Fri07252014

News

Appellate court dismisses charter school’s appeal

The Sixth District Court of Appeal last week dismissed Bullis Charter School’s motion to appeal a Santa Clara County Superior Court ruling that permitted the Los Altos School District’s cross-complaint in its facilities lawsuit.

The Superior Court has upheld the district’s right to file a cross-complaint in the facilities lawsuit three times to date. The cross-complaint asks the court to examine the charter school’s admissions and fundraising practices to determine how those practices should impact the district’s annual facilities allocation.

After Bullis Charter School filed the appeal, the district conferred with the charter school counsel and urged Bullis Charter School to withdraw the motion. After the charter school refused, the district petitioned the Appellate Court to formally dismiss the appeal without a hearing on the matter. The court granted the district’s request last week.

“Today’s ruling is certainly positive for the district,” said Doug Smith, president of the district’s board of trustees, in a press release last week. “This frivolous (and ultimately fruitless) run to the appeals court is just another example of how the taxpayers’ money is being wasted in litigation.”

Bullis Charter School officials called their action of appeal “an effort to rein in the Los Altos School District’s abusive discovery process, streamline the legal work and save taxpayer money.”

“We remain willing to meet with the Los Altos School District board to come up with a legally compliant facilities offer for this coming school year, rather than continue with expensive litigation, and call on (district) trustees to open a dialogue so that both boards can concentrate on educating the students of the Los Altos School District,” said Ken Moore, chairman of the charter school board of directors.

Smith said the district would like to work with the charter school to find a 10th school site to accommodate student growth, “but we need the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors to step back from this scorched-earth litigation strategy and work with us and the broader community.”

“It would be great to spend our summer working together, rather than in the courtrooms,” Smith said. “Until then, though, I’m grateful for the speedy action of the appellate court in ensuring the community concerns will be examined.”

The district’s legal team can now proceed to gather information from the charter school regarding its admissions, fundraising and other related practices so that the court can consider the cross-complaint.

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