Mon09222014

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BCS counters that LASD preliminary offer isn't enough

Bullis Charter School officials claimed that the Los Altos School District continues to miss the mark in providing reasonably equivalent facilities for its in-district students.

As part of the annual facilities-allocation process, the charter school replied over the weekend to the district’s preliminary facilities offer for 2014-2015, accusing the district of shorting the charter school 15.5 standard portables and 4 acres of campus space.

Charter school officials, who originally estimated 678 in-district students, stated that they currently have 698 in-district students enrolled for the 2014-2015 school year. The district designed its preliminary offer with a counter-projection of 605 in-district students.

A campus for 605 students looks very different than a campus for 698, according to charter school representatives. The letter alleges various inaccuracies and inefficiencies when calculating reasonably equivalent classroom and specialized teaching space – mandated by Proposition 39.

At the Egan Junior High School campus, which Bullis shares, charter school officials said the district’s offer leaves them short three classrooms and two units of specialized teaching space. The charter school projects that 444 in-district K-4 grade students will attend Bullis’ Egan campus next year, higher than the district’s projected 408 students.

To compensate for the missing acreage, the charter school requests that the district share use of the City Gym at Egan.

On the Blach Intermediate School campus, where Bullis houses its older students, the charter school estimates that it would house 234 students on campus, more than the district’s 197 counter-projection. The charter school’s letter requests continued use of the Blach Home Arts and Computer Lab classrooms, as the charter school has devoted time and money to equip the rooms with the technology needed to connect with its other exclusive facilities.

The charter school also requests two additional classrooms for incoming seventh-graders. The district’s offer included two classrooms for seventh- and eighth-grade charter school students.

In addition, charter school officials would like exclusive use of Blach’s baseball field to offer adequate field space for fifth- and sixth-graders. They also asked for additional blacktop space near Stepping Stones Preschool and for permission to install a play structure on campus.

The charter school’s letter took issue with how the district shares its physical education facilities, stating that the charter school needs use of PE facilities throughout the school day.

In their letter, charter school officials invited district representatives to meet with their facilities team to discuss the facilities allocation further prior to the district’s final offer, due April 1.

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