Sat04192014

Schools

LASD counters charter school's enrollment forecast

The Los Altos School District countered Bullis Charter School’s projected enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year last week, calculating 73 fewer students than the charter school’s estimation.

The district’s response is part of the annual facilities allocation process, in which the district is required to provide Bullis Charter School “reasonably equivalent” facilities as outlined in Proposition 30 for all in-district students enrolled at the charter school.

Bullis Charter School officials submitted their facilities request Nov. 1, projecting an enrollment of 711 students next year, 678 in-district. The growth would require additional kindergarten, fourth- and seventh-grade classes.

In a letter sent to the charter school last week, the school district asserted that the charter school’s projected enrollment is “overly aggressive.” It stated that for the current school year, the charter school anticipated 140 additional in-district students but registered only 108, a difference of 32 students. The letter also pointed out that the charter school’s figures assume no attrition in any cohort of students returning and project an increase of 16 students in the fourth grade.

The district supported its decision to counter the numbers with a lower rate because of “historical negative variance” at the middle-school level, overprojection for seventh and eighth grades (58 percent and 25 percent, respectively) and historical overprojection.

The letter also stated that the charter school has not provided sufficient information to support the increase in incoming kindergartners and additional fourth-graders.

District officials requested additional information substantiating the increases, stating that they may use the information to re-evaluate the counter projection, including:

• A list of applicants, identified by student number and district of residence, for the current school year.

• Final disposition of each applicant’s status (offered enrollment via lottery, offered enrollment from waitlist, date on which enrollment was offered or enrollment declined).

• Indication whether applicant enrolled and remains enrolled.

• Documents reflecting the admission of students from the waitlist for the past three school years.

• Copies of all documentation related to action taken by the charter school board to increase the size of grade cohorts to 80, and in the case of kindergarten to 100.

“In providing its counter projections, the district has evaluated Bullis Charter School’s historical projections and attrition rates, as well as the veracity of the district’s own counter projections,” the letter stated. “The district’s counter projections are reasonable and supported by substantial evidence.”

The charter school has until Jan. 2 to respond to the district’s assertions.

For a complete copy of the letter, visit losaltosonline.com.

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