While the disagreement between LASD and BCS over acreage and square footage has been resolved (I hope!) by the recent court judgement, it looks like we are moving onto another disagreement: whether LASD can legally split BCS' school across two sites. LASD's facilities offer to BCS for 2012-13 places their elementary classes at one site (Egan) and their middle school classes at another (Blach). It is important to note that LASD traditional students are split in this exact manner.
BCS prefers a single site for their entire school, and they claim that the use of the word "contiguous" in charter law mandates they be given one. It appears they feel so strongly about this they are willing take LASD to court again. But if they do, they should be prepared to lose. They have a very weak case here.
First, there is this gem from the Ridgecrest decision (F045114): "We do not hold that section 47614 establishes an inflexible 'single site' rule." BCS cites freely from F045114 to support it's position, but strangely they have never cited this particular sentence.
Next, section 11969.2(d) of CA Ed. Code states "As used in Education Code section 47614(b), facilities are 'contiguous' if they are contained on the school site or immediately adjacent to the school site. If the in-district average daily classroom attendance of the charter school cannot be accommodated on any single school district school site, contiguous facilities also includes facilities located at more than one site, provided that the school district shall minimize the number of sites assigned and shall consider student safety."
The core conflict comes down to the interpretation of this phrase: "If the in-district average daily classroom attendance [ADA] of the charter school cannot be accommodated on any single school district school site". LASD claims this statement is true; there is no single school district site that can accommodate BCS' ADA. I agree with them. LASD does not have an integrated K-8 school, and thus there is no single site in the district that can safely accommodate the needs of such a program (e.g. has both a kindergarten play area and middle school science lab) without requiring modification.
CA education code 11969.3(a)(1) states "...The district is not obligated to pay for the modification of an existing school site to accommodate the charter school's grade level configuration."
So while one of the existing sites could be modified to accommodate an integrated K-8 program, LASD is exercising their legal right to not do so. I'm sure BCS will claim that LASD needn't to pay for the modifications; "Just give us the site and we'll happily pay for the modifications!" Yes, I have no doubt they would. But that doesn't change the fact that LASD is not required to allow any modifications to any site to accommodate BCS, as long as BCS can be accommodated in existing facilities without modification. And to be clear, they can.
CA education code 47614(b) states: "Each school district shall make available, to each charter school operating in the school district, facilities sufficient for the charter school to accommodate all of the charter school's in-district students in conditions reasonably equivalent to those in which the students would be accommodated if they were attending other public schools of the district..."
In LASD, students are accommodated on one school site for elementary grades, and on a second distinct site for middle school grades. Splitting BCS in the same way ensures BCS students are accommodated in the same way. There is nothing in charter law that mandates that the school district provide to a charter school special facilities that deviate from the ones the district provides for traditional school students, regardless of what the charter's curriculum states.
FInally, I think it is important to point out that the current situation was entirely preventable, and BCS is at least partially to blame for where we are today. With all the rigorous planning and logistics that went into adding an integrated middle school, it is an egregious oversight that no one from BCS or SCCOE bothered talking to LASD to see if the district could accommodate an integrated K-8 program on a single site.
If BCS would swallow their pride here and admit they made a mistake, I would have a lot more sympathy for their plight. But thus far I've only seen indignant entitlement. This is an archetypal example of why the BCS/LASD situation has been so divisive.