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Bullis adds admissions preferences for low-income students after sharp questioning about school's lack of diversity

Original post made on Oct 7, 2021

The Santa Clara County Board of Education on Oct. 6 approved changes to the Los Altos school's admission preferences that will prioritize children from low-income families.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 7, 2021, 1:58 PM

Comments (10)

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2021 at 3:31 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

The attitude of the questioning board members in doubting a preference for low income students reeks of discrimination. They clearly want a racial preference, even though it's illegal. But someone should note that since the school is set to expand to 1200 students, the preference applies to 120 students. There are only 200 or so low SES kids in LASD today., counting the charter too.

So this is a big step. In the past the district has discouraged low income students from considering the charter school. That's what needs to change, and maybe the preference will help counter that prejudice passed on from the district to the low income families.

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 7, 2021 at 4:23 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Culture Change at Stevenson ('choice', MVWSD)
I hope that ALL who also that a similar "preference for low income students" at Stevenson, show up tonight for the on-line board meeting. Down in the discussion section (A.) is some information on just how Segregated that campus has been for the last 5 years. 4X to 5X less proportion of low income that the Average of the District!

I favor a change in PREFERENCES - #4 - "to 14% low-income" (or SED / = no high-school-graduate guardians). That is the ONLY WAY to start - by January 2022 - the Process of de-Segregation. just Start to Actually get WORKING on it!
Brown-v-Board of Education took 'till 1970 to finish working throughout the South. NO NEED for a Stevenson Segregation fix to wait so long. Start to Actually WORK! Stevenson has been there now about a dozen years.

-The MVWSD Board will/may be "directing" the staff for Public Policy changes to the Enrollment Policy. At 29% SED District Average, there is absolutely No Reason Not to try to meet 1/2 the district average, starting with 2022 new enrollments.
(In My Opinion)

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2021 at 5:10 pm

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For Stevenson it would be a moving target, as not long ago the MVWSD district average was not 29% low SED but rather more like 45%. Soon the district average will be below 20%.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Oct 7, 2021 at 5:22 pm

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A step in the right direction but I share the County doubts about attaining better parity with LASD in all protected groups any time soon.

Let's remember that preference is for 10% of open seats per grade and only after siblings preference. Aside from Kindergarten, 10% of open seats might not even represent one full seat if any at all.

Also, SED families face greater housing insecurity; how many will be able to stay 8-9 years in our community?

Given that, wow many years or decades before BCS reaches some parity with LASD in all protected groups?

Let's also remember that BCS has some experience setting preferences to attain a certain demographics. For over a decade, there was a geographic preference for a wealthier part of the district..... for most of that period, the percentage of open seats was not 10% but 50% !

Posted by Los Altos Observer
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2021 at 9:32 pm

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BCS is strung over a barrel. LASD is required by state law to provide facilities to BCS, but for 15+ years LASD has refused to provide space for before and after school care on either BCS campus. These services are offered at every other public school in LASD. How is BCS expected to attract low income families without this basic amenity? It LASD trustees truly want diversity at BCS they could enact this simple change.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2021 at 2:28 am

LongResident is a registered user.

All the seats are open for the K grade. Every year. Once a student enters K they proceed up to the next grade. If you get 10% of the seats filled by low SES in K, the next year grade 1 will see those students. The seats for siblings may be filled in K but they'll be out of the 90%, and won't reduce the 10% priority for low SES. It will be interesting to see if this works, that's true. One thing Bullis could do would be to further expand, because add seats are open seats.... and so get the priority share,

There aren't racial quotas in the admissions and Bullis has more of some minority groups than does LASD. It's not required to closely match the racial make up of LASD, regardless of what the county board says. That is illegal. What is required is to not discriminate. Affirmative Action for racial minorities in public education is expressly banned in California's Constitution.

Posted by Cranky Educator
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2021 at 8:43 am

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The County Board is filled with politician hopefuls who cling onto issues like this in hopes of rising to their next office. Bullis, even if it were to execute on this admissions preference perfectly, would still not be "diverse" because it is located in Los Altos, which isn't particularly diverse to begin with and doesn't have a lot to offer families without loads of resources. Mirroring LASD will not make the quality of experience any better for students in the charter school or in LASD - the board needed to find something and this is what they decided on. A waste of taxpayer dollars.
Meanwhile, Cupertino school district is preparing to close schools due to years of financial mismanagement and declining enrollment. Alum Rock District in East San Jose continues to fail students and families. There is malaise and distrust with school districts across SCC. Why is the county board not holding these bodies accountable? Asking tougher questions of all schools and districts it oversees. Oh yea, because the union lackies who back their campaigns insist they focus on closing charter schools.
Wake up parents - vote with your feet, choose what works best for your child. And vote these clowns out in 2022

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2021 at 1:39 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Cupertino is underfunded compared to LASD because they only get money if they have students. They are having to close schools because they are having fewer students to provide demand for school. Their parcel tax provides a very small amount of income per student whereas LASD's parcel tax provides 4 times as much per student in historical enrollment situations. But the biggest difference is that ALL of LASD's revenue is fixed based on local property values rather than proportionate to enrollment. LASD has lost an even greater percentage of enrollment in recent years but this helps their budget. LASD is up over $21K in revenue per student, whereas CUSD gets around $14K per student which drops off as they lose students to population shifts.

THe same thing happens to the charter school. It gets state funds based on the number of students, so it gets around $11K per student whereas the rest of the LASD kids are funded to the tune of $21K each. So in theory a disadvantaged student is getting more funding at LASD's traditional schools. Certainly the LASD traditional schools have elegant sites compared to CUSD or the charter school but that comes out of the district owning an immense amount of land for a declining student population. (And the LASD board members are politicians in the making looking to score points by mistreating the charter school similar to the county board's attitudes.)

Posted by Pancho
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 9, 2021 at 5:02 pm

Pancho is a registered user.

It's so simple: separate is still inescapably unequal. BCS enrollment today is not representative of the LASD community because it has been a targeted program since shortly after its inception. the enrollment disparity some people are calling "soft" segregation is not a function of the lottery, it's community-driven. some families feel very at-home and others just don't. it has never been run as a welcoming place for families that don't fit the right profile.

Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 10, 2021 at 2:40 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Compared to MVWSD, all of LASD is highly "targeted" to high SES students That is so much true that the area north of El Camino Real in Mountain View, which is a part of LASD, is fragmented between 3 different elementary schools in Los Altos. These schools are located between 1 and 2.5 miles from the areas they serve in Mountain VIew. This serves to keep these 3 schools bearing the education of the kids from the allegedly low-SES Mountain View.

It gets pretty ridiculous. Within that Mountain View subarea of LASD, the area itself is divided. The highest SES portion goes to the highest SES full-size elementary school in LASD, namely Covington. Almond and Santa Rita have more of a proportion of lower SES kids living in LOS ALTOS already then any other LASD school. So naturally they are tapped to serve the 2 different lower SES areas North of El Camino Real. The highest SES elementary school in LASD is Gardner Bullis, and it only serves half as many students as Covington or the other schools.

I don't see how the LASD board can with a straight face claim that their schools are unsegregated, when they are. The only thing is that the low SES proportion is kept below 10% at all of the LASD schools, and only achieves that mark at Santa Rita and Almond--not at Oak, Gardner Bulls, Loyola, Springer or Covington (typically under 3%).

People in MVWSD might not fully appreciate just how well off the students in LASD area.

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