Schools

Bullis Charter School prepares to expand in 2019


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Bullis Charter School has hosted a camp for children from low-income families for years. Now, members of the charter school community have submitted a petition to open a new school in Mountain View that would serve a low-income demographic.

Bullis Charter School is set to grow in 2019, with 7 new classes at the existing school and an application submitted for a new school in Mountain View.

The charter school’s current 915-student population is just under the enrollment cap the school and the Los Altos School District settled on four years ago in their five-year agreement. That agreement expires at the end of this school year, and no futher agreement has been reached yet, so the charter school plans to submit a facilities request for the next year to the district by Thursday.

The charter school announced at the close of its open enrollment period that it would be adding one new class to grades 1 through 5 and two new classes to kindergarten. If the school maintains its average class sizes, the growth should add approximately 140 students. 

“As a public school, we should be committed to taking steps that will allow us to serve as many students as possible; as a mother, I would hope that the school and the community I have chosen for my children would try to find a space for them,” wrote Wanny Hersey, Bullis Charter School founding superintendent, in an email to charter school families.

Charter school officials announced their intent to grow to 1,200 students over the next three to five years.

New school

At the same time, Bullis Charter School administration and local residents have submitted an application to charter an entirely new school in the Mountain View Whisman School District.

The proposed new school, Bullis Mountain View, would initially enroll 168 students in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grade. The school intends to serve students who would otherwise attend Mariano Castro, Theuerkauf and Monta Loma elementary schools. By 2023, the school plans to enroll 320 students in transitional kindergarten through fifth grade.

The Mountain View Whisman district would be required to provide facilities for the new school, just as the Los Altos School District must provide facilities for the original school. Mountain View Whisman Superintendent Ayindé Rudolph wrote on the district’s website that any charter school would reduce funds for district schools.

The school would aim to continue hallmarks of Bullis Charter School’s education: personalized, project-based learning and a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Unlike Bullis Charter School, Bullis Mountain View would prioritize applicants who come from low-income families and provide a full day (8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.) for all students.

“As an intentionally diverse school, BMV seeks to reflect the diversity of learners across Mountain,” the petition states.

According to the petition, transitional kindergarten through third grade would have class sizes of 24, while grades 4-5 would have class sizes of 26.

Bullis Mountain View, with its emphasis on accepting low-income families, is also unlikely to collect the $5,000 per child per year suggested donation the original school benefits from. The new school will use federal funding, grants and donations, the petition states. Bullis Mountain View has secured a commitment of $250,000 from the Bullis-Purissima Elementary School Foundation, which raises funds for Bullis Charter School, and a commitment of $100,000 from the Silicon Schools Fund. The school is budgeting for $1.677 million in revenue during its first year and $1.582 million in expenses.

“Since public funding would go to the charter school for the MVWSD students who are enrolled there, a charter school opening with 168 students could mean a reduction of approximately $2 million from the District’s budget, not including federal and state program funding,” Rudolph wrote.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of classes that Bullis Charter School would be adding in 2019. Bullis Charter School will be adding seven new classes in 2019.

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