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School Wait Lists Increasing Shift to Private Schools

With 15 of 16 schools having wait lists, the K-8 district has had to try to accommodate a range of parents’ and students desires.

The has continued to face increasing enrollment the past few years. But as more parents aren’t able to enroll their child at their number one school choice, they’re opting to send their children to private school, school board members observed.

“We are losing students to the outside rather than on the waitlist,” Trustee Alisa MacAvoy said. “When they don’t get into the kindergarten of their choice, and they’re not coming back.”

However, these numbers also include some private students who want to enroll in the district. There are 800 to 900 students enrolled in Redwood City private schools like , and Redeemer School.

Another issue the waiting lists present is the complex puzzle the district faces in trying to please parents who want their student at one specific school.

Fifteen of 16 schools have wait lists, indicating that dozens of students already enrolled at one school would prefer to go to another school elsewhere in the district. The numbers do not mean that over 500 students are waiting to get into the district.


Schoosl of Choice History Students Notes 145 This school has traditionally had a long wait list. It has a high Academic Performance Index 992 out of 1000. 129 This school has traditionally had a long wait list. Test scores are high. Trustee McBride said a way to even out wait list numbers was to get test score numbers similarly up at other schools. 65 More and more parents want their child learning a second language. This number may possibly be higher because parents who do not have their student enrolled by kindergarten enroll their kids in any private language school, not just Spanish. 56
Selby Lane 38 Many parents want their middle school-aged children to attend here for location-based reasons. MIT 35 This would have been 65, had it not been for the opening of a new 6th grade class 18
17 Hawes has had a huge enrollment and has had to defer some of its students to neighboring schools. 14
Garfield 12 Parents with children that should enroll in Kennedy Middle School want to enroll their students in a school on the Eastside. 10
6 PTO president Roy Dorling mentioned that this number was 104 students in March, indicating a highly fluctuating number. When parents are on the wait list mid-year but are not accepted, they take their names off the wait list. He added that there was limited capacity at the school. 3

“More importantly, we need to give parents a choice and not just put them in a classroom somewhere,” said Maria Diaz-Slocum.

Yet many school board members wanted more context as to what the numbers meant, as they tried to give the district administrators guidance. The administrators will continue to work with comprised of administrators, principals, parents, teachers and community members. The committee was formed in the fall to give input on crucial decisions regarding enrollment, grade configurations and boundaries.

Jack Hickey February 25, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Stacie, there are a few very relevant questions unanswered in this thread. Where are the numbers for schools with students whose school choice is not the one in which they are currently enrolled? Which school is least popular? Perhaps it could be shut down, or downsized with surplus space leased to alternative education providers? What is the number of classrooms and current student enrollment at each school? I can't do the math without numbers! Why has the District not closed campuses after substantially increasing class sizes?
Jack Hickey February 25, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Increasing Shift to Private Schools is a good thing. If everbody did it, it would save taxpayers > $50 Billion/year! On a more practical level, districts could encourage the shift by assisting parents with tuition. Of course, my proposed Education Performance Accountability Voucher for Education or Property Tax Credits are other ways to bring about the desired change. See: http://pave2010.com/ and; http://hickeyforsupervisor.com/RCSDelection.htm
Jack Hickey February 25, 2012 at 05:07 PM
"...it would save taxpayers > $50 Billion/year!" That's in California!
Maria March 24, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Hi Jack ! Im a mother of 10 years old, I have been reading your comments so I think you are very rigth in everithing what you say, Is very hard choosing great school because the waiting list, I do not have enough money for to pay a private middle school, recently we apply to a great private school in East Palo Alto that we can afford but from 500 applications they just got like 30 for 6 grade, now I should choose between Kennedy or Mackenly middle school that have a very bad reputation, I realy need an advice about what I can di, tks! marlene877@att.net (sorry about the spelling)
Jack Hickey March 24, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Maria, does the private middle school have any plans for expansion? There should be more than enough room on Redwood City School District campuses to accomodate them. As an alternative, if you are a stay at home mom, you might consider home schooling. See: http://www.homefires.com/. Ask Diane Flynn-Keith what possibilities there are.


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