Sat12202014

Bullis Charter School should contain expansion: Other Voices

As a teacher raised and educated in the excellent public schools here, I am dumbfounded by the methods Bullis Charter School uses to control the community and the Los Altos School District.

It is despicable that the charter school sues the district for “equitable” facilities and continues to grow beyond a reasonable size. Its proposed enrollment expansion to 644 students places the charter school’s population well beyond that of any other school in the district, on a site that is shared with another school.

Anyone who has tried to position him- or herself in the neighborhood of Egan Junior High School near West Portola Avenue, Los Altos Avenue and San Antonio Road at approximately 3:15 p.m. knows that traffic is horrendous. Drivers arriving and departing the school on West Portola will simply block the street until they are able to enter and exit the lot.

Last year an Egan student severely broke his leg just after school was let out and required emergency services to stabilize the situation. Emergency medical services were unable to move through the crowd of cars waiting to enter and exit Bullis Charter School. There is simply no regard for residents on the street, Egan personnel and parents, emergency vehicles or through-traffic travelers. It has become an absolute nightmare. Adding more students will exacerbate the problem exponentially.

The charter school’s enrollment numbers should not be allowed to surpass those of the highest populated school in the district – Loyola, with approximately 570 students. In addition, it should not be allowed to share a site with another school – this has been unbearable.

If I had a say, I would suggest moving Bullis Charter School to Hillview Community Center, which was at one time an elementary school. Compared with the public schools in the district, it has a central location as well as the space to accommodate a number of students. Bullis Charter School should not be allowed to usurp another school’s location. This will continue to cause problems in the community.

If Bullis Charter School wants to be a private school, then let it find its own land and develop it according to its wishes. If the charter school wants to be part of the district, then let it take its knocks the way the rest of the public schools take theirs.

Sarah Gerfen is a Los Altos resident.

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