The LASD Board released Final Offer (FO) documents on Friday March 28, in advance of the public meeting tonite March 31. Basically the FO is the same as the Prelim, except for leaving all portables on the BCS Egan campus, instead of removing 3 of them as threatened in the Prelim. There seems to be nearly NO easing of the skimpyness of the BCS Blach campus, except for 20 days rather than 12 days of shared MPR use.
The March 24 Board Meeting – Oddly, No LASD Agitators Showed Up
At the March 24 meeting when the Board first discussed a Final Offer 2014-15, the Board politely listened to almost 30 BCS parents plead for better treatment. See…BCS Parent Speak Out March 24. LALAHPOLITICO: It was interesting that were NO pro-LASD speakers that night. Why? Maybe it was all theatre, because the substance was a already done deal? But it is a fact, that no LASD community agitators showed up to utter the usual distortions. “Don’t close my school.” “You elitist people are so awful for shutting out the disadvantaged and handicapped.” “Thank you dear Board for protecting my neighborhood school and standing up for equity and the disadvantaged.”
Start with Easy One Egan – BCS at Egan can Keep all it’s Portables
After the comments, President Logan suggested discussion start with Egan,”Because that was the easy one.” The Board very quickly all agreed that they could accept a forecast of 80 kindergartners, but not 100, and so therefore it would be ok to leave all portables on Egan, rather than remove three. Logan and Smith made a big point, of calling this “an overallocation” to BCS, especially when one considered that BCS has been, for years now, using a 4th portable as a classroom rather than as childcare, as had originally been planned. Then, Oopps, President Logan observed it was 9:05, that discussing the Blach campus would take a long time, therefore, the meeting was abruptly adjourned. The board had a closed session immediately afterward. I do not know what was reported out if anything. LALAHPOLITICO: The discussion of the Egan FO was oddly fast, as if the board rehearsed it. But we know that is not possible because of the Brown Act.
Whacking the CEQA Stick – Enrollment Caps and Schedule Restrictions
The expensive CEQA (Traffic) report about Egan and Blach has imposed traffic and noise “mitigations” – hard caps on the number of BCS students who can be at each campus. But none on District students. It also set limits on start and stop times for instruction at BCS campuses, but not the District. (It still looks like BCS will be able to do a pretty normal full day.) LALAHPOLITICO: Trustees Goines and Smith say they spent our money on this CEQA foolishness because they feared neighbors would sue. I heard of no school neighbor who wanted to be publicly caught being child unfriendly, casting stones at BCS, by starting a CEQA lawsuit. And BCS has argued that schools get special dispensation from CEQA by waving their magic wand – they just have to make a “finding” that the needs of students take priority over the impact. But LASD chose to ignore that solution.
Tonight’s March 31 Board Meeting –
The Blach Offer -It’s about Undermining the BCS Middle School Program
It’s old news that LASD under projects total BCS in-district enrollment every year. This year LASD is projecting 605 in district students vs.BCS’s 673 in district student – a 11% under projection. On Blach it’s 234 vs. 197 – a 16% under projection. At the March 24, BCS Trustee Sang Yoo proposed that the District could reconsider its under projections in June, at which time BCS will be willing to share the names and contact for actual new enrollees. At that time LASD should add portables to meet the proven demand. Before June, Yoo says the names need to remain secret, so that families can avoid harassment at their current LASD school.
For 2014-15 LASD took away BCS’s exclusive use of the Blach kitchen and the Blach Library annex, replacing that with 3-4 new exclusive portables on the BCS blacktop “quad.” BCS spent time and money turning those two Blach rooms into a classroom and computer lab – time and money about to be flushed. With the extra kids this year, BCS on Blach very short on specialized teaching space.
The Worst Part is LASD’s Tricky Math for Shared Spaces
BCS has now has NO exclusive use of land and buildings except for its quad and the portables squeezed there. Yet there is shared use of quite a few Blach facilities this year as last year. Gym, science lab, track, blacktop, baseball diamond, etc. MPR ( up from 12 visits in the PO, now to 20 in the FO). As last year, Blach takes first choice times for itself. But shared spaces are not shared in a sensible way.
What is unacceptable is that BCS kids at Blach still have no place to play outdoors during recess and lunch hour. Even though the adjacent grass and blacktop is unused.
LASD will not let BCS kids use space – for example the empty track, the empty Blach blacktop – when it is idle. LASD says to do so gives BCS kids MORE than Blach kids get and that is “not required.” Even if true, nothing prevents LASD from doing more than required when it does not diminish LASD students. And it’s not true the LASD is giving more. They only get that answer with tricky math.
How “big” is a shared facility. Only as big as the time it is actually used? Or as big as all the time it could be used during the school day? Basically, LASD says actual usage time of space is 100%. IF Blach uses a space for 1 hour and BCS use it for 1 hour, they each are getting 50%. BCS says the 8 hour school day is 100%. If Blach uses a space for 1 hour and BCS uses it for 1 hour, they each are getting 12.5% of the space.
Here’s a table to illustrate:
The District as Competitor – Suppressing BCS enrollment
The District aggressively competes with BCS for students.# At the same time the District is supposed to be impartial in its allocation of public facilities between students choosing to attend District-run schools and those choosing to attend BCS. This creates an obvious conflict of interest the District makes no effort to address.
Instead, the District inappropriately uses its control of the facilities allocation process to enhance its competitive position by attempting to create a reinforcing spiral to suppress BCS enrollment. The District attempts to deter prospective BCS registrants with unsubstantiated allegations*about BCS and threats that it will allocate even more inferior or far distant facilities to BCS, then cites those efforts (District Response, page 3) as a basis for projecting that fewer students will enroll in BCS without any substantiation. It then uses its own lower enrollment projections to further threaten to provide even worse facilities to BCS, and so on.
Wanny Hershey, January 2014 Response to Preliminary Offer.
#[Lalahpolitico: A study of districts across the county found that once their charter(s) share of student reached about 6%, districts took notice – responding constructively, dysfuntionally or both. LASD is no exception. About 3 -4 years ago when BCS exceeded 6%, LASD started to get serious about looking over its own programs. It has make changes –geometry, project based learning, STEM, etc. LASD parents, you can thank BCS competition for that. And I commend the District for that constructive response to competition. And by the way, the birth of BCS is not just because of” closing a school.” There were parents in the late 90’s who were lobbying Superintendent Marge Gratiot for progressive curriculum changes – including but not limited to foreign language immersion. Both kinds of parents – those seeking change and those seeking to reopen the Purrissima site – banded to together to form the Charter.]
*[Lalahpolitico: “allegations”…This is one of the the dysfunctional responses of a district to competition from a charter. I don’t commend the district for this response. In the case of BCS, “allegations” refers to the LASD Board’s massive distortion campaign abetted by our lazy local press and LASD’s coterie of community agitators. Our local paper seems to treat every quote from Trustee Doug Smith, etc., as gospel truth and it gets reprinted without context. Our paper reprints LASD documents, letters, and press releases rather quickly, accurately linking to even more agitprop documents. The BCS side gets way fewer column inches, quotes and links. They usually have to run an ad to get space. I was particularly incensed by the recent press allegation that BCS’s use of a driver’s license as one type of ID for determining applicant/enrollee residency was “aberrant and excluding the disadvantaged.” It turns out the same process is used by the majority of districts around here and was approved by the county as explained in a BCS letter. The press correction of March 19 was tepid as best. Headline – “BCS defends itself against county letter.” The the link to the letter did not work for the first few days according to online comments. The net effect of this unbalanced coverage on the partially informed reader is a vague recollection – “BCS is guilty as charged.” ]