Sunday, November 10, 2013

2014-15 BCS Facilities Process

 I wrote recently about the activities of BCS, but I neglected to mention that we have received their facilities request for 2014-15.  Once again they have asked that the District close Covington as a district school and give that space to BCS.  We will be discussing their request at the Board meeting this Tuesday evening, Nov 12th.

I will be encouraging the board to continue to conduct very open, public discussions about the facilities options.  We need to have a robust debate, with all views represented.  We've heard from the BCS board what they want.  I'll be interested to hear from BCS parents (do they prefer that we close a district school, or do they think there is a better option?)  I'll also want to hear from LASD parents- are they willing to close a district school for the sake of peace in our community, or is that too high a price to pay?

This weekend someone said to me that their circle of friends felt like the trustees always "figure it out in the end", and that there won't be a school closure.  I want to emphasize to folks that every year is a new and distinct process.  Each year we start with a clean slate, and evaluate the request with an open view to how to address it.  We have already argued this in court- that the annual requests are distinct from one another, and that as facts change, we will need  to debate them anew.  And so, I look forward to hearing from people about how they think we should proceed.

The facilities timeline and docs are below:

Nov 1
BCS submits request for facilities, incl. enrollment forecast and preferred location.
Dec 1
LASD provides counter-projection to enrollment
Jan 1
BCS responds to counter-projection
Feb 1
LASD provides preliminary facilities offer (draft)
Mar 1
BCS responds to draft offer
April 1
LASD provides final facilities offer
July 1
LASD adjusts classroom space based on final district budget for upcoming school year
(Note:  This is a negotiated step, not part of the Prop 39 process.)
(This agreement has expired, so I don’t anticipate making this adjustment this year.)

I look forward to hearing from you at the next Board meeting.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BCS - new lawsuit, other items

It often feels like our time is consumed by the BCS issue.  I'm so pleased that our staff is able to focus heavily on our students, and I try to write about that work as much as I can.  While BCS continues to consume a great deal of Board time, we are doing some fantastic things in the classroom.  However, I do still want to keep people posted on what's going on with BCS, and it's time for an update.

The Long Term negotiating teams did meet last night, and also on Oct 30.  Some progress has been made, but there remain some significant "sticking points".  I cannot yet predict whether these discussions will bear fruit.  We will continue to take video and post them to the District website for those who are interested in watching the sessions. 

All of the video can be found here

FO/FUA Violations
Next week at the Board meeting, we will be holding a public hearing on how to address the BCS violations of the terms of the Final Offer, and the Facilities Use Agreement that they signed.  One BCS Board member has been quoted in the MV Voice as saying that they have not violated the terms of the agreement, and BCS Board Chair Ken Moore has accused the district of "inventing its own alternate reality".  We have had BCS parents speaking in open session of our board meeting, admitting to BCS actions in violation of the FO/FUA and substantial evidence from the community and staff of the numerous violations.  The Courts have already ruled that the conditions we imposed were legal, so the only question remaining is what we should do about it.  I will be very interested to see if BCS has any light they can shed on this, but I don't think the District are the ones not inhabiting reality.

Here is the notification we sent to them for the hearing
and the recent MV Voice Article
and the Town Crier Article

New Lawsuit
Finally, we received service today of another lawsuit from BCS.  (we receive notice it was coming on Nov 1, along with the facilities request for next year).  Once again they are using CEQA to challenge District actions.  I find this an odd disconnect.  In the negotiations, BCS Board members have told us that we have the ability to essentially ignore CEQA and do whatever we want.  In these lawsuits, though, they allege that we haven't followed it properly.  That's a very strange set of positions to take.  This latest lawsuit from BCS challenges the placement of a portable on the Egan campus, in space not used by BCS.  That building is used to conduct classes for special needs students.  I don't think I could conceive of a n action from BCS that would paint them in a less flattering light.  Start with a law BCS is currently violating, a law which they claim the district has the power to ignore.  Use that law to attack services we provide for a group of students that not only need additional services, but are part of a legally protected group (special needs).   Top that off with community allegations that BCS doesn't serve that same group of students.

I can't imagine what their highly paid PR firm must think of all of this, but I sure wouldn't want to have to explain it to the public if I were in their shoes.  (cue the music to mission:Impossible)

Here is the paperwork for the lawsuit
Bullis Summons
Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate (the actual lawsuit)
Notice of Election to Prepare the Administrative Record
Notice of Related Case  (asks the court to join this lawsuit with the existing CEQA lawsuit)
Civil Case Cover Sheet
Notice to the Attorney General
Proof of Service