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Everest drops suit against high school district

Original post made on May 6, 2010

The court battle is over and maybe the conflict is, too. The Sequoia Union High School District and Everest (charter) Public High School have settled on plans to locate the school in Redwood City, according to a district press release issued May 5.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 6, 2010, 12:06 AM

Comments (26)

Posted by Simple Simon
a resident of Oak Knoll School
on May 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

Yes, finally some good news about working together in the interest of the students. Big thanks to Trustee Martinez for understanding the true purpose of their charter - this is a solution that is in the best interest of the students.

The 4th Ave location is still centrally located in the District, accessible by public transit and provides enough space to grow. Also, it utilizes property already owned by the District that is in need of development and eliminates the lawsuit that was in no-ones best interest.

Thank you to all parties.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

A good result and I'm very happy for Everest and Summit. It's important to have a permanent location.

But Trustees - this was ALL SO UNNECESSARY. Think of the incredible legal expense (and you're SO lucky the charter let you off without having to pay their legal bill...) and wasted time. You did the same thing before and had the same result! Now you're going to pay for Everest anyway and put them in the best building in your entire system.

With Trustees and Superintendents like this, is it any wonder their students have a hard time learning?

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 6, 2010 at 9:09 am

Awesome. Some collaboration in the interest of all. Kudos to both Summit and the district. Let's work for the kids!

Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on May 6, 2010 at 10:55 am

cautiously optimistic: devil is always in the details and in the execution.

but the tone of working together for the children's success is a refreshing change.

Posted by Everest Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 6, 2010 at 11:35 am

Hurray for the School District, congrats to Everest faculty, staff and students! My daughter is finishing up her first year at Everest, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the education she is receiving. It definitely is a day to celebrate! Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Sequoia School District :D

Posted by Realistically now
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Here's an idea... how about you all stop complaining and just have your kids go to the high schools paid for already by the community. Come on! Charter high schools are just taking money away from the kids in the five district high schools who are already strapped for cash.

The high schools are great in our area... why cause more problems. If you want a "private" high school, then pay for the space and everything yourself.

Posted by Realistically huh?
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Realistically now....Let's get realistic about charter schools. They are not "private". They offer a valuable service to the community and to the taxpayers who have the option to choose a different educational model that suits their students needs better. Please don't decide which high schools are "great" for all taxpaying families in the district. You don't know them all. The district high schools are great for some students - others are served better by a different educational model. Hence - charter schools. If there wasn't a need and demand, charter high schools wouldn't succeed. If anyone is complaining, it seems to be you.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Realistically now -

Your comment is so ill informed that it barely merits a response... except to say that you may wish to read other threads on this web site and learn a bit about charter school funding before you offer advice. As someone said earlier today on this very web site, "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Read a little and learn a lot.

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Realistically now,
I didn't see complaining from posters, nor from the folks at Summit or SUHSD. I was pleased to see what looks like an agreement resulting from dialogue between two parties with serious philosophical differences. I see that as a positive and getting the legal drag out of the way can only help making sure the focu is on education, by whatever model in whatever location. My take on this is that the district appears to have changed its approach and at least for the next few years come up (in a manner agreeable to Summit and Everest) with a plan that allows the charters some stability (meaning they can focus on education rather than battle with the district). We'll see how charter performance is and what the perceived need is over time, but keep in mind that charter schools ARE public schools. They are open by lottery and if you look at the location of Summit and Everest, not located in the choiced areas. As one who is typically quite critical of the district's behavior toward the charters (I believe some of the past behavior could be seen to be sabotaging the charters), I am hopeful that with some Board turnover and perhaps with a new Superintendent, the educational leadership can stop fighting and work together. Time will tell, but I, and I think many posters on this thread, see this as a win-win. Based on what the Summit and the district are saying publicly, there appears to be more cooperation than I've ever seen and I don't see how that can be anything but positive for ALL people in the district concerned about educating our children.

Posted by former M-A parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Great, money being given to Everest that could have been used for the kids going to the regular public schools. Some of that is my tax money! But I guess the District had to do it since these people just wouldn't stop with their lawsuits, etc.

Posted by phillipclayton
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm


The kids that attend these schools (Summit and Everest) are being supported by your tax dollars whether they go to one of the 4 district high schools or one of the charter schools. Its a wash. And it seems that Summit is getting great results for the kids. So, what's the beef? Aren't we all for choice? I say good on Summit and the Sequoia School District for getting it together and making it happen. Look out for the students rather than the bureaucracies.

Posted by collaboration
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda
on May 6, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Collaboration ! How refreshing ! Let's recognize that all kids have different learning styles and needs ... let's be open to serving ALL our community. I really hope 'anti' summit folks will literally DO THE MATH. Please look into the EXACT financials. It really is a win-win.

Posted by Everest parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on May 6, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Former Ma parent. Really? I pay taxes too. My kid is happy.

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 7, 2010 at 11:02 am

Former M-A Parent,

What's your beef? You are happy with your tax dollars going to M-A, but not to Everest? The money follows students so if I'm a charter parent, my money goes to the comprehensive high schools. As a tax payer, part of my money goes to support athletics and arts (performing centers at M-A and Woodside anyone?) whether my child is an athlete or a performer. If the charters are providing something the regular comprehensive schools are not (and the demand to attend Summit and Everest would argue that there is demand), then why shouldn't the money follow the students. This is not money that would have gone to "regular" schools anyway so stop with the lie that charters are "taking away" from the regular schools. The charters are getting money as do the comprehensive schools based on number of students. It's just that the charters have more flexibility in how they can run their schools. If they are not successful in the mission to get their students prepared for college, then that will show up over time. TO date, it would appear that they have been successful for their students. How can that be anything but a positive for the district? Note that this is what the disctirc agreed to as part of a dialogue. Why is that not good news?

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 7, 2010 at 11:29 am

Former M-A Parent -

It may be useful to think about the money issue this way: if you moved from Menlo Park to Belmont, wouldn't you want your child's funding to follow them from M-A to Carlmont? Or would you rather your kid's funds stay at M-A? Would Carlmont be "stealing" this money from M-A?

Students who transfer to Everest and Summit are no different.

Also, if half the students left Sequoia High, wouldn't you expect that school's funding to be cut in half also? Or should those funds "stay" with the school also?

As has been repeated many times on this board, funding doesn't "belong" to the school, it stays with the student.

Posted by former M-A parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Yes, if I had a choice, I would want my taxpayer money to support the normal public schools. I don't want money taken away from the normal public school programs for facilities for charter schools like Everest. I am sure that money could have been used for another program or for teachers at M-A, for example, if the Everest kids had gone there. Also you are ignoring the way that Basic Aid schools work. Money is being lost when a kid does not go to the SUHSD but instead to a charter school.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 7, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Dear former M-A parent:

Apparently, you don't see charter schools as legitimate enterprises. Am I right?

Please consider whether that is your position, because you're not making sense when you talk about how your tax money is being spent.

The state links the money with the kids. That was true before charter schools and is true today. It is not revenue limit, but it is nevertheless the case. Total revenue divided number of students yields an amount of money per student.

In a district like this one, the money that does go to a charter school is significantly less than that amount, so the district GETS TO KEEP THE EXCESS AND SPEND IT AS IT PLEASES ON THE TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS.

The charter schools make MORE MONEY available for traditional programs. They don't take it away, they add to it because there are fewer kids to educate.

If your opposition is to charter schools as a concept, then you resent their very existence. In that case, your complaint is with the legislature, who passed laws opening the door for charter schools in 1992. The legislature has not revisited that decision.

Do you resent competition? Not to put too fine a point on it, but are you, therefore, a fan of socialism? Socialists don't like competition either. Competition is the American Way. The schools will be -- have become, in Sequoia's case -- better for it.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Former M-A Parent:

I am well aware of how Basic Aid (and Revenue Limit for that matter) districts work, thank you.

But I guessed you missed the point entirely that funding stays with the student. You may WISH that transferring students stay in comprehensives, but they don't. They move, they quit and transfer all the time. And, with specific regard to charter schools, they are certainly voting with their feet. I understand one-fourth of the District's entering freshmen entered the charter's lottery selection process. Those charters must be doing something right for families to want in.

You also implied that charter schools cost more. Don't believe me - even the Sequoia Union High School District, who had been leading the charge against charters, has admitted that charter schools spend LESS money per student than their comprehensive schools do.

Posted by Concerned Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on May 10, 2010 at 10:37 am

Former M-A Parent,
If I quote from your prior post:
"Yes, if I had a choice, I would want my taxpayer money to support the normal public schools. "
You should be quite pleased because charter schools are in fact "normal public schools". I suspect you mean comprehensive high schools, but you appear more entrenched in a "Charter schools are bad" mentality than being open to looking at facts. Nonetheless, let's try again....
Within Woodside High School (and Sequoia as well) there are smaller units called academies. Sequoia for example has their International Bacheloreate Program and EA Academy. These smaller programs within the larger schools allow for some students to get a bit more attention and specialize. The programs are not large enough for everyone to be in them, likely draw funds from some of the routine classes (this is just the nature of a large institution having more offerings, it incurs some incremental expense and loss of economy of scale), hence by your description are "taking away" from the rest of the students. The same thing applies to money spent on athletics, performing arts, etc. As a society, having more choices costs something, but presumably overall we benefit as there are some students who will excel at sports and the arts ro from the smaller program. If you imagine that the charters are like satellite facilities to try something different and at a lower per student cost, what is the problem? If the result is that in general the results are better, that is good for the district. If the results are not, then parents will not enroll their kids. Pretty simple, huh?
Again, what's your beef. If you really want every parent to say exactly how thier educational dollars are spent, then perhaps you are a fan of school vouchers? I'd guess not, but that is the logical extension of your complaining.

Posted by A Parent
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I'm sorry not to blithely follow along with the Everest and Summit parents falling all over themselves congratulating themselves for their achievement. The fundamental truth is that Summit was founded by parents from Portola Valley, Atherton, Hillsborough, Woodside and Menlo Park who didn't want their children to attend high school with "those kids." It is almost comical to watch these otherwise politically liberal parents working very hard to justify the white flight that these 2 charter schools represent.

And environment with entirely self-selected students is not different than a private school, only the taxpayers foot the bill. The same teachers and administration could not achieve the same results with the full cross-section of SUHSD students.

But, by all means, go ahead and continue to pat yourselves on the back while simultaneously undermining public education by creating "separate but equal" educational settings.

Posted by Diana
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jun 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Excuse me, A Parent, but how on Earth can you possibly arrive at "entirely self-selected students" when enrollment is by lottery? Perhaps you should do some homework before sharing your "facts."

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm

A parent -

What a shameful, false post. You are TOTALLY uninformed of the demographics of these two charter schools. Everest and Summit are actually a bit MORE diverse (ie, more minorities, more students on the free lunch program, etc.) than the rest of the SUHSD comprehensives.

Perhaps you might take a few minutes and drive by these schools in the morning or afternoon to witness all that "white flight" for yourself. Or perhaps you should at least visit the school's web sites and check this stuff out before you repeat falsehoods. I know, making an outrageous, hurtful post is much easier.

The only things these charters are guilty of is innovation and success.

Posted by Bobbi
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

What are you afraid of? A more competitive and efficient educational system? Pathetic! I hope we have ALOT MORE Everests and Summits are created in every district and ALOT LESS administrative infrastructure that is bloated, ineffective and looking after their own behinds rather than our children's futures!!! If lawsuits need to "persuade" school districts to focus on that, than so be it. I hate frivolous litigation but honestly, what is more important than developing our kids to succeed in this increasingly competitive world.

Posted by Equality
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Oct 19, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Until each of these charter schools is willing to take their share of learning and physically disabled students. they are not doing the same thing SUHSD does. They have an advantage in that they take the "easy" kids. The kids whose parents elected (read: were well informed enough) to enter the lottery (or were founders as is the case for several Summit Academy students who got to bypass the lottery)

So, this is an un-even competitive environment where M-A, Sequoia, Woodside, etc. must carry this "burden" and compete with light and easy.

So as long as they get ANY state money they should have to take their FAIR share of the students they DON'T want.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Exactly what are the percentages of "learning and physically disabled" kids at M-A and Woodside High?

Special education happens at Summit and Everest, and it happens at all levels but the most severe. Special education kids can win the lottery just like anybody else.

As for parents being informed, why is it that the Sequoia district restricts getting the word out about the charter schools in middle school info visits by district officials?

Where are Everest and Summit Prep on the Sequoia district website and other avenues of communication?

Why aren't the traditional schools beating the drum for all parents -- all of them -- to get involved? What's holding the schools back? Why are they officials no for an answer?

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 19, 2010 at 3:51 pm

You know, Equality, you make an excellent point and it only reinforces the idea that parental involvement is such an important factor.

But charters have "a charter" and they are permitted, by law, to have a specific focus. As such, perhaps someone should start a charter school for these highly challenged children you referenced. Wouldn't that be an interesting development!

I would love to see a charter school focused on students who don't want to go to college, on students who want to pursue vocational careers, and on students who want to pursue the arts.

Why not?

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