Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Following the Rules

On Aug 31st, the District asked Judge Lucas to instruct BCS that the current 2012-13 facilities could not be judged under the 2009-10 lawsuit.  BCS board chair Ken Moore sent a letter to BCS parents shortly after the ruling, providing BCS parents with his view of the process.

In his letter, Mr. Moore accuses LASD of needless delays, saying "Rather than seeking a quick resolution on this question, the District argued that procedurally BCS should instead file a new lawsuit (which will cost both sides more and likely take longer to reach a conclusion)".

I find this characterization to be distinctly out of touch with reality.  LASD was clear in our February 2012 court filings that if they chose to litigate this new offer, they would need to file a new lawsuit.  As we progressed through the facilities process, we stressed to them in both formal and informal communications that this offer is separate and distinct from the 2009-10 offer, and they should not try to cram a 2012-13 suit into the 2009-10 ruling.  Still, they persisted.

This wasn't an accident on their part- it was a specific, calculated move.  In trying to tie the current offer to the 2009-10 offer, they were trying to taint the judge's view of the 12-13 offer.  This isn't a mere question of perception.  If they judge reviews 2012-13 under the old case, the District will be prevented from presenting much of the evidence that would show this new offer to be compliant, and the courts would be less deferential to the role of the LASD Trustees as elected officials.  BCS knew this, which is why they pushed the judge to retain jurisdiction back in March 2012.

I remain hopeful that Judge Lucas will determine that the case requires a full and fair hearing.  The circumstances of 2012-13 remain significantly different from the facts surrounding 2009-10.  There are more students (both at BCS and in LASD), and we have allocated significantly more space to BCS than ever before (11 acres in the 2012-13 offer).  How BCS ever hopes to cram this through as a copy of the 2009-10 offer is beyond me.

LASD has gone to great lengths to ensure that this offer is fully compliant with the prop 39 requirements.  The primary fault cited by the Court of Appeals was that the District failed to consider all space when we calculated the 2009-10 offer.  In the 2012-13 offer, we have, indeed, considered all space.  The new offer is far more comprehensive (200+ pages!) and we have worked exceptionally hard to ensure it not only considers all space, but allocates that space fairly amongst all in-district students.  While BCS might prefer some version of quick-draw justice, the facts of the case have changed.  Justice is best served when all of the facts are considered.  No one is more interested than the LASD Board of Trustees in a swift review of all the relevant facts, because we are confident that such a review will find that we are fully compliant with the law.  What we won't do, though, is blindly defer to BCS' view of the appropriate standard of judicial review.