At the last Santa Clara County Office of Education board meeting on May 2, 2012, county superintendent Dr. Charles Weis confirmed that Bullis Charter School's application process as outlined on their web site was illegal. From the Patch live blog feed of the meeting:
Weis: The requirement to be eligible for the lottery to supply an IEP is absolutely illegal. The requirement for a drivers license cannot be used. We've clearly communicated that to the leadership of Bullis School, and we expect to see changes.
Mike Uhler went into more detail on this point in the follow-up letter he wrote to SCCOE going into more detail about the deficiencies in the special needs program at BCS:
The BCS registration package asks the applicant to provide, among other things
The student’s IEP if one is active (top right of page 3)
A copy of the parent/legal guardian’s valid Driver’s License (middle of page 10)
The requirement to provide a driver’s license goes back at least as far at the 2005–2006 school year. The requirement to provide the IEP was included over time. For the 2005–2006 school year, the registration packet asked if the child had an active IEP and the records request included the IEP, with no qualifier that this information would be requested only if the student was accepted. The requirement to attach the IEP to the registration form was introduced at least as far back as the 2008–2009 school year.
Dr. Weiss mentioned at the SCCBoE meeting that both are illegal and indicated that BCS administration had been asked to remove both items.
Besides being illegal, a request for an IEP as part of the application process certainly creates the perception that the IEP will be used as part of the consideration for acceptance and reinforces what appears to be a widespread perception that BCS is less than welcoming to the special needs community.
Further, this topic was raised with SCCOE staff on March 21, 2012. If a request by the SCCOE to BCS to remove an illegal requirement from the BCS application package is still outstanding, having been in place for at least 7 years, how does that give the special needs community any comfort that the SCCOE is providing adequate oversight to BCS?
It took this amount of public attention to finally get SCCOE to lean on BCS to change its illegal application process. BCS is in the process of updating their registration forms page, and hopefully it will remove these illegal requirements. It just goes to show that being a squeaky wheel can get results. And it means that we all must continue to be squeaky wheels to push for more results like this one.
This is the third incident I'm aware of in which BCS has been proven guilty of illegal behavior. The other two are the misappropriation of special education funds as outlined in the FCMAT report, and the fact that the BCS website continues to illegally claim trademark on the phrase "Inspiring the Individual" despite the fact that the trademark expired over 5 years ago on April 25, 2007 and has been abandoned.
|Word Mark||INSPIRING THE INDIVIDUAL|
|Goods and Services||(ABANDONED) IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Teaching at elementary schools|
|Standard Characters Claimed|
|Mark Drawing Code||(4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK|
|Filing Date||November 29, 2005|
|Original Filing Basis||1B|
|Published for Opposition||August 1, 2006|
|Owner||(APPLICANT) Bullis Charter School NON-PROFIT CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 102 West Portola Avenue Los Altos CALIFORNIA 94022|
|Type of Mark||SERVICE MARK|
|Abandonment Date||April 25, 2007|
[Source: the Trademarks Electronic Search System (TESS) which is accessible from the US Patent and Trademark Office web page.]