Thursday, January 31, 2013

BCS Preliminary Facilities Offer

(Note: This letter went to all LASD parents and those who subscribe to our email list.  It includes a letter I sent to Ken Moore regarding the facilities offer that the District will deliver this week.)

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members-

Last night at a Special Board Meeting, the LASD Board of Trustees instructed staff to deliver a preliminary facilities offer to BCS for the 2013-14 school year. The Prop 39 process provides for the District to make the preliminary offer, for BCS to respond with objections by March 1, and for the District to provide a final offer by April 1. This is the same process we follow every year.

Prop 39 requires the District Trustees to balance the needs of all students. Our offer to BCS this year proposes that their K-5 students be located at Egan, and their 6-8 students would be at Blach. In practical terms BCS would have about 40% of the students on the Egan campus, and about 40% of the land. Similarly, they would have about 20% of the students at Blach, and 20% of the land. However, Blach will also be impacted further because we are required to provide specialized teaching space to Jr High students. Principal Sandra McGonagle and her staff have worked with the administration to rework the Blach schedule to ensure reasonably equivalent access to the Specialized Teaching Space for BCS students while trying to minimize the impact on our own students. We have asked Principal McGonagle to reach out to BCS Principal Wanny Hersey to have a tactical discussion to review the sharing arrangements as proposed in the offer. We will consider that feedback as part of the final offer we present on April 1.

BCS held a PR event last week where they announced their willingness to accept a split between Egan and Blach. We are pleased that they are demonstrating an understanding of the need to balance the needs of all students. They have also acknowledged our requirement that all board-level discussions of the facilities offer be held in public, so that the community can observe the process. The LASD Board remains committed to transparency of this process, as we have done throughout the year. They also requested a whole series of Board-level meetings to discuss the offer. At this time, the LASD Board is planning to hold a Special Meeting on Feb 25th, and we may consider a further meeting in March.

The District cannot afford to spend as much time as BCS requests in meetings since we already are spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with the multiple lawsuits brought by BCS. BCS continues to litigate every issue and sub-issue within the 2012-13 offer, despite having lost every action they've brought in the past year. The courts have consistently recognized that the LASD Board is properly balancing the needs of all students. There are only so many hours in the day. LASD runs one of the leanest administrations in California. We rightly focus our resources in the classroom where they belong. In order to prepare the Prop 39 offer, we already divert tremendous resources to analyze possible scenarios and weigh the impacts. Couple that with the need to perform basic functions to continue to run a district that educates 4,500 students, and there simply isn't any additional time in the week to add another series of meetings. Said another way, we are already meeting with BCS several times per week to discuss facilities issues. It is unfortunate that BCS has decided that those meetings should be managed by the attorneys and held within the framework of the judicial process. I continue to call upon BCS to put a freeze on the litigation so that the hundreds of hours we spend each week on BCS issues can be spent more constructively engaged in a more respectful, solutions based dialogue.

I look forward to your continued input at the Board meetings.

Best Wishes,


(Link to the attached letter that I sent to Ken Moore)          

Update @ 10pm.  Someone contacted me and asked me to publish Ken's letter, to which this responds.  Here is the letter and here is the presentation they used at their PR event.