Barbara Zaragoza

Barbara Zaragoza is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Chula Vista schools' east side–west side divide

Sjtorres & Visduh -- you make important points. Take a look at these numbers that track Castle Park's history: The hard-build capacity for Castle Park was suppose to be for about 1,300 students. Castle Park's student enrollment peaked in 2004-5 with 2,420 students. How was it possible? Portables. The "school capacity" can be misleading because many many more portables can be built. (In Castle Park's case, over 500+ portables were built over its history). In 2004-5, the school was probably "bursting at the seams". Residents probably wanted the student enrollment to decline to more sane levels. After 2004-5, student enrollment at Castle Park indeed began to decline. This year (2015), the number of students at Castle Park is 1,474 -- which is technically just a little above the original hard-build capacity. Shouldn't Castle Park now be considered a sanely populated school that can provide a high quality education? That example tells us something: while we quibble over transfer rates and address verification, DEVELOPERS provide as little land as possible, leaving us to create these HUGE schools in the first place. (Eastlake Middle School, for example, was built for 1,480 students -- with a tiny parking lot and a two-lane road. For two grades!) While unchecked building continues, the focus turns to the new residential areas where schools can get bigger and bigger. (Look at those demographics. The Hunte Parkway property, for example, could end up having an initial hard-build capacity of 3,500 students? And then add more portables? Even without transfers and address verification issues, would you consider that a high quality education?) Meanwhile, the older schools stand in shocking disrepair. But Castle Park isn't cleared out -- they still have 1,474 students who deserve high quality facilities too. Would higher quality schools for both the west and the east be possible if developers slowed down? *(My school capacity numbers are coming from reports of the Chula Vista's Growth Management Oversight Commission -- 2008 to 2015. The enrollment rates come from the California Department of Education Data Reporting Office. Records are from 1996-2015.)* Also, keep in mind for transfer rates--that still means 15% transfers are allowed, and therefore the full 15% of transfers are coming to the east. (See pg. 17 of Woods' report.) For a school like Eastlake High School, which you mention, out of 3,100 currently enrolled students, that means 465 students are transfers.
— November 3, 2015 9:56 a.m.