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LASD officially requests pause in facilities litigation

Los Altos School District officials sent a letter to Bullis Charter School officials last week requesting a 90-day pause in litigation while the two groups cooperate in crafting a short-term solution for next year’s charter school facilities.

In the Feb. 13 letter, district Board of Trustees President Doug Smith asked for the litigation stay so that stakeholders could engage in “six-way discussions” that all participants would agree could not be used in court for any reason.

Many parents have called on district leadership to collaborate with the charter school on a short-term solution for the 2013-2014 school year.

Aware that statements in meetings could be (and have been) used against them in court, district trustees expressed hesitancy about working with the charter school during ongoing litigation.

“The litigation is siphoning large sums of money away from the children and has increased the level of conflict,” Smith’s letter stated. “Both sides have more in common than they have differences, yet the litigation will polarize the two camps as long as it remains.”

Last month, Bullis Charter School Board of Directors Chairman Ken Moore said the charter school is willing to accept a split campus and outlined its vision for facilities next year.

Smith’s letter stated that the “agreement in the broader contours of a potential solution” would require “cooperative attention from both sides, free from (the) hostility and conflict that is inherent when the parties are simultaneously fighting in court.”

The agreement the trustees are proposing is “simple,” according to Smith.

“Each side agrees to stop all activity in the litigation for 90 days, other than the execution of any stipulations necessary to preserve the status quo and permit the parties to resume the litigation in 90 days if, unfortunately, that becomes necessary,” the letter states.

Both parties would agree to participate in joint discussions with three representatives from each side during the pause in legal action. If agreement on a short-term solution is reached and both parties want to drop litigation entirely, then they can schedule additional discussions regarding a long-term solution.

Smith added that “time is of the essence.” The offer to suspend litigation expires in 14 days.

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