Wednesday, January 13, 2010

BCS Update

Most folks aren't aware of the interactions that happen between the district and BCS. Just to give some visibility to that process:

By Nov 1, BCS provides a request for facilities

By Dec 1, the district may object to the attendence projections in the request if we desire

By Feb 1, the District must provide a "preliminary offer", which is a first draft of what they might receive. This draft is subject to change.

By March 1, BCS needs to respond to the offer with any concerns, requests, etc.

By April 1, We must provide a "Final Offer of Facilities."

You can think of the facilities offer as a very detailed contract. It calls out the physical location (such as the Egan camp site), and it specifies boundaries (eg: the edge of the soccer field). It also includes all of the other things we provide, such as the classroom buildings, bathrooms, office and "non-instructional space", playground equipment, desks, chairs, etc. It is literally an itemized accounting of what we'll deliver, down to an excruciating level of detail.

As you can tell from the calendar, the District is in the process of defining our preliminary facilities offer. There's a lot of work that goes into this, and we can't just "cut and paste" last year's offer. We look at a number of factors including the type and size of the program they are offering, their long range plans, and what is "reasonably equivalent" for the in-district students.

Histoically there has been too much litigation over this, and I'm hoping to change that going forward. Prop 39 specifics some minimum behaviors, but there's nothing to say we can't do better as a community. For example, we could enter into a multi-year facilities agreement, so that this isn't an annual process. Likewise, we could engage in meetings to discuss the requests, which might facilitate the requests better than sending paperwork back and forth. Time will tell if we're willing to engage in these types of constructive steps to improve this process.

I have spent a fair bit of time with BCS recently. I've attended 3 of their recruiting events to get a better sense of their program. I recently took a tour of the facilities with Wanny Hersey, their principal, and Katia Karamangar, one of their Board members. They were kind enough to take me around and show me not only the physical facilities, but explain how they use it. It was a very constructive discussion. Hopefully we can engage in a meaningful discussion with the BCS board about their facilities request and develop a proposal that is fair to all concerned parties.

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