at Wednesday, 02 November 2011 22:18by Deeply concerned
|Bullis wins latest legal fight with LASD|
|Written by Traci Newell - Staff Writeremail@example.com|
|Wednesday, 02 November 2011|
Los Altos School District officials are consulting with their lawyers this week, following the Sixth District Court of Appeal’s unanimous finding Thursday that upheld Bullis Charter School’s position that district-provided facilities do not meet state requirements.
The decision, which overturned a lower court’s ruling, states “the (Los Altos School) District’s offer of facilities for the 2009-10 school year did not comply with Proposition 39 or its implementing regulations.”
The Appellate Court found that the Los Altos School District, in its initial facilities offer to Bullis, “excluded from consideration over one million square feet of collective non-classroom space of the comparison group schools.”
The charter school filed suit against the school district in June 2009, requesting that the court evaluate whether the district had fulfilled its legal obligation to provide facilities for the charter school. Proposition 39, passed in 2000, mandates that districts must provide “sufficient and reasonably equivalent space” to that of district students for charter school students who reside within district boundaries.
After the Santa Clara County Superior Court ruled in favor of the school district in late 2010, the charter school appealed. The appellate court heard arguments Oct. 18.
The Oct. 27 verdict is significant, not just for Bullis, but for charter schools around the state.
“This decision will bolster our statewide efforts to fulfill the promise of Proposition 39,” said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. “By finding that the district failed to make a good-faith attempt to comply with the law, the court affirms that charter school students are entitled to ‘reasonably equivalent facilities.’”
In a press release Friday, the Los Altos School District reported that the ruling specifically addressed the district’s 2009-2010 school year, which ended nearly a year and a half ago.
“It is important to note that the court of appeal did not address ... the district’s selection of the location of (the charter school’s) facility, or its decision to place (Bullis) at the Egan site,” the release stated.
Superintendent Jeff Baier said he is consulting with lawyers to determine how the ruling will impact future facilities requests.
“The court of appeal’s decision appears to focus more on the process for considering facilities requests, as opposed to requiring that the allocated facilities meet a prescribed mathematical threshold,” the release stated. “The decision contradicts prior judicial treatment of this issue, including (a) previous decision ruled in the district’s favor. (The district) is assessing its future legal options.”
Bullis Charter School officials expressed satisfaction with the victory.
“We are pleased with the appeal court’s unanimous decision,” said Ken Moore, Bullis Charter School Board chairman. “All we want is for families who choose the charter school to have facilities that are equivalent to what all students in the district legally deserve.”
District officials said they have always acted in good faith when providing facilities for Bullis.
“The Los Altos School District has always been committed to providing safe and reasonably equivalent facilities to district children whose families choose to enroll them in Bullis Charter School,” Baier said. “For eight years now, the district has made its best, good-faith efforts to share facilities fairly among all students, those attending Bullis Charter School and those attending the district’s schools.”
District Board President Bill Cooper said he was concerned the ruling may cause the district further hardship down the line.
“Our main concern is that the court’s adoption of (Bullis’) interpretation of Proposition 39 imposes an additional burden upon the Los Altos School District,” Cooper said. “The district already struggles every year to meet the onerous demands imposed under Proposition 39, in addition to the fiscal challenges imposed by the state’s economic condition. This ruling now adds further complication.”
Ultimately, leaders from both sides said they want to move forward – eventually toward a permanent location for the charter school.
“The court of appeal’s ruling is the latest step in the continuing process of finding a long-standing facilities solution for (the charter school), and allowing both parties to return their focus to their core mission of educating their students,” Baier said.
“With this facilities decision final, and hopefully behind us, it is our desire to work in partnership with the district to ensure that all students are treated equitably,” Moore said.
To read the court ruling, visit www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H035195.PDF.
at Wednesday, 02 November 2011 22:18by Deeply concerned
The 48 page ruling doesn't mince words. Jeff's letter to the LASD community is obscuring the reality of the situation. The docs should be mandatory reading for all interested in commenting.
at Wednesday, 02 November 2011 22:19by Ron Haley
The district failed to mention that the 2010 - 2011 offer has the same gross distortions.
Contrary to Mr. Baier's spin that the district made "its best, good-faith efforts to share facilities fairly among all students", the court found just the opposite - evidence of "bad faith".
3"LA Resident and Parent"
at Thursday, 03 November 2011 00:35by Harold Barton
Score another victory for the tiny group of millionaires who own the publicly-funded private school known as BCS.
Far from serving the original intent of Prop 39--to provide better education in undeserved areas--BCS exists within one of the highest-rated public school systems in California. There\\\'s no practical reason to have a Charter here when those amazing teachers and all of that private money at BCS could be used elsewhere to actually make a difference. The only thing they accomplish in Los Altos is to attack some of the best public schools in the state.
Sounds strange, doesn\\\'t it?
Well the reasons, I\\\'m finding out, are sordid and personal. A bunch of millionaires got pissed off at LASD so they started BCS to get back at them. The LASD eventually corrected the original disputed issue but the Charter lives on to extract vengeance, presumably.
And now our children, parents, and our property values live in a war zone.
at Monday, 07 November 2011 21:40by BCS Bad Faith
BCS lost all its previous lawsuit attempts, as ruled over the years by five different judges! BCS was acting in bad faith for all those years.
No court had ever had any problem with LASD before. Now the community needs to figure out how to go forward and placate BCS. BCS has not won any goodwill points with the community.
5"A matter of sq footage"
at Monday, 14 November 2011 12:54by David Cortright
From my reading of the ruling, it is a simple matter of sq footage calculation. BCS is simply due a bit more non-classroom space. Easily rectified I think, especially if the non-classroom space can be non-contiguous. Thankfully there is no legal problem with the classrooms, so LASD can continue to grant portables on the far edges of the district to BCS as reasonably equivalent classroom space.
The real problem I see here is BCS' unchecked growth. They added a 7th grade last year and an 8th grade this year. It is difficult to give necessary space when the requirements keep increasing year over year. BCS needs to commit to a 6-year enrollment plan, just as LASD does for its students.
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