How to Go from Conciliation back to Litigation in 30 Days – Renege
The Bullis Charter School LASD struggle went from a hopeful looking mediation agreement on May 7 all the way back to a contentious court fight in the space of one month. BCS is calling the bluff on the LASD 2-year “term sheet” offer that did not include the agreed upon certainty of a specific school site. Bullis Charter has decided it is better off working with Judge Lucas than Mark Goines and Doug Smith.
Now up on the LASD website
Letter from Mark Goines- June 8
Dear LASD Community,
I am sorry to have to inform you that the Bullis Charter School has decided not to accept our interim offer to keep their K-8 program at Egan for the next two years while we work out a long term agreement and have instead chosen to return to court. There was a hearing today on the issues and the court has set a schedule for yet more discovery and hearings. Click here for the press release and LASD court filing in response to the BCS filing.
I am deeply disappointed, but we feel that our offer was more than generous and put BCS in a position to continue its success while we worked together to attempt to identify a long term solution that was both good for BCS and good for our community.
Now we will work with the courts and the outcome will be in the hands of lawyers and Judge Lucas.
For the next school year we will be implementing our original plan to put BCS at Egan and Blach schools. The Board of Trustees will independently seek a long term location for BCS and seek your support in accomplishing that as soon as practical.
We appreciate your continued support and will do our best to keep you informed as events unfold.
Mark Goines, President
LASD Press Release
Today the Bullis Charter School has filed papers with the Santa Clara County Superior Court
challenging the Los Altos School District’s 2012/13 offer for facilities under Proposition 39 as
inadequate based on the ruling of the Appellate Court on the District’s 2009/10 facilities offer.
LASD’s Trustees have made several attempts to negotiate an interim agreement with BCS as well as a
long-term agreement that meets their needs, but the parties were unable to consummate an
BCS has made it clear that they want their own school site and have named four current district
schools as acceptable (Almond, Covington, Gardner Bullis and Santa Rita Elementary schools). The
district offered those sites plus a fifth site to be determined but BCS has decided instead to seek relief
in the courts. With 10 programs in our district but only 9 school sites, sharing is necessary.
LASD remains committed to finding a long-term solution, but we are equally committed to insuring
that our exceptional programs at Egan Junior High School and our other eight schools are not
significantly negatively impacted by the growth of BCS. We need to share, but share in a way that
allows both programs to thrive. In 2012/13, LASD will provide BCS with a total of 11.0 acres and 34
classrooms and meeting spaces for their 460 children. Although this configuration will take over 40%
of Egan’s space and have significant impact on that top-rated junior high school program, LASD
made this compromise to meet BCS’s growing needs. LASD Superintendent Jeffrey Baier said “We
are committed to making this offer work for all of our students, but we are also at the limit of
compromises we can make at Egan Junior High School.”
LASD Board President Mark Goines said, “Now we are at the point where reasonably equivalent space for Egan’s students is being compromised, and we do not feel compelled or required to close one of our other schools to accommodate BCS. Without any other compromise we will defend our position in court in order to insure that all of our students receive facilities that allow them to get the best education possible.”
In an effort to keep the possibility of a long-term agreement alive, LASD approved an interim
agreement that would have further encroached on Egan, but would have provided an opportunity
for the groups to continue negotiating. BCS has declined to respond to the District’s offer of an
interim agreement while still working on a long-term solution. By doing so, it has elected to house
its K-8 students at the Egan and Blach campuses as outlined in the 2012/13 final offer.
Goines added “I am deeply disappointed in the BCS board for missing the opportunity to heal our
community after eight years of dispute. We were close to a long term agreement, but BCS simply
wanted more than LASD is willing to inflict on our community”.
Los Altos School District operates seven elementary and two junior high schools and is the top-rated
school district in the State of California. LASD serves 4,500 K-8 students from portions of Los Altos,
Los Altos Hills, Mountain View and Palo Alto. All nine schools in the district have been California
Distinguished Schools and LASD is nationally recognized for its many innovations and awards
including the first district to implement the Khan Academy program in mathematics. Egan Junior
High School is also home to the State Champion Chess team.
BCS was formed in 2003 after the temporary closure of Bullis-Purissima School (which was re-opened in 2006). BCS has grown to 460 students drawn from LASD. BCS has sued the district four times over facilities and won a case on appeal on the 2009/10 offer. BCS is chartered by the Santa County Office of Education.
Here is the legal LASD response filing to the BCS application for a Court hearing on Compliance to the 2009 judgement.
BULLIS CHARTER DOCUMENTS
Here is the letter from BCS Ken Moore to BCS Parents on Friday,June 8
June 8, 2012
In recent days it became clear that LASD Trustees were no longer willing to honor the tentative mediated joint agreement that our respective negotiating teams worked so hard to create. BCS Leadership is very disappointed by this turn of events, and feel this has left us with no reasonable choice but to resume the legal process in order to secure a permanent home for our school.
Today, we made an application to the court for a briefing and hearing schedule for compliance with the court’s order. The Honorable Judge Lucas set a hearing for August 15 on this matter. That date is the reflection of court calendaring rules, combined with multiple varied summer schedules. Attached is a letter from me delivered today to LASD Trustees. If you wish to read related legal documents, they are posted on the BCS website at www.bullischarterschool.com/superiorcourtfilings. We believe that the matter before the Court is quite straightforward: ample legal clarity has been provided by the Appellate and Supreme Courts and now the LASD Trustees must simply comply with the law.
We remain committed to your children having an outstanding educational experience at BCS and to providing the facilities needed to do so. Without any mediated alternative in place, the facilities to be provided to BCS for this fall will be those outlined in LASD’s final offer under Prop 39. Between now and August, we will be working hard to optimally configure the site to adequately deliver the high caliber BCS program for your children, while simultaneously fighting for future equity for all BCS students.
Thank you for your dedication to public education and to BCS. I wish you a wonderful summer break with your children.
Bullis Charter School
LALAHPOLITICO: Here are the related documents on the BCS web site, mostly from June 8, 2012
LASD Response to Application for Hearing Regarding Compliance ( same as posted in LASD section )
June 8 Letter from BCS Ken Moore to LASD Board
June 8, 2012
Dear LASD Board of Directors,
I am writing to ask you to honor the jointly announced May 7th BCS-LASD framework that both of our teams worked so hard to achieve. There was a suggestion made in Court today that our side had ” reneged” on the deal. You know that is not true. Although the BCS leadership is unhappy with many elements in the agreed upon framework, we are fully prepared to honor it, as it is the result of many weeks of formal mediation. The May 7th mediated agreement was a watershed event in a long and laborious process, which included compromises and give and take by both sides. A decision to abandon it is, unfortunately, a decision to resume the legal process that was interrupted to pursue mediation in good faith. As you advocated in your May 7th board meeting this mediated agreement allows LASD to:
• Focus on program innovation, not facilities planning.
• Address facilities needs for all 5,000 public school students in our community.
• Put to rest 8 years of litigation.
We are disappointed that there is no reference to the May 7th framework in the draft Facilities Use Agreement we received from you this week, and that your side chose to grossly mischaracterize our position to the Court. We believe the next good faith step is for you to respond with a proposal that builds on the agreed terms in the mediated framework. We urge you to join us in honoring the approach we mutually agreed to and jointly announced on May 7th.
Our community deserves to move forward, not backward. All of the public school children in the Los Altos School District deserve our full attention. We jointly created an opportunity to move forward and realize a constructive, long-tetm solution. It would be a tremendous disservice to all of our constituents to abandon the progress that’s been made.
We remain hopeful for a positive outcome and look forward to your reply.
Bullis Charter School