[Editor's Note: Per the request of many Patch users, above is a photo of the map used in the school assignment presentation at last week's meeting of the BRSSD board of trustees. Patch will try to obtain a higher quality version of the map Wednesday. See map key at bottom of article.]
When the new class of kindergarteners in the enter school in the fall, 80 percent of them will be attending the school closest to their homes. The rest will be attending schools that are either the second (15 percent), third (.8 percent) or fourth (3.6 percent) closest.
At last week's meeting of the Belmont-Redwood Shores School District board of trustees, Dr. Suzanne Roy, the assistant superintendent of education services for the district, gave an overview of the enrollment numbers for the 2012-13 school year.
251 New Kindergarteners
"During the first enrollment period, we had at total of 251 kindergarteners," said Roy, pointing out that that number represented students who did not have siblings at that elementary school.
This is the first school enrollment period following the district's adoption of the , by which students are assigned to elementary schools based on an algorithmic formula that takes into account the student's home address, physical distance from the school, and the number of seats available at the school.
"There has to be some kind of mistake."
That formula, although well intended, has some parents upset with the outcome.
"You can imagine how we felt when our daughter was assigned to the school farthest from our home," said Michele Maia.
"We are the ones your policy doesn't address," continued Mara, referring to the fact that although her two older children who are now in high school, attended Fox, but her daughter was assigned to Nesbit, several miles away.
In an earlier email message to Belmont Patch, Maia said, "After several reassurances from the district that the new policy would not result in changes for most families. I am wondering how many other families are surprised by their school assignments and question the stated goals of the new policy to keep families close to their neighborhood schools."
The board discussed the various capacities and capping levels at the schools throughout the district and because some are more impacted than others, not every student will be assigned to their closest school.
"No matter what we do we are going to make some people unhappy," said board president Brian Matthews.
Another parent addressing the board asked if the algorithm had been tested before being put into place. "There has to be some kind of mistake. Did someone check to see why this happened especially since you guys knew this would be the biggest kindergarten class coming in," she said.
Maia requested the board take measures to rectify the situation and put a fairer process in place for assigning students to schools.
Percentages of K students assigned to their closest school
Assistant superintendent Roy gave a breakdown of the percentage of kindergarteners assigned each school (2012-13) for whom that school was the closest, second closest, etc.
- Central: For 66 percent of incoming K students, Central was the closest school; for 34 percent of K students, Cipriani was the second closest
- Cipriani: For 100 percent of incoming K students, Cipriani was the closest
- Fox: For 82 percent of incoming K students, Fox is the closest; for 18 percent, Cipriani was the second closest
- Nesbit: For 59 percent of incoming K students, Nesbit is the closest; for 22 percent, Central and Cipriani are the second closest, for 4 percent Fox is the third closest and for 17 percent, Redwood Shores Elementary is the fourth closest
- Redwood Shores Elementary: For 82 percent of incoming K students, Redwood Shores Elementary is the closest; for 17 percent, Sandpiper is the second closest
- Sandpiper: For 100 percent of incoming K students, Sandpiper is the closest
The board asked the district administration to look into the possibility of re-assigning students at the end of each enrollment period if seats open up at schools closer to that particular student.
[Map key showing residences of families in school areas: Yellow-Fox; Red-Cipriani; Blue-Central; Brown-Nesbit; Green-Redwood Shores; Gray-Sandpiper]