Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Please join me in supporting the three LASD Board of Trustees candidates who’ve dedicated themselves to serving the whole LASD community, and who will continue to pursue a balanced resolution of our long-term facilities capacity issue:

  • Bryan Johnson
  • Vladimir Ivanovic
  • Vaishali ‘Shali’ Sirkay

Please say NO to this year’s Bullis Charter School candidate, Ying Liu.

Today, as was true in the past and will be in the future, there is simply no seat on the LASD Board of Trustees for an antagonistic BCS proxy. This is especially true now that BCS has asked LASD to hand over Egan Junior High for its exclusive use. 

BCS leadership is out of step with the views of BCS parents I know, and now they’re ginning up confrontation after five years of relatively peaceful detente. BCS leadership takes positions and actions that contradict what the LASD community has said consistently it values and is willing to support:

  • No closure of any LASD neighborhood schools
  • An end to the antagonism between the district and charter school
  • Adding new school facilities to address long-term enrollment growth
  • A durable solution to the costly annual charter facilities allocation battle

LASD voters approved a $150 million facilities bond to develop new school facilities, and BCS is poised to be the beneficiary of impending development of a new state-of-the-art campus for all 900 BCS students on one site.

When BCS was founded, it touted the value of a small school education but has since chosen to grow aggressively, resulting in annual conflicts and even litigation over facilities.

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 3.47.30 PM

Last week, BCS announced a dramatic, entirely voluntary expansion of enrollment to more than 1,100 students in an attempt to derail the hard-won and generous accommodation of a brand new campus, because it’s not in their preferred location. What’s more, they’re willing to displace Egan Junior High to get what they want. 

To paraphrase attorney Joseph Welch’s rebuke of Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy “Until this moment, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

Such entitlement knows no decency.

It stems from an over-developed instinct for me and an under-developed instinct for we.

After five years of a relatively peaceful coexistence under a mutually-agreed facilities-sharing arrangement, it appears that BCS is now drawing us back into conflict and litigation by displacing Egan. This is NOT what our community wants, but it’s what BCS apparently feels entitled to. This is unacceptable. 

You may wonder: How does such a stark contrast between widely-shared community values and charter expectations emerge? Why would a self-identified ‘Los Altos public school’ stake out positions that so clearly conflict with what the majority of LASD voters have endorsed? Because, quite simply, BCS is not a public school in any conventional sense; it is unaccountable to LASD voters and it’s unresponsive to LASD community sentiment. 

The elected LASD Board of Trustees administrates a public trust: the educational, financial and facilities interests of the whole LASD community. This is not true of BCS in any sense. BCS is a private nonprofit California corporation with an unelected, self-perpetuating Board of Directors that does not answer to our community. Instead, BCS behaves like a for-profit or private school, wherein their policies are validated by customer demand (enrollment).

Yes, BCS receives a share of our property and parcel taxes, but neither the LASD community or BCS parents get to vote on the members of their BCS Board of Directors or have meaningful input on the educational, enrollment, financial or facilities policies they pursue. The BCS Board of Directors answers only to its chartering authority, the Santa Clara County Board of Education. This is why BCS actions through the years show that it feels little or no obligation to LASD voters. It is allowed to aggressively pursue its self-interest with impunity—because it is unaccountable to the LASD community.

Read more about BCS’s sudden return to aggressive growth and confrontation to secure the Egan facilities it prefers: https://www.lasdschools.org/District/News/10364-Press-Release-November-2-2018.html. 

If elected, Ying Liu would catalyze upheaval advocating for niche BCS interests above the majority interests of the LASD community. This year, and in the future, we must not elect to the LASD Board of Trustees a proxy for an unelected BCS Board of Directors who:

  • Chose to leave LASD to attend BCS but now wants a hand in governing LASD.
  • Lacks experience and working relationships with LASD trustees and administration
  • Is entirely unfamiliar with LASD curriculum, staff, parents, PTA, and foundation
  • Misapprehends even basic facts about LASD finances and operating mechanisms

The LASD community has said clearly, loudly and repeatedly that closing an LASD school for BCS to take over is totally unacceptable, yet here we are. If you want to help save Egan Junior High from being closed and turned into a double-sized BCS campus, please add your name to this petition: https://www.change.org/p/save-egan-middle-school 

If you’re unhappy with BCS politics and leadership and want to express yourself to those in charge making such decisions, please contact:

Joe Hurd jhurd@bullischarterschool.com

  • Current President, BCS Board of Directors

Francis LaPoll francis@lapoll.com 

  • Founding and Current Member, BCS Board of Directors
  • Incorporator (2003), The Bullis-Purissima Elementary School (BPES)
  • Corporate Secretary, The Bullis-Purissima Elementary School 

John Phelps jphelps@bullischarterschool.com 

  • Corporate CEO, The Bullis-Purissima Elementary School
  • Former President, BCS Board of Directors

Grace Mah grace_mah@sccoe.org

  • Member, Santa Clara County Board of Education — Area 1: Serving Los Altos, Mountain View Whisman, Mountain View-Los Altos Union High school districts

BCS Board of Directors: http://bullischarterschool.com/board_of_directors/ 

Adanya Lustig adanyal@latc.com 

  • Education reporter, Los Altos Town Crier

Kevin Forrestieri kforestieri@mv-voice.com 

  • Education reporter, Mountain View Voice

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