Loyola eyed as third site for BCS

The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet tonight (Monday) to decide which facilities to offer Bullis Charter School for the 2019-2020 school year, and classroom space at Loyola School is on the table.

District staff recommended offering the charter school classrooms at Loyola in addition to the space it’s already using at Egan and Blach.

“I have full confidence that the solution presented by the LASD board and district staff has been carefully considered and has the lowest negative impact (financially and educationally) for our students,” said Ricky Hu, president of the Los Altos Teachers Association and STEM instructional support teacher for the district. “However, we as the Los Altos community need to consider the impact that Bullis Charter School’s unchecked growth has on the quality of education for all our students.”

The district staff’s presentation for tonight’s meeting reports that staff recommends using three sites to house the charter school, as increasing the number of classrooms the district offers at Egan and Blach would overcrowd the campuses and be costly to implement. Staff also said giving Egan’s campus to the charter school isn’t possible for the coming school year because there isn’t anywhere for displaced Egan students to go.

Spreading the charter school’s students out between three or four sites is the least expensive option, according to the report, because little construction would be necessary.

The staff’s presentation assesses how expanding the charter school to each district elementary school would impact the district in terms of cost, traffic, disruption and feasibility.

Loyola has the most extra rooms available for the charter school to use; the district estimates the school already has four to five classrooms available of the approximately eight classrooms the charter school would need. Loyola also has shown declining enrollment and is centrally located in the district.

“The decision regarding where to place the charter school students is a challenging and complex one,” said Jeffrey Baier, district superintendent. “The charters school’s decision to significantly increase their enrollment in a single year presents a situation where LASD must ensure that students attending district schools are considered and balanced with the interests of the charter school. LASD believes a negotiated agreement, including a cap on enrollment, will create a situation with greater certainty for LASD, the charter school, and the entire community.”

District trustees are slated to decide tonight which facilities to offer Bullis Charter School. The district must make an initial facilities offer by Friday, which would likely be negotiated until the district makes a final offer by April 1.

Bullis Charter School representatives declined to comment on the staff recommendation.

Tonight’s board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Covington School, 201 Covington Rd., Los Altos.

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