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Original post made
on Jan 30, 2010
Wow. I can't wait to see what this mysterious, top-secret one-year offer will look like! Is this "Christmas in February" or last-minute posturing before going to court?
I don't get it. This offer was talked about during a public school board meeting, but information about it wasn't made available in advance to Everest when it was requested? How can that be legal? According to my reading of the Brown Act, it's not. How can these guys get away with this kind of crap? And we're supposed to think they're acting in good faith?
So let me understand, the board is making what it believes is a good offer, yet they aren't comfortable letting Everest see it in advance? Doesn't sound like a cooperative approach or one demonstrating good faith.
Imagine that the board offers space for a year and agrees to cover Everest's lease in return for dropping the suit. It allows everyone to move forward. But it looks like SUHSD is always looking to see what it can get away with or how to make things tougher for the charter schools.
Imagine that SUHSD was cooperating with Summit/Everest about best practices. I read somewhere that San Jose was asking the Summit/Everest group to set up a charter in their district. Are there opportunities for the district to get extra funding with the Race to the Top efforts?
A little gesture would not be difficult but it remains difficult to understand the motivations of SUHSD.
It is my understanding Everest requested to be placed on one of SUHSD comprehensive campuses and asked for full use of the facilities. It seems like that is what SUHSD offer them.
Except that the SUHSD refused that request and Everest was forced to make other arrangements.
No one should be surprised if the charter school doesn't leap at the district's new offer. The management of the SUHSD is shameless.
If "Stan" were on the Board of Everest. I wonder if he would recommend that they give up their centrally located and well equipped leased facility "for a one year stint at Woodside High". Any thought as to what happens after one year at Woodside (during which the pending lawsuit is settled), Stan? Maybe a new offer at another SUHSD? Or maybe an empty crime scene lot with some portable classrooms?
Charter schools like Summit and Everest are here to stay because they produce results for almost all of their lottery-selected students. SUHSD meets the needs of Mr. Gemma & Co. and perhaps 20% of the students.
These facts are about to be uncovered in spite of SUHSD's shameful distortions.
I have read that Bill Gates appeared at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this month promoting a new documentary, "Waiting For Superman". The film investigates the dysfunctional United States public education system and will be distributed world-wide this Fall.
Apparently, our own SUHSD is featured as a model of dysfunction.
It will be interesting to see how Mr. Gemma spins this one.
I'd like to keep an open mind, but this vague announcement reeks of the Shuffle Game SUHSD has run before. Maybe Trustee Thomsen can shed some light on this? A win-win would be very nice to have here. But truthfully, the present Everest campus is very nice and very accessible. I thought Woodside was one of the schools that is over-enrolled? That is why Sequoia was identified as the most likely campus to be able to accommodate the Charter school short-term.
I would say that this point, forget about the short-term one-year solution and start working on the long-term solution that is legally compliant. That is where your energy should be focussed.
SUHSD you have to earn our trust. What we have not seen is any sincere overture on the part of the District to mend bridges with Summit/Everest. Both schools will have waiting lists next year and beyond.
If the feeder schools into the Sequoia District will be feeling the pains of increased enrollment in the next few years, then certainly the Sequoia District, despite new buildings on all of its campuses, will also soon be sorely missing the schools that it sold off decades ago(San Carlos and Ravenswood). It's almost a blessing that the charter schools have come into being to relieve the increased enrollment that will soon occur. There is no room on the campuses. Or even if there now is, it will be short term.
Kudos to the Las Lomitas school district for finding a way to keep their old campuses available should they be needed.
I am sure that they could not show Everest personnel the offer because it needed to be first approved by the Board and made public that way. There are proper procedural rules to follow in these situations. Everest is no exception to the rule no matter what you think!
You may be sure... but you are wrong.
Government bodies can share offers, counteroffers and offers of settlement with adversaries prior to a public disclosure. It's a specific carve out of the Brown Act.
The district's failure to provide this courtesy to Everest is just another example of tin-eared management, poor legal advice or more likely, both.
Speaking of sharing confidential information, recall that prior to the SUHSD election that everest scrambled to get data and provided it to SUHSD only to have Trustee Gibson abuse it and use it against the school. I agree with Everest parent that it would be nice for the district to make a few, even small, goodwill gestures and unwind some of the acrimony. The fact that it didn't happen certainly raises suspicions about any offer. I hope to be wrong as it is certainly wasteful for both SUHSD and Everest to be in a fight about this. Perhaps Trustee Thompsen can help here.
From the articles I have read about this offer, the Woodside admin were not informed about the offer until the day before the board meeting. Sounds like SUHSD needed to finish the offer before presenting it to Everest.
I am all for alternatives, but everyone makes it sound so easy to produce facilities over night. Two new schools within a decade with the expectation to materialize facilities that are equal to campuses that took anywhere from 50--100+ years to establish? At the same time, the SUHSD also faces budget shortages and is responsible for 8,000 other students.
Look, bravo to Summit and Everest, but there is the law and then there are realities.
Good luck to all the teachers out there, no matter where you work!
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