A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge last week ordered Bullis Charter School to provide information it had withheld during its suit seeking reimbursement from the Los Altos School District.
The charter school is suing the district for $1.3 million in legal fees stemming from the 2009-2010 case, which found the district failed to offer the charter school adequate facilities.
Through the discovery process, the district’s legal team has been seeking financial information from the charter school.
Arguments on the relevance of the information were heard Oct. 30.
Judge Patricia Lucas described the charter school’s argument against providing the information as “so contrary” to the purpose of discovery that it could not be “reasonably asserted.”
Lucas ordered the charter school legal team to provide:
• A copy of the charter school’s engagement letter or similar document in connection to its legal team.
• Documents or a description of Bullis Charter School’s solicitation of potential donors that refer to litigation or threatened litigation from 2009 to the present.
• The average sum Bullis Charter School parents donated to the school from 2008 to the present.
• The sums of the largest donors to the charter school foundation from 2009 to the present, and whether the donors have charter school students (or previous students) or other affiliations.
• Documents concerning any offers from the charter school to purchase Gardner Bullis School or any other school facilities.
Because the school district has spent money trying to ascertain this information since summer, the judge included a monetary sanction against Bullis in the amount of $51,085.60.
Following receipt of the order, the charter school’s legal team filed a motion to appeal the court’s monetary order to the Sixth Appellate District of the California Courts of Appeal.
“This is a ridiculous request,” said Arturo Gonzalez, lawyer for the charter school. “It is very disappointing that the court is asking this. Anyone who looks at this can see that this is completely baseless.”
Gonzalez said that while Bullis Charter School’s lawyers have filed an appeal over the monetary sanction, he also intends to appeal the request for information – which requires a different legal process.
“We intend to aggressively appeal this order,” he said.
Los Altos School District Trustee Doug Smith said the information is relevant to the case.
“It shows where the money came from and the amount of private resources they have available, and goes to show whether (the legal fees) were really a burden to them,” Smith wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “Also, it shows that they benefited from (the lawsuit).”
1"Charter Industry Backing?"
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 10:47
Thank you to the LASD board for trying to save taxpayers money. Bullis Charter School is a rich family's hobby, and should not be given even more money than they already have so they can put it in their trophy case. For our schools it's not a trophy, it's money to pay for teachers for our children.
As a citizen I too would like to know who is pulling the strings at BCS. As we saw in the last election when $250,000 was spent in Santa Clara by BCS and the Charter School Industry to unseat a charter school critic, this is big, big, BIG business.
Will we find out that we've all been used as pawns in some rich people's political game? Will we see that the money BCS spends on lawyers comes from a source that views it as a business investment? Here's to hoping that the appeals court acts swiftly and denies this Hail Mary appeal...
at Wednesday, 28 November 2012 12:07
BCS is not demanding attorney's fees based on need or burden.
It is to pound the community and it's schools into submission, such that they will close a neighborhood school, evict the neighborhood families, and give the site to BCS.
BCS parents have more money than our community's school district.
It is not about financial need at all. Billionaire Gordon Moore, whose son is chairman of BCS, gave $600,000,000 to Cal Tech, the largest gift in history to an educational institution.
http://www.caltech.edu/con tent/caltech-receives-600-million-two-gi ftslargest-academic-donation-history
It is unconscionable that BCS is asking for attorney's fees on their one legal win, while LASD never requested fees from BCS when LASD won rulings from four different judges defending multilple cases.
All this does is increase legal costs for the community defending from BCS lawsuits and take money from the community that should be spent on our children's education.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:38
It is amazing to me the arrogance of the Lawsuit Schools Board members and the fact that it has trickled down to the parents of students. Imagine a judge who wants transparency, the Lawsuit Folk think that only applies to the Little People, not them. "Completely Baseless....", no wonder there are so many derogatory jokes about attorneys. Let there be complete transparency and lets see some photos of Board members in the Town Crier next time a Lawsuit School article is posted.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 09:38
LASD refused to give a proper place BCS. It kept Bullis site empty for few years. BCS had offered to buy the site. BCS's needs space. LASD has been playing hardball since the beginning.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 12:32
Here's some additional facts for your statements.
1. When BCS started it had 170 students and the founders of the school vowed to keep it "small". The Egan site for this sort of school was perfect--and proper.
2. The original Bullis site was not safe for children and was torn down and rebuilt. Usually they keep campuses empty while this happens. When it was completed a public school was placed there (GB), as planned.
3. BCS offered $3 million for the BP campus, which is about $47 million less than it's worth.
4. BCS needs more space NOW because they are using growth as a weapon against our schools.
5. The scheme the high-paid super-lawyers at BCS hatched to use the charter school laws for a pseudo-private school for rich people--in order to override the policy of locally elected officials--is what anybody in business would call "hard ball".
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 12:33
The reason why LASD did not give Gardner Bullis site is because they told them they would be re-opening it in a few years -- which they did! The reason for the school shut down in the first place was due to budget cuts. Life happens and they had to adjust the way "they did business" for a few years to get back in sync -- you know, like a budget actually works! You have leaner years than other years and you have to adjust accordingly. It wasn't about screwing over the charter school or the students who went there. BCS parents should stop listening to the "we are helpless victims" mentality that their board is propagating. Their litigious "strategy" just goes to show who is the agressor. I think the one of the MANY recent court rulings in LASD's favor is the order for restitution for over $50K to pay for LASD's legal fees just shows who's really playing hardball here.
at Thursday, 29 November 2012 18:40
@Long-time Los Altos Mom: That's a great point about the $50K sanction: when the court sanctions BCS $50K for its behavior I've got to think BCS is the one discovered to have been playing hardball (and going too far).
Since most people don't have time to decipher the he-said-she-said of this ongoing dispute, the decisions of a neutral third-party like the judge tell us a lot about which side is being reasonable.
BCS continues to maintain that it is being shortchanged including for the current school year when LASD provided substantially more facilities. BCS argued to the court that even this most recent offer is unfair but the judge did not agree.
BCS is twisting the facts and trying to confuse the public. If you're not sure who to believe, believe the judge.
at Friday, 30 November 2012 08:52
Funny how the lawsuit supporters aren't chirping as they normally do. It seems like when all the facts are heard by a neutral 3rd party trained in listening to both sides, and you not only lose but are chastised, the admonished become very quiet. But not to fear a new appeal will be forthcoming and the chirping will start again. For more on chirping see the patch.
9"Facts es Facts, Lucy."
at Monday, 03 December 2012 09:09
Joan, there's been an explosion of rabid squirrels running around Los Altos recently. Probably a maniacal scheme by the BCS "regime" used as a weapon against our schools. Perhaps you've been bitten? Please, seek treatment immediately...
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.