Sunday, November 29, 2009

Victory in the Courts

This past week, the Santa County Superior Courts handed down a ruling on the most recent lawsuit brought against LASD by the Bullis Charter School. The courts agreed with LASD on virtually every part of the suit. Specifically:

  • Upheld the District decision not to provide space for 7th grade for 2009-2010, given that BCS had publicly said they wouldn’t offer the 7th grade in this year
  • Upheld the District’s space calculations for classroom and non-classroom space
  • Supported the district’s position that “space” is only one aspect of the “reasonably equivalent” test, and that the test allows for some flexibility in how it is implemented

On the question of the Gardner Bullis campus, the court made the following observation:

"It appears to the Court from the record presented and the history of disputes between the parties that some of the Charter School's supporters are motivated by a strongly held yet entirely unjustified sense of superior entitlement to the Gardner Bullis Elementary School site, likely stemming from deep resentment over the closure of the former Bullis-Purissima Elementary School. This position undermines the Charter School's credibility, as despite occasional remarks to the contrary it repeatedly (and unconvincingly) suggests that the only possible outcome which would fully satisfy the goals of the Charter Schools Act would be for it to be given the Gardner Bullis Elementary School site." (page 26)

I’ve attached the Court’s ruling for those who would like to read through it. There is also an excellent article posted on the Town Crier’s website.
Pretty much the entire ruling was in favor of the district, save for a small point about share space. I’m not exactly surprised, though, at the court’s admonishment to the district to work better with the Charter School. The judge observed that we have a responsibility to work well with BCS, and “not adopt a reflexively adversarial position”.

I’m thrilled with the outcome of this suit. From the beginning, I’ve been frustrated with the use of litigation to deal with this issue, and the courts were very clear about their thoughts on this topic as well. “To the extent that [BCS] cannot reconcile themselves to the policy decisions made by elected bodies such as a school district board their energies might be better directed at the ballot box than the courthouse.”

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