Friday, April 11, 2014

Bullis Charter School is not the same as Gardner Bullis Elementary

Although both are physically in the city of Los Altos and have similar names, Bullis Charter School is not the same as Gardner Bullis Elementary.  The two schools get confused with each other, but are very different. 

To explain, knowing the history is helpful.  Back when the Los Altos School District Board decided on February 10, 2003 to temporarily close down the original elementary school which served much of Los Altos Hills (Bullis-Purissima Elementary), a group of affected residents sprung to action and started Bullis Charter School (BCS) to fill the void.  Even though BCS is physically located in the city of Los Altos (in the portable classrooms on a campus shared by Egan Junior High School), BCS is chartered by the County of Santa Clara.  BCS operates independently of the Los Altos School District (LASD). 

Although BCS is technically a public school, keep in mind BCS is not a typical public school.  It is a charter school.  You are strongly encouraged to donate $5,000 per year per student.  For that, you get some aspects of school that you might typically get in a private school.  You get "Focused Learning Goals", full-time teaching specialists in the arts and sciences, a Mandarin language program, and optional after-school activities.  You need to enter a lottery to get in.    Originally, the majority of the students for BCS came from the neighborhoods in the attendance area of the school that was temporarily closed.  However, now only approximately 25% of the students at BCS are from that attendance area. 

Anyone in the state of California can submit an application to attend BCS.  Enrollment preference, authorized by the Santa Clara County Office of Education, are as follows:

If a random drawing is necessary, SCCOE authorized enrollment preferences are applied based on the following hierarchy within each grade level:

1.Siblings of current BCS students who reside within the Los Altos School District (LASD) have first preference.
2.50% of the available openings for students residing in the former Bullis-Purissima School attendance area as defined by LASD in 2003 have the next priority.
3.Other LASD students have the next priority.
4.Siblings of current BCS students who reside out-of-district are given priority after that.
5.Out-of-district students without BCS siblings receive the final priority.

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