The Los Altos School District Board of Trustees has begun to winnow the long list of long-term facilities options for Bullis Charter School, aiming to reach an agreement by the end of the school year.
District trustees have narrowed down the list of options from the 55 that local residents weighed in on at workshops in November to just over a dozen choices slated for further investigation.
At a Jan. 27 meeting, the board directed staff to analyze 13 choices further, based on a set of guiding principles the district created. The 13 are the ideas that received above 30% overall support at the workshops, plus the five most popular options each from school district parents, charter school parents and those without school-aged children. Some of the ideas overlapped among the lists.
A representative from MIG, the consultant the district hired to run the public outreach campaign, presented the results from the workshops at last week’s meeting.
Opinion was split: Ideas that were popular with school district parents were generally opposed by charter school parents, and vice versa. Out of 55 options, only two garnered more than 10% support from both groups. No option managed to reach 15% with both parties.
“The one thing that is clear … is that there is no multiple-moving-part, bank-shot solution that nobody has thought of that will make everybody happy,” board president Bryan Johnson said at the meeting.
Charter school communications director Alan Simpson said in an interview that he wasn’t sure how much progress was being made with the whittled-down list.
“If the LASD trustees really want to find community consensus, we should start with proposals that are legally, practically and financially viable,” Simpson said.
The district’s trustees embarked on a public engagement process last spring after parents protested a proposed 10-year agreement with Bullis Charter School that would put the charter school on the Egan Junior High School campus and move Egan to the 10th school site in Mountain View.
The district hosted a series of public meetings last fall where attendees brainstormed solutions to the facilities dilemma. That resulted in the list of 55 options, which residents had the opportunity to discuss over the course of three November workshops.
In all, 965 people participated in the workshops. Overall, 52% of respondents reported being parents of children enrolled in district schools, 22% were charter school parents and 17% did not have school-aged children. The remainder either had children in private or parochial school, a combination of school types, or selected “other.”
Culling the list
District trustees debated last week how to narrow down the list of options to a more manageable number that district staff could analyze further. Ultimately, they decided to take the 11 proposals that received more than 30% support, plus the top five each from charter school parents, district parents and those without school-aged children.
District parents’ top five choices were all in the list of the overall most popular ideas, as were the top five for those without school-aged children Three of the five most popular with charter school parents were on the overall list. That left just two additional options, for a total of 13.
Eight of the options involve placing the charter school at least partly on the 10th school site, which is at the corner of California Street and Showers Drive in Mountain View. However, the charter school had said it is not in favor of being placed either entirely or partially on the 10th site.
The remaining five options involve putting Bullis Charter School entirely at either Covington or Egan. When the prospect of placing the charter school solely at Egan and moving Egan to the 10th site was raised in the 10-year agreement, parents staged protests outside district schools, holding signs sporting slogans such as “Save Egan.”
The district will analyze the 13 choices based on six guiding principles the board presented at the workshops. They include protecting the district’s small, neighborhood school model, providing long-term facilities for the charter school and protecting the district’s long-term viability.
Superintendent Jeff Baier said staff will try to get as much done as possible before a meeting set for Monday, when the board plans to discuss the topic again.
After hearing the report from MIG on the workshop data, Johnson said it was clear there wasn’t a solution popular with both groups.
“You can see in this data why we have had a stalemate for the last 15 years,” he said. “And I don’t think we can really continue with that indefinitely.”
To read the documents MIG prepared on the results of the public engagement process, visit lasdschools.org/District/10745-Community-Engagement-on-Facilities.html.
13 facilities options slated for further review
Below are the 13 options the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees has directed staff to analyze. The ideas below, grouped by site, are taken verbatim from the materials used at the workshops in November, where local residents weighed in on the proposals.
Group 2: BCS sharing junior high site(s)
- 2.3: BCS & LASD 6-8 or 7-8 share Egan; LASD & BCS K-5 or K-6 share 10th site
Group 3: BCS at single junior high site
- 3.6: BCS at Egan, Egan to 10th site
- 3.8: BCS at Egan, Egan moves to Covington
- 3.9: BCS at Egan, consolidate Egan/Blach/Covington, consolidate NEC K-6 at 10th site
Group 4: BCS at elementary school site
- 4.1: BCS K-8 at Covington, with a new LASD elementary at 10th site
- 4.2: BCS K-8 at Covington, without a new LASD elementary at 10th site
Group 6: BCS at 10th site
- 6.1: BCS K-8 with neighborhood preference
- 6.2: BCS K-5 or K-6 only
- 6.3: BCS K-6 at 10th site, BCS 7-8 at Egan share
- 6.4: BCS K-5 at 10th site, BCS 6-8 at Egan share
- 6.11: BCS & LASD at 10th site, BCS share with Egan
- 6.12: BCS K-6 & LASD share 10th site; BCS 6-8 or 7-8 at Egan
- 6.14: BCS share with K-5 LASD school at 10th site