Thursday, May 28, 2009

Who's kids come first?

The Bullis Charter School has recently proposed making a one-time payment of $3m to the LASD in exchange for exclusive long-term use of the Gardner Bullis Campus.

I understand the idea of advocating for one's own children, and I have been frustrated at times with the LASD. However, this proposal seems like it should be beneath any rational person. I will not dwell on the discrepancy between the $3M offered for the campus and the $12M the district just paid to renovate it. I will also skip over the fact that a one-time inflow of $3M will hardly fix the District's ongoing financial woes caused by the economic downturn. Focusing on the dollars offered makes this about money, and that's not where this really is troubling.

The BCS argues that they want that campus to provide a neighborhood school for their students. BCS was conceived of in response to the closing of the Bullis Purissima campus, so I get the idea that folks are attached to a neighborhood school. My question, though, is very simple: what happens to the 210 students currently enrolled at Gardner, for whom Gardner is their local school? The message delivered by the BCS proposal is that someone feels the Charter School students are more entitled to a local campus than the students living on Robleda Ave and attending the Gardner Bullis School today. Viewed in this context, one must ask if it makes sense to displace 210 students to appease another group, regardless of the economics.**

The only likely outcome of the BCS offer is that it irritates the LASD Board and Administration. The BCS Board might also be concerned that they have now also irritated all the parents of students attending Gardner Bullis- a group likely to be just as vocal and as just formidable as those who formed BCS. In the process, BCS is making enemies where there were none before. Not a smart move...

** BCS is, by law, permitted to give preference to LAH residents for up to 50% of their spaces. The numbers still don't work. That would imply displacing 210 GB local resident students for fewer than 165 BCS equivalent resident students. (numbers based on GB attendeance of 210 students in 2008-09, and 326 BCS students in the same timeframe. GB attendence projected to increase by at least one class for the 2009-10 School year.)


  1. Nice article! When I first heard about the proposal I thought it was a joke! This idea is absurd on so many levels I can’t fathom the rationale. I totally get it that having a “local school” satisfies the most fundamental needs of any society. The Gardner Bullis community is a live example of how rewarding a local school can be. For too long we have been divided over school issues. Isn’t it time we put all this behind us and start enjoying our little community? Why engage in a hostile and reckless act towards your neighbors – especially when the chance of success is about zero? If the BCS parents are willing to put their gloves down, they will find a warm and welcoming community at Garner Bullis ready to receive them! Let’s not spoil the good will.


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