Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas ruled in the Los Altos School District’s favor last week, publishing her finding on Bullis Charter School’s lawsuit regarding the 2012-2013 facilities offer.
In the suit, the charter school requested that the court compel the district to accept the charter school’s enrollment projections and allocate facilities accordingly. The charter school also asked for exclusive use of one-half of the City Gym at Egan Junior High School daily and for the district to provide an inventory of furnishings and equipment for comparable groups at other schools so that the district could provide “reasonably equivalent” furnishings and equipment, as mandated by Proposition 39.
Lucas weighed in on each of the three requests, supporting the district’s decisions in its current facilities offer.
“It is established that charter schools are not necessarily entitled to what they want but only what is reasonably equivalent,” her ruling stated. “There is no support for a holding that a district is utterly without discretion to accomplish the statutory goal of balancing the needs of charter and non-charter schools.”
Shortly after the ruling was announced, Bullis Charter School released a statement from Board of Directors Chairman Ken Moore.
“Earlier this week, we received an order from the trial court relating to three issues that we had raised with respect to the Los Altos School District’s conduct,” Moore wrote. “Unfortunately, the trial court ruled in favor of the district. We believe that the trial court got it wrong and we intend to appeal (its) decision.”
If the charter school pursues an appeal, it would mark its third appeal in a matter of weeks. The charter school recently appealed Lucas’ ruling on a previous facilities lawsuit and her order imposing monetary sanctions in the case for legal fees.
“The Court of Appeal decision in 2011 intended for Bullis Charter School students to be treated fairly,” Moore said. “The trial court responsible for implementing that decision has not granted relief on procedural grounds and we will continue to press on to ensure our students are treated equally and fairly.”
District officials classified Lucas’ latest decision as a victory.
“The district is heartened by this ruling because it has always endeavored to take the best interests of all its public school students into account, and this ruling affirms that it has the right to do so and made the right choices,” District Superintendent Jeff Baier said. “This ruling affirms that the district is permitted to exercise reasonable discretion and to balance the needs of all students when considering facilities issues. Having this direction from the court should provide some clarity for all parties and allow the district to focus more of our time and energies on doing what is best for children.”
District Board of Trustees President Mark Goines had pointed words to share in response to the ruling.
“Bullis’ appointed board needs to … accept the need to balance the interests of all students in facilities allocations,” he said. “Litigation is a wasteful approach to fairly serving the needs of all our students.”
1"Stop Suing/Start Building"
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 10:29
It's now very clear that BCS is not going to get any help from the courts. They should abandon this strategy.
BCS could do a deal with Los Altos to lease the Hillview site and put a pre-fab school there and have it ready for the next school year. The land is there, the newly elected city council understands how important this is, the pre-fab technology exists, current Hillview services could be easily located nearby with plenty of space, and this could be a huge win/win for everybody.
BCS could do this if they wanted to. The founding family of BCS gave Caltech $600 million dollars. BCS has around $7 million dollars in the bank right now. Money is not a problem for them.
Instead of suing our public schools and making things worse on everybody--including their own students--BCS should be putting their talents into building a new school campus. They need to stop thinking of themselves as victims and take charge of their own problems.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:47
You said: "Current Hillview services could be easily located nearby with plenty of space."
I would add:
Current Hillview services could be easily located nearby at the current BCS site on on the Egan Campus with plenty of space to spare, once BCS moves to the Hillview location.
I'm sure everyone in LA and LAH would support the move of BCS to Hillview. It would END the worst dispute in the history of our community. It would place our award winning charter school in the center of town, as it should be, since our community, our personal values, and our property dollar values revolve around our schools. We could all move forward in harmony.
The judge's comment: "Charter schools are not necessarily entitled to what they want but only what is reasonably equivalent" shows frustration with a charter school which has quite a few private school characteristics, that wants the very best for its students but wants the community to pay for it.
Let's all move forward
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.