Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Comments for the LASD Board Meeting, 1 June 2009

My name is Doug Smith. I am an incoming member of the LAEF Board, but tonight I’m speaking only as a Gardner Bullis parent.

The Bullis Charter School has made a public issue of their proposal to lease the Gardner Campus. I felt that this public “offer” required a public response. I applaud the LASD Board of Trustees for their swift rejection of this offer. The financials of this offer look more like a low-ball offer to a distressed home owner, but that isn’t what troubles me. No, plain and simple, this is an existing school community. The BCS offer would displace over 200 local Gardner students in favor of BCS students. I find it hard to comprehend that a group founded in specific response to the closing of a neighborhood school would believe that they can further their objectives by displacing another group of neighborhood kids. Apparently not all children are equal in the eyes of the BCS Board.

For whatever reason, the media has chosen to serve as the PR wing to the BCS. This offer can have no practical purpose other than generate publicity for the Charter School, or to serve as a precursor to coming litigation. No thinking journalist could believe that this offer would do anything other than irritate the Gardner community.

I come here to make known my opposition to any arrangement whereby the Gardner Bullis students would be removed from the campus they have come to call their own. They have undergone the challenges of moving schools in the fall of 2008, have formed new friendships, and have established themselves in their own community. Likewise parents are volunteering tens of thousands hours and helping to ensure the success of our neighborhood school. The Gardner Campus is not some abstract piece of vacant land. It is our school, our community. Those who might try to usurp our use of our neighborhood school for their own purposes, no matter what their goals justifications, will discover that Garnder parents will vigorously defend our children and their right to their own neighborhood school.

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