Attendance area discussion spurs talks of Bullis Charter School

Another tough decision is on the horizon for the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees.

While discussing the proposed attendance area options June 11, Board Vice President Mark Goines brought up the district's imminent responsibility to find a permanent site for Bullis Charter School (BCS).

"We have to solve this broadly, districtwide, including the charter school," Goines said.

Goines presented an attendance area scenario where BCS would move to the Bullis-Purissima site in 2008, and a new elementary school would open at the Egan site. Goines argued that placing a district school where the charter is currently housed adds another school in the north side of the district, where demographers predict the greatest growth.

Other board members thought his ideas were interesting, but said the board was too close to a final decision to bring this option to the table.

"I am in sync with the notions Goines is putting forward," said Board Member Margot Harrigan. "But let's look at the scenarios we currently have in front of us. In the future, at a more relaxed pace, we can look into some of the things Goines presented.

Another issue with Goines' creative solution, Board Member Bill Cooper said, was that the district doesn't have the money to both reopen Bullis and add another school.

The board examined variations of three final scenarios during their study session, and narrowed their preferences to two variations, named Scenario 2.3 and Plan L.1.

Plan L.1 would split the neighborhood north of El Camino between Covington and Springer schools. To fill the reopened Bullis-Purissima School, a section of the southern portion of the Yerba Santa Triangle would be assigned to Bullis. The base population of the Covington site would be enlarged by absorbing portions of Loyola and Springer's attendance areas.

Scenario 2.3 differs from Plan L.1 by including the neighborhood north of El Camino with Covington, dividing the area among three schools, rather than four. The Covington attendance area would be enlarged in the same way as 2.3. To absorb some of Almond School's growth, Springer would include the Hollingsworth Drive to Gilmore Street neighborhood in this option.

Monday, after the Town Crier deadline, the board was scheduled to choose one of the two amended options to send to a traffic study team. In the fall, the board plans to finalize the scenario depending on pending traffic issues related to the change in attendance areas. The board is also scheduled to discuss and define the options for grandfathering.

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