UPDATE: Jan. 5, 2013
Has BCS actually occupied Blach this year? A reader says the location of the 6 foot fences in the photos below are temporary and related to turf maintenance. A check of a July 18, 2012 Patch article shows that the fences I saw are in fact not located at the boundaries of Bullis Charter’s area at Blach. The boundaries are better, but mostly worse than I observed and photographed. See end of article.
The LASD Superintendent’s Task Force posed a question at its December 18 meeting…
Are Bullis Charter School facilities at Blach Junior High for the the 2012-13 school year actually being occupied by BCSers?
One Task Force member thought yes, the facilities were occupied. This was because she had talked to the citizen who had administered some first aid to a BCS student who tripped and fell at Blach the first week of school. Others were not too sure. LASD staff did not venture an opinion.
On Saturday Dec. 29, 2012 I paid a visit to Blach to take a look at the BCS facilities there and determine if they appeared occupied. I had some trouble spotting the Bullis Charter facilities because they are tucked completely behind the cute Stepping Stones preschool, which fronts on Covington Ave.
I pulled into the Stepping Stones preschool parking lot – the same one where Bullis Charter parked it’s “luxurious” chartered greyhound style bus. [LASD trustee Doug Smith hazed BCS for using such opulent transportation in his personal blog – lasdobserver.blogspot.com. There was a photo of the nice bus parked in front of the nice looking Blach gym.]
Two of the 4 portables had the blinds up. Those two had satisfactory furniture, but were clearly totally unoccupied. The other two had the blinds down. Were they occupied or just maybe used for storage…or nothing at all?
Fortunately, a couple of staff members from the Stepping Stones preschool arrived to pick up some things from their office, and I got to talk to them briefly. I asked if Bullis Charter School was using the portables. They replied students had only been there for two successive days at the beginning of the school year.
a couple of staff members from the neighboring Stepping Stones preschool …said BCS students and teachers had only been there for two successive days at the beginning of the school year
I walked around the premises and took photos from several angles. The building is assembled from 4 newish, portables lined up end-to-end, within 10 feet of what looks to be a newly installed six foot high, rented, chain link fence. There is no useable blacktop to speak of. The narrow path in front of the portables is paved with blacktop material. However the path around the gym to where the restrooms are….is unpaved and uneven, peppered with rocks. It must be along this path that BCS student tripped and fell during their 2-day September visit.
unpaved and uneven path to gym bathrooms…probably where the BCS student fell and bled
The available open space for any kind of physical education – an unfenced grassy area, a second field (not shown) – looks like a large soccer field with a drainage problem.
So the BCS Blach facilities are not occupied. Per Judge Lucas, this Blach facility is legally within trustees’ discretion of what is “reasonably equivalent.” So our neighbors got their due process. Hurrah.
Should we have a higher standard of behavior than what is legal? Do you think this facility is reasonable? Do you think this facility is equivalent? Is this nice? “Closing a high performing school” or in other words, “redrawing attendance boundaries for 500 LASD students” may not be nice. But neither is this.
Lalahpolitico has hope that the LASD Superindent’s Task Force will be able to develop two solutions in this priority. 1) A site for the 500 LASD students from Mountain View who had their neighborhood school friendships split into THREE in 2007. That boundary redraw was not nice and had nothing to do with the existence of Bullis Charter. 2) A permanent solution for the 500+ Bullis Charter School students. We are short on facilities for 1000 students. And have been for a while now. That is not nice.
UPDATE: Jan. 5, 2013
A reader says the location of the 6 foot fences in the photos above are temporary and related to turf maintenance. A check of a July 18, 2012 Patch article shows that the fences I saw are in fact not located at the boundaries of Bullis Charter’s area at Blach. The boundaries are better, but mostly worse than I observed and photographed.
At the Egan School BCS campus, there are 6 foot chain link fences that separate the main parts, but not all parts of the BCS area from the Egan area. Lalahpolitico infers that if Bullis occupied Blach, the parties might install some 6 foot chain link fences…as is the practice at Egan School. The while dotted line is just a guess.
Above you can compare the Patch map of the area in red to our partial rendition just above in yellow. Because of the temporary fence in place this December, I had thought Bullis had free use of the large sports field on the right. But they seem to be excluded. There seems be very little usable land.