Mon10202014

Schools

LASD studies a permanent location for BCS

Baier

Los Altos School District trustees discussed target dates for decisions regarding an eventual permanent location for Bullis Charter School but took no official action at a Nov. 7 board meeting.

To comply with the Oct. 27 mandate from the state Appellate Court, the district must relocate the charter school from its current space on the Egan Junior High School property on West Portola Avenue to a more equitable site. The court supported the charter school’s contention that the district had failed to meet its obligation to provide adequate facilities.

The new location must conform to conditions set by Proposition 39, passed in 2000, that school districts offer “reasonably equivalent” space to charter school students who reside within district boundaries.

“At this point, we really think there are three paths that we are traveling down,” said district Superintendent Jeff Baier. “All of those are open and active paths.”

A report from the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Finance recommended the three options: purchasing a new site for the charter school; placing the charter school on one of the existing campuses and distributing the displaced district students among the other schools; or splitting the charter school program between its elementary program (K-5) and middle school (6-8), then co-locating the programs on sites with existing district schools.

The district is coordinating with the charter school to schedule a joint meeting to address their options. Baier said the district would like to schedule the joint meeting by March 31.

Baier originally proposed May 31 as the target date for a final determination on a permanent location for the charter school, but several factors impact the trustees’ decision.

“Each of these options has a different trajectory of implementation that may not even allow (reaching a May 31 deadline),” Trustee Mark Goines said. “I’d like to know what the follow-up steps for each option are, so we can put timelines on those steps.”

Trustees agreed that moving forward would be difficult without conferring with Bullis Charter School to reach an agreement. Trustees said they want to work with charter school representatives to understand their future plans for growth.

Discussion on moving the district’s sixth-graders to the junior high campuses is scheduled for the trustees’ Dec. 5 meeting. If sixth-graders are transferred, more space at each of the elementary schools will be available, which could impact the options for the charter school location.

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