Bullis Charter School officials last week filed a motion asking the Sixth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal to compel the Los Altos School District to improve the scope of the facilities they offer the charter school.
The motion appeals a Sept. 20 ruling, in which Judge Patricia Lucas denied the charter school’s complaint in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Charter school officials framed their writ of mandate as an enforcement request, arguing that “adequate facilities” as previously defined by the court of appeal were not in fact offered for the 2012-2013 school year.
“We believe the appellate court will be shocked to learn that after its very clear opinion saying the temporary Egan camp site was inadequate, the district again placed Bullis on that site,” said Ken Moore, charter school board chairman.
Judge Lucas’ finding questioned the court’s jurisdiction in applying the court of appeal ruling to the current facilities, because the charter school’s enrollment has expanded, with new students and new grades. She also stated that the charter school’s legal team sought relief that exceeded the scope of the original ruling.
Lucas described what the charter school is “actually” seeking from the school district: “to provide (the charter school) with exclusive use of one of the four sites that the parties agreed to in mediation” and “immediately confer with the charter school in good faith to provide additional facilities at the Egan location.”
Out of a mediated agreement, which fell apart in the spring after the district faced a public backlash, the charter school would have been able to use either the Almond, Covington, Gardner Bullis or Santa Rita school campus.
After Lucas heard oral arguments on the case, the charter school filed a new lawsuit, which addressed only the 2012-2013 facilities offer. Arguments in that case were heard Oct. 30; both parties await Lucas’ ruling.
“Litigation is wasteful to begin with,” said Doug Smith, district trustee, in his blog. “For Bullis Charter School to now try to create two paths of litigation in parallel (while apparently not succeeding on either path) is a horrendous waste of taxpayer resources.”
1"BCS v. Los Altos"
at Wednesday, 21 November 2012 10:23
Our local community has once again spoken loud and clear: we reject the BCS board's attack on our school district, which is in fact an attack on our community itself.
The BCS-backed school board candidate lost soundly in the last election despite being the highest funded candidate.
Bullis Charter is not a school, it's a cause. It's a cause brought to our community without anybody's approval and driven by the millions of a single rich family.
Now the school is undertaking a growth plan that is not only terrible for our school district, but terrible even for their own students. The BCS board is dominated by litigators, not educators. The BCS board is driven by spite and anger, not children and education.
The BCS board can stop the crisis any time they feel like it. They could curtail their growth and work with the community to build a new school campus.
Instead they choose--choose--to divide our community to punish us all for something that happened a decade ago.
at Wednesday, 21 November 2012 20:28
LASD in continuing to waste school funds fighting a cause it has already lost, all the way to tghe supreme court. All BCS is asking for, and which the courts has affirmed they are entitled, is reasonably equivanent facilities.
No wonder the school district has to continually go back to th community for more and more funds. It's time we cut them off.
3"Who is the aggressor?"
at Thursday, 22 November 2012 10:32
Mr. Haley's comments reflect a distorted view of events. Currently BCS has not one but two active appeals, having lost both decisions at the Superior Court. The original action in both cases tie were originated by BCS. (#1 was the BCS action on facilities, #2 was their claim for attorney fees). LASD is not the aggressor.
LASD has an obligation to defend against these suits. Despite Mr Moore's assertion, the Apellate Court specifically did NOT require that LASD provide a campus for BCS' exclusive use. BCS continues to use the courts to achieve two objectives that would be better reached by working with the community. We need to work together to identify a long term solution to the 10 programs/ 9 sites issue. Only by working together will they earn the respect and goodwill of the broader community. These problems will be solved in our community, not in the courthouse.
at Monday, 26 November 2012 08:53
Joan, I hear that you're starring in a movie that opens in theatres tomorrow.
It's called "Los Altosapocalypse".
Here's the trailer-- queue Don LaFontaine:
"In a world
where the school district
is no longer in our control.
With our survival at stake,
we have one chance
and that chance is to fight back.
Now one woman has the power
to change that and to spread her voice
across the earth for all of mankind to hear.
Joan J Strong
Get ready for the most thrill-ride motion
picture event of the year: Los Altosapocalypse
In theatres everywhere. Friday."
5"Back to Mediation"
at Monday, 26 November 2012 08:54
I appreciate your comments. Would LASD be willing to agree to mediation again without any qualifications or does BCS have to agee to drop all of their lawsuits before you will consider this? I know you cant speak for all of the LASD Board but Im searching for some way to start this up again
at Monday, 26 November 2012 08:55
BCS lawsuit school continues to whine like a 10 year old child when they don't get their way, just keep asking until the system breaks down. When you are raised with unlimited funds you can do this thru your adult years with no guilt or recriminations. I am appalled that a BCS lawsuit school article is headline by a photo of a LASD elected official, why can't we get photos of the BCS Board members? This community deserves to see their faces. Why does the Town Crier refuse to publish them while continually showing the real elected officials?
at Monday, 26 November 2012 08:57
Mr. Smith, you and the rest of the BoTs have been extremely aggressive with your facilities offers, repeatedly pushing against the legal limit. Your current split site offer is sad. The land set aside for BCS at Egan and Blach looks like a gerrymandered serpent wrapping around, but not including the tracks at either school. Then you changed the facilities after the offer was finalized. You have been extremely aggressive legally with respect to facilities, and then you complain that BCS is the aggressor?
The BoTs has been looking at siting BCS somewhere since 2005. For seven years nothing has been done. The BoTs chose not to site BCS at the Bullis Purissima site when it was closed. It chose not to site BCS at Covington when it was empty, or nearly empty. When are you planning on actually solving this problem and halting the yearly cycle of facilities offer-lawsuit?
at Monday, 26 November 2012 08:58
To a hammer everything looks like a nail.
The unelected, billionaire, LAH, lawyers on the BCS board have clung to one strategy only.
However, the solution needs to be finding a 10th site for the 10th program they created. Or alternatively sharing facilities of some of the larger, 20 acre sites such as Egan and Blach, as LASD has currently proposed.
The BCS approach of pounding the community's school district into submission by incessant lawsuits and demanding attorney's fees, when LASD never requested attorney's fees from BCS after the many decisions in LASD's favor, is not the path towards a solution nor towards moving the community forward together.
It will be interesting to see whether BCS's aggressive approach achieves their goal of evicting neighborhood families from their neighborhood school. At this point in time, due to BCS's huge growth, GB is no longer their target, but rather Covington.
at Monday, 26 November 2012 14:27
This is about more than Bullis and Los Altos. The attorneys representing BSC represent other charters in CA. If they can beat LASD into submission with a precedent-setting court decision, they can seize schools up and down the state.
Prop 39 allows for split placements, especially if the district's programs are divided (e.g. elem/middle/high). Charter leaders want to demand single contiguous sites, even if that is not reasonably equivalent to district programs. A decision in LASD will move a number of pending cases elsewhere toward evicting children from neighborhood schools in order to turn their campuses over to charter schools.
Fight on, LASD!
at Monday, 26 November 2012 14:28
Good point: When the article is about BCS filing another lawsuit, why isn't the picture of a BCS board member rather than a LASD board member?
I suppose it is for the same reason that the paper endorsed a BCS mother of three to run for the LASD board.
To Phil Aaronson, I think everyone knows that BCS WAS in fact placed at Covington in its first year and it simply did not work. BCS was unhappy (ask anyone who was around at the time) and LASD was unhappy. Egan, the following year offered a larger campus site (20 acres vs 13 acres), a separate drop-off area, and many other advantages for all.
I don't think you were asking why was BCS not given the entire Covington campus at the time, since that would not have made sense to evict LASD families in central Los Altos and give an entire campus to 80 kids mostly from LAH.
Besides, BCS's stated goal (until recently at least) has always been to grow to no larger than 350 due to small school educational advantages.
at Monday, 26 November 2012 14:29
In the last mediation there were many people--not me, but others--that were very upset over a public body like LASD having negotiations in secret. This is a deep issue for democracy in the eyes of many, and I've come to agree with them. There are laws to enforce these ideas as well--and possible lawsuits (for both sides) if they are crossed.
However secret negotiations are the only way things could work in the context of mediation. To make them public would mean that either side would have to censor every remark to the point of making the negotiations useless.
Can you imagine every off-hand comment, every trial close, every concession offered in the course the mediation sessions ending up in a court filing--just like the first draft of the last mediation session ended up in one?
Mediation cannot occur in the context of an ongoing lawsuit like this one. This isn't my opinion or anybody else's, it's just reality.
at Monday, 26 November 2012 22:19
EVERY time in the past that there has been a PRIVATE negotiation discussion between BCS and LASD boards, the result has ultimately NOT been finally approved by their respective boards or by their constituents.
I would suggest that the LASD and BCS boards continue to have the joint sessions perhaps one per month, including public comments allowed from all interested parties, and then arrive at a solution!
Or maybe they may conclude that there is no perfect solution and compromise is the best outcome. What a concept.
But the public and the respective boards need to be brought along each step of the way, and the Town Crier has an important role in communicating the ongoing progress or lack thereof.
at Tuesday, 27 November 2012 13:53
There is a simple solution to this mess which LASD should undertake immediately.
Step 1 - evaluate each of the 9 existing LASD campuses for their strategic value to the district.
Step 2 - give BCS exclusive use of the lowest strategic value campus in exchange for a long term agreement.
Step 3 - consider converting the Jr Highs to grade 6-8 Middle Schools.
Step 4 - re-draw attendance boundaries to equitably distribute the LASD student population on the remaining 8 campuses.
14"Ron Haley has"
at Tuesday, 27 November 2012 13:53
Such a rambling non-sequitor post above by one mister Ron Haley. He's like a squeaky, screechy old windmill turning in the breeze with no audience save himself and maybe a couple goats
at Tuesday, 27 November 2012 16:44
An even better solution to "solving" the problem would be to just shut down BCS, the most expensive taxpayer-funded typical child program in our area by far.
at Tuesday, 27 November 2012 22:31
To: LASD Parent (or rather, BCS Parent)
Your simple solution overlooks an important detail. That an entire neighborhood school would be shut down, and the neighborhood families evicted.
It's obvious that BCS doesn't care about this detail in their hurry to just get what they want, but the larger community does.
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