District enrollment is down by 4000 students. Using the ADA funding formula that translates to to more than $60 Million the district stands to lose next year if these students don’t come back.
Not surprisingly, schools with drops of more than 100 students tend to be in more affluent areas, indicating that families who have options are opting out of SDUSD. In September, SDUSD attributed the decrease to Kindergarteners are not coming, but in actuality the count is down across the board. Only the High Schools lost less than 1% of their student population.
One might think this exodus would motivate SDUSD to work harder to provide options for families struggling to make online learning work. But enrollment drops won’t affect SDUSD this year due to a “hold harmless” provision written into the summer’s education legislation. What this means is that the District is getting paid based on last year’s enrollment. Districts are already lobbying in Sacramento to extend hold harmless into next school year, too.
The result is that families are trapped within their zip codes, with no where to go.
The problem as many parents have learned, is that they are unable to transfer to schools which might be a better fit in this environment, particularly many of the Homeschool Charters which allow more schedule independence. Since Charters will not be paid for students above last year’s enrollment, their waitlists filled up fast over the summer. The result is that families are trapped within their zip codes, with no where to go.The only way to leave the district at this point is filing a homeschool affidavit, or physically moving to another part of the county.
How many families have would have stayed with San Diego Unified had the district done a better job creating and communicating an onsite learning plan so that ALL options were available for families?We urge SDUSD leadership to work with families to develop learning options that serve ALL students.