Posted by Bullis Paid Msg Boarders
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2019 at 4:10 pm

So please don't let it be lost here that there is a consorted effort to try and "Shape up" the public image of Bullis using these very msg boards. Look very hard at msgs that look more like advertisements. Those are the professionals, trying to reshape all the negative public opinion. Bullis is practically a curse word for so many that they know they need to stop the public relations bleeding.


8 people like this
Posted by psr
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 9, 2019 at 4:32 pm

psr is a registered user.

@ Politics
First of all, BCS doesn't care about equitable facilities. The single reason they are in existence is to punish LASD for closing Bullis Purissima School years ago. Their mission is to get the district to hand over a school to them.

As for "equitable" facilities, how, exactly, is handing over a junior high school to a school with predominately k-6 children attending, "fair and equitable" to the rest of the children in the district? If this deal goes through, every other child in the district will have inferior facilities to BCS. That is unacceptable.

@ concerned taxpayer

You are right to question why BCS is even here. The reason is that a bunch of disgruntled parents with deep pockets decided they would work the loopholes in the charter law to punish the district that made a decision they didn't like. They have been punishing the district ever since. They don't care about the effect on the children, whose community they had damaged and whose schools have had less money due to frivolous lawsuits filed by the charter. It's hard to have sympathy for the down-trodden BCS students when they go on field trips to China. Meanwhile, the district children generally stay within the confines of the state. Hardly "equitable".

It is interesting to note that Mountain View City Council appears to be manipulating this situation a fair amount. Is it true that they have made it impossible for the charter to be placed on the new site due to restrictions they have placed on the deal? Why is it that this "deal" sounds remarkably like what Margaret Abe-Koga said should be done, despite vocal opposition from the parents of the district children? It sounds like she is the puppet master here.

It is notable that the MVCC endorsed Tanya Raschke in the election before last for LASD board despite the fact that she is a BCS parent and no LASD parents are on the BCS board. I don't know who they endorsed, if anyone, in the last election, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was Ying Liu, the BCS candidate. Why is the Mountain View Council so cozy with BCS? Do they have their thumb on the scale with regard to this deal?

Also, why is the "task force" that came up with this idea made up of three BCS representatives and only two from LASD? How is that "fair and equitable? LASD has far more students, yet BCS has a bigger voice in this decision. Once again, this seems biased against the children in LASD.

There are several other possibilities that have yet to be considered here and they should be. NONE of the LASD schools should be moved or closed for the benefit of BCS. This "deal" is not a compromise. It doesn't even get a permanent cap on BCS enrollment at the cost of a beloved campus. It looks like capitulation, but I suspect there is far more to it. The board may be trying to avoid the inevitable lawsuit that would result from BCS not getting to take over a school from the district (their goal), but there may be more to it.

We need to know how much more of this iceberg lies beneath the surface.


8 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 9, 2019 at 7:04 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

I noted one person talked about "taking away the Jesuit retreat."

The retreat is a huge piece of spectacular property and, honestly, it isn't used much. A school would use the property, in its entirety, for nine or ten months every single year.

The Jesuits are a great bunch of folks (I'm an alumni of Santa Clara University) but our local community has a great need of this property. Has anyone even ASKED the Jesuit community if they would consider such a request?

PS: My son was trained by the Jesuits at St. Mary's of Moraga and his opinion mirrors mine, the Jesuit community is awesome!

And as far as the LASD Board looking at all possible properties available, I'd be stunned if they'd ever considered the Jesuit Retreat or the Poor Clares site.


4 people like this
Posted by Hey James Thurber
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2019 at 7:49 pm

Hey James Thurber is a registered user.

Bring it on! Rally up the troops to move BCS to one of those beautiful sites! Don't wait. Voting in a few weeks. Save Egan. Yeah.


1 person likes this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 11, 2019 at 11:53 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

For most of the public charter school legal fights here - the law firm DWK was the advisor/litigation attorney for LASD. DWK often lost. But DWK loves to fight against charters - they get paid, win or loose and they do not accept charter schools to represent (ever).
Web Link

Has the LASD now changed their lawyers - to ones that are willing to negotiate or mediate an agreement? Is DWK now sidelined? [ MVWSD's Superintendent has chosen DWK representation in his "legal fight" ]

Same questions for Bullis Charter School - do they now have legally competent "negotiators/mediators" (have they abandoned their lawyer/fighters?)


2 people like this
Posted by James Thurber
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 11, 2019 at 7:06 pm

James Thurber is a registered user.

My guess is that Mountain View is going to tell the Charter School folks to take a hike - considering that the Charter "bagged" Mountain View this year.

I shouldn't make so many comments but I'm a retired Los Altos School Teacher, know Wanny Hersey quite well, and hopefully have maintained a neutral attitude.

But I am STUNNED at the TOTAL failure of LASD to deal with their $150 million bond that was awarded many years ago. They've just (essentially) been sitting on the money without a conceivable idea in sight. Heck, I had plenty of ideas. So did many other teachers, not only in Los Altos but in Mountain View and Palo Alto.

So what happened? Where did the leadership go? Where is the leadership today?

Somebody needs to call up the ghost of General Patton and get him going on it. Things would be solved in about 30 minutes, at the most. If that's not possible ask a 4th grader what to do. He / she probably have a perfect solution.

Thanks for listening.


2 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2019 at 10:06 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The district started to make vague efforts to acquire new land over 7 years ago. They had the idea that they could pay $2 Million per acre and get land in the San Antonio area or elsewhere. Well, they found out that even in the sticks the land costs more than that and it was increasing every year in the San Antonio area. They spent a lot of time trying to get land in all sorts of places. This continued after they got Measure N approved. About 3 years ago now, they got a grasp on the potential of this TDR process, but they spent time looking at various sites in the San Antonio area once more. Some were too small, and many had projects pending. For some unknown reason they initially ruled out the Federal Realty property without giving it a serious analysis. They spent a long time going after the Greystar project that was much less suitable and much more expensive for them had they tried to condemn it for public use. Greystar was not interested in selling as they were very close to beginning construction. Greystar though pointed them at Federal Realty who turned out to be actually receptive to the idea of a friendly condemnation. That's what they are working on now, but it turns out even friendly condemnations take time.

All this effort caused them to take notice of the population explosion in the San Antonio area, and they mixed in concern for that with the previous problem of finding a long term solution for BCS. 7 years ago this was 10-12 years in the future. Now it is only 5 years away from being realized that the NEC population is significantly greater than it has been (fairly steady) over the past 10 years.
Had they rushed ahead with work for BCS, the wouldn't have prepared to deal with the San Antonio property growth. If the Egan move goes through, they will have organized things to handle the growth in the San Antonio (NEC) area. But there are a lot short sided people in the community who still deny that this is a consideration. They don't even realize Mountain View kids go to Egan, let alone turn into 50% of the population within 5-7 years.

So poor Bullis just sits and waits while the district debates whether or not to plan ahead for the NEC growth, and what might be done about it. This in spite of Federal Realty, Greystar and the city of Mountain View agreeing to cooperate to the point that the land on California Avenue will be essentialy free of any cost to LASD.

It's like the monkey banging on a typewriter. LASD is maybe doing good without knowing just WHAT they are doing, or at least without sharing it with the community at large along the way. Everything is BCS BCS BCS. The ignored issue is NEC NEC NEC. The people in Los Altos around Egan are so entitled that they can't see they are sabotaging the future good of the NEC area by their unreasonable complaints.


2 people like this
Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 12, 2019 at 1:45 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@LongResident. Thank you. It is often hard for a parent of a student at a close-by school, to see the issues of Best For the Whole Community. We had it in MVWSD, when an old Bd. of Trustees was so concerned with SEC. (South of El Camino = Bubb and Huff and Graham Middle school. 1/5 of the population of the district, and 1/4 of the students)

Eventually, when less SEC people were on the Bd, and more NOT (North of the Tracks) the dynamics of Best For the Whole Community started to change, the Bd. was more representative of the entire MVWSD / not just SEC. It takes Trustees who are not Narrow in their Thinking and seeing for the best long term interests of All the Community to emerge. It is not easy, it is never easy!

In LASD, it seems to me, that community also includes NEC and the families that live there (& BCS students). The Board of LASD (minus Ivan the Terrible) seem to understand that better now. God bless them. May they have "a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence" to guide them through this difficult time.


2 people like this
Posted by A.Source
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2019 at 4:02 pm

A.Source is a registered user.

@James Thurber. BCS has 1100+ students now and says it has a waiting list that will let it grow to as much as 1800 over several more years. [Egan has 600-700.] Over the years, a number of folks from LAH have tried to interest LASD trustees in buying land in beautiful LAH. I think it never appealed to the trustees...because they have been selling us on "enrollment growth" caused by housing development in the MV part of the LASD, affectionately called NEC, North of El Camino. The rationale to buy land in NEC is because there are lots of kids concentrated there.
They have population density maps to prove it.
Web Link
and data here Web Link
Web Link


6 people like this
Posted by A.Source
a resident of another community
on Apr 12, 2019 at 4:18 pm

A.Source is a registered user.

@ Steve Nelson. It is interesting that the MVWSD Superintendent Rudolph is using the DWK pitbull law firm used by prior LASD boards to now litigate against the BullisMV... which isn't even an authorized charter yet! It's just an unsigned charter petition.


2 people like this
Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2019 at 1:07 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@A.Source
"a resident of another community"

Just say "a parent of the BCS community"

"It is interesting that the MVWSD Superintendent Rudolph is using the DWK pitbull law firm used by prior LASD boards to now litigate against the BullisMV..."

I would call it a sign of wisdom.
If you're forced to go up against a group of people who have spent years litigating against school districts, why wouldn't you want a law firm with the most experience in such law-suits?

I would be concerned if Dr. Rudolph hired a real-estate lawyer for the job, wouldn't you find that to be a wreckles choice?

"which isn't even an authorized charter yet!"

Actually, after the Dec 20th MVWSD Board meeting vote to authorize BMV, the BMV leadership sent a happy letter to the MVWSD thanking them for the approval and then BMV went on to take many other steps that they could ONLY LEGALLY take if they had in fact been authorized by the MVWSD.

The BMV leadership did and said everything you would expect of a charter that had been authorized and was now in the process of getting ready for an opening. The BMV leadership even set up an all day meeting with Rudolph and the District staff to go over implementation details on March 22nd (date?).

The BMV leadership then publicaly canceled at the last minute NOT by notifying the MVWSD, but by putting out a press release, which is how Dr. Rudolph found out about the canceled meeting. Then the BMV told other people and LASTLY BMV notified Dr. Rudolph the meeting was off and BMV was not going to open this fall.

" It's just an unsigned charter petition."

Funny how it took BMV until March to decide to play things that way.
From Dec 20th until March, BMV did everything as if they knew they had been lawfully authorized.


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Posted by ST parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 14, 2019 at 1:19 pm

ST parent is a registered user.

@Bullis Paid Msg Boarders

"So please don't let it be lost here that there is a consorted effort to try and "Shape up" the public image of Bullis using these very msg boards."

Not to worry, if the known behavior of BCS were not bad enough to permanently poison their name, here comes BMV, Bullis Mountain View, leadership who has once again reinforced the long-standing public perception of the name "Bullis".

BMV leadership has pretty much made any outside voices of either bias pointless. It is futile to try to rehabilitate the Bullis name and the anti-charter people from LASD or other counties are irrelevant to the people of the MVWSD.

It's always obvious when posters are nothing but shills for one side or the other and their claims don't mean a thing. Only the actions of BCS and BMV leaders matters and we all see those clearly.

Bullis is a poisoned brand and only BMV and BCS leaders themselves can change that.


Look very hard at msgs that look more like advertisements. Those are the professionals, trying to reshape all the negative public opinion. Bullis is practically a curse word for so many that they know they need to stop the public relations bleeding.


5 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Apr 14, 2019 at 3:01 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

ST Resident overlooks the fact that the main purpose of moving Egan is to get it California Avenue in Mountain View. LASD sought new land to address population growth in that part of Mountain View. Already there are 170 residents of that area among Egan's 550 students. But the number is set to grow, at least according to the LASD board. They begged the Mountain View city council for help with this population growth. They never said a word about Bullis.

They got the land, and now they can build a new expanded school. They like small elementary schools, just like MVWSD and ST Parent. The LASD average elementary size at present is 450 students, much like MVWSD's goal. So the LASD Board notices that Egan is in bad shape and they want to prepare to move 6th grade onto Egan in the future and have a more up to snuff school facility. So they decide to give the beautiful new campus on which they are prepared to spend $100 Million to Egan. So the leftovers in 5-7 years can go to Bullis and solve another problem.

ST parent should realize that comments may all be about Bullis but the real beneficiaries of the new school will be the people in Mountain View around California Street on both sides of San Antonio Road. They attend LASD schools and have no neighborhood school in the area at present. But there are 700 K-8 kids living there and the LASD forecast is for over 1000 within 5 years from now.


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