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LASD board approves Bullis Charter deal without moving Egan Junior High

Original post made on Apr 30, 2019

To delayed but hearty applause, the Los Altos School District board of trustees voted 5-0 Monday night to approve an agreement with Bullis Charter School, without relocating Egan Junior High School and give its campus to the charter school.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 1:58 PM

Comments (48)

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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 4:22 pm

Just Curious is a registered user.

Let me check, if I got this right:

1. Behind the closed doors the parties mediated an agreement: BCS limits their growth and sits on the current facilities while LASD will be building a new school to move Egan there.

2. BCS board voted to approve the agreement.

3. LASD board scrapped the agreement, but voted to offer BCS to follow it in exchange for nothing, just because they liked it.

What do I miss?


54 people like this
Posted by Los Altos Observer
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Exactly. LASD and BCS spent more than a year mediating an agreement that meets LASD's legal obligation to provide equitable space for BCS's in-district students. Then LASD cherry-picked the parts they liked (enrollment cap) and removed the parts they didn't like (providing an actual facility beyond the two portable camps BCS students are currently located in).


42 people like this
Posted by Games
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 5:37 pm

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LASD is playing a dangerous game. Why would BCS settle for a two year agreement with no permanent facilities and the enrollment cap? LASD is hoping that BCS will go back to the land of Prop 39. Funny that Loyola threw such a fit with the original offer and refused to allow BCS kids on their campus. We might just end up back where we started. BoT Kicks the Can and district parents punt the ball from one school to the next. Clearly, we love to play lots of games in this wealthy district. What happened to BCS and LASD jointly supporting Measure N to address enrollment growth NEC in exchange for permanent facilities for BCS? Funny that has also been all but forgotten. Lots of games.


29 people like this
Posted by Los Altos Resident
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 5:43 pm

The district held countless community sessions to review ideas over the past 5 years and never allowed real consideration of this or any idea other than the outcome they wanted at the time. Then they negotiated this agreement for 1-1/2 years and then failed to articulate why this was better than the other ideas that the LASD Board claims to have exhaustively considered. Old ideas are being recirculated now by newcomers who weren't around or involved last time they were proposed and shut down by LASD in the past years of discussion. Is it any wonder there was a strong reaction? Is it any wonder that as always they are trying to blame BCS instead of blaming itself for handling this so poorly and seeming like they don't have enough brains to have done a thorough analysis on these options? Is there hope that this LASD Board as a whole will actually be open minded for the first time in 15+ years, to avoid foolish mistakes of the past caused by their unwillingness to reasonably follow the law?


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Posted by Prop 39
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 5:53 pm

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@ Games.

Correct. Back to Prop 39. Way to go LASD.
Web Link


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Posted by WrongHeadline
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 6:11 pm

The LASD Board unilaterally approved an agreement which is not an agreement "without moving Egan Junior High". There was never any feasible way to move Egan Jr High before at least 5 years.

Vlad's take on this was not peaceful. The agreement that got the charter students to agree to keep kids out was one that provided for a 10-12 year solution. The LASD take on BCS was that they "unilaterally" expanded but that overlooks all the waiting applicants. LASD is doing everything it can to raise a negative attitude toward those families who CHOOSE to attend the charter school because they don't like the LASD program. BCS cannot be unilateral in expanding. They have to have family interest. Couching this as something like them sucking in or swirling away families from LASD is just a mega-Lie. In the past, LASD has accused BCS of being elitist and exclusive, and not accepting a board range of applicants, or not drawing them in. Constantly LASD uses these tactics which dissuade certain families from participating in BCS, e.g. lower income, less intense parents, those who feel like guests in LASD schools because they are not in $3 Million homes. Vlad is a prime proponent of the idea that you have to be rich to have a stake in LASD. His comments are invalid.

LASD needs to make up its mind and act consistently. There is no reason for BCS to invoke a plan to EXCLUDE some new students while LASD is hurling invective at them. So, 2 years and a cap is a no go. BCS would be very cooperative to agree to wait one year, but after that, if no plan is prepared, then there need not be a cap.


16 people like this
Posted by LASD Resident
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2019 at 9:34 pm

Looking at the school district the critical need is a new neighborhood elementary school to serve the growing student population which lives in the City of Mountain View around the area of the proposed new 10 acre campus north of El Camino Real.

If another campus is needed to be built to house students for the Los Altos School District then the appropriate location for this district school would be in the neighborhood where the most students who are not currently served by a neighborhood elementary school reside—the area North of El Camino – where over 550 student now reside and cross State Route 82 El Camino Real each day to attend school. The presence of many board members residences near to Covington Elementary School does not give children who live near to Covington Elementary School more rights to a neighborhood school then the less well represented children living near the proposed Junior High School tenth campus in Mountain View.

Even if this school board chooses to build a middle school on that site in Mountain View, at some point it would seem most likely that a rational school board will meet the legitimate needs of that group of students to have a neighborhood elementary school, and remodel and relocated the junior high school that this board builds there. The irrationality of having k-6 students cross a state highway ( El Camino Real) when a school could be built near to them escapes me.


I appreciate that the school board thinks that it is threading a needle of school closure and not upsetting the friends and neighbors of the current school board members by closing a current junior high school, not an elementary school.


But the best solution for the needs of all the students in the district over the long term would be to build an elementary school at the proposed 10 acre site in Mountain View and then place Bullis Charter as the sole occupant of either Egan, Blach or Covington and then use the two of these campuses which are not occupied by Bullis Charter for LASD Junior High Schools.

Based on best use of current resources and planning for the future the best use of the campuses currently owned by the Los Altos School District once a new elementary school is built in Mountain View it would be best to give use of the 15.43 acre Covington Campus which is currently configured for K-6 to Bullis Charter for its K-8. This Covington Campus is a the same size as the 16 acre site at Egan Junior High school proposed to be given over to use of the Charter School, but would require less remodeling to meet the needs of a K-8 School. The Covington Campus is in the middle of the school district not on one side like the Egan Junior High Campus so it would be more appropriate for an all district magnet school. And in the future if state law should change related to charter schools then the campus given over to Bullis could be repurposed for a LASD run magnet.

I don’t think it matters for the district's best use of schools and facilities which of these campuses is occupied by Bullis, but if the political will to close a school near which so may school district board members live is not present than I would suggest transitioning Covington back to Covington Junior High School, and closing Egan as planned and opening a new elementary school where it is most needed north of El Camino.

As noted above if Covington elementary were closed and a new elementary school built north of El Camino, hundreds of students who currently are driven 3.1 miles to Covington from North of El Camino would be redirected to a new neighborhood school closer to their homes. While those students who live around Covington would be redirected either to continue at the new elementary school or to one of the other nearby district elementary schools . Review of school locations and of the current enrollments boundaries show that a significant number of these students are as close to Springer, Loyola or Almond Elementary Schools as many other elementary school students in the district are to their own schools. For those inclined to check distances, it is a 0.8 mile walk from Covington Elementary School to Springer Elementary School. It is 1.3 miles from Covington to Loyola Elementary School. And it is 1.4 miles from Covington to Almond Elementary School.

The strangest argument I keep hearing is about traffic at Covington not allowing a middle school or cahrter school at that campus. As Covington already has 585 students many of whom are driven from Mountain View North of El Camino to Covington this is a very illogical and irrational argument.

Here are the acreage of the schools. Elementary 10 acres ( except Covington Campus which was Covington Junior High School from 1950-until it closed ) and Junior Highs ( Covington Junio High, Blach Junior High, Egan Junior High) 15-18 acres

Schoool Acres Students
Almond - 9.97 488
Covington 15.43 585
Gardner Bullis 10 302
Loyola - pink 10 404
Oak - orange 10 387
Santa Rita 10.29 524
Springer 10.29 468

Blach 17.95 499
Egan - 18.83 586


1085 LASD Junior High Students
On average 543 students per grade year for all of LASD, 294 per grade year at Egan, 250 per grade year at Blach


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2019 at 10:26 pm

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

Sounds to me like LASD got an earful from their constituents and they responded accordingly. That’s democracy, folks. How about we allow the entire LASD community to elect the charter board? Why is BCS so afraid of the community it ‘serves’?


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 6:22 am

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@ResidentSince1892

That's not exactly how democracy works. It's not just a governing by vote of majority, it also has a protection for various minorities.

In this particular case, the law protects those who choose not to deal with school districts as brokers in implementation of their kids' rights for public education.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 8:02 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

HAHA @Just Curious - you’re seriously suggesting that a charter option is some kind of fundamental right not subject to majority rule? My goodness, how a fierce sense of entitlement can twist one’s rational faculties. California charter law in its *entirety* could be swept from existence by majority democratic legislative action. But I’ll bite: pray tell, what neglected, disadvantaged or traditionally discriminated class of persons are you imagining BCS students are members of? Oh boy, good one.


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Posted by Elect the board?
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 8:10 am

Why is the LASD Board elected? What's different about them vs BCS?

As a school district, LASD operates at a far larger scale than a single school.

LASD has the power to tax: property tax, parcel tax.

LASD has the power to raise bonds (public debt).

LASD has the power to allocate funding not just for their own program, but for all public K-8 education including BCS.

LASD is custodian to public land and facilities worth $$$$, on behalf of all public K-8 students including those attending BCS.

For comparison and context, the University of California Board of Regents is also not elected. This is intentional to protect them from political and sectarian influences.

Web Link


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 9:18 am

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@ResidentSince1892

Certainly the charter law can be swept out, but it's true for any law. As we all know, even the constitutional amendments can be (and have been) repealed. So what?

For some reason so far the charter law exists. I don't think that kicking the can down the road in the expectation that the law change will cause BCS closure is a winning strategy for LASD Board. Following this tactics for 15+ years allowed BCS to grow from a project of a dozen pissed off LAH parents to a school serving 20% of the whole LASD population.

Imagine that for 2020-2021 BCS would increase their enrollment for another 300 students (if they are honest about their wait list length, they could do it)? How will the Board explain to their majority voters that they have to close one of the elementary schools because of low enrollment?


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 10:11 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Just Curious - No surprise that you entirely failed to support your allusion that charters exist to defend individual rights against majority democratic rule because charter law doesn't rest on any such ridiculous notions. (Not all constitutional amendments involve fundamental rights, BTW) But you are 100% correct in forecasting that BCS enrollment will likely grow, since all it takes to drive ever higher demand for BCS slots is perception of privilege and actual exclusion of undesirable diversity, both of which are obvious longstanding attributes of BCS. This is the real answer to my question, "Why is BCS so afraid of the community it ‘serves’?" Because they are allowed by the county to practice de facto ethnic and economic discrimination in enrollment. Never underestimate the allure of privilege and discrimination, especially in the context of a community of privilege. When MV-Whisman insisted that BMV enrollment demographically match MV-W enrollment, the BMV project collapsed, and tried to appeal to the county, where BCS knows it enjoys special treatment (read: is allowed to discriminate)


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Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 10:32 am

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@ ResidentSince1892, replying to "California charter law in its *entirety* could be swept from existence by majority democratic legislative action."

This statement is not entirely accurate, because parts of that Law were amended by Direct Democracy action. In California and Arizona, "undoing" a legislation created through Direct Democracy requires another act of Direct Democracy. At the very least, a proposal to take away the Charter Law via majority legislative action could be considered unconstitutional, triggering involvement of the California Governor and Supreme Court.

@Elect the board?, replying to "LASD has the power to ...".

Careful reading of the Laws and Regulations shows that LASD doesn't, by itself, have a power to tax and raise bonds. Those powers are in the domain of the State of California, which delegates some of them to Counties, which in turn delegate some of them to School Districts.

LASD does indeed have the authority to allocate the public funding on behalf of all schoolchildren living on the District's territory. LASD is indeed the custodian of the public land and the public-funded structures erected on it. However, the way the funding is allocated, and the way the land and buildings are used, are subject to California Law and oversight of the County and State.

If LASD is found to be not in compliance with the respective Laws and regulations, County or State may choose to administratively terminate employment of the LASD administrators responsible for the non-compliance. Moreover, if any harm comes to schoolchildren because of the non-compliance, their families have a right to sue the administrators.

If the administrators are found to be non-compliant, they would get either limited or no legal protection from the District, County, and State, because these entities can't be held directly responsible for actions of individuals not complying with the Laws and regulations put forth by the entities.


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 10:39 am

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@ResidentSince1892

My Math teacher used to penalize for using the word "obvious". If something is obvious to you, you must be able to prove it.

Your last comment contains a lot of accusations. Most of them would be enough to cause BCS a lot of troubles, if proven. For instance, if they are cherry-picking the candidates from the wait list on socio-economical or racial basis. That's simply against the charter law.

I would agree that some families would not apply because of asked donation (which is again, by law, is totally voluntary - the same way as LAEF donations LASD schools are asking for).

My own kids went through LASD schools, because we didn't think that academically BCS is any better. We decided that we will spend the money BCS would have otherwise received from our family for augmenting of whatever school can give them.

But that was matter of our family choice, and I'm happy that BCS provided an option to consider.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 10:41 am

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@Balanced: I understand the split hair, but "majority democratic legislative action" includes both representative and direct law-making


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Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 10:54 am

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@ResidentSince1892, replying to "I understand the split hair, but "majority democratic legislative action" includes both representative and direct law-making".

My understanding is that in California, Legislative Action is distinct from California Initiative:

Web Link

Web Link

True, an Initiative can be initiated by the House, yet it can't be transformed into Law without a Referendum.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 11:08 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@unBalanced: I'm not here to out-pedant you, but my use of the phrase "majority democratic legislative action" was intended to mean "make law by majority assent" which includes popular initiatives and is not necessarily an act of CA representative (big L) Legislature


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Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 11:25 am

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@Just Curious, replying to "Most of them would be enough to cause BCS a lot of troubles, if proven."

BCS administrators are humans, not angels or Vulcans. Some of former administrators actions did cause BCS a lot of troubles. For instance, one of the administrators was found discriminating on the basis of learning disability. To BCS credit, the administrator either promptly resigned or was quickly terminated by BCS, so from legal standpoint it was an isolated incident caused by a non-compliant employee, rather than an institutional policy.


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 11:45 am

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@Balanced

I would prefer not to mix conversations about laws and policies with the discussion of anecdotal events: we are not extending any of lawsuits LASD settled with individuals to the level of their policies or even practices, and we should not do the same in regard to BCS either.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 11:47 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Just Curious: regarding the clear and chronic demographic discrepancy between LASD and BCS, no need to take my word for it, see ed-data.org. There is a presumption that a charter school's enrollment is fair and unbiased if it's the product of a lottery, but that's provably naive in the BCS case. If a lottery was "diversity in, bias out" you'd rightly assume chicanery, but if the lottery is "privilege in, privilege out" you can't lay blame on the lottery, you have to look at what shapes demand for lottery entrance.


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 12:14 pm

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@ResidentSince1892

We can certainly condemn the income inequality, but the numbers for LASD schools on south part of the district (e.g. Gardner Bullis) do not look the same as on north (e.g. Santa Rita). Cherry-picked, of course, but Loyola vs. Almond is not much better.

If we accept that the lottery process is fair, but the sample is biased - we, as a community, have just two options to change the bias: affirmative action or advertising BCS to low-SES families so more of them apply. The former would be against the current law, and nobody in LASD camp does not seem to care about the latter.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 1:14 pm

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@Just Curious: the obligation of the charter is to enroll students that reflect the racial and ethnic balance of the district, not any single school within the district, and CA charter law clearly reads "will achieve," rather than "hopes (or wants or plans) to achieve".

CA Ed Code Sec. 47605 (b)(5)(G): "[...]the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance among its pupils that is reflective of the general population residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the school district to which the charter petition is submitted."

BCS is allowed by its chartering authority to continue to operate in violation of this obligation. Beyond racial and ethnic imbalance, BCS under-enrolls educationally challenged students that require extraordinary support. If BCS were to remedy the imbalances in its enrollment, and its student body was reflective of the district overall, it would lose those families for whom being sequestered from challenging students is a feature, not a bug.


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Posted by Stop Spreading Lies
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

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@ResidentSince1892

Please stop spreading lies. You left out some important words in your quote. You claim that the Code says that "the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance".

It absolutely does not say that. The Code says that the petition should have a "reasonably comprehensive descriptions...[of]...[t]he means by which the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance".

Completely and utterly different. "Will" achieve something is vastly different than having a "description" of how that something is to be achieved.

Web Link

-----
Code:

(b).....The governing board...shall not deny a petition...unless...:
(5) The petition does not contain reasonably comprehensive descriptions...:
.........
(G) The means by which the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance among its pupils that is reflective of the general population residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the school district to which the charter petition is submitted.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 2:43 pm

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Stop Spreading Lies: thank you for completing the excerpt from Ed Code. If you think by adding that additional context, insinuating that it's merely a documentary requirement of a charter petition, that you've absolved a charter of its obligation to actually achieve ethnic and racial balance reflective of the school district, then you're not very bright. This language sets the bar for parity and equity, and it applies to new charter petitions and ongoing operating charters. On the other hand, if you can excerpt a different source that establishes a different standard, please do so. In the absence of that other standard, please Stop Spreading Lies.


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Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 3:01 pm

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While the debate about the "racial and ethnic balance" that BCS is supposed to achieve is enlightening and entertaining, what about LASD?

Was LASD achieving the "racial and ethnic balance ... reflective of the general population residing within the territorial jurisdiction of the school district" during three to five decades before BCS was founded?

I would argue that it did not, because disproportionately more of the parents who were not first-generation hispanic immigrants chose to send their children to private schools instead of LASD schools.

In general, I find such debates, which only consider LASD and BCS, limited in scope. Once you consider the private schools, and Voucher System proposed by current US government, the situation becomes clearer.


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 3:12 pm

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@ResidentSince1892

You started with expressing a desire to elect BCS board, and now it seems that you have problems with their chartering authority, which, in fact, is something you as a taxpayer and voter has some control on. Why not to pursue that path? Sue the County, force them to revoke the charter.

The problem, of course, is not in 50 or so socially disadvantaged kids (which would be a BCS fair share). Nobody will hand them Egan site peacefully if they somehow get to the number.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 3:19 pm

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@Balanced: You're joking, right? OK, you're probably not joking, but you're really off the rails. Private schools are exempt from public sector equal protection, non-discrimination obligations, obviously. Charters have a burden to match demographics of their public school district precisely because they purport to be public schools themselves. Ethnic and racial bias and segregation are ugly byproducts of the charter movement nationally, but that doesn't mean we should accept them. But think more about what you've implied: districts are supposed to actively restrict families' CHOICE to enroll in private schools? That's pretty entertaining but misguided. PS: where are you getting your data?


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Posted by Stop Spreading Lies
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 4:47 pm

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@ResidentSince1892

I repeat: your intentional quoting of a small chunk:

"[...]the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance"

completely and utterly changes the meaning of the Code which says a

"reasonably comprehensive descriptions...[of]...[t]he means by which the charter school will achieve a racial and ethnic balance".

Your interpretation renders the words "reasonably comprehensive descriptions...[of]...[t]he means" completely meaningless.

So, I guess what you are saying is that the legislature is "not very bright". They put in those extra words for no reason whatsoever.

Equating "descriptions...[of]...[t]he means by which the charter school will achieve" to "charter school will achieve" is nothing short of dishonesty. Any reader with a basic command of the English language can decide for themselves.


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Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 5:51 pm

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@ResidentSince1892, replying to "But think more about what you've implied: districts are supposed to actively restrict families' CHOICE to enroll in private schools?"

I did not imply that. Sorry Jedi, your mind tricks don't work on me :)

What I did imply that there isn't, and historically never was in the US, a requirement for any public school to MATCH the demographics of their school district, because it simply has not been possible to achieve in practice for all the districts, given that the first schools on US soil, as far as I can tell, were Church-affiliated.

Even seemingly completely monopolistic public districts in the US, which happen to not have competing private schools nearby, do not have authority to forcefully enroll all the school age children residing in the district: there are always home-schooling options, and lately online options. So, even under these conditions, MATCHING is not possible.

The Law requires the public school to REFLECT rather than MATCH. The reflection in the mirror isn't required to be 100% precise to be of practical use. In practical terms, I believe it means that a public school shall not discriminate among the applicants who have the right, and expressed the desire, to enroll in this school. BCS meets this requirement through the lottery mechanism.





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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 6:14 pm

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Stop Spreading Lies: My point is simpler than wordplay. A charter's explicit obligation is to reflect a district's ethnic and racial diversity in actual enrollment (which just means don't discriminate, as other public agencies are similarly bound) and the obligation stems from this particular section of charter law. The obligation is meant to be realized, and is more than merely padding a charter application with stated good intentions. I've also left open the possibility that another section of Ed Code better defines an operating charter school's obligations WRT ethnic and racial diversity -- and asked if you know of such other section. Given all the fuss through the years over BCS' failure to meet this standard, even highlighted repeatedly by SCCOE, I think I'm on the right track. But do you have anything more on point? It's an honest question. Rejecting the essence of my point ("will achieve") on grounds that the language is merely procedural is not very compelling.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2019 at 6:20 pm

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Balanced: Re: "BCS meets this requirement through the lottery mechanism."

If BCS' obligation was only to conduct a clean lottery, irrespective of outcome, why would SCCOE repeatedly raise this demographic bias issue? The LASD community, the district board, the county board, and Ed Code all seem to agree that discrimination in enrollment is a breach of BCS' obligation as a public school.


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Just Curious is a registered user.

@ResidentSince1892

Don't you see a self-contradiction in the following?
"A charter's explicit obligation is to reflect a district's ethnic and racial diversity in actual enrollment (which just means don't discriminate, as other public agencies are similarly bound)"

You can discriminate either by creating a policy/practice preventing an individual from applying or by denying the benefit based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, socio-economic status, sexuality...)

You cannot make BCS responsible for the low number of applications from minorities, unless you find out that they reject the applications.

To give you an example: nobody sued LASD for having less Latino students than Mountain-View Whisman. But we all know that math placement in MVLA High School District where LASD and MVWSD kids finally meet caused SB-359: Web Link


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Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2019 at 11:22 pm

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@ ResidentSince1892: I have reasons to believe that what you are doing is "Double Bind" (Web Link).

Let's take your statements:

"If BCS' obligation was only to conduct a clean lottery, irrespective of outcome". It appears that, according to you, BCS obligation is something other than using a well-understood, transparent, fair mechanism, guaranteeing that BCS can't control the outcome of the enrollment process, and thus can't discriminate.

"... all seem to agree that discrimination in enrollment is a breach of BCS' obligation ...". This statement seems to suggest that BCS somehow does discriminate after all, despite employing the lottery mechanism, and this is a well established fact.

Such seeming contradictions, stated in an authoritative tone, do indeed affect some people. The Double Bind tends to especially strongly affect people who are organizationally down below from the person who applies the trick: the underlings have to either tolerate this, or risk very unpleasant administrative pressure being applied to them.

But you also have to realize that using such techniques is counterproductive if the people to whom you are applying the trick either do not depend on you, don't know who you are, or have at least a basic training in social psychology and group dynamics. Reading classic literature and watching serious movies can be counted as such training too.

I do value your input, but can we please talk about possible solutions while abstaining from mind games?


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2019 at 9:33 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Just Curious @Balanced: You give me too much credit, I'm no Jedi and not so clever as to employ mind games.

I see no contradictions, I'm just pointing out the obvious:

(1) There's a statutory obligation wrt enrollment bias, or there's not. I claim there is, and I've pointed to its source in Ed Code. If you can find a more relevant standard in the law, please offer it up.

(2) There's actual ethnic and racial bias in BCS enrollment, or there's not. I claim there is, and I've pointed to the data source in ed-data. Over the years, many people have lodged similar complaints, based on actual enrollment data as reported by BCS.

(3) There's a fair and equitable method for allocating new BCS seats to interested families, or there's not. I don't have any hard evidence that their lottery is corrupt, so I assume it's properly administered, and I haven't criticized the lottery itself. (Aside from the recent coincidence of a certain generously ble$$ed family's success in the lottery.)

However, because BCS' enrollment lottery OUTput is demonstrably ethnically and racially biased, then I'll add:

(4) There are externalities influencing lottery INputs, or there are not. I would argue that there are BCS-cultural and -brand attributes that encourage biased lottery INputs.

These "thumb on the scale" factors are being overlooked by the regulators responsible for enforcing (1) statutory obligation wrt enrollment bias.

PS - the point about differing ethnic enrollment between LASD and MV-W is lost on me. They are separate independent public school districts serving separate communities.


4 people like this
Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2019 at 11:03 am

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

LASD draws attendance boundaries so as to concentrate low income hispanic kids in two elementary schools, Almond and Santa Rita. That you cannot argue with. It's much more blatant and statistically significant than the higher number of Asian and mixed-race kids at Bullis Charter. I don't understand why you would fault BCS for having more Asian and mixed race. What's your actual point? What kind of numbers are you talking about?


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Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2019 at 11:07 am

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

To elucidate further, LASD splits the area bounded by California Street, Ortega Avenue, the railroad tracks and San Antonio Road between 2 elementary schools. The majority of the area is the only part of NEC to attend Covington Elementary. However the tiny subarea around Gabriel Avenue, with a lot of low income hispanic kids, is not sent to Covington with their neighbor in The Crossings and Old Mill Condos. Instead it is purposely added to other parts of NEC and assigned to Almond Elementary. Just look at that map. It's really terrible. The demographic makeup of Covington and Almond varies considerably, and without this slight of hand Gabriel Avenue assignment, it would be more balanced between those 2 schools.


6 people like this
Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2019 at 11:20 am

Balanced is a registered user.

@ResidentSince1892. Answering your questions.

(1) "There's a statutory obligation wrt enrollment bias, or there's not." No, there is not, in the sense you defined it. The obligation is to employ a mechanism that WILL REFLECT (IN THE FUTURE), not PRECISELY MATCH NOW.

(2) "There's actual ethnic and racial bias in BCS enrollment, or there's not." There CURRENTLY is. If BCS is given an opportunity to develop unimpeded, BCS's reasonable expectation could be that bias WILL NOT BE PRESENT IN THE FUTURE, because Charter system has a potential to outcompete and put out of business both LASD and private schools serving LASD territory.

(4) "There are externalities influencing lottery INputs, or there are not." Yes there are CURRENTLY. See above: if and when BCS takes over all the business from LASD and private schools, there will not be.

Why are we even talking about this red herring? I find the theme discussed in the article below much more interesting:

Web Link

That's the real explanation of why LASD wouldn't give BCS the land and buildings of the quantity and quality the Law prescribes. Because LASD wants to continue using those "surplus" resources for generating money and buying political influence.

Now, interested and involved parties can argue till cows come home whether what LASD is doing is legal or not. There can be no discussion about how I personally feel about it though: I am disgusted.


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2019 at 11:50 am

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Balanced: Let's stick to one topic, if you don't mind.

(1) I didn't define the obligation, but if you have a problem with my citation of Ed Code to define "statutory obligation wrt enrollment bias" then please offer your alternative. If there was no obligation at all wrt to actual enrollment, and Ed Code is narrowly interpreted to mean only (ex:) "fair lottery" then the community, LASD and SCCOE would never have bothered to repeatedly raise concerns about actual enrollment bias, as critics & critiques would lack any valid basis.

(2) You're right, there is current enrollment bias. BCS has been operating for 15 years, the issue has been raised many times over the years and bias has grown consistently worse rather than better.

(4) To the objective observer, there appears to be a non-random (read: intentional) driver of enrollment bias.


6 people like this
Posted by Balanced
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Balanced is a registered user.

@ResidentSince1892. I do mind sticking to an irrelevant topic, which takes the community time and mental resources from discussing topics of much higher importance.

For instance, why the article we are discussing is named "LASD board approves Bullis Charter deal without moving Egan Junior High"?

The deal is de-facto, and de-jure, not approved. Another news outlet called it as it is: "Los Altos School District dumps long-term deal with Bullis Charter School — for now" (Web Link).

Once again, please pay attention to what I wrote: the red herring, double bind, double speak, and other tricks of the political trade work great on people dependent on those who applies these tricks. LASD used to be in a politically enviable position of monopolistic territorial public education power for 95 years, until BCS presented an alternative.

This is done. Humpty Dumpty is broken. Thinking that fighting BCS will help restoring the LASD monopoly is not constructive. The emergence of low-cost online private schools, and Voucher school system promoted by the US government, present far more serious challenges to the District school system.

At some point the public, and the governments at all levels, may get tired of the antiquated ways the Districts deal with them. Instead of continuing to offer the gradual transition options like they are doing now, they may decide that the District system is irreversibly broken, and abolish it overnight. France and Italy historically recently did. Why do you think the US wouldn't?


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Posted by ResidentSince1892
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2019 at 12:47 pm

ResidentSince1892 is a registered user.

@Balanced: yes, comment threads can wander, but thank you for conceding


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Posted by ResidentSince1982
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2019 at 1:19 pm

ResidentSince1982 is a registered user.

This article is outdated, because the boards 2 year deal is going no where. The charter school will only agree to put up with that reduced share for 1 year. If LASD doesn't reach a longer term deal by then, then we're back to a yearly request response. However, LASD can opt not to go with the 1 year period even though that's all the charter can agree to without a plan in hand. In that case, the charter has documented that the preliminary offer is not equivalent space in detail. They are ready however to take the preliminary offer and work with that, which means sharing roughly half of all 3 of Loyola, Blach and Egan. It seems to be a larger share than the 2 year proposal from the LASD board even with the flaws detailed by the charter's required response to the preliminary offer, filed May 1 as agreed.


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Posted by Politics
a resident of The Crossings
on May 3, 2019 at 12:24 am

Politics is a registered user.

Here's BCS's response to LASD's Prop 39 offer, calling out shenanigans in detail. One would think after 15 years LASD could figure out how to put together an equitable offer, if only they wanted to.

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Disgusted with LASD
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Disgusted with LASD is a registered user.

It's just appalling that LASD continues to play games with the non-equitable Prop 39 offer.

In a precedent-setting decision that was hugely embarrassing (and costly) for LASD, CA Appellate Court ruled that there was evidence that LASD intended to deceive BCS in its Prop 39 offer:

Web Link

Now, with the new offer, LASD is under-allocating by 5+ acres and 27 classrooms.

Shouldn't LASD be trying to educate children instead of playing games with BCS? As trustees, don't they have a fiduciary duty to treat BCS students equitably?

Reiterating @Balanced's sentiment: "There can be no discussion about how I personally feel about it though: I am disgusted."


2 people like this
Posted by Political Solution?
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 3, 2019 at 4:09 pm

Political Solution? is a registered user.

@ Just Curious

"To give you an example: nobody sued LASD for having less Latino students than Mountain-View Whisman. But we all know that math placement in MVLA High School District where LASD and MVWSD kids finally meet caused SB-359:"

I read the article you pointed to, but it looks more like a set of politicians being "seen to do something to solve a perceived problem" rather than any actual solution. Not that I am claiming I have a solution nor even that there is one.

What would be informative would be to see the current numbers of Latino & African students taking the more advanced math track versus whites & Asians. My guess, in the absence of data, would be nothing has changed significantly.

If the ratio between the two groups has not significantly shifted towards equal advancement and achievement results, then the "political solution" was all politics and no solution at all.

The math-track assignment now seems to be based on objective test results to find out how prepared an individual student is to advance to the next level of math or to continue on the same level for further skills development and comprehension improvement.

I would argue that this will also come to a very similar ratio as the prior system, not because of any "bias", but rather because the teachers do in fact know their students abilities better than anyone else and the objective testing should not be as good a measure.

I would argue that the perceived bias has nothing to do with the schools or teachers and everything to do with the home the students come from. Primarily, the level of education their parents have which would allow the parents to productively engage in the education of their kids.

I think it is perfectly logical to expect that on average a student who has parents without even a high school diploma would not do as well in school as a student where both parents have advanced graduate degrees including advanced math.
Anyone want to offer up why this is not a reasonable expectation? Anyone?

I would expect that if we took statistical data on the level of education of the parents of any school district and compared that to the abilities and performance of the students that we would see a solid tracking between the in-home factor versus the school achievement. A correlation that matches far better than any other factors that could be statistically compared.

Those who always assume "bias" will always find bias, even where it does not exist or does not track as well as home factors.


4 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2019 at 11:47 am

LongResident is a registered user.

No one cares about the details really. This is not about the battle between a charter school and a school district. The battle is about LASD serving both Mountain View and Los Altos. The name of the school district should be changed. The parents in Los Altos think they own the school district. Nothing could be further from the truth. What they have done is to politically oppress the best interest of all the kids in LASD for the sake of their perceived best interest for their own kids.

You have a battle between 12000 housing units coming in NEC LASD vs only 9000 housing units in the LASD portion of Los Altos. The Los Altos parents are fighting providing fair treatment to the residents of Mountain View who reside in LASD.


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Posted by Just Curious
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Just Curious is a registered user.

@Political Solution?

Sometimes a correlation looks like causation. The protected attributes are very delicate matters, so I'd prefer to allow any freshman to take any path they want, and use the standardized test as a recommendation for a student, not as a placement policy. The courses for sophomore to senior years could have some prerequisites, so the problem solves by itself.


1 person likes this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 7, 2019 at 10:18 am

LongResident is a registered user.

@Just Curious

In case anyone reads the above, consider that the biggest reason for low applications from CERTAIN minorities is simply that within all of LASD, they are an extremely low presence. There just aren't many low income hispanic ELL kids in LASD as a whole. BCS is not allowed to accept many kids from MVWSD, which has a much larger presence.
When they do have room for an MVWSD student, LASD pays the entire cost of educating that student at BCS so far as public money goes. On the other hand, LASD has a large fraction of Asian students, and BCS has an even larger share. Their program includes Mandarin language instruction for everyone (not immersion). That's going to appeal to Chinese parents, and not appeal as much to Spanish-speaking parents. But having such a program is acceptable. So far, none of the LASD schools have that but they are working on something finally now as an after school program.


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