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Timeline: Los Altos School District vs. Bullis Charter School

You've asked for it, and the Town Crier has responded by puttting together an easy-to-follow chronology of the vital events that have framed the local schools debate.

 

Our timeline is a work in progress and if we have inadvertently missed a milestone, please let us know and we will consider adding it.

 

Nov. 7, 2000
California voters approve Proposition 39, law requiring school districts to provide charter schools with facilities “sufficient and reasonably equivalent to other buildings, classrooms, or facilities in the district.”

Feb. 10, 2003

Los Altos School District votes to close Bullis-Purissima School after significant state funding cuts. For more background, click here.

During Los Altos School District Board of Trustees meetings, parents discuss possibility of opening charter school. Although idea faces public opposition, Los Altos Hills City Council supports it.

May 14, 2003
The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees rejects the charter school petition citing "the petition's lack of program focus, lack of sufficient planning time, lack of familiarity with legal requirements, unrealistic financial and operational plan, lack of necessary expertise and lack of a viable facilities plan."

Sept. 10, 2003

Santa Clara County Board of Education approves charter for Bullis Charter School.

Oct. 1, 2003
The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees votes to allow the county to oversee the charter school and accepts responsibility for Bullis Charter School's facilities.

March 12, 2004

Group of unnamed individuals threatens to sue Los Altos School District if trustees offer district’s Egan Junior High School campus for Bullis Charter School site.

March 15, 2004

Los Altos School District offers portion of Egan campus established as temporary camp school during elementary school renovations to Bullis Charter School. Bullis Charter School Board of Directors accepts offer “under duress, under protest, and without waiving any legal rights of Bullis Charter School under applicable local, state or federal law, such as Proposition 39 rights and remedies.”

May 25, 2004
Santa Clara County Superior Court rules that Los Altos School District complies with Proposition 39 requirements for “reasonable equivalency” in offering Egan camp site to Bullis Charter School for its first year of operation, after charter school board of directors petitions court for writ of mandate.

July 21, 2004
After more than four months of negotiations, Bullis Charter School formally accepts Facilities Use Agreement for camp school at Egan Junior High.

Aug. 23, 2004
Bullis Charter School opens.

Sept. 30, 2004
Bullis Charter School files first complaint with Santa Clara County Superior Court about sufficiency of facilities provided by Los Altos School District. Bullis later withdraws legal action.

June 7, 2005

Santa Clara County Superior Court denies Bullis Charter School’s request for Los Altos School District to relocate charter school on former Bullis-Purissima campus.


May 2005 Town Crier public poll shows overwhelming support for leasing Bullis-Purissima to Bullis Charter School. Los Altos School District board later rejects Los Altos Hills City Council offer to buy Bullis-Purissima campus.

August 10, 2005
Negotiations begin to settle Bullis Charter School’s lawsuit against Los Altos School District.

Sept. 9, 2005

Santa Clara County Superior Court rules that Los Altos School District complies fully with state laws, including those regarding joint-use agreements, in leasing Egan camp school rather than Bullis-Purissima campus to Bullis Charter School.

Nov. 29, 2005

Santa Clara County Superior Court denies Bullis Charter School’s motion for a new trial in 2004 lawsuit against Los Altos School District.

March 23, 2006
Los Altos Hills City Council votes to form new school district for K-8 students. After debate, council votes 3-2 to delay redistricting process 30 days to conduct last-ditch negotiations with affected existing school districts. Negotiations begin among Los Altos School District, Los Altos Hills City Council and Bullis Charter School.

Aug. 23, 2006

Bullis Charter School drops 2004 lawsuit against Los Altos School District, citing progress in negotiations with district.

Aug. 30, 2006
Bullis Charter School earns accreditation from Schools Commission of Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Dec. 26, 2007

Santa Clara County Board of Education votes to allow Bullis Charter School to amend its enrollment process to give preference to areas of Los Altos Hills over rest of Los Altos School District, as requested in school’s original charter. In response, school district files petition with Superior Court of California asking courts to block board of education’s decision.

August 2008

Bullis-Purissima School reopens as renamed Gardner Bullis School.

Nov. 19, 2008
Bullis Charter School receives approval from Santa Clara County Board of Education to expand school’s charter to include seventh and eighth grades. Los Altos School District expresses concern over where it will house growing charter school.

May 2009
Los Altos School District rejects Bullis Charter School foundation’s offer to donate $3 million to district in exchange for exclusive use of Gardner Bullis School, citing potential implications for district students.

June 10, 2009
Bullis Charter School Board of Directors files lawsuit with Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara requesting court define district’s legal obligation to provide facilities for charter school.

Nov. 24, 2009
Santa Clara County Superior Court rejects all but one petition in Bullis Charter School’s lawsuit against Los Altos School District over shared facilities. Charter school appeals court ruling in fifth legal challenge between charter and school district since 2003. Rulings favor district on four of five previous attempts.

Sept. 28, 2010

Los Altos School District Board of Trustees votes to approve three-year agreement with Bullis Charter School with goal of improving relations.

Oct. 12, 2010
Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School reach agreement to provide charter school with additional classroom in exchange for extended deadline for district’s annual facilities offer.

Oct. 27, 2011

Court of Appeal of State of California Sixth Appellate District issues ruling in Bullis Charter School v. Los Altos School District case. Court finds district offer of facilities for 2009-2010 school year does “not comply with Proposition 39 or its implementing regulations.”

Nov. 21, 2011
Los Altos School District petitions California Supreme Court in appeal to Oct. 27 decision, but Court of Appeal denies review.

Jan. 18, 2012
California Supreme Court denies Los Altos School District’s request to review and upholds published appellate decision, finding that district violated Proposition 39.

Jan. 30, 2012
Los Altos School District presents facilities offer to Bullis Charter School, splitting charter school program between two campuses – Egan for K-6 students and Blach Intermediate School for seventh- and eighth-graders.

Feb. 13, 2012

Bullis Charter School invites Los Altos School District to enter interest-based mediation.

March 6, 2012

Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School boards meet in closed session for mediation.

March 23, 2012
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas issues judgment that Los Altos School District violates Proposition 39, and district must amend 2012-2013 facilities offer to make it “legally compliant.”

March 31, 2012
Los Altos School District makes final facilities offer to Bullis Charter School for 2012-2013 school year, offering charter school facilities at Egan and Blach campuses totaling 11.04 acres.

May 2, 2012

Bullis Charter School reluctantly accepts Los Altos School District’s facilities offer for 2012-2013 school year.

May 16, 2012
Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District report out of their mediation sessions with a tentative joint agreement, which would suspend litigation between the parties and guarantees the charter school its own campus no later than fall 2014.

May 23, 2012
Los Altos School District parents speak up against the tentative agreement.

May 31, 2012

Los Altos School District creates revisions to the joint tentaive agreement in response to community concern. If the charter school rejects the edited plan, the school would recieve its original facilities offer, accepted earlier in May.

Santa Clara County Superior Court issues writ of mandate to Los Altos School District, formalizing court’s March ruling requiring district to comply Proposition 39 obligations.

June 6, 2012
Bullis Charter School officials report dissatisfaction with the district's revisions to the joint tentative agreement.

June 8, 2012

Bullis Charter School files papers with Santa Clara County Superior Court challenging district's 2012-2013 facilities offer, which splits school’s program between two campuses. This ends any reality for the mediated tenative agreement.

July 3, 2012
Bullis Charter School files papers with Santa Clara County Superior Court arguing that Los Altos School District’s final facilities offer for 2012-2013 is deficient. Motion recommends that court order Los Altos School District to allow Bullis Charter School exclusive use of one of four of its nine campuses during 2013-14 school year.

July 24, 2012
Los Altos School District files court papers opposing Bullis Charter School’s July 3 motion requesting facilities. District also files motion for declaratory relief, claiming that it “fully complied with its obligations to offer Petitioner Bullis Charter School facilities for the 2012-2013 school year.”

July 2012

Los Altos School District parents establish the 700-member Huttlinger Alliance for Education. Huttlinger Alliance submits amicus curiae (friend of court) brief to Superior Court of California arguing that court should reject Bullis Charter School’s pending motion to compel district to turn over currently used school facilities to charter school.

Aug. 3, 2012

Association of California School Administrators files amicus curiae with Superior Court of State of California. In its brief, ACSA claims that “all evidence demonstrates that, here, the school district officials weighed the evidence and rationally made a decision, a writ should not issue and the Court should defer to the findings of the school district.”

Aug. 10, 2012

Bullis Charter School responds to amici curiae applications of Huttlinger Alliance and Association of California School Administrators, stating that “arguments made in the proposed amici curiae briefs merely repeat the arguments made by the District, the court should not consider them.”


Bullis Charter School attorneys file Notice of Motion with court under “Private Attorney General Doctrine” to recover attorney fees totaling $1.3 million from 2009-2010 lawsuit.

Aug. 13, 2012

Los Altos School District Board of Trustees votes to file new lawsuit requesting enrollment documents from Bullis Charter School if Superior Court of California rejects their motion for declaratory relief and clarification on whether charter school’s admissions and fundraising practices affect its claim on district facilities.

Aug. 30, 2012

Representatives from Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District argued in court over whether the charter school's motion to compel was proper jurisdiction. Judge issues no jurisdiction.

Sept. 12, 2012
While waiting on a ruling over their previous motion to compel, Bullis Charter School files a new lawsuit against the school district claiming their 2012-2013 facilities are not reasonably equivalent.

Sept. 20, 2012
More than fifty parents from both sides of the charter school and district schools debate gather and share their experiences over their involvement.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas denies the charter's school previous motion to compel (arguments heard in court Aug. 30).

Sept. 24, 2012
Bullis Charter School board discusses ways to grow the school to accommodate spiking enrollment requests.

Oct. 8, 2012
Los Altos School District trustees preview the charter school facilities process, and discuss ways to include more public input.

Oct. 24, 2012
Los Altos School District trustees schedule two public-input meetings for the annual Prop. 39 facilities process.

Oct. 30, 2012
Bullis Charter School legal team argues three points in court in their case regarding the 2012-2013 facilities. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas' tentative ruling was not in favor of the charter school's arguments over enrollment counter projections, issues around the Egan City Gym and the provided furniture.

Nov. 1, 2012
Bullis Charter School submits its enrollment projection for the 2013-2014 school year, projecting a growth of 127 students – adding a new strand of K-3 classes.

Nov. 5, 2012
Parents and community provide input at first Los Altos School District charter school facilities public-input meeting with the majority of the audience voicing favor for charter school facilities continuing to be split among Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools.

Nov. 13, 2012
Los Altos School District board members approve mediated public-input at their Dec. 3 meeting, outline five different scenarios for housing the charter school in the 2013-2014 school year.

Nov. 14, 2012
Bullis Charter School officials file an appeal regarding Judge Lucas' Sept. 20 ruling.

Nov. 21, 2012
In the charter school's case fighting for legal fees, Judge Patricia Lucas orders the charter school to release financial data pertinent to the case.

Nov. 28, 2012
Judge Lucas denies the charter school's motions argued in court Oct. 30 regarding three points in the 2012-2013 facilities lawsuit. Charter school officials begin to plan their appeal of the ruling.

Dec. 1, 2012
Los Altos School District counter the charter school's projected enrollment growth forecasting 97 additional in-district students, 43 fewer in-district students than Bullis Charter School originally forecasted.

Early December, 2012
The Los Altos School District files a cross-complaint in the 2012-2013 facilities legal battle asking whether the charter school's practices which they characterize as being a "publicly subsidized private school" have any bearing on the amount of facilities, if any, the district is required to provide every year until Proposition 39 law. The charter school swiftly files two motions trying to throw out the cross complaint.

Dec. 3, 2012
Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District parents collaborate in mediated sessions that focus on the different options for charter school facilities for the 2013-2014 school year.

Dec. 10, 2012
Los Altos School District officials whittle the facilities scenarios for the charter school, nixing an idea of swapping sites with Santa Rita School and sharing that finding a tenth school site is not feasible for the 2013-2014 school year.

Late December, 2012
Donation information regarding Bullis Charter School's finances made it to Los Altos School District lawyers but will remain under the "strictest" protective order – meaning the information will not be made public.

Jan. 8, 2013
Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District legal teams were scheduled to meet in court, but after receiving Judge Lucas' tentative ruling on the charter school's two motions against the district's cross motion – the charter school legal team chooses to forgo arguments in court. The tentative motion did not support the charter school's arguments.

Jan. 14, 2013
After hearing more public input regarding facilities options for Bullis Charter School, the Los Altos School District begins leaning toward an Egan/Blach split again.

Jan. 23, 2013
Bullis Charter School hosts a luncheon where they announce they will accept a two-campus split for the 2013-2014 year, but have their own idea of what that would look like.

Jan. 24, 2013
A smaller group of parents turn out for another church-sponsored event created to give parents a place to share about their emotions in the school conflict.

Feb. 1, 2013
Los Altos School District trustees submit preliminary offer to Bullis Charter School, offer does not reflect charter school's vision of a split campus as their announcement came late in the offer drafting process. District trustees are hesitant to begin negotiations with the charter school over facilities until a freeze in litigation is in place.

Feb. 13, 2013
Two Los Altos School District trustees meet face-to-face with two Bullis Charter School board members and discuss facilities clarifications and needs at a public meeting.

Los Altos School District President Doug Smith send a letter to Bullis Charter School officially requesting a 90-day pause in litigation to discuss facilities for the next school year and beyond. 

March 1, 2013
Bullis Charter School submits response to Los Altos School District's preliminary offer – requesting substantially more facilities equivalent to an additional 22.5 standard sized portables.

March 5, 2013
Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District legal teams meet in court again as the charter school attempts a third argument trying to throw out the district's cross-complaint. 

March 11, 2013
Bullis Charter School responds to the district's request for litigation freeze by countering with a 21-day freeze that addresses the 2013-2014 facilities offer. District officials react to charter school's facilities response as "not a starting point" in possible discussions over facilities. 

March 18, 2013
Residents begin receiving survey calls about Bullis Charter School and question the motives of the call. The charter school does not answer whether or not they are behind the calls. 

March 21, 2013
Los Altos School District President Doug Smith arrives at a Bullis Charter School parent meeting, which focuses on the ongoing litigation and is asked to leave by charter school leadership

April 1, 2013
Los Altos School District trustees approve a final facilities offer which splits the charter school between Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools. The district outlines the final offer by providing facilities and shared spaces tailored for charter school sixth through eighth graders. 

April 5, 2013
Bullis Charter School officials send an "intent to occupy" letter to the district ahead of the May 1 deadline to ensure their facilities will be ready by Aug. 1. The district begins ordering portable facilities for the charter school. 

 

 

 

 

 

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