Wed08272014

News

LASD: Talks over charter school facilities hit a snag


Logan

After meeting twice in the past seven weeks with a professional mediator behind closed doors, Los Altos School District officials said their negotiations with Bullis Charter School have hit an impasse.

Bullis Charter School board members Peter Evans and Francis La Poll and district board President Tammy Logan and Trustee Doug Smith met with Appellate Justice Hon. Richard J. McAdams (Ret.) Dec. 16 and Jan. 15 to hammer out a possible long-term solution for the ongoing facilities dispute.

After conducting several discussions, both sides were inching toward a 15-year agreement for facilities for the charter school.

“We had the two meetings in closed session to try and get beyond the sticking points,” Logan said. “The meetings are not going any further, as we are at an impasse.”

A substantial obstacle, according to Logan, is making sure the enrollment demographics at the charter school reflect that of the whole school district. District officials and community members have stated that the charter school does not serve a proportional number of local students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, in need of special-education instruction and English language learners.

“Choice is good,” she said. “Choice should be good for everyone, not just people of a certain demographic.”

In previous long-term meetings, Evans and La Poll insisted that the charter school’s enrollment demographics matched that of the school district.

“I think for us to come up with a long-term commitment (of 15 years), then our community needs to hear that,” Logan said. “The Bullis Charter School leadership doesn’t seem willing to come up with any metrics to come up with those numbers.”

Logan said the district is being “flexible” in how to measure the demographics, but charter school officials responded that they would only make the statement that they do not discriminate and that they do outreach.

Emails to La Poll and Evans were not returned before the Town Crier press deadline.

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