News

Bullis Charter drops enrollment preference while blasting Los Altos district for divisiveness

County wades into debate over the charter school's alleged discrimination practices

Bullis Charter School will not give priority enrollment to students residing in wealthier portions of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, marking the latest development in a heated debate over whether the charter school's enrollment practices and recruiting efforts amount to discrimination.

In an Oct. 11 letter to the Santa Clara County Board of Education, Bullis board chair Joe Hurd said the charter school will drop plans to bring back a geographic enrollment preference for the 2020-21 school year. But the letter strongly denies claims made by the Los Altos School District (LASD) Board of Trustees last month that the preference was part of a larger attempt to avoid admitting low-income and special needs students.

Hurd called the allegations baseless and incendiary, and that the district's allegations of systematic discrimination and segregation are "particularly offensive" and not reflected in demographic data.

"LASD repeatedly and wrongfully accuses BCS of discrimination hoping that if the district repeats the false contention enough, people will believe it's true," Hurd wrote. "But it's not true. For years LASD has blurted out similar unsupported accusations, yet more and more LASD families continue to enroll their children at BCS with demographics consistent with what we see district-wide."

The letter comes one month after LASD's board signed a letter of its own, accusing the charter school of discrimination by enrolling a disproportionately low number of low-income students and students with disabilities. The letter requested that the county block the charter school from reinstating an enrollment preference that could worsen the disparity.

Bullis Charter School previously gave priority enrollment to incoming kindergartners residing in the so-called Bullis-Purissima Elementary School boundary, which encompasses parts of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills and is widely regarded to be more affluent than other parts of the district, particularly the San Antonio neighborhood of Mountain View. The preference was phased out during a facilities agreement with the school district that expired this year, but charter school leaders announced in June it was slated for return in the 2020-21 school year.

Los Altos trustees also used the letter as an opportunity to slam the county office of education for failing to do its job as oversight agency for Bullis Charter School, arguing that the school was given carte blanche to under-serve the neediest students in the district.

The county responded with a strongly worded letter of its own, defending its record of oversight and excoriating the district for what it called misleading statements and an overly aggressive tone. The Oct. 2 letter, signed by county Superintendent Mary Ann Dewan, criticized the district for focusing on a "spurious" argument that the charter school's very existence in a high-performing district runs contrary to the intent of California's charter school laws, which placed special emphasis on the needs of students with low academic achievement.

"The letter selectively describes only a single component of the purposes of (charter schools) in what appears to be an effort at misdirection and publicly undermining BCS as part of LASD and BCS's regrettably contentious ongoing relationship and disagreements involving the broader community," Dewan said in the letter.

However, Dewan wrote that the letter should "in no way be interpreted as either a lessening of the county's concern regarding the fundamental allegations of discrimination." The letter goes on to request evidence and documentation that could prove Los Altos School District's case -- that a series of actions, ranging from enrollment priorities and practices to a lack of transparency in managing the admissions lottery, amounts to discriminatory practices.

The letter requests the information by Oct. 23, and the district is working on a response, board president Jessica Speiser confirmed with the Voice Friday. The district is planning to request an extended deadline past the Oct. 28th school board meeting.

The county took an even-handed approach, sending a separate letter to Bullis Charter School on Oct. 2 raising concerns about the allegations made by the school district. Dewan didn't mince words, telling the charter school that the county was concerned that adding an enrollment preference for kids in the Bullis-Purissima boundaries will "run afoul" with laws prohibiting charter school from limiting enrollment access for underserved students, including students with disabilities, English learners, low-income and homeless students.

"Based on information currently available to the county, at a minimum, the former Bullis-Purissima Elementary School attendance area appears to house a disproportionately low number of socio-economically disadvantaged students," the letter states. "So the use of this preferences appears likely to 'limit enrollment access.'"

Dewan gave Bullis Charter School one of two options: drop the enrollment preference or give a thorough explanation for why the preference doesn't violate state law. The letter requested an answer by Oct. 12, one day after Hurd's letter to the county announcing the charter school was no longer pursuing the admissions preference.

Hurd, in his response, stated that Bullis Charter School runs a fair, public and random enrollment lottery and does not ask for information on student disabilities or economic status prior to admission. He wrote that demographic disparities between the charter school and the school district are not a violation of law so long as Bullis continues to offer the same opportunities to all families.

What's more, he said the charter school conducts "extra outreach" for special education students as well as postcards, news advertisements and flyers specifically targeted to families residing in the San Antonio area of Mountain View.

Hurd's letter includes graphs and data showing that about 1.6% of the school's enrollment is designated as low-income compared to 6.2% across Los Altos School District -- a delta he called "relatively minimal," particularly when compared to the rest of the county. Some of the district's own schools, including Gardner Bullis Elementary and Blach Junior High, have similarly low percentages of low-income students.

Bullis Charter School enrolls students from across the district, whereas neighborhood school have enrollment boundaries largely determined by geography.

Hurd alleges that the real discrimination is carried out by the school district, which has systemically under-served charter school students with inadequate school facilities for years. He said the school has forced students into "cramped, unequal conditions" in classrooms that are split between two campuses, violating guarantees to equitable facilities under the state's Proposition 39 law.

"LASD admits that one in five students who reside within the district attends BCS," Hurd said in the letter. "And yet, LASD has never provided BCS children with equivalent school facilities they are entitled to under the law. Instead, LASD forced BCS into temporary 'bungalow' type classrooms on split campuses."

The Los Altos School District revealed a long-term facilities plan earlier this year that would remedy the long-standing disputes over school facilities, but tabled it after a firestorm of opposition from parents and community members. The deal would have ceded the existing Egan Junior High School campus to the charter school in exchange for an enrollment cap of about 1,100 students, and would shift Egan students to a yet-to-be-built campus at the corner of Showers Drive and California Street in Mountain View.

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Comments

25 people like this
Posted by Los Altos Observer
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Before you choose to comment, please take a moment to read the entire letter from the SCCOE Superintendent to LASD (linked in the article above). Dr. Dewan explicitly calls the district out for spreading misinformation that is often repeated in these comment sections.


13 people like this
Posted by Shrinking LASD
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm

LASD discriminates terribly by its failure to provide any public
school for any of the years K-8 within the neighborhood north
of El Camino Real. There are over 800 kids living in this area,
part elementary kids and part Junior High kids. LASD sprinkles these
kids around like decorations across multiple schools that it operates,
at least 4 serve different groups. NONE of the schools is located
within that neighborhood. LASD openly admits that it does this because
it thinks the performance of the kids will bring down the average for
the schools if they are all sent to one. LASD just gives up
on these kids.

What's interesting is that these kids are not the big drain the LASD
keeps claiming. In this same scenario, LASD spends less on each of these
kids than it does on the kids at Gardner Bullis in Los Altos Hills,
which it claims are elite and privileged.

So, it is just like Donald Trump. Whatever LASD says someone else is doing,
they themselves are the ones who are guilty. "Misdirection" is the key word in
Dr. Dewan's letter to LASD. The actual exclusive schools are the
400-student sized little palaces that LASD operates, not the 1100+
student charter school which is quite open and accepting of all comers.
The charter school doesn't go around kvetching about how hard some of
the kids might be to educate, even with 1/2 the budget of public money
per child compared to LASD.


7 people like this
Posted by Shrinking LASD
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2019 at 12:41 pm

What I mean to say is that LASD is "Projecting" its own faults and insecurities
onto the Charter school, imagining problems there. Then it gets puffy and
bent out of shape about the imagined problems.

Part of this is that LASD's own enrollment is down below 4000 this year,
and they will continue to shrink in future years for a while. This makes
them lash out. Even though more kids are moving in North of El Camino Real,
they are losing so many kids in Los Altos that they have net shrinkage.
There is even more need for a school North of El Camino Real, which has
been needed for 20 years now. It gets to be really hard to mistreat
these kids going forward, and LASD has itself convinced that a school
serving the kids in their own neighborhood is doomed to low test
results. Gross.


21 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2019 at 1:43 pm

The letter from the County to LASD is a must read for anyone who cares about the school district. LASD trustees have long contended that:

1. charter schools are only for low-performing districts, and
2. BCS discriminates.

The letter makes it clear that these are lies.

Some key quotes:

1. "LASD's decision to copy the Governor, the Attorney General, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the President of the State Board of Education, and multiple members of the Califronia Legislature...combined with LASD's efforts to publicize the letter serve to create public discord rather than to productively address the serious issues."

Translation: LASD is more interested in spreading hate than solving issues.

2. "While the County will not respond in detail to all of the extraneous, incorrect, or misleading information..."

Translation: Many of LASD Trustees' claims are lies, so the County will not be responding to those points.

3. "LASD devoted significant time to the spurious argument that because LASD is a high-performing school district there is something...illegal about approving a charter school...LASD cites ...one component of ...one of the Legislature's seven stated purposes..."

Translation: LASD Trustees' claim that charter schools are only for low-achieving districts (and so BCS should never have been approved) is a lie.

4. "Please include ... evidence indicating that the differences in student makeup on the basis of protected charteristics ... are a product of BCS policies and practices, as opposed to ... parent choice."

Translation: LASD's allegations of discrimination are baseless because it has not provided any evidence so far.

----

It's time LASD trustees stop lying to the residents and stop WASTING tax dollars on inane legal battles, such as the crazy incendiary and non-sensical letter to the County. It's an embarrassment to Los Altos.


9 people like this
Posted by Huh
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2019 at 2:54 pm

BCS is where there is a mixture of socio economic backgrounds. The neighborhood preference has little effect. It's not a LAH preference. It only covers a portion of LAH and a portion of Los Altos near downtown. Not many kids live in this area. LASD doubled the size of the geographic area for Gardner Bullis and still gets
only 300 kids, half out of the preference area. The charter school is 1100 kids and draws kids from 7 schools. Just randomly they'd get 150 kids from the preference area. They only do get about 150 kids from the preference area. What do you know?


20 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 20, 2019 at 8:30 am

I am so sick of all the sniping at Bullis. Bullis has outstanding academics and teachers committed to going the extra mile for their students. Parents recognize that. Just look at the long waiting list of folks trying to get into Bullis.

Rather than attacking Bullis, Los Altos and Mountain View should look for ways to support them. Give Bullis reasonable facilities. Let them expand. If Bullis siphons students from traditional public schools, fine. As a parent, it is great to have options.


10 people like this
Posted by LASD Parent
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Just for the record, not all of the parents agree that this letter was smart. We love our schools so much. Do we all agree with what our board does? No. Can we control that? Not right now.

However, let’s focus now on what we can do: coming together as a community, without boards, to support our kids and their friends, no matter what school they attend. That’s all we can do as a community and I think we’re all up for it.


3 people like this
Posted by Hard truth
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2019 at 11:53 pm

Hard truth is a registered user.

The elected county members will flip like pancakes and start supporting districts over charters as soon as districts generate more campaign money than charters. Look how much campaign funding from Bullis and pro-charter people and organizations the pro-charter seats on the county board receive. This county board is on the side of charters, so it’s no surprise they took the side of Bullis in their letter.


16 people like this
Posted by Preferential admnissins
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2019 at 5:35 am

Bullis FINALLY stopped their preferential admissions. That's a good thing. That's what people wated to see, for some reason that's what Bullis fought to keep until they simply could not, so when they lost, when they were forced to do what hey did not want to do, they wrote an angry letter, lashing out like a tantrum-ing child, cleaning their room but stomping while they're doing it.

Well, here's a tissue. I'm glad they stopped the preferential admissions


8 people like this
Posted by Preferences
a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2019 at 8:17 am

Well, Bullis expanded to 1100 students so as to offer a spot to as many
kids as possible. This meant that Bullis Charter could offer spots to
over 50% of those applying for the available spots.

Now, the question is, if LASD is so eager for Bullis to let in kids,
then why does it force Bullis to sign a deal with a CAP of 1100
when Bullis could presumably expand to 2000 and end any issue of
preferences in admissions? What's LASD's attitude? Is Bullis something to
be prized or something for them to dump on?

No doubt the serious work required of Bullis to serve so many kids
was a direct attempt to reduce the number of kids rejected. It has
worked. Bullis serves kids from every area of LASD at present. It does
not serve an outsized number of kids from Los Altos Hills.


9 people like this
Posted by Preferences
a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2019 at 8:21 am

I think the main purpose of the preference was to fight
off LASD's future attempts to cut tbe size cap down
below 1100. LASD won't stop at any request. Just wait.
Soon they'll be blasting BCS for not REDUCING the number
of kids accepted in the future.

Another issue with that letter the Bullis sent the county
was one of defamation. Defamation might be actionable.
I hope LASD has some sort of evidence for the wild claims
they made in the letter. Otherwise the county might demand
a formal apology for the erroneous accusations, and LASD
would be forced to make that apology. Was LASD confused
or was this red herring intentional? Do they have actual
evidence?


21 people like this
Posted by Children
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2019 at 9:50 am

Lets quit with the blaming and immature petty sniping. It's over. Losing and winning with dignity is a trait we should all be skilled in.


3 people like this
Posted by For the 100th time
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 21, 2019 at 11:30 am

For the 100th time is a registered user.

Who's going to FOIA the county board to learn just how deeply CalCharters has embedded itself there? Dewan's letter to LASD reads like it was ghostwritten by John Lemmo @ Procopio. Totally agree with the point above about the influence of big, big campaign money at the county board of ed


9 people like this
Posted by no surprise
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 21, 2019 at 11:33 am

no surprise is a registered user.

you know who doesn't take political or moral issue with big money in politics and education policy? people with big money, that's who. why do you think the los altos hills preference is important to bullis? because that's where the biggest money is.


7 people like this
Posted by Public schools
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Public schools is a registered user.

It cracks me up that BCS toots its own horn because it "does not ask for information on student disabilities or economic status prior to admission." Yeah, public schools don't do that. They let in *everyone* and they don't give a preference to the even-more-wealthy among them. It's a cornerstone of democracy (as opposed to the plutocracy which BCS clearly prefers).

BCS should be ashamed that it had to be forced into reducing its preference for the wealthiest.

It's a public school after all... right???


20 people like this
Posted by Get-along
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2019 at 3:04 pm

Get-along is a registered user.

@ Public Schools.

I don't really understand? Were you wronged by BCS? Why such an animosity against BCS? This article is about BCS removing the enrollment preference for the old Gardner Bullis boundary kids.

Instead of taking every chance to bad mouth BCS, why not just take the high road and let things be? Isn't this one item that LASD was requesting?

We live in an NEC area. Though I am not "underprivileged", my children were categorized ELL. BCS had no idea to what socioeconomic group we were in. No where in our application process did BCS ask or attempt to find out what our financial standings were. I felt that we were given a fair chance in the enrollment lottery, not to mention that as soon as one of our children was enrolled, the other received the highest priority, higher than the Gardener Bullis zone children.

We are all in favor of providing the best for our kids. There is no reason that BCS and LASD cannot get along. Everyone are neighbors.


13 people like this
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

This bickering has been going on forever. I, for one, would love to see the city, county, state, and federal governments out of the business of trying to shoehorn all children into one educational system.

School choice has been a fundamental right and fight since the 70's. The current system including teacher's unions wants no change, but I think in Silicon Valley it's ripe for a new approach. There should be fewer restrictions on creating new schools in a geographic area and parent's should be able to direct their educational tax dollars how they see fit.


11 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2019 at 8:20 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

I don't see this as anyone winning or losing. The school district
is hurting itself, not the charter school. The charter school isn't
bothering anyone. How can that be viewed as a contest? If I shoot
myself in the foot, does someone else win?

Nope.

The truth is that the existence of the Charter school SAVES LASD
money in its budget, regardless of what delusion it promulgates that
says otherwise. It's not a fortune but it does no harm to the
district budget in this particular case with all the funding
that LASD gets not being awarded on a per student basis and being way
more per student if you calculate the ratio after BCS serves
as outsourced schooling for the 1100 students. It's just a matter
of the LASD administrative bureaucracy having a smaller fiefdom over
which to reign.


7 people like this
Posted by Spare us the drama
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 21, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Spare us the drama is a registered user.

Dan Waylonis, what on earth are you talking about when you say, “School choice has been a fundamental right and fight since the 70's.“? That’s pure nonsense. Spare us the drama. When you imply all public schools are the same you only broadcast your lack of knowledge about the options and variations. If you don’t like “government” public school systems, then choose private schools. Problem solved for you.


8 people like this
Posted by @Parent
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 21, 2019 at 10:57 pm

@Parent is a registered user.

Sorry but you clearly don't speak government.

Your translation is incorrect.

> Some key quotes:

> 1. "LASD's decision to copy the Governor, the Attorney General, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the President of the State Board of Education, and multiple members of the Califronia Legislature...combined with LASD's efforts to publicize the letter serve to create public discord rather than to productively address the serious issues."

> Your (incorrect) Translation: LASD is more interested in spreading hate than solving issues.

"LASD please stop telling the world that we are not doing our job. If we were doing our job we wouldn't care who got the letter; because we could easily defend our actions"

> 2. "While the County will not respond in detail to all of the extraneous, incorrect, or misleading information..."

> Your (incorrect) Translation: Many of LASD Trustees' claims are lies, so the County will not be responding to those points.

"The county has no defense for our lack of action. So the county will pretend that it has a secret file some where that the county can be bother to share."

> 3. "LASD devoted significant time to the spurious argument that because LASD is a high-performing school district there is something...illegal about approving a charter school...LASD cites ...one component of ...one of the Legislature's seven stated purposes..."

> (Incorrect) Translation: LASD Trustees' claim that charter schools are only for low-achieving districts (and so BCS should never have been approved) is a lie.

The county will mischaracterize the LASD's complaint to avoid answering the core issue of the county not providing oversight of BCS.


> 4. "Please include ... evidence indicating that the differences in student makeup on the basis of protected charteristics ... are a product of BCS policies and practices, as opposed to ... parent choice."

> (Incorrect)Translation: LASD's allegations of discrimination are baseless because it has not provided any evidence so far.

"The county hasn't done any oversight of BCS so that the county can deny that there is any evidence of a problem." LASD does not have any ability to investigate BCS. So it is ridiculous to expect LASD to provide evidence. It is the county's responsibility to provide oversight and demonstrate that there is no problem.


20 people like this
Posted by Get-along
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2019 at 9:02 am

Get-along is a registered user.

@ @Parent

I've tried to stay out of the legal discussions and/or the mud flinging, attempting to tread the high road, but your last statement seemed didn't sit well with me.

Last time I looked, in the US you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Shouldn't this hold true in the case with BCS? If this were a court case, the county would be the judge, LASD the prosecutor and BCS the defendant. Isn't it the prosecutor (LASD's) obligation to provide evidence of crimes committed? They can't just make claims without examples backing up their claims.

We are not talking about kids' he said she said. We are talking about grown men and women representing a district. They can't just spread rumors in hopes that something will stick. It's expected that they show proof of their claims. Once they do, the country should take that information to see if the claims are valid.

[Snip]
"The county hasn't done any oversight of BCS so that the county can deny that there is any evidence of a problem." LASD does not have any ability to investigate BCS. So it is ridiculous to expect LASD to provide evidence. It is the county's responsibility to provide oversight and demonstrate that there is no problem.


12 people like this
Posted by The Registrant
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2019 at 9:24 am

The Registrant is a registered user.

Bullis is looking like a very poor loser in all of this.
Regardless of anything else, it's a very bad look.


3 people like this
Posted by no surprise
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 22, 2019 at 10:36 am

no surprise is a registered user.

@Get-along: your analogy is not great. The county board is not a court, it is a legislative body with administrative/oversight responsibilities. The district's allegation is that the county has not adequately executed its oversight duties, allowing bullis to conduct its business improperly. The district has provided some examples, and asked the county board to intercede. The county in turn has taken umbrage at the allegation of lax oversight and requested additional substantiation of the district's charges. The county's tone in its response letter is obviously sympathetic to the charter school, so we can expect the county's response to be tepid, as others here have suggested. For that reason alone, I think it was smart to escalate the visibility of this disagreement higher within CA state government.


6 people like this
Posted by Get-along
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2019 at 11:29 am

Get-along is a registered user.

Thank you @no surprise

I was just making a point about having to show proof of wrong doing.


>The district has provided some examples, and asked the county board to intercede.
I believe that this is where I disagree. They provided unsubstantiated claims. Should they not provide at least some evidence of wrong doing? Re: the lottery process, having gone through it, I have a first person view of how we were treated. Aside from the slight advantage that the Gardner Bullis zone kids have, I did not feel that there was an unfair advantage. Especially since we are in NEC and categorized EL (we have been since recategorized). Isn't it reasonable that the district requests to LASD that they provide some evidence of wrong doing?


> I think it was smart to escalate the visibility of this disagreement higher within CA state government.
This I don't disagree. However this is doing a skip level. Why wouldn't we allow the Santa Clara school district to attempt to deal with the situation? I don't feel that due process was held. I don't feel that LASD's reluctance to show evidence is a good reason to escalate to a higher power? Do you? Again maybe this is not the perfect analogy, but you don't go directly to the Supreme Court. First you go through your local court system until you come to some level of completion. If you are not happy with the results, then you appeal to the higher power.

We have been through both the LASD school system and BCS, and I like them both. This is a subjective observation, but I see a lot of BCS bashing which isn't really necessary.

Again, why can't we all try to get-along?


3 people like this
Posted by no surprise
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 22, 2019 at 11:55 am

no surprise is a registered user.

@Get-along: you may be looking for the district to supply evidence of intentional wrongdoing, but the letter the district sent to the county highlights "A. The Law Prohibits Policies/Systems That Produce Discriminatory Impacts," which must mean the district sees de facto discrimination in charter enrollment even without direct insight into charter operating procedures that might produce that result. The county's duty of oversight is to ensure that discrimination in enrollment, in practice, is not a result of the charter's policies and procedures. It's incumbent on the county to root out any such policies and practices, whether intentional or not.


11 people like this
Posted by Get-along
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Get-along is a registered user.

@no-surprise

Thank you for your insights and opinions.

BCS' lottery process is publicly available. The lottery drawing is also a public drawing. Not sure how it can be construed as discrimination. The preference is also public knowledge and approved (only to Gardner Bullis). If you look at if from the flip side, where LASD is requesting that BCS have an equal ratio of ELL and hot lunch students as in LASD schools, we would be asking BCS to discriminate against the rest of LA kids. BCS provides equal chances for anyone in the LA school district to get in (except Gardner Bullis due to historical reasons, but that's gone now). How is that discrimination? I only hear non ELL, non hot lunch families complaining. Please note that we were actually in that category (ELL), and we did not see injustice, why should LASD.

Regardless, this will be my last comment on this topic, as I am not trying to convince you to change your opinions. All I am saying is "show SC the proof"; there is no discrimination.


11 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2019 at 4:32 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Well one correction. LASD's false claims with zero supporting evidence and its lack of understanding of the law are making one loser.

The taxpayers.

What a monumental waste of time. They should be using some due diligence and getting some sort of reasonable excuse for throwing mud like this. Innuendo and rumor are not something that usually befits a public agency. Their beef is with the charter system established by the state, and they devote a large part of their letter to saying they don't want a charter school because they are so cool they are above all of that. As the county office said, there are numerous motivations in the state law that establishes the right of charters to exist and to operate. What's really bad is all this has been the subject of massive lobbying by the California Teachers Association. They want the laws to change. Meanwhile, LASD acts like the laws already look like CTA wants. They mudsling at BCS for not following the non-existent changes in the law.

One thing they say is that is a priori proof of discrimination if the charter schools demographics don't EXACTLY match the population served. Well, this is bogus. Think about it. Is Stanford charged with discrimination because its makeup doesn't match the state? Is Foothill college charged with discrimination if its student body doesn't exactly match the make up of its district? MVLA? Private schools in Los Altos? San Jose State? It's just not so that there needs to be this exact match or even close similarity.

What they are confusing is a safe harbor presumption in case law that if the resultant population is a close match, then there must not have been discrimination. But you don't need to achieve the safe harbor to be innocent of any crime or bad faith action. The state requires this lottery system and BCS obviously follows it.


3 people like this
Posted by I guess we’ll finally get to see
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 22, 2019 at 4:42 pm

I guess we’ll finally get to see is a registered user.

I guess we’ll finally get to see what If any evidence exists of discriminatory enrollment


7 people like this
Posted by stew
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2019 at 12:32 am

stew is a registered user.

These claims about BSC discrimination are ridiculous. The number of socioeconomically disadvantaged kids in LASD is very low so claiming disparity makes no sense. Here's the breakout:
District wide, low income students are 4%
Almond Elem: 8%
Loyola Elem: 1%
Oak Elem: 1%
Springer Elem: 2%
Covington Elem: 2%
Gardner Bullis Elem: 1%
Santa Rita Elem: 13%
Egan: 7%
Blach: 3%

So which school does BCS not match? 5 of the 7 elementary schools have only 1-2% low income. Are they also discriminating? Why hasn't LASD evenly distributed these kids across the district?

Claims of ELL also seems to be skewed. Many of the LASD kids classified as ELL are completely fluent and come from bilingual families. According to several posters these kids seem to get reclassified out of ELL once they enter BCS so is LASD deliberately trying to present itself with a higher than actual number of special needs kids in effort to make these "discrimination" claims?

@No Surprise - your argument that SCC is guilty of lack of oversight for failing to indite BCS for "practices that produce discriminatory results" flies in the face of any due process. LASD made numerous accusations without any evidence of wrongdoing. What is SCC supposed to "act" upon? It's incumbent upon the accuser to support their accusations. And I'm not a BCS person - I'm just sick of the wasted taxpayer money on this ridiculous feud. How much did they pay an attorney to write that letter? Give it up LASD. BCS is here to stay by parental choice and they have a legal right to be here.


1 person likes this
Posted by wait for it
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2019 at 8:02 am

wait for it is a registered user.

Hi stew. what do you mean when you say due process? LASD issues a complaint. The county asked for more evidence. That’s where we are. If you’re tired of battles over facilities, tell the charter school to remain one size so that a stable facility arrangement can be achieved. By expanding, Bullis guarantees continuing facilities challenges


8 people like this
Posted by stew
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2019 at 1:06 pm

stew is a registered user.

@wait for it - No Surprise feels that SCC is guilty of lack of oversight and holding BCS to the law but with no justification for the accusations. As you said, lets wait for the LASD response and see what proof they have.

As far as the battles over facilities it seems that LASD has made zero attempt to accommodate both the law and their agreement with BCS. They had 5 years to put BCS in permanent facilities during which time there was a 900 student cap on enrollment and they did nothing. BCS is still in the same portables they were in 6 years ago and anything they do now(no matter how dumb) kicks the can another 5 years down the road. They could have given Covington to BCS years ago and capped enrollment at less than it is today saving the taxpayers a wad of money and ending the feud. But that would have been "giving in" so it didn't happen. We the taxpayers pay the price because not only is litigation costly, if they build that new school NEC they will run out of money and the rest of the schools are still badly in need of renovation so they'll be looking for another parcel tax or bond issue.


5 people like this
Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Somehow Stew's description doesn't capture the situation entirely.

LASD made a deal in 2014 to limit BCS to 900 kids. As part of that deal
LASD committed to putting BCS all on one site. The talk was that it would
take 3 years to arrange this. There was a 5 year agreement to give LASD
some slop in working things out.

So the 5 year period is up and LASD make no effort to work with BCS
to find a workaround to their extreme miss of the timetable. Instead
they assume BCS will hold the limit at 900 despite continued demand
from students in the district who want to join BCS. In bad faith, LASD
starts talking about forcing BCS as a K-8 school onto a site furnished
by Mountain View which requires facilities like a track and gym which
BCS neither needs nor wants as part of its solution. To pay for the
extra features, the school buildings for BCS would have to be substandard
and are an as yet undetermined design, layout, and size. Furthermore,
LASD would be putting BCS at twice (900) the district average size onto
a plot of land which is less than the districts normal plain K-6
elementary school size of 10 acres, with no promise even to make
a decent drop off area in the contorted site.

So BCS accepts a larger school size, expanding to meet the need
and hopefully to cause LASD to do something more logical and fair,
both for BCS and for the San Antonio area which has 800 kids growing
to 1200 and no school in the neighborhood.


1 person likes this
Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Oct 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm

SRB is a registered user.

Glad that the County finally stepped in:
- to get BCS to drop the geographic preference and,
- to change its charter approval policies (at its last meeting) to disallow certain lottery preferences

With the geo-preference no longer a bargaining chip, hopefully the boards can move on and work on solutions that work for all.


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