News: Proposed Changes to District Boundary Map Met with Gratitude and Few Concerns
In its first public meeting of the year, the Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees presented a map with redrawn school attendance areas for the district’s four comprehensive high schools, garnering largely positive feedback from the community.
The board held many community meetings around May and October of last year to ensure that the revised map addressed the community’s concerns, with superintendent Jim Lianides emphasizing the wish “to keep communities intact to the greatest degree possible.” The proposed changes to the map respond to projected enrollment growth and revise an outdated policy that previously divided Ravenswood into three attendance areas.
Among other changes, the new map guarantees all students from Ravenswood and the Las Lomitas Elementary School District enrollment at M-A. In the past, students in these areas had frequently transferred or attempted to transfer to M-A from Carlmont or Woodside, and the changed boundaries reflect these trends.
“There was a very clear and unanimous voice requesting that that be done,” said trustee Alan Sarver. “Their definition of community lay in the middle school that their children attended and keeping their cohort together.”
Meanwhile, Sequoia picks up a portion of East Redwood City and North Fair Oaks formerly assigned to M-A in an effort to limit fracturing of 8th grade classes in Redwood City and to address enrollment growth. Assuming no future small schools or transfers, M-A’s student body is projected to reach 2,643 students by 2020 with these proposed changes, with M-A staying the largest of the four comprehensive high schools.
Members of the North Fair Oaks community expressed concerns over the new boundary at 8th Ave, as it shifts residents on 6th and 7th Ave, streets in the Menlo Park zip code, out of the M-A attendance area into Sequoia’s. However, the board noted that students in that area historically opt into Redwood City high schools over M-A. Trustee Chris Thompsen added that he was sympathetic to their concerns and that “I recognize there’s no way to draw lines to satisfy everyone.”
Other boundary changes include a shift in the line dividing Woodside and Sequoia boundaries to accommodate more of Woodside and to even out the current imbalance in enrollment between the two. Additionally, a portion of San Carlos currently in the Sequoia attendance area is to be assigned to Carlmont under the new changes.
Overall, the boundary changes generally met with approval. Several members of the community highly praised the new map; many were pleased with and “grateful for the consideration that has been given to East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park,” said executive director of One East Palo Alto, Dr. Faye McNair Knox. “I think this process has been of the highest order.”