Superior Court Judge, Franklin Bondonno ruled that the Los Altos School District may not place Bullis Charter School on a site outside the district — such as Raynor School in Sunnyvale. In the Sept. 4 decision the judge said “that section 17217 outlines in detail the proper manner of acquiring a school site”… it is required that a “school district purchasing or acquiring a property limit itself to property immediately adjacent to the district border and separated only by road, street, stream… The furthest point that a public school property can be located is one contiguous to the school district.”
“The school district does not have the capacity to offer an additional site outside the boundaries of the School District [sic to the charter] because this power remains with the charter school in its petition for charter or to operate its charter at multiple locations… The District may offer a site outside its boundaries to a charter school under Proposition 39 only if the charter school requests such a site and only if that request is in conformity to the school’s charter.
Citing Ridgecrest Charter School v. Sierra Sands Unified…”in the present case, it is the school district and not the charter school that wishes to change location, the school district must still demonstrate that reasonable efforts were made to provide facilities where Bullis wishes to locate and that this relocation effort is in fact necessary.
LALAHPOLITCO: So now BCS wins one! But the Raynor School site is moot anyway. Sunnyvale decided to sell Raynor to another buyer, not LASD. We understand the buyer is a private school already in Sunnyvale. Obviously such a “nice, good citizen” buyer is more acceptable to the Sunnyvale community than allowing an infamous feuding couple — LASD vs. BCS — to move in. Lalahpolitico wishes that this judicial decision closed the option of moving BCS — involuntarily — out of the LASD area, however, she expects LASD will start to amass a dossier of “reasonable efforts to provide facilities” within LASD wherein Bullis wishes to be located. Unfortunately, we should brace ourselves for LASD to appeal.
Randy Kenyon disclosed at the Sept. 16 LASD board meeting that BCS litigation expenses were running at $1.6 to $1.7 million a year, a run rate he expects to continue. ( Total annual litigation expense at LASD is just under $2.0 million). One can assume Bullis Charter School probably is spending about the same. Perhaps $10 million to $15 million has been spent on litigation by both sides so far?
Lalahpolitico does not believe halting litigation is a good strategy. And it is not necessary to do so to reach a peaceful coexistence. Actively litigating parties commonly negotiate with each other outside courtrooms and law offices.
Here is the judge’s decision document. 13 09 04 Proposed Statement of Decision