Two official documents from the Sequoia Union High School District -- a cover letter and an offer of facilities -- were e-mailed to Everest (charter) Public High School on April 1 without a key clause, approved by the board the night before, offering to discuss with Everest alternatives to moving the school's 200 freshmen and sophomores to a collection of classrooms on the campus of Woodside High School for the 2010-11 school year.
In an e-mail sent today (April 2) to The Almanac by board member Chris Thomsen, Mr. Thomsen reports that Mr. Lianides told him that "the sentences about our 'openness to alternatives' was included in the cover letter of the documents mailed by US post to (Everest)."
Mr. Thomsen's e-mail did not include the exact language of the offer to discuss alternatives.
Mr. Lianides goes on to say, according to Mr. Thomsen's e-mail, that he expects the mailed package to be delivered to Everest today or Saturday, April 3.
Everest is supposed to have a 14-day window, agreed to by the board on a unanimous vote on March 31, to propose an alternative to locating on the Woodside campus.
Everest, located in an otherwise empty office building in Redwood City, rejected on March 1 the Sequoia board's initial offer for a Woodside High site and has until May 1 to formally respond to a revised offer dated April 1.
The clause making the offer for further discussion, which was debated at some length by the board before its eventual approval, was missing from a set of documents e-mailed by Assistant Superintendent James Lianides to Everest co-founder and chief negotiator Diane Tavenner.
In interviews, Mr. Thomsen, who proposed adding the clause, and board President Olivia Martinez, who argued in support of its inclusion, sounded puzzled as to why the clause was not included in the e-mailed package.
That both e-mailed documents had been edited is not in question. In a copy of the package obtained by The Almanac, the cover letter and the agreement include other changes asked for by the board at its March 31 meeting.
Calls to Mr. Lianides' office have not been returned, nor has a call to Superintendent Patrick Gemma's cell phone. The district is on spring break and the district office is closed.
Everest, in its first year of operation, has long sought classrooms on the campus of Sequoia High School in Redwood City because of its central location and because Everest draws a substantial number of students from the city.
The district has repeatedly rejected this request, claiming that such an accommodation would hurt Sequoia High's program for students learning English. The offer to discuss an alternative to moving the school to Woodside High might include the possibility of the Sequoia district paying Everest's rent at its current location.
Everest is entitled to facilities because the Sequoia district, in its last three bond campaigns to raise money for capital improvements, employed a provision that allowed passage with less than the two-thirds majority normally required for tax increases.