Bullis Charter School submitted its 2013-2014 enrollment projections to the Los Altos School District last week, outlining plans to expand from 517 students to 644.
The jump in enrollment is attributable in part to the addition of kindergarten, first-, second- and third-grade classes, an attempt to serve greater numbers of in-district students who have been wait-listed in the past.
Of the 644 students projected to attend the charter school next year, 615 are estimated to be in-district students.
The enrollment projection is the first step in resolving the 2013-2014 Proposition 39 facilities offer, which requires that the Los Altos School District provide reasonably equivalent facilities for Bullis Charter School’s in-district students. Members of the charter school’s board of directors assured the public that the added classes would accommodate in-district students.
The charter school board based its in-district projections on waitlist data. Last year, 189 children – 89 of them from the district – were wait-listed for kindergarten. In first and second grades, 181 children – 103 in-district – were placed on the waitlist.
The board’s report included affirmative statements from families who planned to enroll their children in the charter school for the 2013-2014 school year if given the opportunity. The board listed 101 of those students, by their neighborhood district school and grade, showing 29 first-graders, 23 second-graders and 28 third-graders of “meaningfully interested” in-district families.
In addition to the new K-3 classes, the charter school plans to add sixth- and eighth-grade classes as a part of their growth model.
The total overall projected growth for the school in 2013-2014 is 127 students, or 24.5 percent.
Many community members have questioned whether expansion of more than 25 percent is allowable under education code. Charter school board member Janet Medlin said the 25 percent figure is “unsupported,” and that education code states that charter schools “shall admit all pupils who wish to attend” and “the chartering authority shall make reasonable efforts to accommodate growth.”
“BCS seeks to serve all in-district students who wish to attend BCS,” she said. “Our community deserves ‘choice, not chance,’ and as long as there continues to be a lottery for in-district students because demand remains higher than supply, then chance is the result. Those who believe BCS is growing too fast or too big do not speak for the numerous community members who continue to register with BCS and pray for openings or pray to have their number drawn at the lottery.”
The charter school’s initial enrollment projection for this school year was 493 in-district students. The number of in-district enrolled this year is 475, according to court documents
The district sent a letter to the charter school last week requesting more specific information, including the names and addresses of charter school students. The charter school’s enrollment report states that “the statutes and regulations do not require charter schools to submit this information with a request for facilities.”
District officials have grappled with the authenticity of the charter school’s “in-district” numbers, because the information in the facilities request does not include addresses to verify its claims. Currently, the charter school’s chartering authority – the Santa Clara County Office of Education – certifies the names and addresses of students.
The community is scheduled to offer feedback on this year’s district-charter school facilities process at a Monday meeting, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.
1"BCS: Legal = Moral"
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 09:32
Janet and the rest of the BCS board have consulted their "bible" and one and only guide for their actions: expanding is legal. Nothing else matters to them.
BCS expansion will wreak havoc on our already-difficult school facilities issues and make things worse for existing BCS students and parents (and LASD students and parents). Existing BCS parents may need to pay thousands of dollars more for their "tuition" because the vastly wider audience they are going to admit won't have the money. This might even crash the whole model, which is a fragile one that depends on volunteers willing to pay for their neighbor's pseudo-private school.
Gone will be the small, intimate collection of rich people that BCS was in the past. The new BCS is a mega-school with mega-problems.
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:36
The facilities issue is straight forward - the additional students entering BCS are leaving empty spaces behind at their current LASD neighborhood schools. The school facilities belong to all public school children, not just the traditional public school children. The trustees of the school board should stop dragging their feet and redraw the attendance boundary to consolidate the remaining children at the traditional public school. Yes, it is inconvenient and it will cause disruption for a short period of time - but is that a reason big enough to short change the 600+ in-district children of their rightful school facilities? On Monday night, many LASD parents stood up and flippantly suggested to find a commercial building outside of the district boundary for the charter school children... That sort of vindictive attitude is reason number one why we have this "problem" at our small town today...
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 11:15
I think we should just wait one more year until the BCS Lawsuit School gets to 900 students and we can then get Los Altos High School to consolidate with Mountain View High School the and give BCS a campus large enough to accomodate their wildest dreams.
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 11:15
Actually, "common sense" there is an awful lot of anecdotal evidence out there that 30% or more of BCS students are coming from the private school track. Therefore, additional students entering BCS are not leaving behind as many empty spaces at LASD neighborhood schools as you would like us to believe. They are leaving behind significant empty spaces at the private schools. Also, due to all of the new housing in the district, LASD new student enrollments will outpace LASD student losses to BCS.
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 12:00
The BCS Board can decide, at any time, to be better citizens and curtail and even reverse their growth through attrition with absolutely no impact to current families.
They could, for instance, agree to curtail their enrollment to siblings only until a new campus is built. This would hurt nobody and resolve this crisis.
Instead they choose divisiveness, lawsuits, and school closures. Vindictive indeed.
At any rate, BCS is a commuter school by definition, taking children from the entire district. It does not belong in a neighborhood and a more commercial location for the school such as the old Target facility would make a lot of sense for that kind of school.
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 14:40
Joan, sing the following line to the tune of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas":
Your beginning to sound a lot like Cortright.
Oh, sorry, everyone. Now I've ruined the holiday season.
at Wednesday, 07 November 2012 17:35
LASD Parent - can you cite your source of "30% or more of BCS students are coming from the private school track"? Do you have real data from private schools to back up your claim?
8"Bullis Private School"
at Thursday, 08 November 2012 09:28
While I don't have any direct evidence--hopefully the data the District is trying to get from the BCS can give us the definitive data on this--Ron Haley (BCS insider) has gone on record as stating that BCS will actively recruit students from private schools.
Nationwide, a Rand Corp. study found that upwards of 1/3 of children in charter schools come from private schools. Charters, in short, are simply becoming discount private schools, costing, the study estimates, about $1.8 billion per year so far.
Clearly parents who are ready to pay $5000 or more per year for the BCS "tuition" will be disproportionally disposed to afford and attend private school. That's common sense.
I think 30% is reasonable estimate. This would equate to about 200 students, or about $1.2 million per year of our tax revenues being spent in the name of discount private school.
But wait, there's more! The BCS "tuition" is tax deductible! Figure $2k per student in taxpayer costs for that...
at Thursday, 08 November 2012 17:49
We live near the BCS and the impact on our street is horrific. We now have to plan when to come and go so we don't get caught in the BCS traffic jam. They whiz down our street in the morning and park all along it after school.They make illegal U turns and honk for their kids to run to their cars. And now they want to increase the student population? When will this end? Imagine suddenly having over 600 kids who have to get to and from school every day. Now imagine it's your street they wanna drive down. It's a nighmare. I can't believe it ever went this far.
10"Charters v. Neighborhoods"
at Friday, 09 November 2012 08:10
Charter schools are by definition commuter schools, not neighborhood schools. This means most kids who go there will be from far away, and will by design not be able to walk to school.
To save traffic, parking and energy, we as a community should choose small neighborhood schools, not massive. mega charter schools like BCS.
Please keep this in mind when we put forth a school bond next year.
at Friday, 09 November 2012 21:08
I would be interested to know what percentage of the current Gardner Bullis students are walking to school on a regular basis. I would think that number is very low. In fact, the total number of students walking to school would probably increase if they gave that campus to BCS and moved the GB students to nearby Covington. Save traffic, parking, and energy. Give GB to BCS.
12"Stuck in 2007?"
at Saturday, 10 November 2012 08:19
Wow, math much, LASD Parent?
GB has something like 320 students now. BCS has only 180 or so from the GB area out of almost 600. The same ratio of the 320 GB students now would walk to the campus as the 180 BCS GB-area students. So if it's only half, that means there would be about 510 kids NOT walking to school if BCS moved to GB, as opposed to 160 now, tripling the traffic around the school.
Of course I don't know what the real ratio is, but basic algebra will show you it doesn't matter.
There was once a time that BCS was envisioned to be the neighborhood school of LAH. That time is long, long gone. The BCS board made it official this year by specifying, for the first time, a school other than GB which they want to close (most of us saw this coming and have acted accordingly). They also plan on growing to 900 students in the next two years.
BCS has almost nothing to do with LAH anymore and will never return there. Now they are everybody's problem.
at Sunday, 11 November 2012 22:12
LASD Parent, you are showing how naive you and probably the majority of parents are regarding the real agenda of the BCS Lawsuit School. GB was taken off the table a long time ago, so the Board decided retribution was their best tack. They took a page out of the Al Davis manual, Just grow baby! Once large enough they will have to give us a school site, and screw the neighborhood kids that get displaced. In fact they can pony up 5K and come join us. The people behing the scenes have made this an us vs. them scenario, neighbor vs neighbor , all because those who are used to always getting their way, for once in their life didn't. BTW can we get pictures of the BCS Board in the paper like they do LASD Board members? I think the community deserves to know who these people are.
at Sunday, 11 November 2012 22:14
Wow, stick to your story much, Joan?
There was once a time when you said that BCS was controlled by the "billionaires" and "millionaires" of LAH. So that's not true anymore?
So I guess "everybody's problem" is no longer the exclusive rich kids school that you've been making it out to be. Now, it mostly consists of us "poor folk" in Los Altos?
"We have met the enemy and he is us." --Pogo
15"Same story, diff day"
at Tuesday, 13 November 2012 09:12
BCS is controlled by very rich people who own the school. This is a fact. It's never changed.
The fallacy at work in the above post seems to be that the BCS parent and student make-up relates to the control of the BCS. It does not. BCS is not a democracy and the leadership of the school is in no way accountable to its students and parents, let alone controlled by them.
We reserve the right to use comments submitted on our site in whole or in part. We will not publish comments that contain inappropriate content, advertising or website links to inappropriate content.