Bullis Charter OKs two-year facilities agreement with LASD, averting standoff | Town Square | Mountain View Online |

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Bullis Charter OKs two-year facilities agreement with LASD, averting standoff

Original post made on May 12, 2019

The Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School announced a two-year facilities agreement, buying more time to hammer out a long-term plan on where to house the growing charter school.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 10, 2019, 5:15 PM

Comments (19)

21 people like this
Posted by Ignored Kids
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2019 at 6:43 pm

Ironically, there is a parallel issue which did receive some public debate during
the past 18 months. LASD has 800+ kids living in Mountain View north of El Camino Real and another 25 or so living in Palo Alto, Monroe Park. For years this neighborhood has had enough kids to justify its own elementary school, but none has been created. Instead the kids are split 3 ways to pad out 3 Los Altos schools who would otherwise only have 350-400 kids. Is this fair? Is this a way to justify providing LOS ALTOS neighborhoods with so FEW kids with their own neighborhood school? Meanwhile the Mountain View neighborhood has TWICE as many kids but no school of its own.

The issues around this were quite public over the last 18 months, thanks to the Mountain View City Council, God bless them. LASD complained bitterly to Mountain View that Mountain View kids were overrunning the schools, but this was not
exactly accurate. LASD deemed to work for 2-3 years to acquire a school site in that area, with no commitment to fairness for these kids. Of course, it gets worse. The new school will take 5 or 6 years to build. During that period EVEN MORE kids are expected to move into new affordable housing units created as part of apartment construction in the neighborhood. So clearly there are issues requiring a neighborhood school for a small geographic area which will have 1000 or more kids by the time a school opens.

LASD even held public meetings in that neighborhood and got a lot of support for some neighborhood school to serve at least PART of the needs of that area. You couldn't be more public than they were in doing this. They discussed the needs for neighborhood uses for their new school site repeatedly in their meetings, with the Mountain View City Council (LASD reps went and presented to MVCC), and in a series of 10th site planning meetings. It is clear that some consideration is needed for these students.

Part of the reason to relocate Egan was to provide local service to this area
where as many as 50% of Egan's students will be living starting in 5 years or so. Many of these families have not yet moved into the neighborhood, so to speak for them is tricky. You can't base this on words from people living there now exactly. The best plan has to take into the future changes though, of all sorts.

10 people like this
Posted by Lame Another Student Diaspora
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Why is Jeff Baier even superintendent anymore? The district has lost a quarter of its kids to Bullis under his watch. Los Altos has been fat, happy and stupid while Bullish has taken its lunch money and eaten its lunch to boot!!

1 person likes this
Posted by never underestimate
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2019 at 1:11 pm

never underestimate is a registered user.

the appeal of segregation, especially among families from cultures where segregation is entrenched, accepted as natural and seen as desirable. in other words families who've probably never heard of brown vs board of education. unfortunately bullis is doing nothing to educate the parents on equal protection principles in us law

6 people like this
Posted by @ ignored
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2019 at 5:03 pm

I think it would be great to have a NEC school. I’d like to pose a question though. Most PTA and LAEF donations come from Los Altos families. NOT bias. Just fact. So, this school we speak of, by data, will be lower funded and lower performing. Will the NEC families be ok with that?

Also, there is SO much outcry about kids having to “pad” LASD schools. If I lived in MV, and I have (kids went to MVWSD), I’d have LOVED TO GO TO LASD!!! I’d have crossed el Camino any day! LASD >>>>>> MVWSD.

And yes, I predict the hate comments but feel strongly about these issues that are discussed but no one openly brings them to the table.

3 people like this
Posted by Ignored Fiscal Discrimination
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2019 at 6:37 pm

The issue of parent financial contributions is a nonstarter. First of all, LAEF contributions are distributed district-wide. Each student gets the benefit of these contributions whether the parent has contributed or not. Also, these are a paltry part of the LASD financial spending. It's gone up since BCS began, for whatever the reason, but LAEF funds only about $750 per student. The district has been spending $15,000 per student. That means a 5% cut without LAEF spending. It's fair that they should be spread around to all the kids, regardless of contributions status.

PTA spending is another matter. I'd say by and large that the PTA spending has no educational value. It's icing on the cake and buys non essentials that make the parents feel good about a particular school's physical plant and finishing touches on resources. These funds are not counted in the LASD budget. Some schools do raise $500+ per student in such funds, but others do not. There doesn't seem to be any perceptible difference in the educational program from one school to the other. Operating a fancy costume-rich school play is not that much extra educational in nature. It can cost a lot though. So can "couches for recess" and special water fountains. This new school could get along without such things, with zero trouble and no perceptible difference.

If you want to get at REAL differences that might affect educational outcomes, look at the spending on after school enrichment programs. Currently LASD parents spend a bundle on these. It might cost some parents $1000 or $1500 per year to attend several of these programs. But though they use school resources in the form of land and classrooms, not all students have access. Students don't gain access to these programs by just being at a school that has them. They have to pay. I'd argue that if parents can't afford such programs their kids are better off at a school that doesn't flaunt them to the child. That's one way to look at it.
I find the way these programs are offered to be discriminatory on the face of them.

1 person likes this
Posted by @ ignored fiscal
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2019 at 8:39 pm

Okay, I’ll give you the fact that LAEF is distributed. As far as PTAs go, two parts: 1) money and 2) volunteers.

1- money isn’t SOLELY for fancy water fountains and pricey lunch table coverings. But those help. Gardner’s PTA raises an astounding amount of money compared to SR/Almond. SR/Almond doing just fine. But the PTA puts for things the teachers then don’t have to buy. It pays for teacher appreciation week (5 days of all out love). It pays for STUFF. It helps teacher retention, one could argue, because teachers aren’t spending 1/8 of their salary on things their classroom needs. It’s available from their classroom budget bc of the PTA.

2. VOLUNTEERS. I’m going to get yelled at but facts... MOST of the time, most volunteers are mostly from SEC. 1 member of our pta is NEC. MOST (not all, catch all my “most”’s) volunteers we see day in and day out are not NEC. Reason? Not sure. Language, both working (yes this happens frequently in Los Altos also!), uninterested?? We don’t know. But one does know you need a LOT of volunteers to successfully run a school.

In the end I do agree that the school that will be built at Walmart (dumbest location ever), should be a NEC elementary though. It’s being true to Mountain View’s good will, and to the families in the area. Egan doesn’t make sense, as kids come from everywhere to Egan, even from across foothill expressway. An elementary school there? It’s ONLY drawing kids directly from their own neighborhood, which IMO is ideal.

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Posted by No
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 12:37 am

The new school is going to be a junior high. I dispute your claim that even elementary schools depend on a lot of parent volunteers for success. I think that kind of school yields a lot of the problematic kids who depend on their parents even in college. I don't think that's really success. But even in Los Altos the volunteers at the junior high are much less important that at the elementary schools. Also the PTA fundraising is less significant at the Junior High's too. So yes a school in NEC can have sufficient parent donations. It's going to be a junior high. The only issue a fairness still is this mater of pay-to-play after school programs.

1 person likes this
Posted by @ no
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 5:57 am

You seem very well informed?

The elementary schools in MVWSD have no parent volunteers- maybe 5. But let me assure you, they help make LASD what it is- amazing.

And, the new site has not been determined.

4 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 8:35 am

You may have seen the news this morning that the number of births in the US is at a 32 year low. This problem is especially acute in Los Altos where the birthrate is practically zero. There is no rarer sight in Los Altos than the sight of a pregnant woman. LASD needs to make the new school a neighborhood K-5 school for the NEC area. They need to close 1 or possibly even 2 Los Altos schools and place BCS in those campuses.

5 people like this
Posted by MartyK
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm

@ Ignored Kids- Your stats on enrollment are way off but regardless I’ll agree that their are lots of kids living NEC. However the reason that area is rapidly growing is that the MV city council continues to approve expansion of the tech companies office space which brings more employees hence more kids. And then LASD gets stuck building a school for them? Maybe MV should be building the elementary school since they’re creating the expanding NEC population in LASD.

@Ignored Fiscal - “I find the way these programs are offered to be discriminatory on the face of them.”
Really? It’s discriminatory for parents to buy things that not everybody can afford??

@@Ignored - “So, this school we speak of, by data, will be lower funded and lower performing. Will the NEC families be ok with that?“.
That’s the elephant in the room. An elementary school NEC would be lower performing than the other LASD schools (this is purely hypothetical because LASD will never put an elementary school there- they have neither the budget nor the enrollment for an additional school and if they’re going to close another school in order to place one NEC it would be Covington in which case they’d have to give that to BCS). However if they did put a school NEC I wonder how many of the Crossings families and those moving into the new condos & apartments being built would opt out and move their kids to one of the other LASD schools. I’m guessing lots which would further decrease the performance.

4 people like this
Posted by Shrinking LASD
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 4:19 pm

It's important not to get too extreme in interpreting trends. Yes, the number of births is down and it has been markedly down by a consistent amount for the last 11 years. This is starting to trickle up into the grades of LASD and will be felt for at least the next 5 years even if something were to change. The K's for the next 5 years have already been born.

The proper numbers for the current NEC enrollment are indeed 800 kids. 100 attend
the charter school. 700 are divided primarily between 3 LASD elementary schools and Egan Jr High. This is a number that has been widely shared by LASD with the only missing component being the Palo Alto kids living in NEC as well.

Going forward, the only source of growth in any area of LASD is added housing units. Births have already declined. As time advances the population of LASD
will continue its demonstrated decline, for the next 5 years.

Now the LASD demographer has produced reports or updates for 2 years now that forecast the resulting shift in population in LASD away from Los Altos and towards NEC. This is a verifiable fact.

Sure estimating that in 6 years when the new Egan opens that the total number will be 1000 kids in NEC is at the low end. But it's a floor on the number. It will possibly be larger. Specifically, LASD says each new housing apartment unit generates on average 0.1 to 0.2 K-8 kids for LASD schools. Mountain View has indicated plans for 2500 new housing units increasing up to 5000 eventually, in NEC. Using the 2500 number for 6 years from now is reasonable. Thats means 250 to 500 added kids. 200 added is a floor that is a reasonable assumption as a minimum. Of course, it could be more. Could be 1000 kids total or 1200 kids total.

As for blaming Google workers for having babies, that's not very supported by the facts. The biggest source of new kids is families residing in the 20% of new housing that is designated low to moderate income inclusionary housing. You can't consider this to be tech workers for the most part. It all figures into the 0.1 to 0.2 past experience.

If you have 1200 total kids, K-8 then 260 will be in grades K-8 proportionately. Egan will be serving about 500 kids, even with some coming from the Blach attendance area as they do now. Blach will be smaller, maybe 400. So yes,
NEC will provide 50% of Egan's kids at some point 5 or more years from now.

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Posted by Shrinking LASD
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm

A logical extension of the facts above are that before long there will be 900+ kids K-6 living in NEC. Say 130 attend Bullis Charter. That leaves nearly 800 potentially attending a new local school That's too big! LASD has said its schools should all be 500 or less. That NEC elementary school really would need to be 2 separate schools to keep them below 500. If we get to 5000 housing units added,
the population in elementary school could be 0.2 times 5000 or 1000 added, plus the currently number of 800. 1800 kids, 400 at Egan, and 1400 in elementary school. Perhaps 200 at BCS. So 1200 K-6 kids in NEC. We're at 2.5 new schools needed at that point.

10 people like this
Posted by J
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 8:30 pm

@ MartyK
Can we be friends?
You’re absolutely right that Mountain View has been green stamping every housing development placed before them and expecting LASD to educate any kids that might move in. Now, the deal they gave LASD on land was a nice gesture but let’s all repeat...it’s a horrible site for a school no matter what “side” you’re on- LASD/BCS/elementary/junior high. No one wants to study between Showers/el Camino/California:San Antonio. Period. So, no thank you MV bit we’ve already bought into it.
Re: the elephant in the room- it’s talked about but not written anywhere. Let’s face it- all the schools are 9s, after the methods to rate changed and they moved from 10s to 9s. Almond and Santa Rita are 8s. Why? Because they pull from NEC. I LOVE the NEC kids and my children are friends with more than SEC but the language barrier is a hardship school-wise. A NEC elementary won’t be an 8. It’ll be closer to MVWSD’s 7s.

Re: closing Covington. THIS IS THE BEST OPTION. The preschool is already closing. It’s huge. It’s set up as a junior high already as it was one. BCS would love it. And it’s near 2 other elementary schools where kids can walk. And Crossings etc. kids can go to SR, Almond, or apply for a transfer. It can be done SLOWLY over the course of 5 years so as not to affect many families already there. WHY is Covington a sacred cow?

1 person likes this
Posted by MartyK
a resident of another community
on May 17, 2019 at 10:55 pm

@J - yes, we can be friends. I agree with everything you’ve said. Covington was the obvious choice to give to BCS but that wouldn’t have inflamed the parents as much as moving Egan so LASD BoT used Egan to rally the troops to keep the “hate BCS” flame burning.

@ shrinking LASD - I don’t know where you’re getting these crazy numbers or where you believe all this NEC low income housing will be built (on prime real estate) but the people that are now residing NEC in the new apartments and condos are paying big bucks and yes, are techies that can afford to live there. Low income housing in MV is rapidly being razed (thanks to rent control, another MV blooper)) and replaced with new, expensive housing which will cater to techies. The city requires a few BMR units per building but that’s it. So yes, the tech expansion supported by MV city council is driving the need for new housing way up hence the increasing NEC LASD population. MV should build the elemtary school if NEC really wants it in their local neighborhood but I’ve always agreed with J that the shopping center is a horrible place for any school and especially a middle school where kids would need to be driven into that traffic nightmare. And it would be a lower performing school (until all the low income housing is razed) that the techies will not want so they’ll be willing to drive their kids to a different LASD school, out of neighborhood.

1 person likes this
Posted by @MartyK
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2019 at 1:08 am

BMR is the same as inclusionary low income housing in general. Mountain View raised the requirement to 15% of all units constructed in February 2018. That's more than a fewer. The point is that the luxury housing in a new project might be occupied by high income no kids people, but the low income component is likely not to be. Also, state density bonus rules allow addition of affordable inclusionary units as a way to claim added density. This is not a new situation. All the new housing being built has such units. The fraction is on the increase. Take a look at this new property set to complete in 2020. Web Link That was approved before the increase, so it will have 10% low income units. Projects approved in the future will have 15%. A Greystar project of 623 units on the Old Safeway site, strip mall, and Old Mill Office parcels was approved after the 15% factor was established. So there will be 93 affordable units in that project.

3 people like this
Posted by J
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2019 at 9:39 am

I sincerely hope Covington wasn’t overlooked in order to incite anti-BCS anger.
Jessica is dead set on moving Egan. She is supposed to be part of LASD but acts as though she works for BCS. Or herself. She is the most hardheaded and self righteous person I’ve met in a long time. She will push to move Egan until she’s no longer on the board.
Covington doesn’t seem to be involved in anti-moving Egan efforts which is really disappointing. I think they are VERY comfortable in their safety as a sacred cow.

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Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 18, 2019 at 11:01 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

This story indicates some more ugly issues.

First, there were formal violations filed according to the report(Web Link) .

Second, the BMV representatives did not perform any actions to correct the violations.

Third, in fact the BMV representatives simply do not participate in any meetings.


First, because they have a reported influence over the Mountain View City Council. There is an outstanding investigation going on regarding John McAllister and Bullis school.

Second, because they feel they can use the courts to attempt to override them.

But given that the committee requested corrections, documents, and personal appearances that went ignored, I do not think this will be overturned.

1 person likes this
Posted by MartyK
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2019 at 11:46 am

@MartyK - I think you’re way off base believing there will be a net increase in low income families in the area. The NEC LASD neighborhood is being gentrified. Haven’t you read the complaints and protests that the low income families are being thrown out and have no affordable place to go in the area? By your own statement, a building of the same size replacing the one torn down will be 15% low income vs 100%.

I also think you’re confused about who qualifies for BMRs. Several years ago the income threshold was $85k/year for a single person and $125k for a family. I’m sure it’s gone up since then and I think preference is given to professionals such as teachers, firefighters etc. - they’re not Section 8 housing going to the poorest families. Also developers can pay an “in-lieu” fee rather than building the BMRs and is frequently done. Maybe those fees will be the source of revenue for MVs very expensive low income housing complex that’s slated to be built on El Camino in the MVWSD. I’m not sure why you linked to apartments.com?

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Posted by @MartyK
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2019 at 1:01 pm

There will be no net increase in kids in LASD for a long time. Instead what is happening is a shift, where the fertility rate decline will lessen the enrollment in the areas served by Oak, Loyola, Gardner Bullis, Covington, and Blach. This will be made up by increased kids from NEC attending Santa Rita, Almond, and Egan. There will be no net increase to speak of in the FRACTION of low income kids from NEC. But it will not change much, staying at about 20% overall, with fewer in The Crossings as an older ownership development along with the Old Mill Condos and a some rental apartments and then more in the other areas of NEC. It doesn't matter much to consider the minority fraction that will be low income. Overall NEC will be a bigger share of the kids at Egan, Santa Rita and Almond. Attendance boundaries might get redrawn in some even more obscure way to try to even out enrollment at different schools.

The point is that the mix now is about 20%, not the massive component that LASD implies. They act like it is at least 50% low income kids. This has never been so.

You have trouble understanding what BMR means. Given that we are talking 5000 new units of apartments and the yield is typically only 0.2 kids per unit, we are only talking 1000 students, K-8. Most of the apartments will be childless. The truth is that the city BMR requirement of 15% allows the current mix to continue going forward. In many areas of the city, it might mean gentrification and fewer low income kids, but those areas are currently at 40% average low income kids. This area is half that. The BMR rules just maintain the status quo as a fraction, but
with more kids and more residents and voters.

This is why the board of LASD reached the conclusion you can't open a single new elementary school to serve the population in that 1/4 square mile area. Too many kids! They are scared of the 20% number too. They want to mix it in with Los Altos kids and try to keep it down below 15% low income kids.

As a result of this reality, they do see the logic in locating the Junior High School on that new site. It will be the one neighborhood school in the K-8 experience of 1000-1500 students attending LASD each year in that era. At least their Jr High is nearby and local. For elementary they commute off to Santa Rita and Almond, as at present, only as a larger fraction of each school. Covington too gets such commuters but they are from a slightly more pre-gentrified area within NEC.

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