At the 7 pm beginning of the August 20 Bullis Charter School (BCS) Board meeting, there was little indication of the uproar and consternation that would be shortly created. The agenda included an item for discussion of the status of LASD’s Prop 39 2012-13 Facilities Offer agreement. BCS’s Andrea Eyring dropped a bombshell when she reported that LASD was reneging on two items 1) sharing of the Egan City gym 2) building of a new multipurpose room (MPR) at Egan. Ms. Eyring is the head of the BCS committee negotiating with LASD Business Manager Randy Kenyon about facilities.[ LASD recently reneged on a mediated long-termed agreement with BCS.]
In fact at about 5:15 pm, less than two hours earlier, LASD’s lawyer notified BCS in a letter that it would not be allowed access to the half of City Gym at Egan (for BCS multi-purpose room activities) as had been agreed in the Final Offer for 2012-2013 dated March 31. And that the new MPR would not be built.
Actually the City Gym sharing was just supposed be a temporary fix. Back in March LASD stated their intent to build a multi-purpose room at Egan for Bullis Charter School. LASD stated, “The District intends to construct a Multi-Purpose room at Egan and offers one half of the City Gym at Egan until such time as the Multi-Purpose room is completed. If BCS wishes a different configuration, the District would be willing to consider it.”*
BCS sources claim 1) BCS always stated that intended to occupy the facilities in the Final Offer, and 2) BCS consistently stated to LASD that it would use one-half the City Gym at Egan full time. BCS never suggested or discussed a different configuration with LASD.
The last minute LASD lawyer’s letter goes on to say, “The District has identified multi-purpose space for BCS for 2012-2013. The District offers exclusive use of the 1,920 square foot room within the BCS perimeter that was previously used by Egan as its music room.” The music building is a small, square portable building between the Egan City Gym and the Egan MPR. Although it is within the perimeter of 2012-2013 Final Offer, the offer included the land under that music portable, but did not mention the building itself. Now, as of August 20, LASD’s lawyer has told BCS − Surprise! − that the music portable next to the City Gym is BCS’s new multipurpose room. The other promises are null and void.
Minus 3000 square feet
In the Final Offer document, LASD took credit for allocating over 4,971 square feet of space when it offered BCS full time use of one-half of the City Gym. (The 4,971 square foot figure is from page 29 of LASD’s Final Offer document, column #4 under “row Multi-Purpose.”) That 4,971 square feet has now, on the eve of the start of school, been reduced to a 1,920 square foot Music Building that was never part of the Final Offer to begin with. That’s 4,971 − 1,920 = 3,051 feet of space LASD has slashed from the original Final Offer 2012-1013.
All the other LASD schools’ MPRs are over 4000 square feet. This 2000 square foot portable will not be useful for what MPR’s are used for: assemblies, drama productions, spring/winter concerts. [Actually BCS has an MPR that it built with its own money. LASD has been counting that MPR as space in its annual Prop 39 offers. One of the things the Appeals Court said was that LASD can’t count that BCS-built MPR as part of an LASD Prop 39 space offer. Thus, the facilities that LASD has delivered for 2012-2013 must be illegal as they are short of being “equivalent.” BTW, since the last minute portable is not usable for assemblies and concerts, BCS is likely to use it as a classroom.]
“Chief PR Officer” Doug Smith’s Attempt to Justify LASD’s Broken Promises
In his post of August 1, Doug Smith says that yes, that was the original 2012-2013 plan for BCS facilities. The district was going to build a new BCS multi-purpose room between the gym and the Egan MPR. During the construction period, LASD and BCS would share the City Gym. But over the summer, staff convinced the board that sharing would “have a substantial negative impact on the Egan PE program.”
Another reason LASD says it is reneging is that LASD has only “$100,000 in our capital fund right now.” Further more Smith claims a new multi-purpose room would cost between $300K to $750K. [Lalahpolitico Comment: At LASD board meetings, I have heard Board President Goines ask LASD Business Manager Randy Kenyon about (non-bond) financing rates. They are low, low, low. How about getting a loan till the next load of property tax revenue comes in? BTW, is there a big problem with capital funds management, and with professional facilities planning at LASD or what?! I hear that this sorry tradition of mismanagement of capital funds and lax management of facilities construction started soon after the 1999 bond issue to renovate the schools. Is it possible that LASD prefers spending money on lawyers instead of complying the court rulings against them?] In his blog post, Smith went on to say, “I recognize that the late timing of this news will cause last minute adjustments, and that is always a challenge. For the inconvenience that this causes the BCS staff, I am truly sorry. However, we’re all supposed to be the grown-ups. Egan and Blach staff are also dealing with a number of last minute changes brought on by the sharing needs.”
Lalahpolitico Comment: Is LASD actually run by grownups? What a role model for the kids! Do your homework assigned last March at the last minute! LASD had 90 days to create a sharing schedule. They had six months to pre-plan for and schedule physical facility changes. It was not until the Aug. 13 LASD meeting that it was reported that portables had finally been placed (if not “hooked up”) throughout LASD campuses. Apparently everything for the 2012-2013 was slapped together in the last 30 days. No wonder it didn’t get done right. If these folks were in the real estate business, they’d be OUT of business because of their habitual contractual late performance and outright non-performance. You don’t just tell your new tenant or your buyer, “Oh, we just couldn’t do what we itemized in the contract. Be a grown-up.” In real life, if you − the landlord or the seller screws up − the tenants or buyers may zap you for many bucks and perform the omitted or screwed up job themselves.
LASD’s Usual Beginning of School Year Sloppiness
A day before the first day of school, the BCS facilities committee discovers that…”The Blach Junior High facilities have no furniture. On April 17, we asked LASD which bathrooms at Blach we’re entitled to use and on August 21st the first day of school at BCS, we were told which bathrooms we could use. But as of the first day of school, Aug. 21st, there are no keys that work. The Blach facilities are completely unusable if unfurnished and without restrooms. How can we run our programs when the facilities that were promised are not even accessible or usable?”
“The portable music room building [for multipurpose functions] next to the gym at Egan is totally dirty as of Aug. 21st, our first day of school. There are no locks on the doors. There is no communication to the rest of BCS. There may be a fire/safety issue.”
LASD appears to have ignored all these logistical and long lead-time issues, despite BCS’s persistent and consistent requests for information from LASD Randy Kenyon on the status of facilities over throughout the summer. Instead the BCS committee says it got no answers, and now LASD finally significantly reneges on the Final Offer 2012-2013 to the tune of 3000 square feet.
Lalahpolitico Comment: Unfortunately, the start of every school year has looked pretty much the same – with promised facilities not ready. For the 2011-2012 Final Offer, the library portable didn’t arrive till January 2012. This looks like a LASD pattern of institutional harassment to me.
Link to the letter from LASD lawyer to BCS lawyer:
“final offer” 2012-2013 for space at Egan and Blach – see page 29
From Doug Smith’s Blog Post