Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Open Enrollment or Open Recruiting

What I have below is the text from a story I wrote in mid-December about the likelihood that open enrollment would continue in the Elk Grove school district. What this means is that parents will continue to send their student/athletes to the schools they feel would be the best for their son's/daughter's athletic career, not necessarily their academic career. The comments which follow the online story,, is telling.

The proposed re-drawing of attendance boundaries for the district’s nine high schools might not mean the end of open enrollment at some of the schools, a source from the Elk Grove Unified School District told the Elk Grove Citizen.

Members from the Board of Trustees have been holding public meetings to gain input on proposals to balance enrollment numbers. The most glaring disparages are on the west of Elk Grove, where Franklin has the second largest attendance numbers of all Sac-Joaquin Section schools.

The latest CBEDS numbers report Franklin has 2,730 students, while just a couple miles to the north, Laguna Creek has only 1,620. That school, according to the source, was built for about 2,600 students. Cosumnes Oaks, EGUSD’s newest school, has 1,470 enrolled in a facility built to handle 2,860.

There’s been open enrollment at all the district’s high schools with the exception of Franklin and Pleasant Grove, the two with largest enrollments.

The source added that the district might still have to offer open enrollment at the other seven EGUSD high schools because all facilities are under capacity.

Parents of student-athletes have taken advantage of the open enrollment policy to move their children into what they perceive as “better” athletic programs which may reward their child’s abilities, whether that’s through a perceived better chance at a college scholarship or play for a better coach.

None of the parents of student-athletes who live outside their child’s high school attendance boundary contacted for this story would talk to the Citizen on the record.

All did admit the success of the athletic program in place at their student-athlete’s current school was a factor in making the decision to enroll the teen at his/her current school, but they also claimed there were many other factors such as student climate at the school closer to home.

A parent at one of the recent public meetings on the proposed new attendance boundaries, John Glaser, said that he started looking for a new house to buy in the East Franklin area to improve his chances of having his child attend Toby Johnson Middle School and Franklin High School.

He mentioned what one realtor told him.

“Oh, you’re the second or third family that came out today wanting to move because of the boundary changes,’” Glaser recalled.

But, one parent contacted by the Citizen differed slightly in that observation.

“If parents want their student to attend one specific high school, they’ll find a way to enroll them there.”

The CIF, which governs high school athletics in California, doesn’t really have rules on where a family resides dictating which school the student attends.

“We really don’t care which school a student attends their freshman year,” Sac-Joaquin Section Director of Communications Will DeBoard said recently. “We do care if they begin changing high schools for athletic reasons after that point.”

Elk Grove has seen its enrollment dip to 1,986, mainly due to the construction of Pleasant Grove and Cosumnes Oaks in recent years. The lower enrollment number has been used as a reason in the recent lack of success in such sports as football and basketball.

But that hasn’t been the case in all sports at the district’s oldest high school.

The Thundering Herd’s softball team won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title last spring and the baseball team was the runner-up.

The wrestling team has either won or was the second-place finisher in the section team dual meet each of the past seven seasons.

– John Hull, Citizen Sports Writer