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Capo Unified to Redraw Boundaries in Wake of School Closing

With Barcelona Hills shuttered, the district proposes a map that will chart out who goes where.

Now that the controversial decision to close Barcelona Hills Elementary to make way for a local charter school is in the past, the Capistrano Unified School District will tackle redrawing the attendance boundaries.

When the school board decided to close the Mission Viejo campus last year, the district allowed Barcelona families to choose between Castille and Reilly elementaries for the 2012-13 school year.

According to a Power Point presentation the Board of Trustees will see Wednesday, 137 students decided for Castille while 174 chose Reilly.

Some did end up at other schools: 17 at Bathgate Elementary, while the rest, 16 students, are scattered throughout the district.

District staff is recommending that all current students be allowed to remain where they are, according to a school board report. Younger siblings, too, should be able to join wherever their older siblings attend.

But incoming students should be divided up by neighborhood, with about two-thirds in the old Barcelona boundary going to Castille and one-third to Reilly, the numbers show.

“Under this proposal, neither site will reach their historical maximum enrollment within the next six years,” the agenda report states.

Castille had a maximum enrollment of 845 students back in 1999-2000. It has 637 students today.

Reilly reached a peak of 761 students in 1997-98. It has 508 students this year.

The board meets 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

Michelle Pike February 08, 2013 at 05:32 PM
Hopefully this is not for elementary schools only . . . . CUSD should redraw boundaries for the entire district, including all school levels, evening out the "overflow" from cities who have a new state-of-the-art, uncrowded high school.
shelly February 08, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Michelle Pike, CUSD has an open enrollment policy. A student can choose any school if there is room at that school. So if your student or any student would like to go to SJHHS then enroll. It is a great school. I live in San Juan Capistrano. My oldest son was in the second graduating class. I know many families who live within the boundaries of SJHHS who open enrolled to go to CVHS, SCHS, THS and DHHS. But I think that more and more families are choosing this school.
Robert Reidel February 08, 2013 at 09:34 PM
CUSD has over the years changed its Attendance Boundary policy. At one point, city boundaries mattered not at all to CUSD. With the last Attendance Boundary change, CUSD heavily weighted city boundaries. Unlike some areas of CUSD, Mission Viejo residents are exclusively boundaried to schools within Mission Viejo, regardless of closer proximity to other CUSD schools. Residents in other areas of CUSD are afforded the courtesy and special consideration of being boundaried to closer CUSD schools, regardless of city boundaries, and then afforded the option to still be guaranteed space in their city school if they choose. The current boundaries are not fair and equitable to all CUSD students. Some are boundaried to their city school, while some are boundaried to the closest school who then are given guaranted space in their city school if they choose. This is unfair and wrong.
Robert Reidel February 08, 2013 at 10:07 PM
CUSD needs to revisit all its School Attendance Boundaries, and the criteria it uses to establish those boundaries. There needs to be consistency. Currently, they lack consistency, and consequently lack equity for the CUSD community.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 08, 2013 at 10:20 PM
I get a sense that some at CVHS don't want Village San Juan kids there. But speaking like an odometer, it's much closer for them (even though they live in SJC) to go there then SJHHS. In fact, they're probably much closer to Capo Valley than most Mission Viejo students.
PJ February 08, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Kids from the village going to CVHS makes sense. Kids from the village being bussed to Viejo elementary does not. That boundary, and the performance of that school, is highly questionable.
Robert Reidel February 08, 2013 at 11:22 PM
I don' t think so. Certainly that is not my issue or point. I want consistency and equity. Some MV students are required to drive as much as 11 miles to their city high school, even past another CUSD high school, and told they can't go to the closer one because it's not in their city. This in the same breath that some SJC students are boundaried to a school outside their city AND told they are guaranteed space in their city school if the choose. Why do some CUSD students get a choice with special consideration, and others not. CUSD needs to be consistent and fair. Some CUSD students are disenfranchised, because the criteria are not consistently applied, and further that some are given a total and complete choice while others not.
Michelle Pike February 09, 2013 at 10:56 PM
My original point is in line with Robert R. . . . . the last time CUSD did a major boundary change, Fleming promised the mayor of Mission Viejo that all SJC residents would attend the new high school in SJC. The night before the boundary changes were posted, it was changed to leave certain areas of SJC boundaried to CVHS (no, I am not referring to the Village). And to answer shelly's comments, no, I do not want to open enroll my student at SJC, I think you missed the point.
Michelle Pike February 09, 2013 at 10:58 PM
They took care of the issues at Viejo by converting it to a spanish-immersion school.
shelly February 10, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Robert, There are two districts in MV. Mission Viejo HS is in SVUSD? Right? Is your issue the actual school district boundaries?
Robert Reidel February 10, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Shelly, I realize that Mission Viejo HS is in SVUSD, and not CUSD. The complexities of school district boundaries, not an individual school districts attendance boundaries that each district has control over, is a subject for another day. My issue is just what I've already said. CUSD drawing attendance boundaries inconsistently. It just rings foul for CUSD to require some of their students to attend a school miles further from a closer district school, under the auspice that it's their city school. This, while then changing the rules for other CUSD kids and boundarying them to the closest school to where they live outside their city, but giving them a choice to attend the further school within their city with a guarantee of space. Shouldn't all CUSD kids be boundaried to their closest district school to where they live, unless there's no space because it's already full from kids coming from further away already? That makes sense to me. If CUSD is going to deviate from a criteria like distance students live from a school, that makes sense, I contend they need to be consistent rather than arbitrary. Currently, CUSDs attendance boundaries are blatantly inconsistent and arbitrary, resulting in showing preference to some students over others.
shelly February 11, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Robert, What schools boundaries are you unhappy with? Can you be specific?
shelly February 11, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Robert, What schools boundaries are you unhappy with? Can you be specific?
PJ February 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Michelle, What issues at Viejo Elementary were taken care of by the "immersion" program? The performance continues to decline year over year....
Michelle Pike February 12, 2013 at 02:53 AM
PJ, the performance at Viejo Elementary has declined consistently since my kids were there over 8 years ago. It was a good, neighborhood school at one time. There are many factors that lead to the decline of the school, but I won't give my opinion on what I think they are.
Robert Reidel February 12, 2013 at 03:04 AM
Yes, I can be specific. I'm not content with the high school boundaries. When Tesoro High School (THS) was built, a section of Mission Viejo (MV) was boundaried to THS, with the main reason provided by CUSD being that it's closer. Student commute distance was key. That made sense to me. With the last high school boundary change, those MV students were now boundaried out of THS, with the main reason given that it's not their city school (even though their city school (CVHS) is miles further away). Shelly, can you explain why CUSD would afford some San Juan Capistrano (SJC) students the benefit of attending the closest high school to where they live (CVHS) AND also the privilege to choose the option of attending their city school (SJHHS) with a guarantee of space (the best of both worlds)? This, while at the same time conversely NOT affording some MV students with one of the longest (if not the longest) commutes in the district with that same benefit and choice? I contend that CUSD needs to do much better with consistently holding with a position that either commute distance matters, OR city boundaries matter! I take issue with CUSD being inconsistent and arbitrary with the application of their criteria, such that preference is shown some students over others.
Capo Parent February 12, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Having kids from SJC attend schools in MV, especially middle and high school, keeps certain schools such as SJHHS, from having a larger Hispanic population. Also keep in mind that by busing kids from outside of MV to schools in MV, CUSD gets to use money that can only be spent in MV (Mello Roos 87.1) on schools in MV with no or a few MV students. Most people don't understand, MV is a cash cow for CSUD. 87.1 could be terminated/ended because it has reached its financial limit, and CUSD has apparently collected enough money to pay off the entire bond except CUSD continues to extend (apparently every year) the bond so that it can continue to collect money from those that pay 87.1. The scary thing is that CUSD can keep 87.1 in place for as long as it like. As for the Village being walking distance to CVHS, so what? The Highlands, the neighborhood next to the Village, is assigned to SJHHS, yet half of the La Zunja(?) neighborhood by the Mission in SJC is assigned to CVHS. The Highlands is much closer to CVHS than SJHHS and La Zonja, so why is it assigned to SJHHS? Could it be that it is a mainly white, well to do neighborhood? CUSD has engaged in "ethnic" placement to control the ethnic makeup of certain schools for years.
shelly February 12, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Robert Reidel, I did not participate in the school district boundaries sessions that were available back when they were established, so I do not know how the boundaries came about. I agree with you. No one should have to drive past one high school to get to their "home" high school. And thinking that your children are going to one high school and then suddenly being told the boundaries have changed is unfair. What were the historical boundaries of CVHS? I do know that CUSD has open enrollment. I do know if there is space at THS then you can choose THS over Capo. If SJHHS were closed to open enrollment which it is not then the people who live within the established boundaries would get first priority so I do not think the people living next to Capo would have priority to attend. But I do not know for sure. I know when a SJC high school came up for a vote in SJC the people of SJC were guaranteed a space in the high school. The vote failed by the way but CUSD built the high school out there anyway. I think some people (and I am absolutely not speaking about you because I do not know you) would prefer a Kinoshita scenario for the high schools. SJHHS has a diverse population. CVHS also does. Tesoro is not as diverse. I also know that some people are choosing SJHHS over THS.
Richard Mason February 13, 2013 at 08:43 PM
I prefer all of Mission Viejo's portion of CUSD being in one high school. Friends don't break up after leaving Newhart. They go together to Capo Valley High and it makes the local community more unified. I think it has been a healthy transition for Mission Viejo to attend mainly Mission Viejo and Capo Valley High Schools. Just a few students attend THHS in Mission Viejo. Tesoro appropriately serves students on the other side of the ridge. RSM, Las Flores, Coto, and Ladera Ranch, which are different than our community of Mission Viejo.
Richard Mason February 13, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Also the boundaries look appropriate after the closure of Barcelona Hills. I live on the west side of the lake and Castille will serve our community well. Loosing Barcelona was not pleasant, but Castille will serve the west side of the lake well and the east side is closest to Reilly. CUSD got these new elementary borders correct. For the Viejo comments: Without SJC kids being brought in, the school would probably be closed like Barcelona. How many students still live in that neighborhood around Viejo? Maybe 250? Mission Viejo is aging fast. I expect more schools to close in the future.
Robert Reidel February 14, 2013 at 03:42 AM
For myself and the overwhelming majority of those that I know living in my area, they hold with the 11 miles just being too too far. They and I would prefer attending the high school miles closer, and all the benefits that go with that closer distance. By your reasoning, the relatively few kids from SJC boundaried to CVHS out of their city, are deprived of that 'unity' they'd experience attending the high school with the overwhelming majority of their fellow SJC neighbors. Either distance matters or it doesn't. Either city boundaries matter, or they don't. Making subjective arguments one way or the other is too easily corrupted, and is ultimately unfair to some. Being consistent is always less trouble in the long run, than being arbitrary and showing preference to some.
Robert Reidel February 14, 2013 at 03:44 AM
Boundaries should be established with consistent criteria, and then allow open enrollment as available.
Robert Reidel February 14, 2013 at 10:58 AM
Shelly, the historical boundaries of CVHS are irrelevant. As expected, of course they changed with each new district high school that was built. There is no point in going back over the history and assessing who went where, before or as newer schools were built. What significance do you place on the historical boundaries of CVHS, that you ask? My area of MV has a history of having students boundaried to CVHS, AVHS, THS, and back to CVHS. Also, I was at those CUSD Board meetings where the Attendance Boundaries were on the agenda. I can't say I've seen it in writing, however, I have a distinct recollection of hearing CUSD staff say that any SJC students boundaried to CVHS would have the option to attend their 'city school' (SJHHS) if they chose. I don't recall there being any strings attached to that offer/guarantee, such as being contingent on a space-available basis. I wonder how many SJC students boundaried to a high school outside their city (CVHS) choose the longer commute to attend their SJHHS city school. Regardless, nice that they have that choice. It's just unfortunate that MV students aren't given that same consideration and choice.
shelly February 14, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Robert Reidel, Is Tesoro closed to open enrollment?

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