Not a surprise: the Bullis Charter School (BCS) board declined to sign the facilities agreement with the Los Altos School District (LASD). The major sticking point was that BCS demanded exclusive access to one of 4 existing school sites. LASD—in response to vigorous community pushback that no existing school site be closed—held firm that BCS must also be willing to accept a 5th site at a yet-to-be-determined location.
From the LASD court filing, it looks like things will be a lot more interesting. LASD asserts that—through BCS' private fundraising—BCS students already have resources greater than those afforded the traditional students in the district:
BCS is the wealthiest of the District's communities and is the only one that operates on a self-selecting, exclusionary basis. Unlike BCS, the District must educate all in-District students, including the special needs students, English language learning, and minority populations that BCS has excluded though admission preferences. By reserving admission for the most advantaged, and by shunning the comparatively disadvantaged, BCS raises massive private funds, which it combines with the public facilities it receives from the District to provide BCS students more in combined private/public resources than that which other District students get. BCS also avoids, by virtue of its exclusionary ways, the burdens of educating those with greater or special needs.
LASD uses the phrase semi-private school to describe BCS. You can bet that phrase will now be used extensively by LASD in all their communications regarding BCS going forward.
Also, BCS' lawyer admitted that LASD is not required by charter law to provide BCS with exclusive use of a single site.
The charter school law does not require the District to reconfigure existing facilities for BCS [Cal. Code Regs, tit. 5, § 11969(a)(1)], and also provides that if BCS's in-District students cannot be accommodated on a single site, the District can provide facilities at more than one site provided it minimizes the number of sites and adopts a written statement of reasons explaining its finding rid. § 11969.2(d)]. And, as BCS's counsel admitted to this Court on March 19,2012, the court of appeal's opinion in the 2009-2010 case does not require the District to furnish BCS its own campus:
THE COURT: [I]t's not the Petitioner's position that the opinion necessarily requires a separate site?
MR. GONZALEZ: That is correct, Your Honor. (3/19/RT 23: 27-24:2)
I am very intersted to see what evidence comes out of discovery and the depositions. It sounds like the BCS admissions process might not exactly be a random lottery as we have all been led to believe. The court date is set for August 15, which is mere weeks away from the start of school. It looks like the facilities are locked for 2012-13. BCS will locate their entire school body (including middle school students) at Egan. It remains to be seen how they will utilize the Blach space, both dedicated and shared.