Los Altos School District trustees said they need additional enrollment information from Bullis Charter School officials before they are willing to allocate expanded facilities for the next school year.
The discrepancy between the facilities charter school officials requested and what the school district is willing to provide boils down to a gap in their respective enrollment projections. In its request for facilities, the charter school estimated 678 students – and now reports a total of 698 students registered for the 2014-2015 school year. The school district, on the other hand, developed its offer with a projection of 605 in-district charter school students, based on its historical projections.
District trustees directed staff to request updated enrollment information from the charter school before the trustees address providing additional facilities.
Tammy Logan, district board president, said the district needs the list of those enrolled for next year, under the same confidentiality the charter school has received for its current-year enrollment information, provided earlier this year.
“We would like to be able to cross-reference those names against the students (the district has) enrolled,” she said. “Then we can make a better estimate.”
Current Bullis Charter School sixth-grade parents conducted a survey that included the names of families intending to send their students to seventh grade at the charter school next year. Logan said that when the district cross-referenced those names, more than half had attended district parent information nights or are currently registered in district junior highs.
“So it isn’t clear,” she said. “Some will go one way and others will go another.”
Trustees considered offering additional space to the charter school at the Egan Junior High School campus and discussed problems that could result. Under a California Environmental Quality Act study the district commissioned, there are some challenges related to start and end times for the school day. Trustees asked for more clarity from the charter school regarding an operating schedule.
Trustee Mark Goines said adding classroom space for a full-day kindergarten program at district schools next year might require recalculation of comparable space. He questioned whether the charter school’s lottery process was valid, citing the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s recent letter questioning the charter school’s enrollment process (see article on page 1).
Bullis Charter School officials suggested that the district and charter school legal teams negotiate the terms of the Facilities Use Agreement. District officials agreed that could be a good way to handle the document, as long as it is completed before the May 1 facilities process deadline.
Trustee Doug Smith said he was happier with this year’s charter school response to the preliminary offer than he was with last year’s.
“While this (response) isn’t a glowing love fest, it is much more constructive than last year’s,” he said.
The district must submit its final facilities offer by April 1. It has board meetings scheduled Monday and March 31.