Students crowding into Carlmont High

So many students currently attend Carlmont High School that there is a waiting list to get into the public school — and leaders could weigh policy changes that would prevent some students living outside the school’s boundaries from getting in.

Carlmont’s capacity is 2,100 students, but in 2006-07, its enrollment ballooned to 2,161 students, according to the California Department of Education. Of those, 109 attended the school through the Sequoia High School District’s open enrollment policy, according to a report from district Business Manager Don Gielow.

Meanwhile, Sequoia High School’s enrollment has fallen. While its capacity is 2,300, 2006-07 enrollment was 1,571, and the school lost 167 students to open enrollment, according to the report. The district board is slated to discuss future directions for its open-enrollment policies tonight.

“Sequoia has the smallest class sizes in the district because of its [enrollment],” said Susan Berghouse, director of student services in the district.

While Carlmont’s classrooms face overcrowding, high enrollment has its benefits, Berghouse added. “If you’re in a larger school, you can offer more extracurricular classes, such as drama and music, because you have more students to fill those classes.”

Neither Carlmont Principal Andrea Jenoff nor Sequoia Principal Morgan Marchbanks returned calls for comment regarding how the imbalance is affecting day-to-day operations, but district leaders have heard plenty from parents who are worried about whether their students will be able to attend Carlmont, according to board member Gordon Lewin.

“Because of the enrollment coming out of Belmont and Redwood Shores, where they’re building a whole new elementary school, enrollment is growing at Carlmont,” Lewin said.

Lewin said that “Carlmont has had a very effective marketing program in recent years,” which has drawn attention from parents.

Sequoia High School District’s open-enrollment policy, created in 1986, states that students who live within the boundaries of one of the district’s four high schools will attend that high school. However, it also allows parents to enroll their student in any school they choose — and doesn’t place limits on how many intradistrict transfers are allowed.

No changes are recommended for tonight’s meeting, but the board may consider whether it’s time to place a limit on those transfers, or whether to leave the policy alone, according to Lewin.

The Sequoia High School District Board of Trustees meets at 5:30 p.m. in the district offices, 480 James Ave., Redwood City.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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