Education Matters: Boundary decision kicked down the road

At the end of the marathon 10-hour school board meeting, which took place on Feb. 17 and ended at nearly 1 a.m. on Feb. 18, San Diego Union High School District trustees postponed previous disputes and gathered, more or less, to consider the San Diego Academy overcrowding in Encinitas.

Mark Miller, the deputy head of the district, had previously recommended limiting the enrollment of ninth-graders this fall to 375, which would almost certainly require a lottery.

According to him, this figure was based on reducing the total school occupancy for grades 9-12, which now stands at 2,110, to 1,850 in two years.

He said it would take three years to reach 1,850 (the limit for schools, according to the county), when the limit was set at 428, and four years, when the limit was 450.

There are now 560 ninth-graders in the SDA, Miller said, and 454 graduates.

If trustees want to set a new limit, he said staff are advised the council not to exceed the number of students leaving.

The downside to increasing the number of classes in ninth grade, he said, was how it would affect current students who enrolled on a smaller campus.

However, he noted that the overall coverage in the district was declining and that the eighth grades of SDUHSD were “much smaller than in the past”.

In addition, past trends show that 8 to 9 percent of students who choose the SDA choose to go elsewhere, Miller said.

The school’s selection deadline ended on February 18. If a lottery is needed for the SDA, it will be held on February 25th. The deadline for enrollment is March 21, and then the district will know how many students actually intend to enroll in the SDA.

“At 428, I would have expected a lottery,” Miller said, but historical indicators of depletion may mean some students on the waiting list may fall.

The board briefly considered a limit of 450, but settled on 428 this fall, with several seats available for grades 10-12.

Miller said 428 “is a compromise that will allow us to eventually cut the school in the next three years.”

The proposal was accepted with a score of 4-1, opposed by President Mo Muir.

“This is the worst year our children have ever had, and every child deserves to go to school of their choice,” she said, explaining her voice.

The lottery this fall is finally possible, with no priority for students from the neighborhood.

What’s next?

This issue will not go away until the county sets firm attendance limits around the SDA that favor neighborhood students.

The district’s inability to resolve the SDA waiting list / lottery issue is a black spot on the district – even worse because it could and should have been resolved many years ago.

With the exception of Muir, no board member or anyone who currently holds senior positions in the county held a leadership position when the issue erupted in 2014.

Last week’s column (see it online at, column category) provided some history of the issue.

For more information, see the review of the public school board meeting held in 2015.

At this meeting, dozens of Encinitas parents appealed to the council not to place students from their neighboring school.

But instead the council decided to listen to the advice of former school board members Linda Friedman, Sue Hartley and Dee Rich, all of whom were present to uphold existing policies.

Former and now deceased SDUHSD trustee Joyce Dalesandra said she had not seen “any evidence presented that is a good enough reason to change the current system” which, she said, “has worked almost flawlessly since its inception”.

Trustees Beth Hergesheimer and Amy Herman, who no longer serve, also did not support any change, with Herman saying it worked well for years.

John Salazar, who served on the school board from 2010 to 2018, disagreed, saying: “It makes sense to create small boundaries around the SDA to give priority to those who live nearby. The current system is broken. “

Mo Muir, who was on the board at the time, said her position was “no lottery”.

Accepting instructions from the council, then-superintendent Rick Schmidt said: “We will continue, as in the last 19 years” – with some improvements, he added.

So much for fine tuning.

LCC Marketing

To address this issue, the county sought to promote La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad as an alternative to distracting students from traffic rules in Encinitas.

Yes, the International Undergraduate Program at LCC was established in the fall of 2018 and was considered one of the most exciting developments in recent years for the district.

Founded in 1968 in Switzerland, International Undergraduate [] recognized internationally as an exceptional inquiry-based program.

In addition to the standard study material, IB students study critical thinking, global awareness, community service, intercultural understanding and responsible citizenship.

Through experience, discovery-based learning, IB students receive an education with an international perspective.

It is not my job to promote the district IB program – I think this is the task of the district. But it has to do with this story because it was hoped that the IB program would entice potential SDA students to choose the LCC.

Brian Marcus was the director of the LCC at the time and is now the assistant head of SDUHSD’s educational services. So he knows best the history of IB in the LCC.

In a column I wrote in 2017 about the IB LCC program []Marcus said one of the catalysts for the IB program was increased interest and enrollment in the LCC.

Marcus said at the time that he was aware of the misconception that the LCC is a “skating school” with a focus on sports, and said he was working to inform the public that the LCC was strong in science and the arts, as well as in the light. athletics.

So what happened to all this promotion of the IB program in the LCC? Almost nothing.

“I attended the LCC tour last week and I was told they have an IB program,” Father Patrice Eisenhower wrote to the board recently. “I have never heard of such a thing before. The focus should be on encouraging families who want the IB experience to attend LCC ”.

Common sense

In a recent email to the council, Father Patrice Eisenhower wrote: “Six years ago, I attended all the lottery meetings when my eldest son was in eighth grade. I was part of a community that came up with, in my opinion, some great options to avoid future lotteries. ”

“I am disappointed that six years ago none of this was resolved,” she said. “Please help these children and allow them to stay close to home, stay with friends, go to school and attend a nearby school.”

“I’m not at all happy that the district has let our families down,” trustee Michael Allman told her. “We saw it happen a year ago, and due to poor leadership we didn’t fix the problem. Shame on us. “

Danica Edelbrock, the father of an SDA high school senior, recently wrote to the school board on behalf of new SDA students, saying, “Please be aware of the mental damage you can do to an already fragile teen community by ousting them from their neighborhood.

“Priority should be given to those who are at a certain distance from each school. Please use common sense and develop a process that will solve this problem. “

Proxy Melissa Mossi said in an email that she understands why schools have restrictions on registration, given the various restrictions, but added: “I hope to fix this in the near future so that every student has confidence that they can attend the school of first choice.”

Mossie would like to abandon the lottery system in the future. “It can be done!” she said.

“I feel horrible that we can’t consider intimacy next school year,” Allman said. “While it may be late this year, I will work to make it happen next school year.”

Muir, who continues to oppose any lottery for the SDA, said a long-term strategy is needed and wants to set up a special task force to work out a solution.

“I will make it happen,” she said.

When asked about comments on the matter, Trustee Katrina Young referred me to her comments made at the public meeting, and Trustee Julie Branstein wrote, “I have no comments yet.” They both supported raising the hat, as did Allman and Mossie.

District failure

Interestingly, if the district receives more than 428 requests for traffic rules from the arriving ninth-graders, I asked Miller the following questions:

“If you have 429, 430, 435 applicants, does everyone enter the lottery system? At what point do you impose the lottery? In 10 more? 15 more? ”

Miller did not respond at the end of the term.

Around the SDA you can easily create attendance limits. The district needs to be done right by the students. Families no longer need to stress this.

This problem is not insurmountable. Of course, the school district faces more complex, pressing issues. It doesn’t have to be one of them.

Opinion columnist and education writer Marsha Satan is available at

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