Bullis board discusses future growth

With Friday’s deadline for a facilities request looming, the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors last week began examining options for potential growth for the 2014-2015 school year.

Over the past few years, the Bullis board has explored ways to grow the school to five sections of K-3 grade classes and four sections of 4-8 grade classes. Bullis added a fourth section of K-3 classes last year and is moving toward offering three sections of 4-8 grade classes.

Board member Francis La Poll reminded others on the board that the charter school’s plan was to add an additional kindergarten and first grade in the 2014-2015 school year, giving the school five sections of lower-grade classes.

But board member Janet Medlin said she has received feedback from parents opposed to expanding next year.

“There are families that are encouraging us not to add another strand,” Medlin said. “Many families are finding it challenging to do the two campus split and they want us to work out operating on two sites before we grow more.”

La Poll pointed out that those opposing expansion are parents of current students – not those on the wait list.

Medlin noted that the charter school could have filled two more kindergarten classes with interested in-district families.

“I don’t feel our program has diminished in any way because of the growth,” Medlin said. “There are still in-district community taxpayers who want access to our school.”

Board member John Phelps said he has also heard from parents regarding growth, some of them concerned with “cutbacks and a lack of play space” at the charter’s new location on the Blach Intermediate School campus.

“It is important that we really understand our ability to assimilate and hire,” Phelps said.

Board member Peter Evans said lack of space is a problem Bullis has to deal with year after year because the district doesn’t provide “adequate facilities.”

“Having 25 percent less space and being spread across two campuses – that is our reality,” he said. “That is not a result of growth – that is just another thing we have to work through.”

Phelps added that charter school officials have clearly expressed how they would like to see a two-site split work, for instance when they drafted a proposal toward the end of the facilities allocation process last year.

“If there is an opportunity to put this behind us, what is the intention in the district’s ignoring that proposal?” Phelps said.

Board Chairman Ken Moore said there were three options before the board –adding a kindergarten and first-grade class, adding only a kindergarten class or no new growth.

Before making a decision, board members agreed that they must consult their parents for feedback. The board scheduled an additional meeting Monday night, after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Other business

One of Bullis’ newest board members, Joe Hurd, announced his resignation last week. He is leaving the area for a job in Washington, D.C.

Los Altos School District Board President Doug Smith said the Bullis board has agreed to meet face to face to discuss support for a future bond measure. The meeting is scheduled 7 p.m. today at Los Altos Hills Town Council Chambers. For a report on that meeting, read next week’s Town Crier.

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