San Carlos Real Estate Agent, San Carlos Realtor San Carlos School District set to change school boundaries. | The White Oaks Blog
San Carlos Schools July 8, 2009

San Carlos School District set to change school boundaries.

by Chuck Gillooley

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Time to Re-Draw the Boundaries

The fact that certain schools in the San Carlos School District are over-enrolled isn’t news.   It seems that every year either White Oaks, Brittan Acres or Arundel is dealing with an influx of new students that’s near their respective capacities, or they’ve had to resort to creating the dreaded “wait list.”   Up until this past year though, the San Carlos School District has been able to work their magic ultimately get everyone into their school of choice.    They’ve done a phenomenal job making it happen every year.  But this year, their magic was no match for sheer numbers…

The White Oaks Effect

Because of this chronic enrollment problem, the topic of re-zoning the school boundaries has been discussed amongst the Board Members for well over a year, according to Trustee Seth Rosenblatt.    However, the events that transpired at White Oaks School at the beginning of this year really brought the issue to the forefront, and a definitive plan is being put into place right now on how and when to implement the new boundaries.

If things go as planned, the new zones will finalized in the fall of this year, which would then be implemented with Kindergarten enrollment in the Spring of 2010 — for the 2010-11 school year.

Want to Learn More?

This topic is one of several that will discussed at the next School Board meeting, which just happens to be tomorrow night (Thursday).  Here are the meeting details:



Board Meeting Workshop
Open Session

Thurday July 09, 2009 07:00 PM
District Conference Room
826 Chestnut Street, San Carlos, CA 94070

Here’s the agenda for this Thursday’s meeting: San Carlos ESD Agenda.

As with every discussion regarding schools in San Carlos, this one should be very interesting.  I imagine there will be some resistance to change, as some residents won’t want their home changed to a new school district.  There’s absolutely a link between the desirability of  neighborhood, and its respective school district, so I don’t expect some residents to give this one up too easily.
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Comments 33
  • Thanks for the update; I’ve been checking the blogs & websites over the past few months to find out when this discussion would kick off. One clarifying question – it says ‘redraw the boundaries’, then it says in the text provided by the school board “…as some residents won’t want their home changed to a new school district. ” Is there talk of changing some streets to the Clifford school, or is it just a redrawing within San Carlos School District?

    Thanks
    karen

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    • Hi Karen,

      I think a quick clarification on my part is in order… First, the School Board has actually been discussing this for over a year, as they saw the inevitability of situation. I think the White Oaks issue this year brought it in focus for everyone. Second, In the post I wrote “changed to a new school district” what I meant was re-zoning a neighborhood for a different school within the San Carlos School District — not expanding the Clifford School boundaries to take in more San Carlos households. A change of that magnitude is outside the sole jurisdiction of the San Carlos School District, and would take the approval of the Redwood City School District as well. From discussions I have had with the board, they’re not considering this.

      I can see that how I wrote this was ambiguous. Sorry for the confusion — I hope this clears it up!

      Chuck

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  • These people are acting like their kids are being bused 45 minutes to a poor performing school.

    I would like them to show us where on their sale contract or deed where it says they have a right to send their kid to White Oaks, or Arundel or whatever their preference is.

    Don’t the schools have a better things to do than entertain the entitled whining of these parents?

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    • Yes, the schools do have better things to do with their time than entertain the “entitled whinings” of White Oak parents who paid a premium for their house, many with the idea that it actually meant they’d be able to walk their children to the neighborhood school.
      But couldn’t it also be said that over the past couple of years the school board didn’t have many other things more important to tackle than the crisis that was so obviously looming and to proactively realign the borders of the schools before they were forced to with this years’ enrollment issue. It’s lovely to see once-friendly neighbors set upon each other over the rights of their kids to attend “their” school.
      Talk about polarizing the whole district because of a lack of board-level organization and inability to understand what an explosive situation it would and did become.

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  • BAMom

    Its your belief that had the district been “proactive” and changed the boundaries in the absence of an “explosive situation”, everyone would have sung Kumbaya and gone along with the new boundaries?

    People would on here saying why cant they just squeeze in a bit more. Its truly a no win for the board. Blaming the school board for the behavior of the spoiled parents is also absurd.

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    • Cranky,
      The roll-out of this plan was awful. The Board sent an undated letter with a map that you can’t read the street names and was divided up by voting precincts. This was sent out on a Wednesday before a 4 day Holiday with a decision planned 2 weeks later on night when the entire Arundel 4th grade will be on an overnight field trip to Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento with their parents who then could “NO WAY” voice their opinions at that Dec. 10 meeting. There was no commuinty outreach to parents or stakeholders, nor true traffic evaluations preformed. Now, how can you say the District is doing a good job at handling this? Now, school is pitted against school and our community is dissatisfied and fighting.

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  • Granted I of course have not met all families impacted by over-enrollment but I have to say that based on those I have met, it is a gross exaggeration to refer to the entire group as “spoiled parents.” On the contrary I’ve heard nothing but (valid) disappointment that: a) the board did not address the issue sooner (if that was even possible based on anticipated enrollment); and b) that the board and individual school(s) process of keeping parents informed was sorely lacking.

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  • Did anyone go to the meeting? Can I find out somewhere what was decided?

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  • I am really curious about what happened at the meeting as well. I keep looking at the San Carlos School Board site, no minutes posted yet.

    Thanks!

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    • Hi Kristin,

      Seth Rosenblatt is one of the Trustees on the School Board. He posted a summary of the meeting on his blog: http://www.rosenblatt.org/

      He discusses the remaining steps, and the timeline for releasing the new plan to the public.

      Hope this helps!

      Chuck

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      • Chuck,

        I wouldn’t advise to look to Seth Rosenblatt for true info and I wish you would stop promoting him! Most of us at Arundel are sick of him for trying to slam this down our throats! This is “his” mission and plan to stop him!

        Now, your site is loosing credibility because you are obviously backing Seth!

        I am asking another friend realtor to start a BLOG that promotes ALL of San Carlos… and not just one little area. It will be going up this week. I will refer my friends to his BLOG instead. He is a well liked guy by ALL in San Carlos.

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        • B,

          You couldn’t be any further off base if you tried. First of all, I don’t “promote” Seth Rosenblatt, or anyone else on this site. I have no affiliation with anyone on the School Board – Seth happens to be the only member of the School Board who takes the time and effort to notify those who write blogs on San Carlos (not just myself) of important events that are coming up that pertain to the San Carlos School District. I simply pass that information along in a neutral fashion — if that’s “promoting” someone in your book, then so be it.

          The purpose of this blog has always been to inform the residents of ALL of San Carlos about events that may be of interest to them — in a NEUTRAL fashion. Perhaps if you actually took time to read the site, you’ll see that I also write articles about downtown businesses, Wheeler Plaza, and the Transit Village… You know, stuff that impacts ALL of San Carlos.

          Good luck with your friend’s blog. Let me know the link when it’s up and running – I’d like to read it too.

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          • I’m sorry, then it’s Seth Rosenblatt that is promoting his mission on “your” BLOG. Why can’t he just use his own? Oh, I know why, because nobody is going to his BLOG and commenting. As of today, only two people (from what I can see)…and one of them is himself.

            Your right, you do write many good articles that encompass all S.C…. it’s just this thread on boundaries where I keep seeing his link and name mentioned as a go to for info.

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          • B,

            I definitely refer people to Seth’s blog, and will continue to do so. When the story first broke about the proposed boundary changes, his site was the only place that had the details — as one WOB reader correctly stated, the information wasn’t even on the School District’s own website! It wasn’t until a couple of days later that it was finally posted. I can’t expect you to know all of this, but Seth really went out his way to make sure the info got out to as many people as soon as possible — this blog is just one way to do that. He put together an elaborate email that outlined the many changes that the entire board proposed (not just him.)

            I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know the intimate details of how these proposed boundary changes will impact everyone, especially those of you in Devonshire Canyon. We’re in the BA school district, but my kids are now in the middle school/high school phase, so I’m even one more step removed from this. But I do know that the board has worked very hard the past few years to resolve the recurring over-enrollment issues, with the intent of ensuring that the kids got to go to their school of choice. Boundary changes aren’t something new — I think they’ve always been a last resort if the Board couldn’t resolve over-enrollment through normal means. This past year, that exact thing happened with White Oaks.

            From what I have heard and discussed with others, it sounds like Dr. Baker and the entire board is very open to working with residents to come up with a sensible solution that works for all. I hope you’ll use that avenue to work toward a satisfactory solution.

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        • Well, I must say that am shocked and saddened that B, you must make it personal. We can choose to disagree on the merits of an idea, or even a philosophy, but to make it about me is frankly silly and petty. All five board members agreed in the November meeting to the preliminary plan that Dr. Baker proposed, so I don’t know how one could characterize this as “my” plan. As a reminder, this plan was developed by a subcommittee which included parents, teachers, school secretaries, and other staff, and had representatives from each school. That group unanimously approved the proposal which was brought before us. You absolutely have the right to disagree with it and present any concerns, but it’s unfortunate that the dialog has degraded to this. I would like to remind folks that insulting people whom you are trying to advocate is generally not the best technique.

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          • Seth,
            People perceive it as your plan, because you are the only one out on the BLOGS vocally promoting it! Most of the other Board members seem to be more focused on the Budget.

            At the Board meeting last Thursday, I did hear a Board member speak out very eloquently, careful and thoughtful about how you don’t really know if this will work. In fact, it might not work and she said that you all (the entire Board) better get it right. “These small pockets might not even be enough”. “Why rush”, was another comment I heard at Board meeting by a Board member.

            So no, not everyone thinks this is the best way to solve it.

            I understand there is an enrollment problem, I just don’t think “your” plan is the best way to solve it! This will create so much traffic at TL/Charter/Edison. This campus houses 3 schools.

            TL is already impacted! What will you tell these Laureola people when they reach middle school??? You now have to go to Central? Have you got input from CLC or Edison Montessori on how they might feel about how this could impact their drop off? Have you consulted the Transportation and Circulation Department on how this could affect walkability, traffic congestion and traffic patterns at Arundel, TL, CLC and Edison and San Carlos??? They are the experts on this stuff!

            I would think you would at least consult with them. They look at this stuff all day long and could make the best informed recommendation!!

            I’m done here! For good!!

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          • OK, just so I understand…since I’m active on the blogs (my own and community blogs) and trying to get information out to the public, and I state my opinion very clearly, then I should be criticized. Wow, I never heard that criticism before. B — I hear the emotion coming through in your comments, but you must guard against unproductive comments which besides insulting people, spread false information. There are too many misstatements in your post for me to respond point-by-point (such as the effect on middle school, which this change doesn’t affect), but rather I invite you have a real dialog with me. It’s all too easy to hide behind the cloak of anonymity and hurl half-truths and insults. So, anytime you want to have a real dialog, please let me know. I also want to remind you that there are five board members, and it takes a majority to make any decision. Lastly, if you believe you have better ideas and judgment than the rest of us, I encourage you to run for the School Board.

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  • Perfect. By the way, I just wanted to express my thanks for this amazing site.
    I read it everyday, it has become much more than a real estate blog. It is our newspaper/blog !

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    • Kristin,

      Thanks very much for the kind words about the site! I’m glad you find it so useful. If there’s anything else that you’d like to see in the site, just let me know.

      Chuck

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  • As the parent of a child on the White Oaks waitlist for 2009-2010, I’m glad to see the school board will finally address what has been a looming issue for many years. We have been very happy with the experience thus far at Heather school. The community seems wonderful, we have been welcomed with open arms. Although, we are still disappointed that our child will not be attending our neighborhood school. We choose the White Oaks neighborhood because of its walkability and sense of community and are truly disappointed that we can hear the White Oaks school bell and see our neighbors walking to school, but have to get in the car to drive somewhere else.

    I would like to see the board address the sibling preference priority. While I agree that current White Oaks district siblings should have priority, I disagree that siblings that have moved out of the neighborhood should have priority. San Carlos should encourage families to engage with the neighborhood they move to instead of holding onto the one they chose to leave. This would free up space for those that currently live in the neighborhood thus reinforcing the priority of neighborhood schools.

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    • To further expand on the need to address sibling priority, I want to point out how this problem can get even further out of hand.

      If the local schools have openings in a certain grade level, such as White Oaks did for the 2nd grade level 2 or 3 years ago – it makes sense that they allow students from other schools or even districts to enroll in White Oaks for second grade. These students should also be assured that they will be allowed to finish 3rd and 4th at White Oaks.

      However, the next year — that out of district child’s younger brother or sister is GUARANTEED a kindergarten spot at White Oaks, even over a child that lives across the street.

      While I understand the reasoning behind sibling priority — I know for a fact that several sibling’s of out of district children were given priority over across -the-street children in the very contentious White Oaks neighborhood this year.

      While filling all the open spots at our elementary schools makes good fiscal sense for the district, I think that the board should address this issue before they encourage more out of district enrollment — which they did with an e-mail to all parents in the district right before school started.

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      • To be clear, siblings of current out of district students do NOT have priority for enrollment over in district residents. The e-mail that went out right before school started was only because there were openings in some of the schools after all of the in-district residents had been placed…and as you know, this didn’t apply to White Oaks School. I actually wrote a blog post about this last February, which may clarify the issue (http://rosenblatt.org/blog/2009/02/27/enrollment-preferences-clarified/).

        But as Chuck mentions, we are looking into potentially changing the boundaries and/or enrollment process, but in any case current SCSD residents will always have priority over out of district residents (but once a student is in a school, he/she does have priority to stay).

        But it’s also interesting to note that by the beginning of the school year, there were only 16 students left on the wait list for White Oaks, from a list that started over 70.

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  • Chuck, What about streets that are in San Carlos and paying San Carlos taxes and yet have to go to Clifford where the school is clearly considered less of a school than the SC schools by greatschools.net and other sites? It just seems CRAZY to me that you can live on Timothy in a $1.5 million dollar SC home and have to send your kid to a Redwood City school that has substantially lower respect and grades. Any thoughts on this?

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    • I can comment on that. Although I agree it is odd that the civic boundaries of San Carlos do not match those of the San Carlos School District, that is true across the county (and the state). Due to decisions made long ago, this is how borders were drawn and they are extremely difficult to change. That said, if you live in the city of San Carlos, but you do not live in the San Carlos School District, you do not pay taxes to the San Carlos School District. The portion of your property taxes that go to schools go to the Redwood City School District. Also, you do not pay any parcel taxes passed in the San Carlos School District (currently Measures D and B).

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      • can you petition to get into an SC school?

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        • Yes, in fact 6 of the 7 schools in the San Carlos School District are charter schools (I just wrote a blog about this at http://rosenblatt.org/blog/2009/10/23/charter-schools-in-san-carlos-our-unique-identity/.

          This means you don’t need an inter-district transfer to get into a San Carlos school — you just apply. Two caveats, though — first, there needs to be space available, and we’ve been challenged with increased enrollment over the last few years. Second, students coming from outside the district gain acceptance through a straight lottery and anyone in the state can apply. We are not allowed, by charter school law, to give preference to students coming from the portion of SC that is outside the SCSD vs. any other student applying.

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    • Great question, and thanks to Seth for weighing in. A couple of points that I’ll add — first, despite how Clifford ranks on the various school websites, and how it has seemingly lived in the shadow of San Carlos schools for years, I’ve heard it’s a very good school from several of our friends whose children attend there. Their API scores are very respectable and most important, they get excellent parent involvement, which has always been a hallmark of San Carlos schools. From what I gather, I think Clifford gets a little bit of a bum rap.

      Second, the area in question (known as Alder Manor) is home to some of the most picturesque streets in all of San Carlos (Graceland, upper Eaton, Timothy Lane, etc..) On these streets you’ll find some of the biggest homes and largest lots all of San Carlos. Consequently, that becomes a much bigger decision factor for homeowners than what school district they reside in.

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      • Seth and Chuck, thank you for your quick responses. Very informational and helpful. It’s good to know we have peeps like you 2 on the look out and helping residents with questions like mine. I’m on a BA street right now and looking in Alder Manor b/c i agree with you that it’s a nice place. As a highly competitive person, it just kills me that i would lose access to the schools but still be in SC. I grew up in Connecticut where it was very different. I know i’m not alone, just venting a bit :). Thanks again.

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  • When we looked at houses last year, we saw tons of listings that trumpeted “exclusive White Oaks district.” It was only by chance that an agent let slip the fact that White Oaks was impacted and that even though we’d be paying the White Oaks “premium” there was a very good chance that our child wouldn’t be able to attend White Oaks. So, maybe the real estate agents shouldn’t be so quick to stoke the White Oaks mystique…

    Seth, you note that if a non-district child is admitted in second grade, then that child has the right to attend third and fourth grade. This seems crazy to me, when there are SC kids on the wait list. I’d be very annoyed if I moved to SC with a fourth grade child who couldn’t get into White Oaks because the slot had been given to a non-district child two years earlier. Just out of curiosity, how many non-SC kids are currently in White Oaks? What’s the point of moving to SC if you can move to another town and still get the SC schools? Why don’t you leave that second grade slot empty … which would protect third and fourth grade slots in subsequent years?

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    • There are currently only 2 children at White Oaks who are out-of-district students. That is because WO has been the school with the least “slack” in capacity. But to your other questions, letting in out-of-district students increases our revenue, since we get funded by the State on a per pupil basis. So, San Carlos has been able to preserve all of the great programs we have by carefully managing enrollment and effectively filling classrooms with these students. If we hadn’t, yes we would have gained more flexibility and slack, but the reduction of revenue would have been enormous. Also, as I mentioned, it is charter law that once a student is in a school, they are allowed to stay at the school. There are tradeoffs with everything, but there is no doubt that our charter status has positively affected every student in the district by the additional funding it brings in through this ability to manage enrollment.

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  • I believe that it is time for an audit of the current students attending San Carlos schools. Multiple forms of verifiable identity and residency would be good and we can evict some of the freeloaders coming in from other school districts. I know that there are people using business addresses or bogus addresses altogether. This should be done every year but I don’t think that the school district has the courage or will to conduct the necessary audit.

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  • I just wanted to reiterate earlier discussions on the boundary change. A White Oaks parent expressed this on 08.17.2009 : “Although, we are still disappointed that our child will not be attending our neighborhood school. We choose the White Oaks neighborhood because of its walkability and sense of community and are truly disappointed that we can hear the White Oaks school bell and see our neighbors walking to school, but have to get in the car to drive somewhere else.”
    The proposed new lines for Arundel would permanently divide the neighborhood. We also chose our home for the walkability and sense of community. Current areas under consideration for a move to Heather are walkable to Arundel in 8 minutes, we can hear the school bells ring. This proposal would shift what has been happening to a few at White Oaks to a part of the Arundel / Devonshire neighborhood. This is completely unjust. I urge the board to consider individual streets in terms of walkability within lower Devonshire.

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  • Before any child is subjected to a RCSD school you should hope for a change in leadership at the district level and middle school. One of the worst run districts ever sustituted. Which middle school couldn’t keep subs for two classes due to blatent incorrigibility? The same one that empowers undisciplined kids and their equally clueless parents by admonishing staff? Get a clue san carlos parents!!!!!

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