Mon09222014

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BCS defends itself against county letter

Bullis Charter School Superintendent Wanny Hersey sent a letter to the Santa Clara County Office of Education last week defending the school’s enrollment process.

The letter is a response to a Feb. 20 letter from the county questioning the charter school’s enrollment practices – which include requiring parents to present a driver’s license – and claiming that a meeting held outside school district boundaries proved a violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open meetings law.

“No one was denied inclusion in our 2014 lottery for any reason,” Hersey stated in the letter. “For a county superintendent to suggest otherwise, without evidence and in light of prior green lights from your staff, is disturbing.”

Hersey’s letter noted that the charter school followed the enrollment process the county has approved on multiple occasions. She cited the times the county worked with the charter school to revise its enrollment process, including approving the charter school’s request for a driver’s license as proof of residency.

“If a parent does not possess a driver’s license or passport, they are not denied access to the lottery,” Hersey said. “We are happy to discuss again with you the best ways to verify residency.”

Hersey said it is common practice among Santa Clara County schools and school districts to require a driver’s license as a proof of residency. The letter included documentation from Los Altos High School and eight county school districts to support her point.

She also contended that the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors did not violate the Brown Act when it held its Feb. 6 meeting outside school district boundaries. Charter schools, she wrote, are exempt from the education code the county referenced in its original letter.

Hersey said she was “puzzled” that county officials made no effort to contact Bullis Charter School representatives prior to sending the letter.

“As you know, this school and its parents are unfairly and relentlessly demonized and harassed by the school district, which refuses fair access to public school facilities, and by a few misinformed and outspoken critics of charter schools,” Hersey wrote. “It is in this context that I must protest your unfounded and inflammatory assertions about Bullis. Your letter appears to be based on incorrect assumptions and has caused unwarranted disruptions to our families and the community.”

Santa Clara County Office of Education officials did not respond to the Town Crier’s request for comment.

To read Hersey’s letter in its entirety, visit losaltosonline.com.

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