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Bullis Charter School drops lawsuit against school district

Bullis Charter School dropped its lawsuit against the Los Altos School District last week, citing progress in its negotiations with the district. The district in turn agreed not to sue Bullis to recoup legal costs.

The lawsuit, initiated in 2004, was on appeal after being dismissed in two separate rulings in 2005. Bullis alleged that the portable classrooms on the Egan Junior High campus provided by the district equated to unequal housing for the charter school.

Proposition 39, passed in 2001, requires that school districts provide charter schools with "reasonably equivalent" facilities. The district evaluates the facilities of comparable district schools, as well as the capacity and condition of potential sites, to determine reasonable equivalency.

The school district board is expected to offer Bullis a permanent location by the end of September. The board voted unanimously in March to locate Bullis at Egan for the 2006-2007 school year. Since then, however, the district has continued to evaluate housing options. Superintendent Tim Justus said that the district is considering permanent housing at Egan, Covington or a renewed Bullis-Purissima Elementary for the charter.

Ken Moore, chairman of the Bullis board, said that the location reassessment was one sign of the district's changed attitude toward the charter. "It shows me that they've switched to a longer-term mode of thinking," Moore said.

He credited Justus' presence at the negotiating table as one positive element that contributed to the improved relationship between the two factions, and said that Los Altos Hills' redistricting efforts were peripheral to the change.

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