San Carlos School District Proposes New School Boundaries.

November 25, 2009


(We knew this was coming…)

Back in July, I posted an article about the District's decision to re-draw the San Carlos School District boundaries in an attempt to alleviate the chronic over-enrollment problems at both White Oaks and Heather Elementary Schools.   This past fall, the District had the unenviable task of vectoring about 17 families who live within the White Oaks boundary to Heather Elementary.   Clearly, the 11th-hour miracles that they were able to achieve in past years fell victim to sheer numbers.

Some Significant Changes.

Today, the District released their proposal for the new District boundaries…and there are definitely some changes in store for San Carlos residents.   Probably the most significant of which is that the entire area east of El Camino (aka Clearfield Park) will now be in the Arundel Elementary School boundary, instead of Brittan Acres as they were before.   To see all of the proposed changes, click on this link and download the .pdf:

San Carlos School District Proposed Boundary Changes

It's important to note that these changes only apply to new, incoming students.  Once the new boundaries are implemented, there should be a net  decrease of enrollment at White Oaks, an increase of enrollment at Heather Elementary, and negligible change in overall numbers at both Brittan Acres and Arundel.

Town Hall Meeting.

Dr. Craig Baker, the new superintendent of the San Carlos School District,  issued a letter today to all parents in the school district in which he explains the reasoning behind the boundary changes, and to make it very clear that our enrollment challenges are not behind us now.   For example, there's a related issue of capacity constraints at our middle schools that has yet to be addressed.   Click here for a copy of his letter:

Parent Letter: Enrollment and Boundary Changes

In anticipation of the many questions that are likely to arise, Dr. Baker has scheduled a town hall meeting where he will field questions from parents, and discuss future plans in more detail.  The principals from all of the San Carlos Schools will be in attendance as well.  Here are the details of the meeting:

SCSD Town Hall Meeting

Monday, November 30 2009

7:30 PM

San Carlos Library, 2nd Floor Conf Room 2A

If you have questions about how this may impact your student,  it would be a very good idea to attend this meeting 😉

Posted in:


  1. Trish B on November 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Thanks for posting this important and time-sensitive information. Especially since the SC school district hasn’t posted it on their own website.

  2. Chuck on November 25, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Trish,

    You’re very welcome. I have been waiting for the “other shoe to drop”, so to speak, on the boundary changes. I’ve been following it pretty closely on the site, since the District cleared the way for it earlier this year (hence, the “We knew this was coming” heading in the post.) I only found out about the actual changes yesterday through the school email broadcast, and from SCSD Trustee Seth Rosenblatt, who was kind enough to proactively send me the supporting documents regarding the new boundaries.

    Thanks for reading the site!


  3. KB on November 26, 2009 at 3:27 am

    Thanks Chuck, you always keep us very informed. Having just purchased a house near Arundel Elementary, I am very concerned about what these changes mean for this school (we still lie within its boundaries). Are there any stats available as to what the proposed changes would mean for the avg education level/income/etc for Arundel? Is this a done deal or can there be changes based on parent feedback? In other words, how bad is this for Arundel?

  4. KT on November 29, 2009 at 12:15 am

    I am outraged and shocked at this proposal. I live in the “lower” Devonshire neighborhood. We currently walk to school in under 10 minutes. The lines have been arbitrarily drawn in the neighborhood west of Alameda /San Carlos Ave and the steep canyon slope. My block would move to Heather, a 20-25 minute block almost a mile, elevation change from 160 to 450 feet. No longer walkable. My immediate neighbors who don’t have kids don’t even know where Heather is! I just bought my house here about 2 yrs ago. I hear that Heather is a great school that wouldn’t have stopped me from buying my house , but not being able to walk to school definitely would have. I hear the school bells, kids playing during the day at Arundel. This is definitely our neighborhood school. I will do everything I can to keep the neighborhood in tact.

  5. Chuck on November 29, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Make sure to attend the Town Hall meeting on Monday 10/30 to voice your opinion. You’ll definitely have the right decision makers there to hear your concerns.


  6. Chuck on November 29, 2009 at 12:41 am

    You’re welcome — glad to be able to pass on useful information besides the boring real estate stuff 🙂

    I’m not aware of any demographic info that exists (at least any that’s recent) that will answer your questions. As far as whether it’s a good deal or not for Arundel, I think it’s definitely a good deal. Until this proposed change, the kids in Clearfield Park (east of El Camino) have traditionally gone to Brittan Acres, and BA’s API scores are always near the top of all of the San Carlos schools. Many times, they come in close second to White Oaks.

    The bigger issue will be similar to what happened at White Oaks — people who are relatively close to a given school may be vectored to a school farther away, which can be a real pain.

    Thanks for your comment.

  7. Derek on November 29, 2009 at 5:34 am

    Hi KT,

    If you currently have a child at Arundel, you will not need to switch over to Heather. Craig Baker, the current Superintendent, is committed to keeping children at their current school. So, if you have a child there now, no need to worry about a switch. If you have a younger one who is not at Arundel yet, as long as your current child is at Arundel, you will be able to have your second child attend Arundel. Of course, as Chuck said, the November 30th Town Hall Meeting will be the place to confirm all of this. I have talked with Mr. Baker and I can assure you his is empathetic to your concerns and he is committed to the idea of a neighborhood school.


  8. KT on November 30, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Hi Derek

    I am particularly troubled by the way that this being put into place. “Grandfathering” in current students seems like a deceptive way to push this through. We will be fragmented from our neighbors, the kids and family relationships within these blocks will be disrupted. It is a sneaky way of building a railroad line between our block and the one below us, considering as I mentioned earlier that Arundel is so close and clearly our neighborhood school.

  9. Derek on December 1, 2009 at 2:21 am

    I agree, KT. This is why i am going to the meeting tonight to hear it from the superintendent directly.

    Thanks for your comments!


  10. KL on December 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    I wish I had seen this earlier. We just bought in lower Devonshire a couple of years ago and were looking forward to sending our infant to Arundel in a few years. Arundel is a really short 5 mins walk for us and Heather is going to be a driving. Second, the fact the community gets broken up. Does anyone have any feedback from the meeting? Did they consider proximity/community in making this decision? Arundel and Brittan Acres are closer to us than Heather.

  11. lex on December 1, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Consider me bitter, but I don’t understand why folks in east of El Camino get to send their kids to schools that the west of El Camino folks pay a 15 – 20% premium for.

    My house sits in Arundel boundaries and that hasn’t changed, but I am surprised to see some families in lower Devonshire are now displaced to Heather and replaced by folks from east of El Camino.

    I am very curious as to the income levels/API scores of these students as this will have an IMMEDIATE impact on existing students of Arundel.

  12. Heathermom on December 2, 2009 at 5:00 am

    So tell us, lex, why Brittan Acres’ API scores, already “impacted” by students who live in homes east of El Camino, are right on par with the rest of SC schools? Is your preference to put all students from families below a certain income threshold into just one SC school (certainly not your zoned school, of course) so others with your same sense of (warped) judgment can opt out and send their kids to private school if the “lower-tier” school is the only option? Many, many homes in my (Heather) neighborhood are valued similarly to those in your neighborhood, so I don’t understand the implication you make that home values should be a driver in school boundary assignments.

  13. lex on December 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Warped? How about getting a free ride?

    Fremont Unified residents almost literally bear arms when the district proposed rezoning MSJ schools. As you are probably aware, folks in MSJ pay at leat 30% more for a comparable property compared to Warms Springs, Ardenwood, and Irvington.

    The API scores surveyed only takes account of majority statistics. They however tell anything little else, but if school A has historically served a certain zone where residents pay more to live, wouldn’t you if you live there want it to stay that way?

  14. Heathermom on December 2, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    I’m not judging your or anyone else for being upset at the prospect of being re-zoned out of the neighborhood school. What I find objectionable is the notion that income level should dictate school boundaries. I don’t understand at all the comments about the unfairness to residents west of El Camino and a free ride – there is no school east of El Camino so “fairness” is irrelevant as there is no choice but for those students to attend the only schools available which as you know all happen to be located on the west side.

  15. BB on December 2, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    Dr. Baker attended a principals coffee today at Arundel school. It seemed like most everyone was opposed to the change mostly related to losing their chance to walk to school (San CarLESS) and breaking up a neighborhood and a tight knit school. Most of the concerns were the added traffic congestion that this would add to an already dangerous school to get to. They weren’t so concerned about themselves but for the future kids that will not get the opportunity they had… so they could car less that this doesn’t affect them directly. Plus they didn’t feel it was right to NOT send Laureola to the closest school possible, which is BA. The Board will decided to put this off beyond their original due date of Dec. 10th, until everyone has a chance to go over data, absorb all of this and debate all of this, that’s according to all of the emails I’ve seen from them. Dr. Baker is considering making changes to the proposal after hearing all the comments from parents at Town Hall and principals coffee. He said to me today that he has not made a decision yet and he sees there could be some changes made. If you feel strongly against this, then attend the Board meeting this Thursday at Central school library and voice your opinion. I attended both the Town Hall and the principal’s coffee, at both meetings I saw that everyone was against this.

  16. BB on December 2, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Oh, one other comment to follow-up. API scores for last year: (You can double check me at Great Schools website.)

    Arundel 917
    White Oaks 913
    Brittan Acres 907
    Charter 900
    Heather 861

    Somebody in an earlier post gave misinformation re this data. The year before had similar results. Arundel’s API has been increasing every year dramatically since we’ve been there (5 years), I don’t know about the other schools.

    Finally, I am so surprised the Board and School District are willing to outrage so many people when they need to rely on their donations to close our 1.5 million deficit. They need to stand up and do the right thing, or they will see a lot less donations from the people who are not happy with this… including me. I would much rather spend my money on music lessons, sports activities and books for my kids rather than a school district who makes careless and reckless decisions.

  17. BB on December 3, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Why on this website if you give a thumbs down to people who support this, it doesn’t work, but if you inadvertently do a thumbs up for someone in support of this it takes??? This website seems bogus.

  18. BB on December 3, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I attended the meeting(s), so you can read my posts to get an update.


  19. Chuck on December 3, 2009 at 12:24 am


    I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I just gave a thumbs down rating to a random comment, and it seemed to work fine. Also, keep in mind that the thumbs-up/down and the star ratings are controlled by a plug-in that I installed on the site. So if anything does turn out to be bogus, it would be the plug-in, not the entire site.



  20. BB on December 3, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Thanks for clarifying, I will keep that in mind when I look at ratings.

  21. BB on December 3, 2009 at 12:49 am

    API from last year for Brittan Acres are 10 points behind Arundel… If Loreola students go to Arundel, they will have great scores because that school has great teachers.

  22. Arundel parent on December 3, 2009 at 1:18 am

    I was also at the Arundel meeting today, and BB I believe your characterization of the meeting is way off. It was my sense that almost everyone in the room (perhaps excluding you) understood why the changes are necessary and believes that the process has been very thorough. We all appreciated that Dr. Baker is extemely thoughtful about all of the issues and implications, and everyone at the meeting seemed grateful that he and the Board will take a little more time to listen to feedback before making a final decision. To be honest, I was skeptical entering the meeting (also feeling like this decision was made suddenly) but was pleasantly suprised once I got all of the facts.

  23. BB on December 3, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    Arundel Parent, Were you at the same meeting? Just about everyone I talked to before and after are against this. No they didn’t go about it in a thoughtful careful manner. Their plan as it is will create more traffic and make Phelps absolutely awful. Plus they are adding about 50-60 more kids to TL which is already impacted. Arundel parents are very nice… so although they weren’t yelling, they are against this. They are happy because Dr. Baker eluded that they will look at it more closely and make changes as needed. Dr. Baker is driving the Devonshire Canyon tomorrow just to see what a mess of a commute this change will lend to the Devonshire people going to Heather. Mark my words, at tonight’s meeting they will push off this decision so they can collect more data. That’s why were happy.

  24. Arundel parent on December 3, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    BB — you’re just misreporting the facts. First of all, Dr. Baker said the city manager’s analysis was that the proposed changes would decrease traffic congestion, not add to it. Maybe you missed that part of the meeting. Also, this doesn’t change the enrollment at TL at all — there are no changes to middle school enrollment. That was made extremely clear…again maybe you missed that part. However, I do agree with you that the Board will likely postpone the decision, because that’s basically what Dr. Baker said in the meeting. But he said they’d probably just postpone it to January or so. And he did say he would look into potentially changing a couple of streets in the proposal that are closest to Arundel (assuming the numbers worked out). That was reasonable feedback from the community which he clearly took the heart.

  25. BB on December 5, 2009 at 6:14 am

    Arundel Parent-

    First of all, the City Manager isn’t the one who would make an opinion on traffic, that would be the Public Works Director…HELLO! I’ve spoken with Robert about this myself, before and after, Craig spoke to him. I was happy to cut and paste his comments for all to view: Baically, my question to Robert was, “Would these boundary changes increase the traffic on Phelps and San Carlos Ave.?”

    His response:

    “I think that you have good points about how the boundary change could
    affect walking and driving commute patterns to school. I’ll get in
    touch with Dr. Baker and discuss the situation with him.”

    Robert discussed the numbers with Dr. Baker, mind you this is after Seth Rosenblatt had lied to Dr. Baker by telling him that “nobody” walked from the Devonshire area.

    Anyway this was Robert Weil’s response after speaking to Craig:

    “After speaking with Dr. Baker this morning, I don’t think that the
    changes will significantly affect traffic congestion or walkability for
    Arundel School. There are a small number of students in the east San
    Carlos area (20 overall and only 4 incoming kindergarteners) who would
    shift to Arundel from Brittan Acres. The distance to Brittan Acres from
    east San Carlos represents a major disincentive to walk and that will
    not change with the reassignment to Arundel. As to the dark orange area
    which would shift from Arundel to Heather, there is already a strong
    disincentive to walk to school due to the narrow streets without
    sidewalks and the hills, and that would not change with the reassignment
    to Heather. Again, there are a small number of students involved in
    that area. Lastly, the route to Heather from this area offers one
    advantage over the route to Arundel – it does not require crossing an
    arterial street. On the other hand, it does require climbing up hill on
    Torino Drive.”

    So based on the skewed numbers Robert Weil was given, because NOBODY knows for sure how many kids would come from Laureola and these numbers are projections for next year only, what happens in the future, you know it’s always a good thing to look to the future when deciding these sorts of things. Robert did NOT say with 100% certainty that these changes would not affect traffic. He said “I don’t think they will”

    So, I think the Board is obligated to do a traffic study or they could create a HUGE mess. NOBODY at Arundel wants any more traffic on Phelps. Not only will more traffic deter the walkers we already have (which translates to even more traffic), but Phelps absolutely cannot handle more traffic because it is absolutely maxed out with cars, it is so narrow that cars have to pull over to pass one another and the children HAVE to walk in the street. If your an Arundel parent than open your eyes.

    People at Arundel are outraged because they are loosing their ability to walk to school. This has nothing to do with not wanting to go to Heather or not wanting the Laureola people to come to us.

    Now, last year I spoke a lot to Steve Mitrovich regarding Torino and how unsafe this road is to travel. He brought it to my attention. He would NEVER have approved sending these kids from Devonshire over that road to Heather, because morally it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s a HUGE safety issue.

    I’m pretty sure Craig Baker wouldn’t be that reckless either.

    The main reason Arundel is against this is because of the safety issues. The roll out of this whole thing was awful and now they have pitted school against school… BIG mistake. It seems to me like 3 of the Board members have there own agenda and are not looking at any other solutions. I don’t know what it is because I wasn’t in that meeting with WO. They’ve been trying to do this for some time now. No wonder Steve Mitrovich, (who I share a passion for fishing with) finally got sick of hearing it and left. He was an asset to our District and now he’s gone.

    Regarding Heather: I feel bad for Heather. The Board/Dist. has been dumping on this school for too long. This is a great school with great teachers and wonderful people. The proof is when they go to TL… just look at those API scores! The SCSD has unfairly treated them for some time now. Now, it seems they want to start doing it to Arundel. This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Have some decency!

    Laureola people, we’re cool with you too. You’re situation is another unfortunate one brought on by a wreckless School Board/Dist. and I am sorry. You do not deserve the treatment you’ve been receiving.

  26. Mike on December 5, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Excuse me but how exactly does spending more money on a house correlate to higher IQs in children?

    I find your post offensive and ill-informed.

    Both of my children had 4.0 averages, won Presidential scholastic awards, were part of the Gate program, and one was one of two seventh graders from her middle school to be placed in the Stanford Science Program.

    My eldest is at Carlmont with a 4.38 GPA.

    Maybe the scores would go *up* in your school if you were lucky enough to have “East San Carlos Kids” attending your neighborhood school.

    I suggest that you spend some time thinking about what public education really means. You may want to send your kids to private school so they aren’t contaminated by the “riff-raff” and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t mean you have to trade down your house and move to my neighborhood in order to afford it.

  27. Heathermom on December 6, 2009 at 12:21 am

    BB – Of course I hope you will reconsider your threat to withhold financial support if things don’t go the way you’d like them to, but if not why not go one step further and pull your kids out of public school altogether? In fact I would challenge any parent with a similar attitude to do the same. Surely one can see the hypocrisy of keeping one’s kids in public school where they will continue to benefit from the financial support those of us will continue to give to our PTAs and SCEF.

  28. Another Arundel parent on December 6, 2009 at 7:06 am

    I’m probably just blowing steam. But just in case, my family has donated way over our fair share of money, time, services, and goods. I will continue to donate my time directly to the teachers, which is the best gift I give.

  29. Arundel Parent on December 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    BB — that is such a rant, I don’t know how to do that justice without a rant back, which I am above. However I must agree with Heathermon above — it’s hard for you to grab the moral highground when you’re essentially threatening to take away support from our public schools if things don’t go your way. We may disagree on the implications for Arundel here, but I think it’s undeniable that you’re blowing this so out of proportion — I’m not sure what’s gotten you so wound up. Even in the worst case scenario (assuming everyone in Devonshire Canyon would have walked to Arundel every day — which we know is not true), we’re talking about less than 10 cars per year. And that ingnores the fact that current plan shows a larger area (in terms of students) leaving Arundel than what it is gaining. So, besides helping with our own enrollment issues (which we did have only last year), that may actually lower the total number of cars, even if there is a percentage increase in drivers. You’re also forgetting that the a subcommittee representing all of the schools is the one that came up with the proposal, and in the Board meeting they said 100% of the subcommittee members agreed on the plan. So I may personally disagree with some aspects of it (and I hope they do shift a couple of those streets closer to Arundel), but to get so wound up and emotional seems a litle odd to me. I’d rather the school leaders focus on the monumental State budget cuts, because those can have real impacts for our kids. I reserve my outrage for the State and what it is doing to education in California.

  30. BB on December 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Like I said…I will STILL support the schools. But, it will be through the time I spend in the classroom helping out the teachers, teaching Art in Action, helping with FOSS science experiments, etc., etc., etc. What that’s not good enough for you? My time is actually very valuable.

    Didn’t mean to ruffle your feathers so much! Sorry.

  31. BB on December 7, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I don’t send my kids to private school because I like the diversity they get at public.

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