Los Altos parents outraged over agreement to move junior high for charter school

More than 100 parents and students packed a Los Altos School Board meeting Monday night, upset with a tentative agreement to relocate hundreds of junior high school students to make room for a charter school.

For the first time, parents spoke in front of the Los Altos School Board outraged over a proposed agreement to move their neighborhood junior high school elsewhere so a charter school can move in. 

“I think it's terribly unfair,” said Parent Kelly Sanders. “I don't think it's fair at all. I don't understand how you can just come and take over someone's school.”

Earlier in the day, they protested at Egan Junior High School in Los Altos, home to 650 students. The new agreement- calls for the Egan campus to become solely Bullis Charter School. Currently, the charter school shares space with the junior high.

Egan Junior High School would then be moved to a brand new campus a half mile away at the San Antonio shopping center in Mountain View. 

“I worry about strangers walking onto the campus at any time of day,” said Parent Amber Macdonald. 

Macdonald started a petition against the move. It’s garnered more than 5,000 signatures.

“If they make this decision either pretty immediately or in a few years we would make decisions to move our families out of the district,” said Macdonald. 

District officials said under California’s Proposition 39, the district is required to provide Bullis Charter School with facilities. The agreement sparking debate over the expansion of charter schools in the state.

“There are certain aspects of charter school law as it's written right now that really binds school districts that don't give them a whole range of choices,” said Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeffrey Baier. 

At Bullis Charter School’s board meeting Monday night, a less sizeable crowd voiced support on the new agreement that would span 10 years. The charter school's enrollment capped at 1,111 students. 

“It truly is a compromise,” said Parent Jill Jene. “There's not a miracle solution. If there was, we would have had it many years ago.”

“Move forward, the time for standing still and not coming to an agreement is over,” said Parent Gerri Boch. 

Monday’s meeting is the first of many. The school board expected to make a final decision on April 29 with the junior high students possibly moving into the new campus fall of 2023.