The Los Altos School District delivered its preliminary facilities offer for the 2014-2015 school year to Bullis Charter School Saturday, lifting site-specific grade-level restrictions.
Similar to the charter school’s current configuration, the introductory offer would split facilities between Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools. The district’s offer allocated facilities assuming that K-4 charter school students would attend Egan and students in grades 5-8 would attend Blach.
Under Proposition 39, the district is required to provide Bullis Charter School with “reasonably equivalent” facilities for its in-district students. Since Bullis Charter School was placed at Egan 10 years ago, the district and the charter school have been duking it out in court over what constitutes “reasonably equivalent.”
With district officials projecting 407 in-district charter school students at the Egan campus next year, they anticipate needing two fewer portable classrooms. At Blach, the district projects 197 in-district students, which would require three additional classroom portables and a new 1,440-square-foot portable for flex space.
Multipurpose space at Blach would be available to the charter school 12 days of the year.
A major complaint of charter school parents with children assigned to the Blach campus this year was the lack of play space during recess and lunch breaks. Next year, the district offers shared blacktop space with Blach students if lunches and breaks coincide. If the breaks do not coincide, the district offers the tennis court space and/or track and field space – when it doesn’t conflict with Blach usage.
As for grade-level restrictions, the district requires that the drama room, science labs and some physical education facilities remain reserved solely for the charter school’s seventh- and eighth-graders. Site-specific grade-level restrictions, which the district included in the current-year facilities offer, were not mentioned in the preliminary offer or the attached Facilities Use Agreement (FUA).
Attendance caps will be expanded to 300 at Blach and 710 at Egan once per month for schoolwide assemblies, according to the offer.
FUA and compliance
The preliminary offer included an FUA, similar to the document the district drafted this year that outlines the requirements for occupying the district-owned facilities.
After Bullis Charter School officials refused to sign the agreement for this year last August, disagreeing with some of its provisions, the district prohibited charter school teachers and staff from accessing the Blach facilities prior to the start of the current school year.
The current preliminary offer states that charter school officials must sign the FUA no later than May 30, 30 days after they receive the final facilities offer. If officials fail to sign the document, the district will not add additional facilities for the charter school over the summer.
This year’s preliminary offer also includes procedures and possible consequences if the charter school does not comply with the parameters of the FUA. First notice of violations will result in a written notice, with an opportunity to correct the violations within 15 days. The district would then have an opportunity to review the charter school’s response.
The district reserves the right to schedule a public hearing regarding any FUA violations and can determine whether the violations should result in sanctions.
Sanctions include but are not limited to:
• An adjustment of the terms and conditions of the final offer or FUA.
• Referral to Bullis Charter School’s chartering agency, the Santa Clara County Office of Education.
• Reclamation of facilities.
• Equitable mitigation of facilities allocated under the final offer.
• Other remedies permitted by law.
Charter school officials have until March 1 to respond to the preliminary offer.