Bullis Charter School responded to the Los Altos School District’s preliminary facilities offer Friday, requesting significantly more space for a larger cohort of students at Blach Intermediate School next year.
The district’s preliminary offer included facilities for 125 in-district students at Blach for the 2013-2014 school year, including five classrooms, a restroom, three extra portables and office space. The district made the offer under the assumption that the charter school would send its sixth- through eighth-grade students to Blach.
Bullis Charter School officials based their counterproposal on the Blach camp school setup from 2004, when the district split the campus so that students from Loyola School could attend during renovations to their school. The counterproposal projects 200 charter school students at Blach and requests a self-contained space, with grade configuration at the charter school’s discretion.
Significantly more space
The charter school’s counteroffer seeks significantly more portables than the preliminary request. Officials are now asking for double the classroom space, from five classrooms to 10; a larger office; a separate teacher workroom and lounge; a multipurpose room; kindergarten classroom space; childcare space; a music room; a library; a service area; janitorial space; a computer lab; an art/science room; a locker room; a flexible-space room; a small-group space; and an additional restroom.
The charter school requested separate portables for all its space needs – a total of 21,600 square feet of additional portable space (i.e., the equivalent of 22.5 additional standard-sized portables) more than the building space provided in the preliminary offer.
The footprint of the charter school’s counterproposal includes the current Stepping Stones Preschool facilities, Blach’s baseball diamond and the shrubbery space at the entrance of the school. The charter school’s proposed map recommends moving the Stepping Stones facilities to another space on the Blach campus. The preschool facility has signed a multiyear lease with the district.
The charter school’s counteroffer also outlines requirements for shared facilities, including exclusive use of the City Gym or Blach multipurpose room 1.5 hours a week, tennis courts and soccer fields 3:30-5 p.m. two days a week and the track 3:30-4:30 p.m. two days a week. Officials also requested two two-week periods when charter school students would have exclusive use of the woodworking room and full-time exclusive use of one science room.
The counterproposal assumes that the Egan campus space allocation will remain the same, with continued use of the Egan music room, and asked for scheduled use of Egan’s City Gym.
List of problems
Charter school officials listed a number of problems with the district’s preliminary offer: the proposal did not include a contiguous site; the Egan site is still not “reasonably equivalent” based on previous court rulings; the district cannot mandate which grades attend which site; the district’s counterprojection of in-district students (the district projects 43 fewer in-district students) underestimates enrollment; and the charter school would lack blacktop space and specialized teaching space for sixth-graders at Blach.
The charter school’s response continued to “demand a contiguous site,” and officials claimed that they did not waive those rights with the counterproposal. The response cited Covington School as “best suited” for the Bullis Charter School program and also maintained that the district should have considered the full Egan campus as an option for the charter school.
The district is scheduled to submit a final facilities offer to the charter school by April 1, at which time charter school officials say their counterproposal expires.
1"BCS Still Sues"
at Wednesday, 06 March 2013 10:27
Please read the last part of this news story carefully as it's the most important part: BCS is still planning on suing, and will sue the District for the "compromise" offer they themselves are requesting.
Yes, that IS confusing--although "confusing" is not the only way to put it.
BCS is not interested in compromise--they don't know what they word means. To normal people it means they give up something in exchange for getting something they want.
This offer is for LASD to go above and beyond what the law requires and in exchange the District gets... absolutely nothing. BCS will change nothing in their legal plans, change nothing in their growth plans, and will absolutely continue their war on our community.
That war, by the way, is no longer confined to our school district: now they are now coming after individual community members, e.g. myself. Yes, BCS targeted ME, Joan J. Strong, in a recent filing. I wonder who is next?
2"Last Year is not this yea"
at Thursday, 07 March 2013 08:51
BCS is litigating, and apparently will continue to litigate last year's completely unacceptable sad offer. Recall that the LASD board offered them 4 portables plopped down behind the preschool at Blach for a middle school and they have sat idle all year.
What we're all hoping is that we'll avoid this year's offer being another travesty resulting in even more litigation. That the LASD board is demanding anything to avoid another round of litigation is completely irresponsible and not in anyone's best interest, including their own.
at Friday, 08 March 2013 09:02
I find the fact troubling that BCS would consider and propose to displace a Women Owned Small Business (Stepping Stones) in an effort to claim more space. You are right Joan, BCS is going after more than LASD!
at Friday, 08 March 2013 14:23
Jennifer Leahy, BCS is just asking that Stepping Stones Preschool be moved to the other side of the Gym. They are not asking for them to be moved off the Blach Campus. I guess you could say that they are being displaced - but only to a different location on the Blach campus.
Stepping Stones, no matter who owns it, is a private, for profit business. State Law states that a school district cannot offer facilities to a commercial interest if those facilities are needed for public school students, including those in a charter school. From paragraph six above: (emphasis added)
"The charter school’s proposed map recommends MOVING the Stepping Stones facilities to ANOTHER SPACE ON THE BLACH CAMPUS."
I am very troubled by the actions of many community members who seem to want to make things as difficult as possible for BCS. The vast majority of us are very tired of this stuff. Try compromising. Moving the preschool is a low impact solution.
at Monday, 11 March 2013 09:32
Mitch B. Caldwell. Living nearby and watching the actions of Blach's programs, Moving Stepping Stones to the other side of the Gym will impact Blach's students. That area in question is frequently used by the PE and the Music department presently. It is also used when multi departmental programs are presented. Students moving from campus to the Multi walk right through that space. It also is less space than the present Stepping Stones space. Are we to cut those programs at Blach for the private use of the Charter School? Simply moving onto another school's space is never without hardship on the school occupying, using the space.
6"Public School Students"
at Monday, 11 March 2013 11:06
I agree with Bibi, we should have as little impact on public schools students as possible. It is the District that has decided to split up BCS between Blach and Egan. BCS could fit completely at Egan. BCS is a public school. Charters are public schools. Bibi, you are not allowed to change the law and declare a school private. It's not. No more so than LASD schools which have significant donations from parents. Mr. Smith repeating asked BCS to explain how the space could be better layed out. BCS has done so. If you think that moving the preschool might inconvenience Blach students imagine the inconvenience that BCS students will have. Their campus is now going to be split between two sights. Two sights that are about as far as you can get in this district. There will be quite a bit more traffic at Blach now.
7"BCS is "private""
at Tuesday, 12 March 2013 15:17
Is BCS a public school? Not in the way anybody defines it:
1. BCS is run by a non-elected board and owned by a single family who is accountable to nobody. Like a private party at your house, the owners of BCS could decide to shut it down if they felt like it, or radically change it, etc. It's their school, not "our" school.
2. BCS gathers approximately half of its revenues from private sources, give or take (it varies slightly from year to year).
3. The BCS "tuition" is NOT "voluntary" in the aggregate: BCS parents MUST, collectively, come up with $5000/child every year or the school will cease to exist. This is not comparable in ANY WAY to the ~$550 per student LASD gets from donations: LASD would still exist without parent donations, as it must, since it's a... public school. It's completely disingenuous to compare BCS "tuition" to LAEF donations.
BCS isn't a public school in any normal sense. It's exact legal status will need to be figured out by the courts
at Monday, 18 March 2013 09:02
Hillview belongs to the whole town of LA/LAH. The summer concerts are hosted there and it is a key area that integrates the whole town with the history museum and main library.Hillview should be outside the discussions of school expansion for LASD, at least until every other option is exhausted. I am tired of so many people posting that Hillview should be 'sacrificed to fix' the LASD campus problems, esp as I see the BCS supports assume they 'own' Hillview and can use it as they please. The BCS bullies need to set aside the ~40M to buy their own campus where ever they want and then they can free themselves from the oversight of the LASD and the troubles they are having getting along with the other 98% of the town that do not share their vision or have kids at their school. BCS is a PRIVATE school, in regards to their board structure, LAH preference, the continued lawsuits and other anti-community activities. Then we could all go back to figuring out what is best for the LASD.
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