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San Carlos Schools March 19, 2009

San Carlos School Enrollment and Budget on a Collision Course…

by Chuck Gillooley

money-school

Budget Falls, Enrollment Rises.

That’s the message that came from the San Carlos Elementary School District last night.  While residents of San Carlos are keenly aware of the budget shortfall that the San Carlos School District is facing, it was probably not comforting news to hear that kindergarten enrollment for the upcoming school year turned out to be nearly 20% greater than expected.

This news will be particularly troubling for residents living within the White Oaks Elementary School boundary, who seem to battle with enrollment capacity issues and waiting lists every year.  This year White Oaks School saw the biggest number of kindergarten sign-ups at 130, yet it only has capacity to handle 80 students in this grade.    A big source of anxiety for White Oaks School parents just got a little bigger.

Solutions.

The School District is considering several short-term and long term options to resolve the enrollment issue.  Near-term, increasing the class sizes to 22 students from 20 is being considered, along with possibly adding portable classrooms.   According to the District, bumping class sizes up by 10% may eliminate the need for adding portable classrooms, but more study is needed.   Longer term solutions include possibly re-zoning the San Carlos School District to load-balance the enrollment, mostly for White Oaks and Arundel Schools which seem to experience the most problems with capacity.

The Dilemma.

The task at hand for the District is to figure out how to do more with less.   Rest assured it won’t get the money it needs  from the State of California.  Local initiatives such as the efforts of the San Carlos Educational Foundation and the passage of Measure B in San Carlos will be leaned on heavily to avert what is looking to be a collision course in San Carlos Schools.

Heather Murtagh of the The Daily Journal has a great summary of the board meeting in this article.

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