How do I know which public school is associated to an address?

Asked by Eugene Chow, San Diego, CA Wed Feb 18, 2009

Is the public school you're assigned to purely based on what is closest to where you live? How would I find out which schools are options based on an address?

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Debbie Sambr…, Agent, Truckee, CA
Thu Feb 19, 2009
Hello Eugene,
You can call the school district office and ask them. They also can change their boundaries if needed to to enrollment issues. With the upcoming funding issues of school districts in California; find out about any program cut that may be on the chopping block for next year. Schools are currently making these decisions. Many schools on the peninsula now have private foundations created by parents to raise money to keep programs. Unfortunately all schools are not equitable; in that they do not provide the same education for each student. The reality is that each school district has their budget and decides how they spend their funds. Also, check out the schools' individual website and you can get an idea about the school too. The board minutes of the district can be read by the public too.
1 vote
Arn Cenedella, Agent, Greenville, SC
Wed Feb 18, 2009

Please send me the address and I will let you know.

Steve is correct - school districts no longer can promise enrollment in the local nearby school - they can only promise a place in a school within the district.

Here is why:

Say you have a child who will enter 3rd grade next fall 09.
Say your designated school in Menlo Park would be Oak Knoll Elementary.
Say Oak Knoll has three 3rd grade classes with a maximum of 20 children per class.
So Oak Knoll would have room for 60 3rd graders in fall 09.
Say Oak Knoll has 60 returning 2nd grade students who will enter 3rd grade in Fall 09.
Under this scenario, you would not be able to enroll your 3rd grader in Oak Knoll but your child would be placed in another District school.

Please be advised that the arrea in Menlo Park east of HWY 101 is in the Ravenswood District and that the North Fair Oaks area of Menlo is actually county area and those children go to Redwood City schools.

Here is link to Menlo City School District.

Hope this helps.
1 vote
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Feb 18, 2009
Hi Eugene, phew, this is a "can-of-worms" question. Short answer is "yes, no, and maybe." Here's why it is difficult to answer this question:

As a Fremont City Council candidate in 1998 I came across a major statewide systemic issue when it comes to schools and housing, which still exists in many areas. Assuming a General Law city that follows the State’s rules (as opposed to a Charter City that can make rules by having the populous vote), when a new housing project goes before a City Council you will never find a sitting Council turn down a project due to the impacts on schools – no matter how many worried parents fill the Council chambers.

The determination of impacts on public schools is the purview of the local School District. A School District will not inform a City Council that it will be unable to handle the influx of children from a new project for two primary reasons: 1) the District is paid on a “headcount per day basis” (the value of which is different for each city based on its incorporation date), and 2) if a District were to state that they are unable to accommodate new students this leaves them open to being run by the State. Hence, this completes the loop of the basic systemic problem.

This leaves the school districts, especially in today’s budget-weary environment, to practice “load-balancing” of the student population. While this can dismay parents who long for the traditional “neighborhood school”, the fact is that busing, boundary changes, lotteries, and portable “temporary” classrooms are tools to maximize the utilization of school capacities and avoid over-crowding on individual school campuses.

When it comes to schools and attendance the only source for accurate information is the school district office. The first bit of information they will ask is the home address you are asking for, since they use physical address to determine attendance area (the manipulation of attendance areas is a heated and politically-charged issue). Even though the home may be located in a certain school's attendance area doesn't mean the child will go to the neighborhood school.

Even when there is an overcrowded school, some people will still buy in the area and just wait it out until their child attends the neighborhood school. Once a child is in a neighborhood school its uncommon to shift them to an out of neighborhood school.

Best, Steve

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