Letter: Will there be a lottery at SDA this year?

San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) school selection has begun.

Will there be a lottery for San Dieguito Academy (SDA) this year? Will students living within a mile of SDA get in? Stakes are high for many families as parents fear that their kid will be displaced from their friends and be forced to attend a school out of their neighborhood, that they do not want to go to.

SDA will graduate a class of 400 students this year. The assumption is that there may only be room for 400 new students. This past Fall, SDA admitted a class of 600 students, of which 500 attended.

I attended SDUHSD board meetings where a task force shared data on this issue. Here is what I learned:

•The demand for SDA is increasing but the school is close to capacity. The district is trying to increase capacity to meet demand, but it is challenging and no promises are being made.

•LCC has 1,900 students, with plenty of room for more, but is not preferred by a majority of students. Exciting changes are being implemented at LCC to make it more attractive, starting Fall of 2016.

• The survey to “vote” on change for residential preference for enrollment was unfair. The district presented three options to residents that created a split vote among those who wanted to change the system. One option was for no change along with two separate options for change.

The single option with the most votes was to keep the lottery (no change); however, if you add up the total votes for the other two options, they well exceed the number of votes for no change. The vote for “change” was split by forcing an arbitrary choice between smaller vs. larger boundaries. It needs to be recognized that the majority of persons who responded to the survey voted for change and residential preference for admission.

This vote for change was misunderstood by many as a vote to eliminate choice. This is completely false. Anyone could still choose LCC even if they have residential preference for SDA.

If SDA only admits as many as they graduate, and the district has as many applicants as it did last year, it’s looking like a lottery situation. In past years, this devastating process affected 50-60 students.

If our daughter does not get into SDA, instead of walking to school, I will need to drive past SDA, to bring her to LCC, which is 25 minutes away. Really?

We have invested in this community and SDA is our community school. It is unreasonable that anyone would be forced to attend so far away to a school they do not want to go to.

We hope that if we are in a lottery situation, that SDUHSD would find a way to allow all students to be where they need to be, at their school of choice.

Respectfully,

Shawn and Marianne Shamlou, Encinitas residents

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