When it comes to their children’s education, parents such as Pete Decastro may soon have options that go beyond simply choosing between public and private schools.
Officials with the San Bruno Park School District are wiping the slate clean for the district’s 2,600 students, and starting a process tonight of reconfiguring the number of grade levels taught at each school. The opportunity could provide parents such as Decastro with the chance to move his 11-year-old daughter back to her elementary school, or somewhere else, until high school.
School Board President Skip Henderson said the reconfiguration efforts started after parents with kids enrolled at Crestmoor Elementary petitioned to convert it into a K-8 in response to a lack of middle school choices, and the bad academic reputation the city’s lone middle school, Parkside Intermediate, sometimes receives. The proposal led to outcry from parents from other schools who wanted to be considered in the reconfiguration process, he said.
Four reconfiguration scenarios are most likely, said Henry Sanchez, a Crestmoor parent and vice chair of the 31-member reconfiguration committee, which has its first meeting tonight. They include some schools shifting from K-6 to K-8; Parkside, which currently has students in the 7-8 levels, expanding to grades 6-8 while all others downsize to K-5; and an option in which the schools would remain the same. The city has six elementary schools.
A fourth possibility, which Sanchez referred to as a “sister school” setup, would involve some elementary schools shifting to K-3 while the others change to grades 4-6, with Parkside continuing to serve grades 7-8.
The choice of moving kids to different schools would likely be up to the parents, said Henderson.
Some parents said Monday they were against the reconfiguration.
“I think that to divide up the students in the district would be detrimental,” said Rhonda Collins, who has a son at Parkside and a daughter at Rollingwood. “[At Parkside] you get the opportunity to bring together all these different students from all over San Bruno.”
Funding is also at stake because schools receive money in part based on the number of students there. Some schools, such as El Crystal Elementary, are too small and would prefer not to expand while others, such as Crestmoor, could add additional portable classrooms to make way for more students and subsequent income, Henderson said.
By the numbers
2,600 Students in district
6 Elementary schools (grades K-6) in the district
1 Intermediate school (grades 7-8) in the district
18 County intermediate schools with better API scores than Parkside in 2008
8 County intermediate schools with worse API scores than Parkside in 2008
Sources: San Bruno Park School District, California Department of Education