After years of spiking enrollment requests, Bullis Charter School officials are reviewing options for school expansion.
The school has added a class per grade per year over the past several years, growing from two sections of each grade to three.
The charter school’s board of directors held a study/work session Sept. 24 to discuss solutions for the increasing needs.
“The demand has increased in all grade levels,” said board member Andrea Eyring. “When we first started the school, it was trickier. Now there is enough demand in all the grades.”
The board explored both short- and long-term options for the school’s future.
One option – maintaining the school’s current growth model – would add only additional sixth- and eighth-grade sections.
To address the number of applicants turned away each year, however, board members proposed revising the growth model to accommodate more students.
A second option, a possibility for the short term, would add one section for grades K-3, leading eventually to four sections per grade.
“We have quite a few siblings wait-listed right now,” said board member Janet Medlin. “We could serve families that are already here by having a new K-3 strand starting next year. Those grades could easily be filled by next year.”
An option for scaled-down growth in the short term would add only one kindergarten section beginning next year, and add a class section per year, capping at four sections of each grade.
Board Chairman Ken Moore said adding one kindergarten section next year might not require more facilities space, as it would be the addition of an afternoon class, for which they already have space on campus.
In the longer term, the board discussed several possibilities for growth. Board members said long-range planning might require a more detailed study that could take more than six months.
One long-term vision, dubbed the “Five-Four model,” would offer five sections for grades K-3 and four sections for grades 4-8, which have slightly larger class sizes.
Another proposal was to duplicate the school’s current three-section model, meaning there eventually would be six sections of each grade. Moore said that growth could be implemented in a number of ways.
A transitional model, eventually adding many more sections, would add two sections each in grades K-5 in addition to the current three sections of K-8.
Moving forward, Moore said the board should consider several factors about the proposed growth models: demand, Proposition 39 (facilities allocation), the funding model, class size, maintaining quality, the specialized teacher component and timing.
“There are great pros to expanding the program,” Medlin said. “We need to makes sure we aren’t compromising the product we are delivering now.”
The Nov. 1 deadline looms for the charter school to report to the district its forecast for in-district students for the 2013-2014 school year.
Moore said the board rescheduled its Oct. 1 meeting to Oct. 8 to allow the Proposition 39 Committee (which deals with the facilities request process each year) more time to look at short-term options. He said another study session on the topic should be discussed at the Oct. 8 meeting.
1"More BCS Tactics"
at Thursday, 04 October 2012 10:21
This is part of a long-time pattern by BCS of using growth as a weapon against our community. The BCS board knows that their growth is disruptive and painful for our children here, so they use this threat as a lever to get what they want.
The threat is an idle one since very few parents in our area have the necessary $5000 per child "tuition" (although one BCS supporter recently implied that BCS will be marketing to parents at Pinewood and St. Nicks to convert these children from private to BCS's cheaper semi-private model).
The BCS board is intent on prolonging this rift in our community, not healing it.
The only way this crisis will be solved will be for BCS to curtail their enrollment to siblings only (zero new families) until we build an additional campus.
Unfortunately the BCS board is made up of zealots and lawyers, not educators. As such, our district should offer a replacement for BCS in the form of a choice school, allowing BCS "refugees" to attend it.
at Friday, 05 October 2012 17:22
BCS is only responding to community demand. There were 149 applicants for kindergarten alone last year - only 60 were able to enroll. And most of those slots were taken by children with siblings already attending BCS.
BCS has a foundation that asks for a $5,000 donation per child each year because LASD withholds $4,300 of funding from the charter for each child that attends. This is a request, non a requirement. For most LASD parents, this is not a burden, especially compared to the cost of preschool ($9K per year) of private schools - $15-25K per year. It certainly hasn't slowed down the enrollment requests, with grow every year.
BCS has been the top school in the district for a long time. It offers substantially better teacher student ratios, and extensive extra curricular programs like music, drama, dance, guitar etc. It has both mandarin and Spanish programs. It's non-union, so its staff have merit based pay and don't have lifetime employment contracts.
at Friday, 05 October 2012 17:22
I do agree that LASD should start offering magnet schools. LASD can't compete with the Charter model. However, they'll need to make sure that it doesn't have a union workforce. Starting a new school and labelling it "Magnet" doesn't do a thing.
4"Facts about BCS"
at Monday, 08 October 2012 10:01
1. BCS teachers have a more expensive benefits package than LASD teachers.
2. BCS has a teacher salary structure that will eventually cost much more than that of LASD teachers in a few years. BCS is newer, that's all. Unless BCS systemically fires all teachers with more experience, they will catch up with, and pass the salaries of LASD teachers.
3. The BCS program for typical children costs almost twice as much as the same program for typical LASD children. BCS is by far the most expensive grammar school to run in our area with the possible exception of Pinewood.
4. LASD is the top-ranked school district in California, and it does so with funding that is below the national average, and far below that of several of our neighbors--all while spending almost 20% of its money on special education.
LASD is an absolute marvel of fiscal efficiency, and could easily absorb all of BCS's easy-to-educate typical children.
A choice program with Mandarin would replace BCS
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