School districts and reassignments

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jedin
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School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

Hi folks,

Long time lurker, seldom poster. Thanks for all the great advice and providing a great resource in this forum.

We've just received word that our daughter who is starting kindergarten this year will be placed in a different school than our zoned school. We are frustrated with this assignment and the district is unable to accommodate her in the zoned school. Let's call these schools A (zoned school) and B (assigned school). Here's the situation:

- A and B are of equal quality on objective ratings, for what they are worth.
- We prefer A's curriculum as it would allow our daughter to continue a particular interest of hers.
- District provides a convenient bus from our neighborhood to A.
- District will not provide a bus from our neighborhood to B.
- Driving to/from B takes 30-35 minutes round trip.
- We know several families going to A, no one going to B.
- The district is not officially moving our neighborhood into B's zone but it is possible they will do so in the future.

We moved to this area last year. We chose a denser neighborhood than is customary with the idea that our kids will ride the bus to A with their neighborhood friends and play outside after school. We want to live in the community in which our kids go to school. With the assignment to B, it's more parent pickups/dropoffs and scheduled playdates -- both with our distance from B's zone and the sparser neighborhoods there.

I'm looking for advice on how to proceed. For those of you who have faced similar situations: did you move or stick with it? And how do you feel about it having seen it play out?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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JoeRetire
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by JoeRetire »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:39 am We prefer A's curriculum as it would allow our daughter to continue a particular interest of hers.
In kindergarten they have a curriculum that matches your daughter's particular interest?
I'm looking for advice on how to proceed.
The obvious choice is to speak with someone who can make a change for you. If that's not possible, I'd advise you to just let it happen for a year and see how it really turns out rather than anticipating problems.
For those of you who have faced similar situations: did you move or stick with it? And how do you feel about it having seen it play out?
For us it worked out just fine.
Our kids made new friends and still played with the ones in the neighborhood.

When I was a child, we lived right on the boundary for school assignments. As the town population shifted, we got assigned to different schools. It was never a real problem. By the time we got to high school, we knew far more classmates than most others did.
Just remember: it's not a lie if you believe it.
MadDwag
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by MadDwag »

Our neighborhood got redistricted last year. The neighborhood Facebook group was full of complaints and outrage. Neighbors went to the school board meeting and complained. We still wound up changing schools. Know what? It’s been an awesome experience and the new school is amazing. I say give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out, you can always apply for a permissive transfer or figure something else out.
HomeStretch
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by HomeStretch »

School redistricting / re-assignments can be rough.
- Is just your daughter reassigned or is a significant portion of your neighborhood attending School B?
- Is this just for Grade K or also for G1-5?
- Does School B feed into different middle/high schools than School A?

The 30-35 minute commute to School B without a bus is not ideal for parents or for young children (makes a long day longer). In our area, the school you attend determines which sports leagues and scout troops you participate in so that would also separate the child from neighboring children as well.

If this is only for Grade K, try sticking it out for a year. If it is permanent and I could not obtain permission for School A for G1+, I personally would move as local school attendance/sports/scouts with neighboring children at a school that is walkable or 5-10 minutes away by bus was a must-have for our family.

Edit - your school district should have a written bus policy. In my town, if it is over 0.5-1 mile (depending on age) a bus MUST be provided. Go to the district administration or school board to have the bus policy enforced. The cost to the district could get your child switched back to School A.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Wed May 12, 2021 8:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
bob60014
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by bob60014 »

What is the reason for the different placement? How many other children are being reassigned? Is this a one off due to construction, unusual class size or...? Agree that voicing your displeasure as a group may do some good.

"District will not provide a bus from our neighborhood to B." If the district is forcing the change, one would think bus service would be provided. I don't know how it works in CA., but here if the child lives over one mile from school or there are hazardous intersections on the route, a bus is normally provided.
forgeblast
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by forgeblast »

You could always go to a school board meeting for more information. Ask what the criteria for the move was, why they are not providing busing services? how long the reassignment is for? etc.
When I worked for WCPSS (Wake County Public School System) this came up a lot. But, that was a county wide school district. Where I teach now its geographic area vs county wide. Sometimes they run out of room, and have no place to put the outdoor classrooms (trailers).
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jpelder »

Redistricting definitely happens. I always say not to buy a house depending on it being in a particular school's attendance zone unless you live right across the street from the school (even then...).
bob60014 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:11 am "District will not provide a bus from our neighborhood to B." If the district is forcing the change, one would think bus service would be provided. I don't know how it works in CA., but here if the child lives over one mile from school or there are hazardous intersections on the route, a bus is normally provided.
I would raise hell abut this. Having bus transportation available is a major benefit of public schools. In the school district where I work, there are a fair share of parents who don't have cars or can't drop students at school due to work schedules. Every student who lives more than a mile from school is guaranteed a bus. It's unreasonable to mandate a child to change school to one further from home and then deny bus transportation.
OnceARunner
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by OnceARunner »

I've never heard of (and I've been in education for 20 years) a school district not providing a bus to an assigned school. It's state law in my state that they must do so.

If you WANT to attend a different school than you are assigned, sometimes you can do that (if they have available capacity), but you are responsible for your own transportation, but the school district has to provide transportation to the assigned school.
DoubleComma
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by DoubleComma »

If this is CA, they must provide transportation if the district is moving you from your neighborhood zones school to another due to the zones school not having capacity or similar reason.

Second, there are some very specific the district must follow if they are doing this. My brother’s family was impacted, they were super annoyed, filed a complaint with the CA Dept of Education who investigated and determined the district was providing preferential treatment. It took 2 years but he prevailed, serval non-neighborhood families were displaced from the school to accommodate the neighborhood kids.
squirm
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by squirm »

I have no advice for you in particular but do what you can do to put your kids in the school you want, whatever it takes.

We live out in the boonies. We decided to put our kids through private. The school is in hour away in the city. We drop them off on the way to work. If we don't work, yes it's an hour away (one way) we do the drive. They get a great education and have good, respected friends. To us, it's worth it.
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jedin
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

Thank you all for your thoughts. Very helpful.

To answer the questions raised:
JoeRetire wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 5:23 am In kindergarten they have a curriculum that matches your daughter's particular interest?
Curriculum is an overstatement. School A's after school program offers a class for that interest, B does not.
HomeStretch wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:08 am School redistricting / re-assignments can be rough.
- Is just your daughter reassigned or is a significant portion of your neighborhood attending School B?
- Is this just for Grade K or also for G1-5?
- Does School B feed into different middle/high schools than School A?
There is one other family in our neighborhood attending school B. I believe they chose to attend in a previous year.

This school covers K-G5.

A and B feed into the same middle and high schools.
bob60014 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:11 am What is the reason for the different placement? How many other children are being reassigned? Is this a one off due to construction, unusual class size or...?
School A is full. There's a new housing development in A which adds several dozen houses per year. They're still building and adding several dozen more houses per year and will for the next 3+ years.
jpelder wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:55 am Redistricting definitely happens. I always say not to buy a house depending on it being in a particular school's attendance zone unless you live right across the street from the school (even then...).
This is a fair point. I want to make a distinction here: we bought a house depending not that she can do to school A, but more that:

- Most of the kids in the neighborhood would go to the same school (whether A, B, C, D, etc.)
- There's bus service to that school.

When we bought a house in this town, our expectation (perhaps misguided) was that even if we were redistricted that all new kids would to go to B (thereby building a community around B) and there would be bus service. This town touts itself as a family-friendly place.

As for what we've done so far:

We have emailed the superintendent (no response) and talked with the principal of school B. The district has handled this poorly and not made a real response other than "that's the way it is".

There's a chicken and egg problem here. The person who runs the bus program says they cannot offer a bus to our neighborhood until there are more kids going to B. The district has not moved our neighborhood in B's zone. Given the housing development in A, it seems reasonable to expect more kids would go to B. However, looking at how many kids are served per route, we can see it would take 5+ years for the neighborhood to "turn over" such that enough kids were going to B to justify a bus route -- if the route's existence was judged on their traditional metrics.
MBB_Boy
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by MBB_Boy »

OnceARunner wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:05 am I've never heard of (and I've been in education for 20 years) a school district not providing a bus to an assigned school. It's state law in my state that they must do so.

If you WANT to attend a different school than you are assigned, sometimes you can do that (if they have available capacity), but you are responsible for your own transportation, but the school district has to provide transportation to the assigned school.
Yeah, same here as far as I know. That's really surprising
Katietsu
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Katietsu »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:44 am
There's a chicken and egg problem here. The person who runs the bus program says they cannot offer a bus to our neighborhood until there are more kids going to B. The district has not moved our neighborhood in B's zone. Given the housing development in A, it seems reasonable to expect more kids would go to B. However, looking at how many kids are served per route, we can see it would take 5+ years for the neighborhood to "turn over" such that enough kids were going to B to justify a bus route -- if the route's existence was judged on their traditional metrics.
I understand why this is the position of the transportation program. But have you independently looked into whether or not this is legal?
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RickBoglehead
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by RickBoglehead »

As some stated, districts have school bus policies. While CA may mandate bus transportation for assigned schools, that's not a normal policy. For example, in Michigan, school districts are not required by law to transport regular education students. There are obligations of the district IF the board ELECTS to provide busing at all. Among the rules no requirement to transport if you live within 1.5 miles.

In our district, if the student lived more than 1.5 miles from this newly assigned school, transportation would be provided.
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jedin
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

Katietsu wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:56 am
jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:44 am
There's a chicken and egg problem here. The person who runs the bus program says they cannot offer a bus to our neighborhood until there are more kids going to B. The district has not moved our neighborhood in B's zone. Given the housing development in A, it seems reasonable to expect more kids would go to B. However, looking at how many kids are served per route, we can see it would take 5+ years for the neighborhood to "turn over" such that enough kids were going to B to justify a bus route -- if the route's existence was judged on their traditional metrics.
I understand why this is the position of the transportation program. But have you independently looked into whether or not this is legal?
I suspect it is legal. I found a report: https://lao.ca.gov/reports/2014/educati ... 022514.pdf from 2014 that implies that CA does not require its districts to provide transportation except in special cases.

Moreover, I know the bus service in this town and other towns does not cover 100% of the town. Some small and compact towns nearby do not offer any bus service.
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jedin
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 8:58 am As some stated, districts have school bus policies. While CA may mandate bus transportation for assigned schools, that's not a normal policy. For example, in Michigan, school districts are not required by law to transport regular education students. There are obligations of the district IF the board ELECTS to provide busing at all. Among the rules no requirement to transport if you live within 1.5 miles.

In our district, if the student lived more than 1.5 miles from this newly assigned school, transportation would be provided.
For what it's worth, we live 3 miles from school B using the most direct route. We may drive a different 4.5 mile route that avoids the downtown traffic.
Soon2BXProgrammer
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:39 am Hi folks,

Long time lurker, seldom poster. Thanks for all the great advice and providing a great resource in this forum.

We've just received word that our daughter who is starting kindergarten this year will be placed in a different school than our zoned school. We are frustrated with this assignment and the district is unable to accommodate her in the zoned school. Let's call these schools A (zoned school) and B (assigned school). Here's the situation:

- A and B are of equal quality on objective ratings, for what they are worth.
- We prefer A's curriculum as it would allow our daughter to continue a particular interest of hers.
- District provides a convenient bus from our neighborhood to A.
- District will not provide a bus from our neighborhood to B.
- Driving to/from B takes 30-35 minutes round trip.
- We know several families going to A, no one going to B.
- The district is not officially moving our neighborhood into B's zone but it is possible they will do so in the future.

We moved to this area last year. We chose a denser neighborhood than is customary with the idea that our kids will ride the bus to A with their neighborhood friends and play outside after school. We want to live in the community in which our kids go to school. With the assignment to B, it's more parent pickups/dropoffs and scheduled playdates -- both with our distance from B's zone and the sparser neighborhoods there.

I'm looking for advice on how to proceed. For those of you who have faced similar situations: did you move or stick with it? And how do you feel about it having seen it play out?

Thanks in advance for your advice.
i would fight this. in our experience in our district this would not pass muster, because they have to provide transportation. Sometimes we have schools that have classes that are overfull, but not big enough to have another class, so then the district has athe hard decision about providing a teachers aid or bussing students.. Also, families in the the actual school A area, have first priority to school A.

I am making some assumptions, but you could cite that your child has no transportation to school, unless they ride the bus. If you wnat to play hardball, send your child to school A on the bus in september. and see what they do.
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leeks
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by leeks »

Keep pushing the transportation issue, escalate to whatever level of gov't you need to. They should not force your child to another school without transportation. Whether or not it is a legal violation, it violates common expectations. School boards, council members, whatever local influencers you have would usually agree that lack of busing is an unreasonable burden on a family who lives in a neighborhood that has bus service to another school. So keep complaining about that publicly.

Also stay in touch with school A about being on the waitlist. Call or walk in every week (make sure you reach the enrollment staff or principal in person, not leave a message) to ask if any spaces have opened (families move and such). Every week. All summer. Until your child gets a spot. That is what pushy parents in my area do and they are usually successful in eventually getting off waitlists.
Goat1036
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Goat1036 »

If you emailed the superintendent and they didn't respond, that is disappointing. I would email someone or all of the school board and ask what step they would take if it was their child and you are not getting a response from the superintendent. Or give them one more email before this step.
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Monsterflockster »

leeks wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:16 am Keep pushing the transportation issue, escalate to whatever level of gov't you need to. They should not force your child to another school without transportation. Whether or not it is a legal violation, it violates common expectations. School boards, council members, whatever local influencers you have would usually agree that lack of busing is an unreasonable burden on a family who lives in a neighborhood that has bus service to another school. So keep complaining about that publicly.

Also stay in touch with school A about being on the waitlist. Call or walk in every week (make sure you reach the enrollment staff or principal in person, not leave a message) to ask if any spaces have opened (families move and such). Every week. All summer. Until your child gets a spot. That is what pushy parents in my area do and they are usually successful in eventually getting off waitlists.
This is sad on many levels.
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8foot7
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by 8foot7 »

A bold approach, one I don’t necessarily recommend, may be to write to the superintendent with something to the effect of, “my child requires bus transportation to school and as such, since school A is our zoned school with bus service, my child will be riding the bus daily to school A to attend until satisfactory alternate arrangements are made with me.”

I suspect you will receive a reply. There's nothing that upsets a bureaucrat more than ignoring a process.
quantAndHold
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by quantAndHold »

I would find out what the rules about providing transportation really, truly are. It beggars belief that it’s legal to force a kindergartner to a school 3 miles away from home and not provide transportation. Just because the district isn’t providing transportation to other kids doesn’t mean they’re doing the right thing for them, either. And I would be very, very persistent with the district administration and school board about the transportation issue. Make them get tired of hearing from you.

That said, I’m not clear why a school that’s 3 miles away is a 30-35 minute drive.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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jedin
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

quantAndHold wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:52 am That said, I’m not clear why a school that’s 3 miles away is a 30-35 minute drive.
It's a 10-12 minute drive each way. Narrow single-lane roads with a few lights and only one alternate (longer) route. From parents we've talked to there's a 5-15 min wait in the dropoff / pickup lane.

Altogether, it's 30-35 minutes round trip to do a dropoff or pickup.
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jedin
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 10:01 am
quantAndHold wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:52 am That said, I’m not clear why a school that’s 3 miles away is a 30-35 minute drive.
It's a 10-12 minute drive each way. Narrow single-lane roads with a few lights and only one alternate (longer) route. From parents we've talked to there's a 5-15 min wait in the dropoff / pickup lane.

Altogether, it's 30-35 minutes round trip to do a dropoff or pickup.
I should add here: it's possible we don't have realistic expectations about how long a dropoff should take or the amount of shuttling around that is necessary in the suburbs. However, when we chose where to live, we consciously tried to minimize dropoffs and shuttling by living a denser neighborhood that was well served by the school bus.
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8foot7
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by 8foot7 »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 10:01 am
It's a 10-12 minute drive each way.
You won't get anywhere with this argument.
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leeks
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by leeks »

Monsterflockster wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:21 am
leeks wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:16 am Keep pushing the transportation issue, escalate to whatever level of gov't you need to. They should not force your child to another school without transportation. Whether or not it is a legal violation, it violates common expectations. School boards, council members, whatever local influencers you have would usually agree that lack of busing is an unreasonable burden on a family who lives in a neighborhood that has bus service to another school. So keep complaining about that publicly.

Also stay in touch with school A about being on the waitlist. Call or walk in every week (make sure you reach the enrollment staff or principal in person, not leave a message) to ask if any spaces have opened (families move and such). Every week. All summer. Until your child gets a spot. That is what pushy parents in my area do and they are usually successful in eventually getting off waitlists.
This is sad on many levels.
Squeaky wheel gets the grease.
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leeks
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by leeks »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 10:21 am
jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 10:01 am
quantAndHold wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 9:52 am That said, I’m not clear why a school that’s 3 miles away is a 30-35 minute drive.
It's a 10-12 minute drive each way. Narrow single-lane roads with a few lights and only one alternate (longer) route. From parents we've talked to there's a 5-15 min wait in the dropoff / pickup lane.

Altogether, it's 30-35 minutes round trip to do a dropoff or pickup.
I should add here: it's possible we don't have realistic expectations about how long a dropoff should take or the amount of shuttling around that is necessary in the suburbs. However, when we chose where to live, we consciously tried to minimize dropoffs and shuttling by living a denser neighborhood that was well served by the school bus.
Most everyone I know who lives in suburbs in the US has school buses that pick up their children. I even know of places where children who go to *private school* get to ride a bus paid for by their local school district. Such things vary by state and locality of course. I don't know anything about where you are. But it does seem unusual to me to expect a parent to drive a child back/forth to public school every day.

That 5-15 min wait in the drop off line though, that tells me that a lot of other children at school B also don't ride the bus. So maybe your area does not have consistent school bus service. Go (or zoom) to your next school board meeting to raise a complaint. Even if bus service is not guaranteed now, you could organize local parents to demand it.
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Watty
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Watty »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:39 am I'm looking for advice on how to proceed.
I don't know how it would work in a pandemic but in normal times I would call up school A that you want and make an appointment to go in and talk to the school principal.

When I went in I would try to keep it friendly and stress that not having the bus service was the main issue and ask if there is anything they can do to help you with the situation.

Even if you have a stay at home parent who could do the driving it might be fair to say that you were looking at them go back to work once your kid was in kindergarden and that having to pick your kid up and drop them off each day would prevent you from being able to find after school care for your kid so you could not work which would be a big hardship.

If you can get their understanding and get them to try to help you then you may get better results than trying to force them to do something. If that does not work then you can get more aggressive.
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by humblecoder »

jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:39 am - A and B are of equal quality on objective ratings, for what they are worth.
- We prefer A's curriculum as it would allow our daughter to continue a particular interest of hers.
- District provides a convenient bus from our neighborhood to A.
- District will not provide a bus from our neighborhood to B.
- Driving to/from B takes 30-35 minutes round trip.
- We know several families going to A, no one going to B.
- The district is not officially moving our neighborhood into B's zone but it is possible they will do so in the future.
Re-districting and "soft borders" (where they send kids to B even though they are in school A's "area") is getting more and more common in the areas where I have lived. It's a challenge for school districts to deal with changing demographics with a fixed set of physical buildings. Either districts have to build/expand schools or they have to do things like this to balance out enrollment among all of the schools in the district. While parents are generally hostile to it for some of the reasons you have listed, people need to see it from the district's point of view too. It is a no-win situation for them. I'm sure the same parents would be equally upset if their taxes went up so that they could expand one school while another school had capacity to accommodate additional children.

Also consider that they probably had to pick some kids to move to school B. They probably chose them based upon those that they perceived would cause the least burden. For instance, if a child had an older sibling in school A already, they probably sought to keep any other children at the same school. If you think it is bad for you, imagine the poor parent who needs to coordinate two kids in different elementary schools. Yes, I realize that this happens all of the time when you had a kid in elementary, one in middle, etc but at least in that case there are staggered start times, etc.

In some respects, you are lucky. At least your daughter is being assigned to a school that is of equal quality. It is not uncommon for children to be assigned to a less desirable school since that school isn't "in demand".

Also, your daughter will get to benefit from a second set of friends: her neighborhood friends and her school friends!

I guess my point is to give you a little bit of tough love that there are no easy answers from the administration side. I'm sure they don't WANT to do this and deal with all of the resulting complaints that they are going to get. I'm sure they'd rather just have enough room in each of the neighborhood schools and not have to deal with dozens of emails/calls from angry parents. I would just make the best of an objectively not-so-bad situation. I know that opinion seems to run contrary to many of the posts on here calling for pitchforks and such, but truly I would save the pitchforks for something that will actually cause your daughter harm.

Or you can just move! :D

PS: The only potential gripe you have is with the bussing situation. At first, I was thinking "30 minutes away and no bus?". But then you clarified that it is really 3 miles away and the 30 minutes includes waiting at the school for drop off. In my state, bussing is required if you are more than 1 mile from your elementary school and 1.5 miles from your middle/high school. It sounds like your area does not have that law, If not, then I am not sure what recourse you have.
TheHiker
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by TheHiker »

We are in the bay area also. We moved twice when our daughter was in school and each time they assigned her to a "less desirable" school due to lack of space and waitlisted her for the zoned school.
Both times they reassigned her to the zoned school within 10 days after school start.
Ron Ronnerson
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

I don’t have advice for you on what to do but thought I’d explain the process a little bit. I’m a Bay Area elementary school teacher at a school with a very good reputation that is often at full-capacity. As a result, overloading to other campuses is not uncommon.

I'll try to provide an example of how things work. Let’s say that there are 95 kids in the neighborhood hat are in the fourth grade. Each class can hold 30 kids per the contract between the district and teachers. So 3 classes are made and then there are five extra kids. There are several options available about what to do in this situation. A combination class with a 3rd or 5th grade class could be formed in some cases. However, let’s assume that the enrollment numbers are such that this isn’t really feasible or is not a good option. Another option is to put roughly 24 kids in a class instead of 30 and hire another teacher. The district may be willing to have one or two extra seats open in a class but having six open would be seen as too costly and wasteful so instead they would likely choose to overload the students to another campus nearby. The five kids who are overloaded would be given an overload number, often based on when the student was enrolled. There is a high chance that overload #1 may be back at their home school relatively soon (it just takes one family to move). In an area without much movement, however, the chances of overload #5 returning sooner rather than later are much lower.

Bothering the school secretaries or principal will not change the assigned overload number given by the district. You’ll just make the people working there unhappy and get a reputation for being annoying. The decision isn’t up to the people at the school anyhow. The district basically informs the school when a student is being returned to their home school due to a spot opening up (which often happens after someone moves).

I don’t know the policy of the district you are in but perhaps begin by seeing if they can tell you where your child is on the overload list to get a sense of how likely they are to be called back soon.

As for transportation, bus service is not required in our area and the transportation budget has been cut and cut until it is barely even there. I don’t know any student who takes the bus at our school, for instance.

I hope things work out for your family as having a child overloaded to another school is often less than ideal.
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leeks
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by leeks »

Ron Ronnerson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 1:53 pm I don’t have advice for you on what to do but thought I’d explain the process a little bit. I’m a Bay Area elementary school teacher at a school with a very good reputation that is often at full-capacity. As a result, overloading to other campuses is not uncommon.
...
As for transportation, bus service is not required in our area and the transportation budget has been cut and cut until it is barely even there. I don’t know any student who takes the bus at our school, for instance.
That is quite an inefficiency of extra vehicle trips - in an area where I'm guessing people complain about traffic. And presumably quite a burden on many parents. Most of the rest of the country gets school buses! For as much as you guys pay for housing/property tax out there, I'm surprised this basic service is lacking. If it were me, I'd be organizing my neighbors to demand guaranteed school buses. An extra hour/day of a parent's time for transportation is a real impact on work/family.
DoubleComma
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by DoubleComma »

humblecoder wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 12:32 pm
jedin wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:39 am - A and B are of equal quality on objective ratings, for what they are worth.
- We prefer A's curriculum as it would allow our daughter to continue a particular interest of hers.
- District provides a convenient bus from our neighborhood to A.
- District will not provide a bus from our neighborhood to B.
- Driving to/from B takes 30-35 minutes round trip.
- We know several families going to A, no one going to B.
- The district is not officially moving our neighborhood into B's zone but it is possible they will do so in the future.
Re-districting and "soft borders" (where they send kids to B even though they are in school A's "area") is getting more and more common in the areas where I have lived. It's a challenge for school districts to deal with changing demographics with a fixed set of physical buildings. Either districts have to build/expand schools or they have to do things like this to balance out enrollment among all of the schools in the district. While parents are generally hostile to it for some of the reasons you have listed, people need to see it from the district's point of view too. It is a no-win situation for them. I'm sure the same parents would be equally upset if their taxes went up so that they could expand one school while another school had capacity to accommodate additional children.

Also consider that they probably had to pick some kids to move to school B. They probably chose them based upon those that they perceived would cause the least burden. For instance, if a child had an older sibling in school A already, they probably sought to keep any other children at the same school. If you think it is bad for you, imagine the poor parent who needs to coordinate two kids in different elementary schools. Yes, I realize that this happens all of the time when you had a kid in elementary, one in middle, etc but at least in that case there are staggered start times, etc.

In some respects, you are lucky. At least your daughter is being assigned to a school that is of equal quality. It is not uncommon for children to be assigned to a less desirable school since that school isn't "in demand".

Also, your daughter will get to benefit from a second set of friends: her neighborhood friends and her school friends!

I guess my point is to give you a little bit of tough love that there are no easy answers from the administration side. I'm sure they don't WANT to do this and deal with all of the resulting complaints that they are going to get. I'm sure they'd rather just have enough room in each of the neighborhood schools and not have to deal with dozens of emails/calls from angry parents. I would just make the best of an objectively not-so-bad situation. I know that opinion seems to run contrary to many of the posts on here calling for pitchforks and such, but truly I would save the pitchforks for something that will actually cause your daughter harm.

Or you can just move! :D

PS: The only potential gripe you have is with the bussing situation. At first, I was thinking "30 minutes away and no bus?". But then you clarified that it is really 3 miles away and the 30 minutes includes waiting at the school for drop off. In my state, bussing is required if you are more than 1 mile from your elementary school and 1.5 miles from your middle/high school. It sounds like your area does not have that law, If not, then I am not sure what recourse you have.
This a great post. Well thought out with good perspective.

The one caveat I have to just accepting the reassignment, is I would expect the school to validate that everyone enrolling in Kinder at School A actually lives in School A's boundary and are entitled to be there. As mention up thread, my brother had this issue with his local school. What he was able to determine and the CA Dept of Education validated, the School was prioritizing enrollment for siblings of existing students who no longer lived in the district and/or students of school site employees who also didn't live in the district which was artificially impacting enrolment. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation set extremely specific enrolment rules that must be followed. If the local school is doing thing correctly and legally, then your post is 100% accurate....my guess is being a high performing school in CA SF Bay Area, there are some people who have found their way in that don't legally have priority of the OPs child.
OnTrack2020
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by OnTrack2020 »

We have been driving our kids to school for many, many years--5 miles each way twice a day. I will say that when our kids were younger, the district reimbursed the parents for a portion of the mileage. Busing has been provided for some kids in the district, but not the kids that live in our neighborhood. The kids that are provided busing live farther away from school than we do.

In all honesty, with the stuff that goes on in school buses today, you and your child will be much happier when you are doing the drop-offs/pick-ups. Years ago, I was parked behind a school bus at pick-up time, and there was a young kid flipping me off. I went to talk to the bus driver--they didn't care, neither did the principal. I've seen a school bus driver pull over rather suddenly in front of a school, throw on the brakes, pull the "stop" arm out, and do an emergency fire drill right before school starts while causing traffic to get backed up.
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by humblecoder »

DoubleComma wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 4:00 pm The one caveat I have to just accepting the reassignment, is I would expect the school to validate that everyone enrolling in Kinder at School A actually lives in School A's boundary and are entitled to be there. As mention up thread, my brother had this issue with his local school. What he was able to determine and the CA Dept of Education validated, the School was prioritizing enrollment for siblings of existing students who no longer lived in the district and/or students of school site employees who also didn't live in the district which was artificially impacting enrolment. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation set extremely specific enrolment rules that must be followed. If the local school is doing thing correctly and legally, then your post is 100% accurate....my guess is being a high performing school in CA SF Bay Area, there are some people who have found their way in that don't legally have priority of the OPs child.
Funny you should mention that!

My wife and I bought a home in a town with a decent (not amazing) school system. However, some of the surrounding towns were even worse, so it was not uncommon for children remain enrolled even though their parents had moved out of district. The common practice at the time was to validate your residence when you first enroll in school district, but there were no follow ups after that initial validation.

The district got wise to this and started doing yearly re-certifications soon after we moved in. One day, somebody came to the door from the school district asking about the previous owner and his daughter. Of course, we told them that they no longer lived here. It turns out the daughter was apparently still attending the local high school and hadn't been re-certified, so they were investigating to see if she still lived in the house.

I assume that she ended up getting un-enrolled because the local paper had an article about how X students were un-enrolled that year because they were no longer living in the district.
DoubleComma
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by DoubleComma »

humblecoder wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 5:55 pm
DoubleComma wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 4:00 pm The one caveat I have to just accepting the reassignment, is I would expect the school to validate that everyone enrolling in Kinder at School A actually lives in School A's boundary and are entitled to be there. As mention up thread, my brother had this issue with his local school. What he was able to determine and the CA Dept of Education validated, the School was prioritizing enrollment for siblings of existing students who no longer lived in the district and/or students of school site employees who also didn't live in the district which was artificially impacting enrolment. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation set extremely specific enrolment rules that must be followed. If the local school is doing thing correctly and legally, then your post is 100% accurate....my guess is being a high performing school in CA SF Bay Area, there are some people who have found their way in that don't legally have priority of the OPs child.
Funny you should mention that!

My wife and I bought a home in a town with a decent (not amazing) school system. However, some of the surrounding towns were even worse, so it was not uncommon for children remain enrolled even though their parents had moved out of district. The common practice at the time was to validate your residence when you first enroll in school district, but there were no follow ups after that initial validation.

The district got wise to this and started doing yearly re-certifications soon after we moved in. One day, somebody came to the door from the school district asking about the previous owner and his daughter. Of course, we told them that they no longer lived here. It turns out the daughter was apparently still attending the local high school and hadn't been re-certified, so they were investigating to see if she still lived in the house.

I assume that she ended up getting un-enrolled because the local paper had an article about how X students were un-enrolled that year because they were no longer living in the district.
It happens a lot.

I recall when we lived in the SF Bay Area, around 1999/2000, Cupertino School District was all the rage. We didn't have kids then so it wasn't something I paid huge attention too. However there was big hub bub , from some investigative journalism piece, maybe in the Mercury News, about how the district was being forced to validate residency up to and including following students home in order to combat their overcrowding. The person being interviewed shared a couple of stories about how far people went to get their students enrolled. The one I recall was the district representative knocking on a door reported to be of a student; the person who answered was quick to confirm that was the students home, but it didn't add up to the district official so they asked what time does the student get home which the resident couldn't answer. The official asked to see the student's room, which understandably the resident refused to let anyone in. The ultimate fail was the district official asked for a picture of the student and/or any piece of school work with the students name on it...neither could be produced.

It was determined the resident was a friend of a friend of the students family who agreed to allow their address to be used. That student was exited the school system shortly after.

This was when you could easily buy nice homes in Cupertino & Mountain View for well under $1M; I'm sure its just as bad again that homes there are all well over a $1M.
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

leeks wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:16 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 1:53 pm I don’t have advice for you on what to do but thought I’d explain the process a little bit. I’m a Bay Area elementary school teacher at a school with a very good reputation that is often at full-capacity. As a result, overloading to other campuses is not uncommon.
...
As for transportation, bus service is not required in our area and the transportation budget has been cut and cut until it is barely even there. I don’t know any student who takes the bus at our school, for instance.
That is quite an inefficiency of extra vehicle trips - in an area where I'm guessing people complain about traffic. And presumably quite a burden on many parents. Most of the rest of the country gets school buses! For as much as you guys pay for housing/property tax out there, I'm surprised this basic service is lacking. If it were me, I'd be organizing my neighbors to demand guaranteed school buses. An extra hour/day of a parent's time for transportation is a real impact on work/family.
I suppose it's about priorities. The more the transportation budget is increased, the less money there is for other things. A school district, with limited resources, has to make a call on how to allocate funds. Basically, you have to get the money from somewhere else in order to offer more bus service. So what program do you eliminate, how many more kids do you put in a classroom, how many more years do you delay getting new books and technology or doing repairs? Everyone has got their views on these matters and the district tries its best to make the wisest decisions. Regardless of what choices are made, though, not everyone will be happy. I'm just glad I teach kids rather than deal with school budgets.
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leeks
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by leeks »

Ron Ronnerson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:57 pm
leeks wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:16 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 1:53 pm I don’t have advice for you on what to do but thought I’d explain the process a little bit. I’m a Bay Area elementary school teacher at a school with a very good reputation that is often at full-capacity. As a result, overloading to other campuses is not uncommon.
...
As for transportation, bus service is not required in our area and the transportation budget has been cut and cut until it is barely even there. I don’t know any student who takes the bus at our school, for instance.
That is quite an inefficiency of extra vehicle trips - in an area where I'm guessing people complain about traffic. And presumably quite a burden on many parents. Most of the rest of the country gets school buses! For as much as you guys pay for housing/property tax out there, I'm surprised this basic service is lacking. If it were me, I'd be organizing my neighbors to demand guaranteed school buses. An extra hour/day of a parent's time for transportation is a real impact on work/family.
I suppose it's about priorities. The more the transportation budget is increased, the less money there is for other things. A school district, with limited resources, has to make a call on how to allocate funds. Basically, you have to get the money from somewhere else in order to offer more bus service. So what program do you eliminate, how many more kids do you put in a classroom, how many more years do you delay getting new books and technology or doing repairs? Everyone has got their views on these matters and the district tries its best to make the wisest decisions. Regardless of what choices are made, though, not everyone will be happy. I'm just glad I teach kids rather than deal with school budgets.
I think most states require districts to provide transportation so it is less common for it to be a local decision. But I am not attempting to engage in a discussion of what policy should be.

Actionable for the OP is the option to lobby the local school district if the OP feels every child in the district should get transportation. There is certainly a "fairness" argument likely to gain traction in public sentiment if some families who moved to a neighborhood in part based on an expected amenity of school bus service do not get it - yet some of their neighbors (who pay the same property taxes) do have that service. Local government is the easiest level to influence - a small group of vocal parents might be able to get bus service expanded if they feel it should be a priority.
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by beachairs »

leeks wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:16 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 1:53 pm I don’t have advice for you on what to do but thought I’d explain the process a little bit. I’m a Bay Area elementary school teacher at a school with a very good reputation that is often at full-capacity. As a result, overloading to other campuses is not uncommon.
...
As for transportation, bus service is not required in our area and the transportation budget has been cut and cut until it is barely even there. I don’t know any student who takes the bus at our school, for instance.
That is quite an inefficiency of extra vehicle trips - in an area where I'm guessing people complain about traffic. And presumably quite a burden on many parents. Most of the rest of the country gets school buses! For as much as you guys pay for housing/property tax out there, I'm surprised this basic service is lacking. If it were me, I'd be organizing my neighbors to demand guaranteed school buses. An extra hour/day of a parent's time for transportation is a real impact on work/family.
No buses here in San Diego either.
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ClevrChico
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by ClevrChico »

The distance and drop off situation actually seem pretty good to me. It could be a lot worse.

I had a six month period with two kids going to different schools with a significant bridge in between being rebuilt. I hope to never repeat that.
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leeks
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by leeks »

beachairs wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 7:42 pm
leeks wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 2:16 pm
Ron Ronnerson wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 1:53 pm I don’t have advice for you on what to do but thought I’d explain the process a little bit. I’m a Bay Area elementary school teacher at a school with a very good reputation that is often at full-capacity. As a result, overloading to other campuses is not uncommon.
...
As for transportation, bus service is not required in our area and the transportation budget has been cut and cut until it is barely even there. I don’t know any student who takes the bus at our school, for instance.
That is quite an inefficiency of extra vehicle trips - in an area where I'm guessing people complain about traffic. And presumably quite a burden on many parents. Most of the rest of the country gets school buses! For as much as you guys pay for housing/property tax out there, I'm surprised this basic service is lacking. If it were me, I'd be organizing my neighbors to demand guaranteed school buses. An extra hour/day of a parent's time for transportation is a real impact on work/family.
No buses here in San Diego either.
I guess this is another example of CA being confusing to those of us from not-CA. So much variation in this country.
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cchrissyy
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by cchrissyy »

Probably the only thing you can do is get on a waitlist in case a space appears at school A.
Maybe somebody will move out of town and you'll be lucky.

School B doesn't sound bad! I'd give it a shot.

Driving and drop off lines are no fun for anybody but it's not fair for you to call it a 30 minute drive when you're counting the round trip plus time spent waiting. 3 miles is not bad.

Still, I agree with others to ask/push for a bus. It isn't just about the hassle. compared to cars, buses are safer and reduce air pollution and traffic for everybody. in my district (CA) the bus is provided for everyone in grades K-5 at 1.5 miles.

Maybe they can add the afterschool class you want. Those programs are often staffed by a 3rd party who visits a different campus each day of the week, so there would be a real chance that by expressing interest you could get the same afterschool class at B.
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jedin
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Re: School districts and reassignments

Post by jedin »

Thank you all for your perspectives. It's been really helpful for me to read and reflect on them. I appreciate the time you've taken to share your thoughts.
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