Jul 29, 2014
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UPDATE: LASD Accepts Bullis Decision

Los Altos School District's president expressed disappointment but says the district will use the court-defined methodology in allocating space to Bullis Charter School. The state school boards association predicts more confusion as other districts try to

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the comments from the general counsel of the California School Boards Association, which Patch had tried to reach Thursday.

The Prop. 39 court fight ends here, it would appear. At least in Los Altos.

A day after the state Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal, the president of the Los Altos School District board (LASD) announced it was turning its attention to offering facilities to Bullis Charter School under the terms of the lower court's decision—and was ready to move past the decade-old dispute between school boards.

"We can now move forward with a court-defined methodology for allocating facilities," said board President Mark Goines in a press release.

"We are hoping to find a balance that appeals to the BCS families, balances the needs of all 5,000-plus students in the district and insures the continued success of our high-performing schools," he added, in an email interview later Thursday afternoon.

The California Sixth District Court of Appeal stunned the board in an Oct. 27 decision that overturned a lower court's opinion that the school board had fulfilled the requirement to offer "reasonably equivalent" space under charter school laws and regulations known as Prop. 39. 

In December, LASD petitioned the state Supreme Court to reviwew the Sixth District's decision.

“Although the California Supreme Court typically accepts less than 10 percent of all petitions filed, we were nonetheless disappointed to learn that the Supreme Court had decided not to take the case,” Goines said in the statement.

The rejection of LASD's appeal will have impact statewide. Across the state, charter schools and their host school districts are negotiating over facilities allocation and preliminary offers are due at the end of the month. The California School Boards Association filed a friend-of-the-court letter in support of the Los Altos School Board's petition for Supreme Court review.

Keith J. Bray, general counsel of the CSBA, said the organization had hoped that the Supreme Court would take the case because there may be confusion, still, when disputes over facilities allocations arise in the state. "There are three or four state court of appeal decisions that are not harmonizing," he said. He predicted there will be more litigation in the state in the future.

Goines said the board was grateful that the petition was supported by the school boards association "which has expressed concern over the potential statewide implications of the decision arising from the dispute between LASD and BCS.”

LASD School Superintendent Jeff Baier said that the board, anticipating the possibility that the high court would not hear the case, had already begun work using the court-defined methodology.

Goines said the district is preparing an offer "with a revised methodology that will be discussed in public session and approved in a preliminary offer prior to February 1, 2012."

“With this dispute coming to a close, we look forward to continuing our commitment to providing the opportunity for an outstanding education for all of the students residing within the LASD boundaries,” Baier said.

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