LOS ALTOS, Calif., Just weeks after the Los Altos School District (LASD) locked out Bullis Charter School’s (BCS) teachers and students, the Superior Court of Santa Clara County ruled that LASD’s attempts to remove BCS outside the district are unlawful.
In May of this year, district officials placed a $50,000 deposit and authorized substantial use of taxpayer funds to secure the Raynor Activity Center in Sunnyvale, a 3.7 acre site in need of considerable renovation located four miles outside of the District’s boundaries, with plans to place BCS on that campus for the 2014-15 school year. LASD simultaneously filed a lawsuit asking the Court to sanction the move.
In rejecting LASD’s petition, the Court agreed with BCS’s legal reasoning, writing that “[LASD] does not have the capacity to offer an additional site outside the boundaries of the school district because this power remains with the charter school” (emphasis added).
“I can’t imagine the amount of taxpayer dollars that were spent pursuing this fool’s errand,” said Ken Moore, BCS Board Chairman. “The District has no right to forcibly relocate children outside of its boundaries against their will because they choose to attend a charter school rather than a District-run school. This was a misguided attempt intended to create fear and uncertainty in the BCS community.”
This tentative court ruling comes on the heels of a nearly two week lockout, during which the District refused to hand over the keys to facilities promised to BCS since April. At Monday night’s District board meeting, President Doug Smith publicly stated that he remains willing to lock out BCS again.
“The District’s actions over the last several months are very clear – that they have no interest in working with public school students at BCS,” said BCS Board Member Joe Hurd. “The recent lockouts, their refusal to resolve short-term issues like playground access, and now this attempt to banish students to an out-of-district campus are aggressive, mean-spirited and demonstrate behavior contradictory to that of elected officials.”
“The ruling against the Los Altos School District, once final, will be an important milestone for charter schools in the State of California,” said Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the California Charter School Association. “While not every district takes such aggressive actions against charter school students, the ruling should clarify to LASD and remind other districts that they cannot usurp the role of the authorizer and ignore the wishes of the charter school to serve students within district boundaries.”