Fri12192014

News

BCS, LASD continue discussion on long-term facilities


After meeting last week to discuss long-term facilities needs, Los Altos School District officials may gain more specifics about Bullis Charter School’s expectations for the future.

Representatives from the Bullis Charter School and the Los Altos School District boards met for the second time to address facility solutions for the charter school and scheduled a follow-up meeting 7 p.m. today in the Los Altos Hills Town Council Chambers.

Trustee Tammy Logan represented the district at the meeting (President Doug Smith had to cancel because of a work conflict) and charter school board members Francis La Poll and Peter Evans represented the charter school.

“We’d like a discussion around what it would take to settle issues in the long term,” La Poll said. “Bullis Charter School would like to find a way to end all the litigation. We’d like to talk about how we reach some agreement.”

The parties agreed that they would like a solution that resolves charter school facility needs for the next 10-15 years.

“I would like to see a proposal of how many kids come in, what facilities you need over the time period and where you propose they go,” Logan said. “Let’s try to come up with something that is reasonable.”

Conversation focused on past agreements and offers, what could make this proposal process work and what would end it immediately.

Logan raised the matter of what the charter school applied for in last year’s facilities request, its “compromise” plan.

“Please look at what you asked for,” she said. “The compromise was at a ratio of 20:1 (classroom loading). Our kids don’t get that. That is not what the law provides for – it states ‘reasonably equivalent.’ Don’t ask for a palace and then expect us not to come back.”

La Poll and Evans said the proposal process would not work if the district does not accept the charter school’s growth projection.

“The opportunity here is that we won’t have a deal unless we put forth numbers that we are going to grow toward and you guys buy into that,” La Poll said.

He added that all children are entitled to appropriate facilities, and that is what the charter school seeks in the future.

“The word ‘entitlement’ you use is where we are going to run into issues,” Logan said. “Your view of what you are entitled to and our view is different. You have to balance these things or we are going to be in the same place.”

When asked if the charter school would use some of its set-aside funds for facilities for a new campus, La Poll said that would not be fair.

There was discussion about sharing funds, which Logan said the district would be more willing to do if the charter school were under the district’s, not the county’s, oversight.

“I think all things are possible,” Evans said. “The equity in the notion is sufficiently strong, how we are governed by comparison, a detail.”

The meeting concluded with agreement that Bullis Charter School officials would return with a rough estimate of classroom and teaching space required as the charter school grows toward its goal of 875-900 students.

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