As the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors discusses potential growth, the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees Oct. 8 reviewed how they might handle Bullis’ increasing demand for facilities in the next school year.
The school district is responsible each year for providing reasonably equivalent facilities for in-district charter school students, who share space with district students at Egan Junior High and Blach Intermediate schools.
“We haven’t had much open discussion in the public,” said Mark Goines, district board president. “It will serve us all well if we could be significantly more transparent about this process.”
The process begins with the charter school’s enrollment projections, due Nov. 1, followed by the district’s objections (if any) to the charter school projections by Dec. 1. The charter school must respond to those objections by Jan. 2.
The district then drafts the preliminary offer, which it must provide to Bullis Charter School by Feb. 1. The charter school must respond to the offer by March 1, with the final offer completed by April 1.
District Trustee Tammy Logan said she would like the district to meet with the Bullis board earlier in the process to help understand the direction the charter school is headed.
“One of the things I’d like to see is an invitation to the Bullis Charter School board either before their Nov. 1 request or shortly thereafter to state what their projections are,” she said. “We want to know what is the basis for their request and have an opportunity to ask questions about those.”
The district board discussed inviting the charter board to meet Nov. 5.
District responds to FPPC
The district board has drafted a letter in response to the Los Altos City Council’s inquiry to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) regarding Goines’ involvement in discussions about a permanent location for Bullis Charter School. Those discussions included the Santa Rita School site, a campus he lives less than 500 feet from.
“If the decision that is considered affects more than 10 percent of the (district), then it affects everyone and is not a conflict of interest – even if they live within 500 feet of the property,” Trustee Doug Smith said in explaining what the letter outlined.
The letter states that each school in the district, with the exception of Oak, is attended by more than 10 percent of the district’s population. No other board members live within 500 feet of a district campus.
District seeks candidates for growth task force
The district seeks three candidates from the schools community to serve on its growth task force.
The task force’s mission requires understanding the enrollment challenges facing the district and weighing potential impacts on the current and future education of the community’s children. The task force is also directed to explore a long-term plan to house Bullis Charter School students and staff using current and/or future facilities.
Trustees are developing a list of characteristics they would like to see in task force members.
“I think we are looking for someone who has a big picture in the way of thinking, is open-minded and interested in having an open discussion about the issue,” Superintendent Jeff Baier said. “We want the candidates to be representative of a wide range of interests within the community and district.”