LASD and BCS each line up their 5-year agreement negotiation team

LASD, BCS, 5-year-agreement
Ex-trustees Tamara Logan and Doug Smith are invited to the LASD negotiation team
Written by lalahpolitico

The schedule for the acquiring a 10th site in Mountain View via a TDR deal has slipped 2 months… till mid-january to go before MV City Council for deal approval… and maybe till mid-December [Dec.11] to probably reveal to the public the specific selected 10th site…and in the meantime, the LASD trustees are getting serious about the negotiating with Bullis Charter School (BCS) about the  upcoming “5-year agreement” renewal.

If the TDR deal for a 10th site goes off the rails this spring 2018,  there are no back up plans for proceeding with the use of existing land. Hence, no matter which “permanent solution” path the District takes in the spring – new land vs. existing land – BCS will have to carry on at its split campus for a year or more beyond the June 2019 end of the current 5-year agreement. Hence, the 5-year agreement needs to be renewed.

Picking Players for the team

Bryan Johnson chosen by the incumbent LASD board

Bryan Johnson

At the Nov. 13, 2017  LASD board meeting, Trustees Bryan Johnson and Steve Taglio described how the preliminary  “5-year agreement renewal” meetings with Bullis Charter School are going. Johnson said that BCS is using a team of four – three Board members, John Phelps, Francis La Poll, [Rich Ying?], and one unamed non-board “advisor.” [The fourth might be Andrea Eyring according to the notes of citizen. TBD]

Steve Taglio LASD trustee

Steve Taglio

Because BCS has 4 on its team,  Bryan sensibly wants to expand the LASD negotiation team [now just Johnson and Taglio] to four members. He suggested inviting ex-trustees Tamara Logan and Doug Smith. As Bryan said, “They were the 2-person team that successfully negotiated the first 5-year agreement.”  [John Phelps and Francis LaPoll represented BCS in the first agreement negotiations.]

Lalahpolitico Flashback to First 5-yr. Agreement

Ah, my memories of the first 5-year agreement process…Bad ones. LASD’s Logan and Smith insisted on holding open meetings “for the benefit” of the public.  Gary Waldeck of the City of Los Altos Hills gallantly volunteered to moderate the four public meetings.  Logan and Smith — more than occasionally bristling with hostility and spouting hurtful remarks — often made a zoo of it all.

5-year agreement , Bullis Charter School - a recurring meeting theme was manufactured vs. real community concerns

Left to right, Tamara Logan, Doug Smith of LASD, Gary Waldeck LAH, John Phelps, Francis La Poll of BCS …..a recurring meeting theme back then in 2015  was the ad nauseum discussion of “manufactured concerns”  rather than actual, real community concerns.

Fortunately, after the several weeks of  this appalling, grandstanding LASD publicity stunt at the open meetings, the teams retreated to private negotiations…and concluded an agreement.

In the first 5-year agreement, BCS agreed not to grow beyond 900 students for 5 years and to accept a 2-campus configuration. LASD agreed to a schedule of ramping up more portables on the Egan and Blach campuses.  BCS agreed to endorse the Measure N capital bond which was to be spent on new/improved school facilities for LASD-operated schools and for the BCS. Although it wasn’t an explicit promise in the agreement to my knowledge, the Measure N was expected to somehow result in permanent, really “equivalent” facilities for BCS.


The parties kept their promises. There have little spitballs back and forth…but compared to the bad old days, the regime of 5-year agreement has been peaceful and amicable. BCS worked to pass the Measure N bond and also the GG parcel tax which it now shares in on a per student basis.  This is all great, great news. New to the area parents are blissfully unaware of the bad old days.

Here’s a golden oldie post from the negotiations leading to the first 5-year agreement…if you want to pick that scab…

Lalahpolitico – Why Tammy and Doug now and not new hot blood for the 5-year agreement negotiation process?

Well, as Trustee Bryan Johnson pointed out, Tammy and Doug have worked with BCS’s  Phelps and LaPoll (and Andrea Eyring) before on the first 5-year agreement.  Tammy and Doug know the “adversary,” and more importantly they definitely view BCS as an adversary, not merely a difficult neighbor. Maybe Trustees Bryan Johnson and Steve Taglio are just ‘too nice’ to stand alone against the BCS team?  Solution:  Bring back the two antagonists, Tammy and Doug.

Tamara Logan, LASD trustee, Los Altos Public Lands Committee

Tamara Logan, former LASD trustee

Tammy Logan seems very likely to accept the invitation to serve on the LASD team for the next  5-year agreement.We’ve seen her two or three times this fall carrying water for the District. She presents the party-line at LASD board meetings… “the 10th site is wonderful because we won’t have to close a school or ‘crowd’ a campus.”  She recently exercised her heckling chops at the September event held by the group — it advocates for reuse of existing LASD land.

Doug Smith might be too busy to serve on 5-year agreement team, though he surely would relish a rematch. We’ll see.  And if he declines, not to worry, there are couple of up and comers on LASD back bench. They are active in PTA, may have served on facility committees or LAEF, and shown up for various public meetings. When I’ve seen them at public meetings they often seem very angry at BCS… and at  the City of Los Altos… and they sure can spew the hot rhetoric. Perfect for the LASD 5-year agreement team.

The court decision back then…

The dynamic duo – Doug Smith and Tamara Logan – at the Santa Clara County courthouse in San Jose in 2013?. The judge did not compel the school district to obey the earlier appellate court decision favoring BCS.

What about Kenyon’s Wacky 10th site Costs Slides shown at Nov.13, 2017 board meeting?

Also at the Nov. 13, 2017 LASD trustee meeting, Superintendent for Business, Randy Kenyon,  said a few new words about 10th site TDR deal making.  We learned that the TDRs apparently need to be sold to not just one or two buyers, but numerous buyers. Also Kenyon says “each buyer needs something at little bit different,” presumably different terms and conditions of the TDR contract. They are trying to design a common instrument that will work for all the cases.

Lalahpolitico: If I were a developer, I would want to make sure I can quickly “spend” my purchased TDRs with the next year on a current project.  I would not trust future MV City Council’s and staff to not depreciate their worth.  I guess that riskiness is why no single buyer is willing to buy all the LASD TDRs on offer. Having so many deal participants makes everything take longer. It could go wrong.

So why is Kenyon suddenly pretending that LASD is seriously considering using existing land for a new school…aka for permanently locating BCS?  In part to counter the publicity that groups like and community members like John Swan have been generating about the benefits of using existing land. And more cynically, the District is preparing for an eminent domain action wherein it helps to “show” the courts that the alternatives to  “taking” the private property were inferior.

Kenyon Slide – Compare new 10th site land vs. Existing land for BCS

In the following section I ignore the silly notion that LASD is serious about using the 10th site in Mountain View for a k-5v LASD-operated, union-shop neighborhood  school. In other words, let’s not bother with the first column in the following tables.

At some prices per acre…Kenyon makes it look like a new land site in Mountain View for BCS actually saves money (saves $5M to $25M!)  compared to the costs of sharing Covington or Blach/Egan. Some sleight of hand going on here! And to some in the community paying a paltry $15M more to get BCS ejected from existing land…is a small price to pay (row1) !

Kenyon is making it look like at some prices per acre ( 10 to $12.5M ) it actually COSTS MORE to permanently put BCS on existing land.

But look at those numbers!  The ’10th site’ column is the “example of how it all could work” numbers Kenyon has been using for a couple of months now.   But those implausible Covington, Blach and Egan columns?  Questionable….first let’s glance at the Kenyon’s other slides below.


More Kenyon Slides from 10M, to 12.5M to 15M prices

One methodology problem with the following slides was observed by Trustee Jessica Speiser Nov. 13.  Looking at the first column – building a smaller school, a k-5 school – less of the 8 acres of the 10th site will be covered than when building a larger k-8 school. But Kenyon has just grabbed the 74,000 TDRs from the BCS k-8 case and used the same amount for the neighborhood k-5. A smaller school on 8 acres should be able to sell more TDRs…like may 90,000?

Lalahpolitico: little hints like this – using the 74,000 TDRs twice –  is what makes me predict that the 10th site is intended for BCS.

LASD lying with statistics

LASD lying with statistics

LASD lying with statistics


Board Discussion that night Nov. 13, 2017

No LASD trustee asked what went into the “facilities construction” pricing row for the 10th site columns (1 and 2).  $46,400,000 for a k-5 school. $70,200,000 for a k-8 school.  Were those Gelfand architects estimates from 2013-14?

But Trustee Jessica Speiser asked what into the facilities construction pricing row of the Covington and Blach/Egan columns.


Kenyon answered her saying for the Covington construction estimate , BCS was put in the existing school buildings with some new ones added for a junior high curriculum [science labs?]. [Lalahpolitico: $10M worth perhaps?] Then a new k-5 school was built. [Should be costed out as $46 M from column 1.] District offices were moved to Egan…[Lalahpolitico: …and then what?…put the admin into shiny new office there again???…or more properly just using some of the existing vacated Egan portables. That current BCS MPR at Egan is larger and newer than the Covington Board Room. The administration can function just fine without shiny new digs. Link to the retreat article. Maybe LAEF wants to pay for moving the admin!!! ]


Lalahpolitico’s total estimate is $56 million for a 900 student BCS sharing at Covington vs. Kenyon’s $93 million on an 8-acre Mountain View site.


Kenyon said the Egan/Blach column assumed  450 each split on Egan and Blach in new buildings.  Kenyon said they could design a different split  700/200 or whatever. [Lalahpolitico: A split of BCS at Egan and Blach in permanent buildings is not worth talking about unless of course the enrollment cap is lifted and we are talking about two 600 student schools or something even larger. With Kenyon’s numbers that 2 X $46,400,000 or $$92,800,000. Plus maybe 2 x $5M for a jr. high lab at each. Here is my estimate…]


Lalahpolitico’s total estimate is $102.8M for a 1200 student BCS split 600 k-8 at each of Egan and Blach vs. Kenyon’s $93million on an 8-acre Mountain View site.


Kenyon’s Acquisition Timeline as of Nov. 13

The next regular board meeting is Dec. 11. Will the 10th site committee recommendation for the specific site selected be on the agenda? We’ll know late Friday Dec.8 when the notices of the agenda are sent and the agenda is posted on line. 72 hours in advance as required by the Brown Act. If it’s not on the agenda it means more “issues” with lining up those magical TDRs.  We’ll see. Lalahpolitico:  Aren’t we all on edge with anticipation?!

10th site acquisition time line

After being abruptly shut down in 2014, the old Master Plan Committee, is being reconvened by LASD Kenyon and Baier! With some or all of the same members? Who knows. It sounds like staff will write the final draft plan…and only then will FMPC member be called back to rubber stamp it?


Kenyon’s slides on LASD web site

link to video, I use chrome browser on my apple devies

About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.