at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:09by LASD Parent
|Bullis Charter School: Mission-focused accountability: Other Voices|
|Written by John Phelps|
|Wednesday, 28 November 2012|
To better understand accountability at Bullis Charter School, one must understand its organization and oversight. Organized as a nonprofit, K-8 public school, Bullis Charter School is overseen by federal, state and county authorities, a board of directors and local parents who have exercised their choice in public education.
Bullis Charter School is a nonprofit organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Such nonprofits locally include the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Los Altos Community Foundation. These nonprofits perform “public benefit purposes” and are mission driven.
The founders of Bullis Charter School researched nonprofit and charter school governance models, finding that appointed boards are best practices for mission-driven entities. Appointed boards allow nonprofits to stay focused on the mission even through membership changes. When there is a vacancy, a nominating committee finds candidates with the needed complementary skills. An election process followed by a board vote ensures continuity of the Bullis Charter School mission. The mission states:
“Bullis Charter School offers a collaborative, experiential learning environment that emphasizes individual student achievement and inspires children, faculty and staff to reach beyond themselves to achieve full potential. Using a global perspective to teach about the interconnectedness of communities and their environments, the Bullis Charter School program nurtures mutual respect, civic responsibility, and a lifelong love of learning.”
Dedication to this mission has kept the school focused on its students and innovative programs, and contributes to the school’s position as the highest-performing public charter school in California today. Bullis Charter School has also reached the top 10 of all public schools in California.
Appointed boards are the norm at nonprofits and most independent charter schools. Many nonprofits, including Bullis Charter School, receive public funds. There is a big difference, however, between receiving taxpayer monies and having the power to levy a tax, issue a bond, exercise eminent domain or otherwise seize private property from citizens. These powers belong to school districts but not to nonprofits or charter schools. The power to tax is the primary distinction between elected and appointed boards.
All public schools, including Bullis Charter School, must meet federal and state accountability requirements such as API and AYP testing. It is held further accountable through its chartering agency, the Santa Clara County Office of Education. It conducts oversight and monitoring of Bullis Charter School, including (1) monthly financial monitoring; (2) regular site visits; (3) independent annual financial audits; and (4) detailed review of all aspects of the school every five years.
SCCOE, with an elected board, is independent of the charter school administrations that it oversees. This independence produces unbiased oversight.
Bullis Charter School is also accountable to its families, who decide each year that it will best serve the needs of their children. As a public charter school without a captive attendance area, Bullis Charter School only exists if there is demand for it. The current demand exceeds available spots by 6:1, thus requiring a random public lottery in some grades.
Bullis Charter School’s highly effective, mission-driven, nonprofit governance model is rooted in best practices of the nonprofit sector.
Understanding the school’s governance is crucial to understanding its place as a valuable asset in the community. This, in turn, is crucial to civil dialogue, mutual respect and the healing that this community deserves.
Los Altos resident John Phelps is a member of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:09by LASD Parent
Thanks for the clear explanation. This helps me understand much more about how BCS operates. The use of an appointed board, that cannot impose taxes or excercise immenent domain, makes a lot more sense.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:09by JB
A totally self-serving article. Of course, a self-appointed board member will say that their model is the best. What else can you expect?
What Phelps doesn't say is that the BCS Board wants to claim public property in the form of a school campus for its own exclusive use, while closing a public school that is every bit as high-performing as BCS and in the process displacing hundreds of children. Other non-profits who also supposedly get public money don't do that.
Phelps claims that the BCS Board is "accountable to its families". This is what one of the BCS board members said at a recent board meeting when a BCS parent offered an opinion not entirely in line with the Board's: "we cannot be listening to 500 individual parents". Tells you what they think of BCS parents and how accountable they think they really are to them.
This is BCS spin, folks.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:08by Los Altos Resident
Thank you to the Bullis Board of Directors for their leadership, dedication and perseverance in bringing uncompromised quality public education to our District, LA, LAH, & MTV!
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:08by school choice advocate
Thank you for the helpful explanation of BCS's status as a 501 (c) 3 and the best practice of appointed boards amongst these types of non-profits - it is really helpful for understanding the differences between BCS, charter schools in general, and traditional school districts such as LASD. The fact that LASD controls the revenue and facilities means it needs to have an elected board, that makes sense. BCS clearly has lots of oversight from an elected board -- the SCCOE -- and arguably more oversight controls are in place than there are for LASD (accounting audits, etc.). The system is just a little different than at a traditional public school, and quite frankly something that is easy for detractors to attack because there is little understanding. But different model or no, BCS is very public and delivering great results for our public school students and our community as a whole -- we all benefit from having the top performing charter school in the state in our town.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 08:07by Shane
Excellent article. More positive dialogue and a mutual respect between BCS and LASD is the way to go.
6"Best school experience!"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 09:36by Middleschool parent
I have a middle school student at BCS and have personally seen my child thrive through the intersessions, interconnect curriculum and phenomenal specialists and other teachers. The mentorship program is fantastic and I credit the mentor for instilling the love of physics and worldly pursuits in my child. BCS's middle school program is so very different and enriching and innovative, I cannot imagine another program, actually from other schools and I thank heavens every day that BCS decided to grow and add these fantastic programs for our kids to explore. The skills learned have been invaluable and the encouragement to try new things, work collaboratively with others and take responsibility for ones actions has been a blessing!
The PE teachers are fantastic (as are all the middle school teachers) as evidenced by BCS attaining the overall highest fitness score in 6/6 categories. That too speaks to educating the whole child. Art, drama, dance, Spanish as core inspires creativity!
7"Los Altos Community Mbr"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 09:37by Jon
I work for an education nonprofit that gets millions from the federal government in order to provide free services to public school students. Mr. Phelps is absolutely correct about why nonprofits have appointed boards. Elected boards could hijack the mission. It’s the ability to RAISE taxes that requires boards to be elected. Thank you for clarifying this important issue, but more importantly thank you for offering choice to our public school students in Los Altos.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 09:37by EA
This article is a great example of how BCS positively serves members of the community, students, and educators who believe in public educational opportunities for all children. We benefit from moving forward, sharing best practices, and coming together as one entity to serve our children in Los Altos. I look forward to seeing the continued great success of BCS!!
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 09:38by Wendy
There is no doubt that BCS has a better program. When you have so much more money per student, how can you not have a better program? The question is the cost to Los Altos as a community? When you take funds from LASD, it hurts the public school system so yes, you have a better program but at what cost? We are a community and we have to let a decsion that happened a decade ago be in the past.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 09:38by Parent of grown children
"Bullis Charter School program nurtures mutual respect, civic responsibility.." Too bad the board does not model to their children respect for their community, friends and city. Why seek to displace an entire school? Use your wealth to get your own site, not repetitive lawsuits. Teach your children to value friends, neighbors and community.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:48by accountability advocate
BCS is a private school masquerading as a public one by cleverly taking advantage of poorly written state charter school laws. They have allegedly better programs because there is so much private money funding them. Yet they want to take public facilities for their private use. Ask yourself why they refuse to follow a court order requiring them to disclose their top 25 donors or donation amounts. What are they hiding, and why?
They continue to drive a rift through our community with their tactics.
This "article" is just another output from their privately-funded PR campaign (using an expensive external PR firm), and I am disappointed in the Town Crier for publishing such a one-sided promotional piece. This isn't journalism, it is advertising.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:51by Beatrice
Do BCS board members' children receive enrollment preference bypassing the admission lottery?
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:52by Beatrice
It appears that Bullis Charter School perceives accountability to families as exercised through a given family's choice to enroll or depart the school.
Should the families of BCS feel that the board is off-mission or wish to modify the mission, what recourse do they have to change the composition of -- or even influence the decisions of -- the BCS board?
The "unbiased oversight" of the SCCOE was the target of enormous campaign cash infusions aimed directly at creating pro-charter, pro-BCS influence on that very board.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:24by Jennifer Carolan
Reed Hastings agrees:
"Constant turnover among elected school boards is a key reason why so many public schools are mediocre, the chief executive officer of Netflix said Friday.
“There is never a chance to get to greatness in the organization,” said Reed Hastings, who also is the founder of the firm that provides movies by mail and Internet streaming.
“It is the system that says you have to make a difference in your short term,” Hastings said of school board members.
“That is the fundamental problem,” he said.
I always find it very unusual that in the heart of silicon valley, a place where we wholly embrace innovation, that folks would oppose innovation within our school system It's no surprise some of the most innovative leaders in silicon valley are pro-charter: John Doerr, Reed Hastings, Dave Goldberg. . .
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:27by LL
John - your article breaks apart when you indicate that SCCOE provides "oversight" of Bullis. Reality is (and you know it) that they don't because the can't. They approve the Charter and then that's it. The law gives them little ability to do anything more w/ Bullis. Many, many, many parents in LASD have written to the SCCOE about this, and basically their response has been to throw-up their arms and reflect there isn't much they can do with Bullis given the way the law is structured. Frankly, the postering of email responses by SCCOE members also reflects that they are concerned with Bullis suing them, as it has been suing LASD. They don't want to get pulled into this mess as well, so they'd prefer to look the other way, until Bullis something illegal, like it has in the past regarding its admissions process. Only then do they react and after LASD parents raise the issues to them. SCCOE is passive.
That's the hard reality, and you know it. Bullis is playing a zero sum gam
16"Change charter laws now"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:55by Disenchanted Taxpayer
As a Los Altos resident without children in LASD or BCS, I strongly believe we need to change charter laws in California:
1. High performing school districts should not ever be required to provide facilities to charter schools.
2. All schools that receive taxpayer dollars should have publicly elected school boards.
I resent the infusion of money from outside the area and from a few rich donors that allows BCS to pay huge amounts for PR firms, lawyers, and political campaigns. The matters at hand should be settled within our community by the taxpayers. Our area is being used as a pawn in a larger nation-wide battle over the future of public education. The battle carries enormous financial and social costs. And the benefit to public education in our area is miniscule for a handful of people because all of our public schools are excellent. As someone who voted to allow charter schools in California, I feel I have been duped. I can no longer support CA charter law or BCS.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:56by Beatrice
@Jennifer, you need look no further than Hastings' own charter school to witness the perils of turnover on self-appointed charter school boards. Pacific Collegiate School board members serve two-year terms. For that two year service, all of their dependents are guaranteed admission to the 6-year program. Their massive board turns over with great frequency. Currently not one board member has any school leadership experience and very few have even been part of a public school.
There is never a chance to achieve true greatness when each member serves out of self-interest for the minimum commitment required.
There is FAR LESS turnover on elected boards than on appointed charter school boards. And when that turnover does occur, it happens through a nifty little thing called DEMOCRACY. It's pretty innovative. You might want to try it sometime.
18"Mission Worth Zip"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 11:56by Joan J. Strong
The BCS Mission as it started in 2004 was to create:
1. A small neighborhood school.
2. A community school for LAH students.
3. A school funded by a small group of rich people.
Then, with their mega-bucks lawyers failing, they changed the Mission, which is now:
1. A large mega-school.
2. A choice school with no set location or campus (parents choose a program, not a campus).
3. A school CONTROLLED by a handful of LAH citizens but attended by students from all over the place.
4. A school funded by unwitting parents who pay for other's private school.
5. A school which sues our public schools in order to create case law for all California charter schools and to score points with the charter school industry.
So, the "mission" of BCS isn't worth the paper it's printed on--they change it all of the time.
Mr. Phelps is right: what they are doing is legal and even normal for political causes like BCS.
Welcome to the new BCS Mission: it's not a school
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 14:28by Barbara
When an organization performs as well as BCS does, I don't care that its board is appointed rather than elected. On the contrary, its model is unusally successful. Complaining about the composition of BCS' board is just another grenade in of a long campaign of villification. I am not the parent of a BCS student, but I'm glad we have the option of school choice in our community.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 14:29by retired teacher
Thank you Mr. Phleps for an articulate and well written article. As a retired public school teacher, the majority of the public (LASD parents mainly) can't fathom that choice and change should be a part of the public school system. They want the same box that has been around for too many years and are fighting to "save" a system that allows: tenure after only two years of expereince; benefits that will allow ME to live in this wonderful area and receive a lifetime of medical coverage and retirement income. So thank you to the community for allowing an out of date system sustain me and all other public school teachers.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:22by LA Parent
Very good article! Every community should embrace educational alternatives as they benefit the community as a whole.
22"community sets taxes"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:22by Doug Smith, LASD Trustee
I have to disagree with my learned colleague. John states that the ability to levy taxes is why LASD is an elected board. That is not correct. The LASD Board does not have the ability to levy taxes without the citizens of our community voting on it. We are an elected board to provide the citizens of our community appropriate control over how their public tax dollars are spent. If our citizens choose to support a bond or another tax, they need to vote on that measure. I'm grateful for the consistent support of our community for our school, but it isn't just those issues that drive LASD to be an elected board.
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:07by Sonia
I am so thankful to have choice for my child. It 's sad that so much energy is being spent to try to close down something so valuable. My child has been at BCS since kindergarden and is now in Middle School. I cannot think of a school I would rather have her attend...and Joan and others, many of us are not wealthy and would not be sending our children to private school. Perhaps you might like to put a human face to this and meet and discuss rather than spending so much energy on your messages.
24"LA Resident+BCS Bd member"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:09by John Phelps
I greatly appreciate all views on this matter - especially those who opine with their real name in a respectful and fact-based manner. This community deserves healthy civil dialogue on issues great importance, especially education.
Please allow me respond to some questions/comments above:
1. My esteemed LASD colleague, Mr. Smith makes a good point on imposition of taxes requiring (thankfully) a vote. I believe the same applies to bonds, does this also apply to the extension/refinance of bonds? Doug, please comment. Also, how does a school district exercise its other special power, eminent domain? Does this require a vote of any sort along the way? I'm honestly unclear and would appreciate the chance to learn something here.
2. BCS Board & staff children receive exactly the same treatment as anyone else who wishes to attend.
3. BCS actually saves LASD several thousand $ for each student BCS educates.
4. No PR firm had any involvement with this Op-Ed in any way.
25"Votes and Board Powers"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 08:49by Doug Smith, LASD Trustee
Bonds also require community approval. There are some types of refinancing of bonds that do not require a community vote- for example, LASD recently restructured our outstanding bond obligation to reduce the amount we pay in interest. Refinancing may also be accomplished as the MVLA High School District did it, by a complete refinance and adding in new money- but that does require a community vote.
I am not an expert on eminent domain, so I really can't comment. Other members of our community have spent much more time thinking about issue that than I have.
Any "powers" held by the BoT are held on behalf of the public who elects us. We are immediately accountable for what we do, as we should be. Charter school boards may not have *all* the same powers as an elected board, but they also only deal with ~25% of the Ed Code and can do a whole slew of things traditional boards cannot.
I would disagree that BCS saves us money, but we won't dive into that here.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 08:49by John Radford
It is not often you can have two board members from opposing sides commenting on the same article. I appreciate both of your comments
Could you both also comment on what it is going to take to get both boards back together to resolve this? I think this community deserves an answer.
27"BCS Does Not Save Money"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 08:51by Joan J. Strong
BCS absolutely, positively does NOT save the District money.
Yes, BCS receives somewhat less funding from parcel tax. This amount, however, does not cover the expenses incurred by the District for necessary expenses such as special education and other items.
The students at BCS are uniformly "easy" students from the cost standpoint. The District could educate these children for less than BCS District receives per student from the government.
BCS also costs the district millions in donation, garnering half of the donations in our area.
BCS, by offering a "public private hybrid" also moves many students from private schools, against costing the district.
Finally, by creating what is essentially a private school you can write off, BCS costs taxpayers even more.
The BCS program is far more expensive--upwards of twice as expensive in some years--than that of LASD on a per-child basis.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:36by The Facts
1. It sounds like you agree with Doug Smith's point that elected boards are to insure accountability and representation, and NOT to levy taxes which requires taxpayer approval.
2. BCS board members do NOT receive exactly the same treatment as anyone else who wishes to attend. You failed to mention, and in your article too, that there is an admissions preference for LAH residents. Could this be a reason why BCS board members don't want elections, since it could bring in more non-LAH parents who might overturn the controversial LAH admissions preference benny?
3. BCS does NOT save the school district $. Everyone knows that without BCS the community's school district would be much better off financially.
4. SCCO does NOT oversee BCS except every 5 years it can terminate the charter for egregious conduct, which it almost did:
http://losaltos.patch.com/articl es/sharp-criticism-pointed-at-bullis-cha rter-school
29"cost per student"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:37by Doug Smith, LASD Trustee
I wasn't going to dive into it, but JJS has highlighted some of the issues.
One other way that BCS costs LASD money that is important for the community to understand:
Under state law, LASD transfers a specific amount per student to BCS. That amount is the same regardless of whether the student is in district or out of district. For example, a student who lives in the PAUSD portion of LAH might attend BCS, and we pay BCS the same for that student as we do for a child who lives in district.
LASD also has PAUSD students at some of our schools too- the difference is that we can be reimbursed by PAUSD for those students, provided that we tell PAUSD who the student is so they can confirm that the child would otherwise attend their schools.
Because BCS has refused to share student data with LASD, we are unable to seek reimbursement for these students.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 12:30by Barbara
As a retired CPA, I'm having trouble following Joan J. Strong's accounting methodology (comment 27). She acknowledges that BCS gets less parcel tax money per student, which sounds to me like a verifiable cost saving for the school district. She claims that BCS has "easy" students that the district could educate for less, but she fails to mention that the district would receive full "value" for the student, not their "easy" burden on the system. Ms. Strong's next claim, that BCS "costs" the district donations, is wishful thinking. There's no evidence that the money voluntarily donated to BCS would go to the other schools if BCS weren't a factor. I'd appreciate further clarification on her next statement, that BCS "moves many students from private schools, against costing the district" because it doesn't make sense. Finally, Ms. Strong seems to object to the tax deductibility of donations to a public school -- the same donations she wants in her earlier argument.
31"LA Resident+BCS Bd member"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 12:32by John Phelps
John Radford, I appreciate your approach and intent. I'm personally ready to resume mediation or any sincere constructive dialogue. I'm actively working on informal discussions with LASD Trustees.
To those with fictitious names and inflammatory accusations, from any side, I believe this is exceptionally destructive to our entire community. Inflammation and distortion from anyone is simply unacceptable and moves us backwards. This includes Mr. Ron Haley, who's had children in LASD, BCS and MVLA schools, but speaks strictly for himself, NOT for BCS in any way.
I will not engage any anonymous or inflammatory commenters - and urge everyone to do the same.
Let's face it, the charter law is not perfect, but choice in public education is a very democratic concept and has shown tremendous benefit.
BCS is simply LASD parents who've exercised a choice for one or more of their children.
I'm ready to walk or talk with anyone with a real name willing to be constructive
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 14:18by Mark Boennighausen
Thank you so much for the thoughtful explanation. I am a puzzled by one thing, however. It seems that Bullis sues whenever the District does not provide what it wants, and has increased the number and cost of such lawsuits even as the community has grown more opposed and hostile to the litigation and as the court decisions have piled up adverse to Bullis. That does not seem to be consistent with the mission of teaching the kids “the interconnectedness of communities and their environments, the Bullis Charter School program nurtures mutual respect, civic responsibility, and a lifelong love of learning.”
Isn’t part of “interconnectedness” “mutual respect” and “civic responsibility” respecting the views of the entire community (not just your own special interest group) and respecting the decisions of the public agencies and courts, rather than spending millions of dollars every time a decision does not go your way? Isn't that the essence of democracy?
33"Acct. Methodology Pt. 1"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 14:19by Joan J. Strong
@Barbara -- I'm rather surprised that, as a retired accountant, you seem to miss the fact that P&L statements have both revenues and expenses.
1. As I mentioned above, it is quite true that the District gets public revenues that BCS does not get. This, however, does not matter when more revenues are subtracted from the District for each child who attends BCS than would cost the district if they were to educate them.
2. I don't understand your comment about "easy" students, etc.
3. There is ample evidence that per-student donations without BCS would increase dramatically. About 1% of LASD parents donate at the level ($5000) that 100% of BCS parents are require to do, and do, in aggregate. No, it would not be a linear equation--BCS parents are probably more selfish on average--but there would still be far more per-student donations based on these indicators alone.
34"Acct. Methodology Pt. 2"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 14:20by Joan J. Strong
4. As for private schools, a Rand Corp. study found that 1/3 of charter students come from private schools. This is a national number and is costing US taxpayers about $1.8 billion per year and growing. As for our number here, based on the LAH demographic--where something like 50% of students go to private school--and the sort of donation BCS requires and thus the customers BCS isolates, that would indicate that many BCS students would probably be in private schools if there was no BCS. Private school students save the District money.
5. I am not making a case against donations, I am simply pointing out that writing off a "donation" (which based on IRS pub. 526 may not be deductible) which is a direct benefit to you is akin to a tax credit for a service received, which in turn costs US taxpayers money. At BCS it probably amounts to about $2k per student, fully 20% of what LASD receives overall.
35"Thank you, Mr. Phelps"
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:30by Joan J. Strong
A heartfelt thank you for being the first-ever BCS official to say something negative about Ron Haley.
You should understand that BCS's long and close association with Mr. Haley will not just fade away overnight. However I look forward to more of the same from the BCS board of directors.
In particular, Mr. Haley has promised us that BCS will be filing a lawsuit to sue LASD for more than $20 million in a so-called "equal funding" action. It would put the minds of many Los Altos residents at ease if we were assured that the BCS board of directors in fact does not have any such intentions.
As for inflammation and distortion, I refer you to a recent letter sent by your chairman to BCS parents. There you will find remarks to the effect that LASD "reneged" on an agreement when the negotiations were simply halted at the first draft of an agreement. This is a distortion, and it is inflammatory. Anybody in business knows what "first draft" is.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:31by Beatrice
This entire op-ed is based on a misconception about the role of elected local school board members vs. private non-profit foundations.
Charter schools are not typical nonprofits in that they receive and spend taxpayer funds and hire and fire public employees. They also have avenues to participate in bond financing and municipal bond funding for facilities. Yet their boards of oversight are not accountable to the taxpayers, the voters nor the very parents they serve.
The California School Boards Association is meeting in San Francisco right now. Perhaps a field trip is in order. BCS (and other charter board members) might learn a thing or two about mission, oversight and accountability.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:31by Lynn Kopf Reed
Your points are moot.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 18:41by BCS Mission?
It seemed like the entire first half of your article attempted to justify why BCS has an unelected board.
The main justification given over and over was that BCS has a mission: to insure the optimal education for its students. And that if boards changed there might be a digression from that mission.
This doesn't make any sense at all. It's hard to believe that newly duly-elected parents would choose to derail a mission as apple-pie as optimizing education for the children.
Did anyone else get this same feeling when they read the article? That the "jeopardizing our mission" argument was not a good reason to avoid having elected board members.
I think more likely the existing legacy board has other missions or agendas.
More likely there is a fear that new board members could over turn the LAH admissions preference, work constructively with LASD for win-win compromise solutions, or even become a part of LASD!
Imagine the possibilities.
at Friday, 30 November 2012 11:37by For the District?
Mr. Phelps's message is well-meaning but not compelling; BCS's educational mission would not be corroded. BCS parents want the elected board, especially those who realize their strategic planning "process" is tightly controlled by the principal/ board--further dictates. The school seems destined to be an island onto itself despite attempts at reconciliation. I believe that BCS, however successful with its enriched model (with $, innovation), is too divisive to work out in the LASD and should be located elsewhere in the County to be embraced and do good (if $ stays).
LASD needs to work-out issues from within such as:
1) Choice. Can it provide some school-specific programs that offer choice, if transfer from neighborhood school elected?
2) Fairness. Neighborhood schools for all neighborhoods? In last boundary re-do, 2 NEC neighborhoods barely got to stay at their walkable/bikeable school and two others (1 NEC, 1 not) were ejected from theirs. Core school at edge expense? Re
at Friday, 30 November 2012 13:22by Grace Yang
Thank you for taking time to address these complex issues. Your perspective is helpful learning for many BCS parents. Thank you as well for pointing out that those with fictitious names and inflammatory accusations do nothing to contribute to our community, except incite additional anger and discord. Pointing out that Ron Haley's comments soley reflect the opinions of Mr. Haley is very useful perspective for those outside the BCS community.
It is well known that Joan J Strong, an alias for a purported LASD parent, equally incites anger and distrust for many here at BCS. It would be helpful for me to hear from you whether the LASD BoT feels Ms. Strong is a credible representative of the LASD Board’s opinions as well. Those of us at BCS would welcome hearing your thoughts on the matter.
at Friday, 30 November 2012 13:22by time will tell
I'm intrigued with the $20 milliion equal funding action concept. That's a real lawsuit and could be the icebreaker that breaks the jam. In a democracy with checks and balances, sometimes you need the court system to adjudicate when all other options have failed. We are clearly there. No amount of asking for civility will work at this point. Imagine a scenario where every BCS family ever were given financial remuneration for the perceived underfunding from the District. Now that would force conflict resolution.
42"Ron Haley vs. JJS"
at Friday, 30 November 2012 16:21by Joan J. Strong
Let's talk about the difference between myself and Ron Haley, shall we?
1. I have never worked on political campaigns with LASD. Ron Haley has with BCS. He lead the campaign against Measure E, also opposed by BCS.
2. I have not worked for any LASD-backed candidate. Ron Haley has with BCS. Ron Haley was a paid contributor to the BCS-supporter funded Amanda Aaronson campaign.
3. I have never had access to LASD-private data. Ron Haley has with BCS. Ron Haley claimed to have access to data about BCS applications that were not publicly available.
4. I have never guessed--correctly or otherwise--what LASD's next legal move will be. Ron Haley has with BCS. Ron has correctly predicted every single strategic action of the BCS board of directors.
5. I have never been involved in a smear campaign... at all. Ron Haley has with BCS. Ron Haley was featured in the $250k smear campaign against BCS-critical county board member Anna Song.
And much, much more...
at Friday, 30 November 2012 16:23by BCS Parent
I’m tired of hearing about the blowhards on both sides this argument. The fact that they are even a topic of conversation shows the perils of trying to use a forum such as this to have a meaningful discussion. Can the boards please get back to having some kind of meaningful, face-to-face discourse?
44"Ron vs. Joan Smackdown"
at Monday, 03 December 2012 09:09by Groan J Strong
By "blowhards" I assume you mean Joan J Strong? Errr, ahem. Yeah, she said this is the "future of democracy", whatever that means. Moving to Canada, NOW.
at Monday, 03 December 2012 09:10by Kyle Rudd
I hope your comments regarding disinformation and inflammatory comments extend to postings made by BCS teachers and appear at times to take positions counter to what you indicate are BCS' positions and goals. We all hope in the community the period of lawsuits ends and that the focus on both sides can return fully to educating our children.
46"LA Resident+BCS Bd member"
at Monday, 03 December 2012 09:11by John Phelps
Thanks to those who've made constructive inputs. My LASD colleagues must see this differently, but I was asked for my personal view on the legal front:
I'm not a lawyer nor on the legal team, but at the major legal crossroads, BCS has made sincere efforts to negotiate in good faith before taking the painful and costly decision to pursue fairness in the courts.
A key example: I personally invested countless hours, as did various LASD and BCS colleagues, with informal discussions, initially 1:1 in late 2011, followed by 3:3 in early 2012. Subsequently, BCS invited LASD to mediation, agreeing to put legal proceedings on hold. LASD accepted and we had 5 mediation sessions.
LASD unilaterally terminated the mediation shortly after the May 7, 2012 joint framework announcement, forcing a resumption of the legal process.
I would welcome good faith negotiations - there are many ways and places to solve a disagreement.
BCS is simply LASD parents who've exercised a
47"LA Resident+BCS Bd member"
at Monday, 03 December 2012 09:11by John Phelps
To those involved Monday evening, I wish constructive dialogue.
48"Mediation & Mistakes"
at Monday, 03 December 2012 14:17by Joan J. Strong
Your board's primary misunderstanding about negotiating with LASD is that they are not another private company: LASD is a public entity, and as such is accountable to the People. (I don't think your law firm understands this either.)
There were many--not myself but others--who complained bitterly over there being *secret* negotiations involving a public board. While I didn't understand why at the time, I do now: what you were attempting was inevitably going to be unworkable. You cannot have secret meetings involving public resources.
What happened on the first draft was bound to happen: the District negotiated in secret and revealed their ideas all at once--then there was massive push back from the community.
Your negotiations--tedious as it might be--must be between the *community* and BCS, not between BCS and a couple of board members.
at Friday, 07 December 2012 08:48by Observer
Funny how the term "first draft" was not used until recently. Funny how board subcommittees now are "secret." This is how history gets rewritten.
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