Photo Courtesy Of Bullis Charter School
Bullis Charter School officials released this schematic, with the charter school campus outlined in red, of a workable arrangement for the split-campus option at Blach.
With the Los Altos School District’s preliminary charter school facilities offer due Friday, Bullis Charter School officials last week agreed to the split-campus solution for the upcoming school year.
Doug Smith, president of the district’s board of trustees, said it is unlikely at this point that the district could work the charter school’s request into its initial offer.
“It’s late to add their request to the preliminary process,” he said. “It’s something we can use as their baseline response.”
A split charter school
Ken Moore, chairman of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors, presented the charter school’s perception of a split campus at a charter school-hosted luncheon last week.
“This is a major compromise from our standpoint,” he said. “Bullis Charter School would be the only school program (in the district) split between two sites.”
The charter school requested that facilities at both Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools be self-contained, with accommodations equal to all other sites, including a playground, library, school office and teacher work areas.
He added that the charter school requests that its students located at Blach are provided the same number of hours per week in shared facilities as Blach students.
“Ultimately a Bullis Charter School student and a Blach student should not have dissimilar experiences,” he said. “They should both have science labs, gym and track time, and all the rest of the amenities that students enjoy at a district school.”
The current Blach configuration, which includes four portables, does not provide a workable solution for the middle school program, according to Moore. It includes gerrymandered portions of land, with one portable designated as a nurse’s station, locker room, school office and other uses.
Charter school officials drafted the proposal after examining the Blach Camp School site, used during previous district construction.
Advantages and disadvantages
Moore outlined the advantages and disadvantages of the split-campus option.
On the negative side, he said, splitting the campus could prove a more costly solution than providing the charter school with a single site, such as Covington School, which charter school officials originally requested.
Moore added that with the Egan and Blach campuses miles apart, the district would need to provide additional facilities to make the split workable. The charter school would face increased hiring expenses to staff a split program, and the multisite option could be a burden for charter school families with students assigned to different campuses.
On the positive side, the proposal does not require a single district student to change schools, nor would the district have to close any site. It would not require immediate public funds to purchase more land and allows the district time to evaluate enrollment projections. The split-site solution would not interfere with the city’s Hillview Community Center project, nor would it require a land swap with the city.
“Bullis Charter School ultimately needs a permanent site, but we need a workable short-term solution that accommodates the students choosing to attend our school,” Moore said.
Moore proposed a meeting between the school district’s and the charter school’s leadership to establish a manageable two-site solution.
“As a first step, we propose a working team to meet intensively and transparently,” he said. “Meetings will be open to the public and hopefully rise above the Proposition 39 process to come up with a workable solution.”
Smith plans to raise the idea of the potential working group at the district’s Monday board meeting, past the Town Crier’s press deadline.
“I want to have a dialogue,” Smith said. “I also underscore the fact that the district is responsible for 5,000 students, where the charter school has only 500 or so.”
He said continued litigation would impact the facilities offer.
“Sooner or later you have to decide: Are you at war with me or not?” Smith said. “The district’s flexibility is going to be influenced by the litigation.”
at Wednesday, 30 January 2013 11:11
I am hopeful that both boards can meet and discuss this in a public forum. They need to meet soon, without preconditions. We all want this problem solved. In the end it's the kids at BCS who are the most effected by not solving this problem. The mere existence of BCS has kept the other schools from having the attendance boundaries redrawn, benefiting everyone who wants to remain at there assigned school. With out BCS Santa Rita, Almond and Loyola would all have over 600 students. BCS kids have been crammed into a tiny space while the rest of district has wide open spaces and much better facilities.
This problem has been compounded by the events of last spring when mediated agreement that was outlined in the joint press release fell apart. Terrible things happened to BCS after that, including receiving a completely unworkable school site at Blach. BCS seems to be listening - this is a fair proposal and now LASD needs to sit down with them and work it out.
2"What about PreviousPosts?"
at Thursday, 31 January 2013 09:28
Why did the LATC.com DELETE all the previous posts
on this topic over the past couple days?
As someone who has lived here and followed this saga from the beginning, watching KMoore have to eat some 'humble pie' is sweet, but we are still a long way from concluding this problem.
BCS was set up to be a small, ~200 student school to replace the GB. Many of my friends in that neighborhood send their kids to school there and are very happy. They would NEVER think of driving across town to BCS, in that traffic, twice a day, VS a neighborhood school as awesome as GB! BCS can take their pile of $ and go buy property to build their private school and then they can do what ever their selfish hearts desire. LASD should give them one clear chance to integrate with the current LASD plans or get lost.The idea that we would, as a town, sacrifice a neighborhood school campus or Hillview for these bullies at BCS is a sad joke. Why should they be kicked out to accommodate this PRIVATE school?
at Thursday, 31 January 2013 07:29
The LASD board would be well advised to proceed with extreme caution in regards to any public meeting with BCS. BCS is playing a smart strategic long term game here. They are seeking to turn the Blach campsite into a K-8 beachhead from which they can launch aggressive recruitment efforts in that part of the district. What will the Board then do if BCS comes back next year with a facilities request for 900 students?
at Thursday, 31 January 2013 07:30
Entrenched minds seem to have won and the community will now spend more money than necessary - BCS will spend more duplicating their staff, LASD will spend more building another camp site at Blach. All because some LASD parents seem not want to compromise one bit. Someone said it's hard to take something from one student and give to another. No - this is different than that. Try this analogy: You have 2 kids. You've been giving one kid 2/3 of xyz and one kid 1/3 of xyz for over 9 years. Someone comes along and points out the unfairness, and now you try to do the right thing and give them 1/2 each. To the kid who had been given 2/3 all these years, it'll seem really really unfair! And most likely he'll protest loudly to keep status quo. It may even affect him for a period. But in time, both will adjust and life will go on. Alas, not so in our little town...
at Thursday, 31 January 2013 07:30
BCS's 2009 legal complaint was about non-equivalent facilities allocation.
BCS's 2012 legal complaint is about another non-equivalent facilities allocation, even in the face of Appellate Court opinion that said district's 2009 allocation was illegal.
LASD's 2012 cross complaint against BCS is about trying to get court's permission to shut BCS down - by way of depriving them of facilities.
So Mr. Smith - do you really think that it's all one sided?
6"All posts still there"
at Thursday, 31 January 2013 09:28
Hi What Next,
The Town Crier doesn't delete posts/comments and every comment made on this story is visible here. I think you're referring to comments you remember from OTHER stories on this issue, which can be found at:
http://www.losaltosonline.com/index .php?option=com_content&task=view&id=453 05&Itemid=46
http://www.losaltosonline.com/index.ph p?option=com_content&task=view&id=45339& Itemid=46
There are 17 comments on that last one!
We publish short, breaking news stories online as updates come in, and then publish in-depth stories with more sources, background and analysis in the print addition as well. That is why you'll often see two stories on the same subject in a given week.
- Eliza Ridgeway (digital editor)
at Wednesday, 13 February 2013 09:03
It is concerning that enrollment caps are not part of the conversation for BCS. It appears their sights have moved to overtake an expansive middle school site to accommodate their unconstrained growth. What will be next? The high school campuses? They certainly have the means to purchase their own campus so what is holding them back?
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