Judge rules against locating charter school outside district

A judge tentatively ruled that locating Bullis Charter School outside district boundaries could occur only if the charter school approves the placement.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Franklin Bondonno issued the ruling in response to lawsuits filed after the Los Altos School District submitted a bid to acquire the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale as a site for Bullis Charter School. The district lost its bid but filed court paperwork asking whether it was legal to locate the charter school outside district boundaries. The charter school also filed a suit protesting the district’s action.

“The district may offer a site outside its boundaries to a charter school under Proposition 39 only if the charter school requests such a site and only if that request is in conformity to the school’s charter,” the tentative ruling stated, referring to the state proposition addressing charter school law.

The ruling also contended that seeking a location outside the district is a “power that remains with the charter school.”

The ruling stated that the school district must comply with the California Education Code mandate that sites outside the district must be “immediately adjacent to the district and separated only by a road, street, stream or other natural or artificial barrier or right of way.”

“I can’t imagine the amount of taxpayer dollars that were spent pursuing this fool’s errand,” said Ken Moore, chairman of the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors. “The district has no right to forcibly relocate children outside of its boundaries against their will because they choose to attend a charter school rather than a district-run school. This was a misguided attempt intended to create fear and uncertainty in the Bullis Charter School community.”

Doug Smith, president of the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees, said it is not customary for the district to issue statements about tentative rulings.

The district may request to schedule oral arguments or submit a reply brief in the case before a final ruling is published.

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