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Huttlinger Alliance Files Court Motion in Bullis Charter School Issue

Volunteer organization seeks to implement community-based solution to school facilities dispute.

 

In the latest move in the ongoing Bullis Charter School facilities dispute, Huttlinger Alliance for Education (HAE) has asked a judge to allow it to appear as a “friend of the court” in litigation between Los Altos School District and Bullis Charter School.

HAE is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization based in Los Altos. It describes its aim as supporting innovation and excellence in public education with advisory services, strategic funding, and political advocacy for communities that provide superior public education.

Its press release described its action as the following: 

LASD recently filed a cross-complaint to a BCS’ action seeking an LASD school campus for its exclusive use. LASD resists closing any of its high performing small neighborhood schools for BCS, preferring instead to offer the charter school a “reasonably equivalent” alternative.

Determining a suitable alternative acceptable to both sides has been the source of repeated visits to court.

The Alliance, filing as a real-party-in-interest in the dispute over community resources, has submitted sworn declarations to quash BCS’ motion to dismiss LASD’s cross complaint. The cross complaint seeks clarification from the court regarding its obligations to provide BCS with facilities under California’s Prop 39 in light of a broad range of issues it says call into question BCS’ right to be considered a public school entitled to public resources.

The Alliance’s latest filing emphasizes that the issues raised in LASD’s cross complaint are substantial, were originally brought to the district’s attention by members of the LASD community, have never been brought before a court and have direct bearing on an equitable calculation of the district’s annual facilities obligations to BCS, including:

  • Should the benefits of private fundraising be uniformly included or excluded for both LASD and BCS when determining “reasonably equivalent” facilities?
  • If BCS maintains recruitment and enrollment policies and practices that exclude, either by design or by accident, certain student demographics, contrary to fundamental principles of equity in public education, should it nonetheless enjoy full entitlement to public education facilities?
  • In an effort to ensure equitable allocation of facilities for in-district students, should LASD have direct access to details of BCS’ enrollment or rely solely on BCS’ unverified representations to LASD?

If the district’s cross-complaint is allowed to proceed, the Alliance hopes the outcome will be fewer courtroom showdowns over facilities and more community-based solutions.

Alliance General Counsel Mark Boennighausen adds, “Adjudication of issues raised by the LASD community through the LASD cross-complaint should clarify and streamline facilities allocations in the future, and not just for LASD, but for other districts similarly situated. We’d like to get these questions settled once and for all so we can stay out of court.”

— Patch

Visit our Bullis Charter School Page for previous reports from Patch.

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