Sat12202014

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California Supreme Court denies hearing LASD/BCS case

The California Supreme Court Wednesday (Jan. 18) rejected the Los Altos School District's petition over facilities for Bullis Charter School. The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruling, issued in October, stands as applicable law for charter schools.

The Supreme Court also denied a request to depublish the appellate opinion, meaning that charter schools across California can cite the landmark ruling when requesting equal access to facilities for public charter school students.

The Los Altos School District in December petitioned the appellate court, which ruled the district failed to comply with Proposition 39 law that requires school districts to provide "reasonably equivalent" facilities for charter schools.

The Sixth District Court of Appeal found that the school district, in its initial facilities offer to Bullis in 2009-2010, “excluded from consideration over one million square feet of collective non-classroom space of the comparison group schools.” The appeal court ruled the school district should provide the charter school more facility space for the Bullis Charter School campus.

"Now that the highest court in California has upheld this landmark decision, it is time that all public school students are given access to equivalent facilities," said Ken Moore, Bullis' Board Chairman. "With this facilities decision final, it is our desire to work in partnership with the district to ensure that all students are treated fairly. This is the second message sent by our judicial system to the District that it is time to find solutions that comply with the law."

"This ruling should end this litigation," said Arturo Gonzalez, who tried the case on behalf of Bullis. "School districts in California do not have the right to ignore the law with unfair allocations of space and facilities. We are hopeful that the district will finally share facilities fairly with Bullis students."

Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier said the district was disappointed the Supreme Court chose not to hear the case but now they have a clear way of measuring facilities.

"We now have a more clearly defined methodology," said LASD Superintendent Jeff Baier. "So we will incorporate that into the development of the facilities offer while balancing the needs of all the students that live within the district boundaries, including the charter school students."

Baier said school district officials are currently working on a facilities offer to Bullis Charter School for the 2012-13 school year. They have to submit the initial offer by February 1.

For continuing coverage, visit www.losaltosonline.com. For the full story, see the Jan. 25 print edition of the Town Crier.

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