at Wednesday, 12 December 2012 11:28by AlexF
|BCS files two new motions in facilities lawsuit|
|Written by Traci Newell - Staff Writerfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Wednesday, 12 December 2012|
Bullis Charter School officials last week filed two separate motions in their lawsuit over facilities for the 2012-2013 school year in an effort to defend themselves from a cross-complaint by the Los Altos School District.
The facilities lawsuit, which received some closure earlier this month when Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas ruled in the district’s favor on three points, is ongoing. Arguments have yet to be heard on whether the charter school’s facilities are “reasonably equivalent,” as mandated by Proposition 39, approved by voters in 2000.
The district filed a cross-complaint in the case, calling out the charter school for being a “publicly subsidized private school” that “accomplishes less with more.”
In their cross-complaint, district officials ask the court to rule whether they are required to provide Bullis Charter School with any facilities – or fewer of them – based on the charter school’s practices, which they claim are not in line with the intent of Proposition 39.
“Proposition 39’s lack of guidance … leads to costly disputes that divert taxpayer money from where it belongs – in the classroom,” the cross-complaint states.
Los Altos School District Trustee Doug Smith said the district was not challenging Bullis Charter School’s right to exist.
“All we are asking for is some clarity,” he said. “We are asking what our responsibility is within Proposition 39 if these issues are true.”
The charter school’s legal team filed an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) motion and a demurrer against the district’s cross-complaint.
Anti-SLAPP suits are designed to protect an individual’s or organization’s First Amendment rights of petition and speech. The demurrer – an objection that an opponent’s point is irrelevant or invalid – includes Bullis Charter School’s arguments against the validity of the cross-complaint.
“This is a classic SLAPP situation,” said attorney Arturo Gonzalez, representing the charter school. “The district filed this frivolous action in retaliation for the students at Bullis Charter School exercising their statutory rights.”
The anti-SLAPP action calls for the court to strike the cross-complaint in its entirety.
“Even if the district survives the SLAPP, the cross-complaint lacks merit,” Gonzalez said. “The district is making arguments in court that they need to make to the legislature.”
Gonzalez characterized the district’s cross-complaint as stating that “charter schools should only exist in low-income communities.”
“Every child is entitled to a charter school – there are no exceptions,” he said. “This district is so arrogant that they are just making a claim that ‘We don’t need charter schools here.’”
Gonzalez said he doesn’t expect Lucas to rule in the district’s favor regarding the cross-motion.
“This case is ground zero in the legal battle for charter schools in California,” he said. “I would not expect our judge to be the first judge to make that type of ruling.”
Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District officials are scheduled to meet regarding the cross-complaint and the charter school’s two new motions Jan. 8 at the Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse, Dept. 2.
1"[title deleted by editor]"
at Wednesday, 12 December 2012 11:28by AlexF
I understand that Arturo Gonzalez is biased and not impartial in matters relating to charter law (he is well paid by charter people) but he is an attorney so it's unsettling to see him mischaracterize the law. His use of an anti-SLAPP motion seems out of place and a little desperate and when he says "Every child is entitled to a charter school - there are no exceptions." he has badly misstated the law. Every child is entitled to a quality education, for sure. But not every child is entitled to a charter school. Gonzalez sounds more like a cheerleader for the charter movement. And any community regardless of wealth or poverty could have a charter school if their students need one to get quality education. Gonzales has confused a whole variety of related issues, maybe intentionally.
2"BCS to ruin our schools?"
at Wednesday, 12 December 2012 09:57by Joan J. Strong
In comments to John Phelps's column last week, I asked if the promise from BCS insider Ron Haley to "bring LASD to its knees" by suing our school district for 20 million dollars in a so-called "equal funding" lawsuit was true.
I told Mr. Phelps that over the years Ron Haley has very consistently mirrored the sentiment of Bullis Charter School--that he is as close to being on the BCS board without actually being on the BCS board. Therefore, the community should take his threat very seriously.
I asked that Mr. Phelps or any other BCS official to put our community more at ease by telling us our public schools are not being threatened with annihilation by a group of people with an infinite legal budget and a deep hatred of our public schools here.
I ask again. Mr. Phelps seemed to try to distance himself from Ron in his comments. Will the BCS board will distance themselves from his ideas?
at Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:33by Fed Up Resident
Of course the Lawsuit School filed another lawsuit, of course its in response to a frivolous action where the District is trying to protect the rights of the majority and of course "even if the district survives the SLAPP...", the lawsuit school will file another lawsuit. One thing I am in agreement with is the legislature needs to step to the plate and bring some sanity to this Charter school insanity. It seems as many things, to be a bank account for the lawyers.
at Wednesday, 12 December 2012 12:11by confused
The BCS attorney states "Every child is entitled to a charter school-there are no exceptions." Then shouldn't BCS be punished for not admitting every student who applies? Am I confused? Or is the BCS attorney's statement very misleading?
at Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:09by Food for thought
What constitutes a "publicly subsidized private school”? A donation ask? PTA contributions? According to the LASD 2012 budget document, the foundation has subsidized LASD schools by providing enrichment programs such as PE, Art, Library, Music, Living Classroom, and reduced class size (like a private school!), to the tune of $2.55 mil. PTA kicked in nearly $600K also.
Let's look at some other districts and foundations: Palo Alto foundation is trying to raise $4.75 mil for science and art enrichment among other things, Hillsborough foundation asks for $2300 per student, (by the way, take a look at their FAQ for good answers on why private money donation is needed by public school. http://www.hsf.org/FAQ.html)
Portola Valley foundation asks for $2000 per student.
at Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:10by bias much?
"Fed Up Resident" - you're fine with the district filing lawsuits in their defense, but you're 'fed up' with the charter school filing in response...
and "JJS" - you doth protest too much.
7"Bullis Private School"
at Thursday, 13 December 2012 15:00by Joan J. Strong
BCS gets around half of its revenue from private sources.
LASD gets about 5% of is revenue from private donations.
If LASD didn't get donations, our school district would be diminished somewhat, but it would still education students.
If BCS didn't get donations, it would not exist, full stop.
LASD asks for $1200 and gets, on average, $500 or so per child.
BCS asks for $5000 and gets, on average, $5000--the level at which 1% of LAEF donors give.
8"Every Kid Charter School"
at Monday, 17 December 2012 09:34by Taxpayer
Alex F is badly mistaken when he says that California's laws restrict access to Charter Schools for some kinds of students. There is no 'out' for affluent districts like LASD to prohibit creation of charters. It's not cheating the law to form a charter in such a district. Charter Schools in California are about diversity in choices for education, and not just about remedying failing school districts. A random drawing is a remedy for the case of demand exceeding capacity and in that case the Charter is encourage to expand!
Personalizing this as being about Arturo Gonzalez is wrong. He has Miriam Vogel as co-counsel and she is a retired Appellate judge with 18 years on the bench. Surely a decision about filing an anti-SLAPP defense involved her expertise. People should not be so quick to dismiss it.
at Monday, 17 December 2012 12:19by Joan J. Strong
A "SLAPP" suit (look it up) is a lawsuit, usually from a big company e.g. Walmart to silence individuals who might speak out against them.
The anti-SLAPP laws were meant to protect those consumers--consumers who would be intimidated by a giant company like Walmart.
In other words, these laws were meant for poor people.
As such, it's perfectly in line with the BCS doctrine to make a mockery of the law by applying these statutes to themselves--the ones who are doing the intimidating, and the ones with hundreds of millions of dollars backing them.
It's a "novel" interpretation of the law to say the least--just the BCS founders interpreted the charter school laws to subsidize their private school.
We all know that BCS's high-paid super-lawyers found themselves a loophole in the charter school laws. We all know that loophole should be closed.
at Tuesday, 18 December 2012 08:38by AlexF
I think I see now who we're dealing with in this topic, I'm going to speculate that "Taxpayer" is a charter school parent, even perhaps "Haley". Without doubt charter schools are meant to fix a problem with a district they are not meant to be used everywhere for every political whim. That is politics not law.
at Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:11by bradleigh
It is now the time for BCS to STOP. All these lawsuits they are filing are fruitless and they just need to educate the students they have selected to educate! We, the citizens of Los Altos, are tired of all this garbage this elite charter school has brought upon itself. Just STOP.
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