The Los Altos School District submitted its counter-projection of Bullis Charter School growth for the 2013-2014 school year, asserting that the school would grow by 97 in-district students rather than the 140 forecast by charter school officials.
The enrollment numbers matter to both sides, as the district bases its annual facilities offer on growth data the charter school provides.
The charter school based its projections on the addition of approximately 20 students in grades K-3, 30 students in sixth grade and 15 students in seventh and eighth grades.
The district’s counter-projection, a legal right recently upheld in Santa Clara Superior Court, claimed that the charter school’s enrollment growth was “overly aggressive.” The district predicted 15 new students in grades K-3, 30 in sixth grade, 2 in seventh and 14 in eighth. The district projected 48 fewer in-district students than the charter school.
District officials supported their projections with historical data showing that the charter school has annually overstated its projected enrollment. For the current school year, the charter school projected 493 in-district students and enrolled 475. District data also revealed that the charter school has never grown by more than 72 new in-district students annually and averages 48 new in-district students per year.
The district included community input to support its counter-projections.
“In the current climate, it is safe to say that Bullis Charter School is under heavy scrutiny in the community,” a report from the district stated. “The net effect of all this is that the district believes there is considerable local pressure running counter to Bullis Charter School marketing efforts.”
The report claims that community members are “engaged” and spreading the news about the negative impact of Bullis Charter School’s target to reach 900 students, making it the largest school in the district.
“Bullis Charter School has never had to swim against a community current this strong,” the report stated. “It is reasonable to predict that Bullis Charter School enrollment will not grow at the pace Bullis Charter School might otherwise expect.”
The charter school has an opportunity to respond to the district’s counter-projection by Jan. 1. The district is required to submit its preliminary facilities offer by Feb. 1.
1"That Was Then"
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 11:44
BCS has changed drastically since last year, when they got a lot of applications.
Last year, parents applied to a small, intimate school of 400 some-odd students. This year they will be applying to a school on track to be 900 students or more.
Last year, parents could look around a small room and know that other parents will also pay the $5000 necessary, meaning they won't have to pay a lot more. This year, they have to wonder of that $5000 means $10,000 or more.
Last year, almost every story they had read about BCS was positive. This year, BCS has received very negative press and extreme ire from the community.
Last year, BCS had just won its lawsuit and they told everybody the judge was going to give them whatever campus they wanted. This year we know that lawsuit amounted to nothing, and they are badly losing in court and are spread among two campuses.
BCS is a different school this year, and thus will not get the same sorts of applications.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:46
LASD had successfully defended against the first four lawsuits from BCS, as four different judges ruled in favor of LASD providing reasonably equivalent facilities.
Then when BCS won their lawsuit appeal, BCS made some strategic errors:
1. Overplaying and going after the community's school district for attorney's fees,
2. Clinging to their Los Altos Hills admissions preference further alienating the community and positioning BCS NOT as an equal access public resource,
3. Maintaining unelected board members who continue to focus on two things only: lawsuits, and educationally-harmful extreme school-size growth merely for the sake of better positioning itself as the damaged party in facilities related lawsuits,
4. Dealing with the community and its schools solely with a stick. And not acknowledging that BCS has much more to GAIN than lose by working with the community and it's schools. Even possibly combining with LASD.
5. Overreaching yet again in courts.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:45
The more you tighten your grip, LASD, the more students will slip through your fingers.
at Wednesday, 05 December 2012 16:05
As BCS moves towards its stated goal of a 900 student K-8 campus, it should consider changing the headline in its ad that states:
Individualized instruction in a small school environment
Last week's Op-Ed article by John Phelps stated that the main reason for the BCS board members choosing to have a self-appointed board rather than an elected board, was the fear that new, incoming elected parent board members might not keep focus with the charter school's mission.
Looking at the above legacy ad wording, there might be a case that the mission has changed and de-focused anyway.
at Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:37
I cannot fathom why parents would send their kids to a school that has created so much harm to this community. This school was created by lawyers and was founded purely out of anger, not love of education. Founding parents were angered about their school's closing- not at any academic failings. They've been on a legal rampage to attack our local school community since Day 1. The notion of "Choice" is only a recent marketing pitch that is so easy to sell to high achieving and savvy local parents. The main difference between LASD schools and Bullis Charter is the amount of marketing and PR spin dollars spent over the past 10 years- enough to make parents actually believe their kids will do better at the charter, even though the charter's test scores do not look good at all if you consider that they don't have many low income, Spanish ELL learners, or disabled kids compared to local LASD schools. LASD schools also offer a wide variety of at school and after school enriching activities
at Friday, 07 December 2012 08:48
Ho hum, the district has clearly overcompensated for any error made by the Charter school. BCS was 470 students last year and is 515 this year. There were 460 and 480 in district respectively. So next year LASD says it will 'only' be 572 in district. That's still plenty of growth and with the wholly inadequate facilities granted by the district. Luckily LASD schools have so much space that there will still be room for the 644 students projected by the charter. It's still a small school environment. This kind of community is an attitude not an actual attribute of numbers.
7"Witness the character..."
at Monday, 10 December 2012 09:17
Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps you too have seen the BCS full-color ads in the papers for BCS, wherein they advertise, prominently, that BCS is a "small school environment".
The BCS board recently voted to put BCS on a growth path of 900 students and beyond, making it by far the largest school in our district and the absolutely opposite of a "small school environment".
Why do they still have this as part of their marketing?
Because they are liars.
Why are they liars?
Because the ends justify the means. Anything is justified if it's in furtherance of their global political objectives.
Yes, perhaps many parents this year will sign their children up for a "small school environment" at BCS only to find the exact opposite when they attend. Yes, they will have been sacrificed by the BCS board, as will current BCS parents.
That's okay though, their sacrifice is justified because we need to show our elected officials who is the boss.
at Monday, 10 December 2012 09:18
"It's still a small school evironment."
>>But 644 students is larger than any other school in the district!
"This kind of community is an attitude not an actual attribute of the numbers."
>>Agreed. Lots of attitude, and clearly not paying attention to the numbers. But also clearly not a small school by any definition or comparison.
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