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Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are full?

Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are full?

Old Aug 25th 2014, 6:50 pm
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Default Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are full?

So we found a house in Foster City as all the schools are supposed to be excellent. We signed the lease, paid the fees etc and then tried to sign up my son for a local school.

The nearest school which he is technically assigned to is full and they were ****ing arseholes to my wife and no help at all. Just told her to go away and they would phone when he has been assigned a school. She got a call this morning to say he had been assigned a place in a school in San Mateo. The school is 3.1 miles away and has OK ratings (7/10) but it's 60% hispanic/latino and it's a year round school so it's already started. Now I don't have a problem with it being 60% hispanic but it might be difficult for a kid from England to integrate into that school.

Anyway my wife just phoned me to say that the school in San Mateo is full and they can't take him (the system has not been updated yet so it showed up with places). So we now have to wait for the local school in Foster city to find him a place in another school. This is such a shitty system. We found a place in an area with good schools and now we can send our child to those schools. Looking online the nearest schools in San Mateo all have pretty poor ratings and are in the crappy areas. Is there anything we can do or are we at the mercy of available places?

It's just ridiculous that there is a school less than a mile from our house but my son will have to travel over 3 miles to school (or more depending on where we get a place).

We are paying more rent than I had planned to stay in an area with good schools and get him into a school on day 1 and now we are stuck with this house. It's one stress after another moving here, I thought schools would be the easiest of the lot.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 7:29 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

I'm not really sure what you can do about getting your kid into the schools you prefer, but I thought I'd give some advice on a couple of other points.

First, you are going to realize that many people working for governments/schools/bureaucratic organizations seem to be clueless. They often show no common sense whatsoever. I'm sure some of it is because the "rules are rules" and jobsworth type attitudes, but often it just comes across as them being idiots and or rude. Sorry mate - but that will always annoy you until you just learn to chill out and anticipate that. Assume you will get the run around and then you might sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Second, certain areas have very high Latino/Asian populations (Asian meaning what brits might call "oriental"). Again, that is just a fact of life here and something you need to embrace. Your kid(s) will need to be more cosmopolitan than you might have been expecting. Oh and by the way, whilst I am doing un PC and sweeping generalization statements I would also point out that those other kids (Asian in particular) will probably kick your kids arse in schoolwork - so again - best to get on board.

Welcome to the USA/Bay area!
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by Britsimon View Post
I'm not really sure what you can do about getting your kid into the schools you prefer, but I thought I'd give some advice on a couple of other points.

First, you are going to realize that many people working for governments/schools/bureaucratic organizations seem to be clueless. They often show no common sense whatsoever. I'm sure some of it is because the "rules are rules" and jobsworth type attitudes, but often it just comes across as them being idiots and or rude. Sorry mate - but that will always annoy you until you just learn to chill out and anticipate that. Assume you will get the run around and then you might sometimes be pleasantly surprised.

Second, certain areas have very high Latino/Asian populations (Asian meaning what brits might call "oriental"). Again, that is just a fact of life here and something you need to embrace. Your kid(s) will need to be more cosmopolitan than you might have been expecting. Oh and by the way, whilst I am doing un PC and sweeping generalization statements I would also point out that those other kids (Asian in particular) will probably kick your kids arse in schoolwork - so again - best to get on board.

Welcome to the USA/Bay area!
I said I had no problem with the school being predominantly Latino (or asian), we knew that before coming here and expected it. I don't need to be told to embrace it. I now sure why we need to get onboard with asian kids kicking my sons arse in schoolwork. What has that got to do with the price of tea?

In all honest while I appreciate you responding to my post, yours is no help at all. I don't need to be told to just get onboard with the fact that people are unhelpful or rude.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 7:56 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Funstuie, really you have misunderstood my tone. Not everyone on the internet is trying to piss you off. I really was trying to help based on my 20 years of splitting my time between the UK and USA and as a recent (February) once again immigrant over here.

So, let's breath and relax.

Now, what I meant is, Yanks are gonna wind you up. They are. There are loads of people here sitting in positions of "power" (so they think) and quite honestly they are not the sharpest tools in the box. So, if you change your mindset about that it is slightly less annoying. Slightly. Not completely un-annoying.

As for the point about the kids what I meant was that you don't need to be too worried about the racial makeup you see on Greatschools. In my area for instance the numbers show white American kids are in the minority, but that is one explanation why the schools get very high ratings. Your kids will benefit from that, although you might find you need to not try and compete with the Jones kids because you might want your kid to be a kid....
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Talk to the school district (ie the area HQ), not the schools themselves. That might not help you get into the school you want but they should have a better overview of the situation at all the schools in the area.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 8:34 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

If it's anything like LA they couldn't give a tinker's cuss that you're from England. Your kids will have to become American anyway.

I sense your frustration with the whole move but the State of California is not going to change for you - as a school secretary made clear to me when I first arrived
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 8:41 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
If it's anything like LA they couldn't give a tinker's cuss that you're from England. Your kids will have to become American anyway.

I sense your frustration with the whole move but the State of California is not going to change for you - as a school secretary made clear to me when I first arrived
I am not asking for the state to change. What I am asking for if there is anything I can do about my son having to go to school miles from home when there are 3 schools in a 1 mile radius. How is he supposed to make friends and integrate into the local area when he's going to be living nowhere near his class mates?

While this whole move has been frustrating this one effects my childs wellbeing and I being told to chill and just go with the flow is not helping.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Unfortunately this situation is not confined to the Bay area.

Here in SoCal, with the high influx of new students, people who are paying huge property taxes because they bought new houses in new developments where schools had to be provided, are finding they cannot get their children into local schools (to which their taxes go) and are having to send them (read bussing or endless car pooling) to older schools outside the district.

Much frustration and anger ensues.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 8:55 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by Funstuie View Post
I am not asking for the state to change. What I am asking for if there is anything I can do about my son having to go to school miles from home when there are 3 schools in a 1 mile radius. How is he supposed to make friends and integrate into the local area when he's going to be living nowhere near his class mates?

While this whole move has been frustrating this one effects my childs wellbeing and I being told to chill and just go with the flow is not helping.
You can try making a fuss at the district office but they will probably not consider 3 miles a hardship.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 8:57 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Unfortunately this situation is not confined to the Bay area.

Here in SoCal, with the high influx of new students, people who are paying huge property taxes because they bought new houses in new developments where schools had to be provided, are finding they cannot get their children into local schools (to which their taxes go) and are having to send them (read bussing or endless car pooling) to older schools outside the district.

Much frustration and anger ensues.
They aren't sending his kids outside the school district since his school district is the San Mateo school district. However school districts like San Mateo and Fremont have only about 1/4th of their schools that are rated very high and in Fremont and suspect the same for San Mateo, registration starts March 1 for the September school year and all the children in the highly rated schools attachment areas are registered then to guarantee a place in those schools. Unfortunately there are only so many openings for those schools and they are usually full very early.

Last edited by Michael; Aug 25th 2014 at 9:36 pm.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by SanDiegogirl View Post
Unfortunately this situation is not confined to the Bay area.

Here in SoCal, with the high influx of new students, people who are paying huge property taxes because they bought new houses in new developments where schools had to be provided, are finding they cannot get their children into local schools (to which their taxes go) and are having to send them (read bussing or endless car pooling) to older schools outside the district.

Much frustration and anger ensues.
Sounds like they built too many houses and not enough schools, but thats been going on in So. Cal for years. In the 90's when many of these new developments were being built, they were not building enough schools, so the older schools were being bombarded with students from these new developments. My high school was built in 1965 for a capacity of 1,500 or so, we had nearly 3,000 students there in my time, luckily in 1996 or so, another high school opened and relieved the pressure a bit.

Development in So. California was poorly planned in general, many of these new developments should never have been built like they were with insufficient infrastructure in place, but again the same thing is happening here in BC so its not just a California or US thing.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 9:39 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by Funstuie View Post
How is he supposed to make friends and integrate into the local area when he's going to be living nowhere near his class mates?

Like all the other US kids -- via playdates organized by their parents. (I went to a school an hour and two buses away from my home in the UK -- public buses as opposed to the school buses provided here -- and it never stopped me making friends.)
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 9:49 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

I traveled nine miles on a school bus to HS in England. There was a school about a mile away, but was in another county, and I was not allowed to go there. I made loads of friends, some of which are still friends today.

According to my nieces and nephews in UK, same thing going on re catchment areas. Kids have to go to schools further away.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 9:57 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

Originally Posted by Jsmth321 View Post
Sounds like they built too many houses and not enough schools, but thats been going on in So. Cal for years. In the 90's when many of these new developments were being built, they were not building enough schools, so the older schools were being bombarded with students from these new developments. My high school was built in 1965 for a capacity of 1,500 or so, we had nearly 3,000 students there in my time, luckily in 1996 or so, another high school opened and relieved the pressure a bit.

Development in So. California was poorly planned in general, many of these new developments should never have been built like they were with insufficient infrastructure in place, but again the same thing is happening here in BC so its not just a California or US thing.
It's a complicated issue in the Fremont, San Mateo, San Jose, and some other school districts. Residents in highly ranked attachment areas want enough openings to educate their children but not too many that they have to expand attachment areas into lower ranked attachment areas within the school district. If they have too many openings, the school's ranking could possibly drop and with not enough openings, not all children in the attachment can get into that school. In Fremont's Mission San Jose area, this problem has been occurring for as long as I can remember with placements filling very quickly after March 1.

Last edited by Michael; Aug 25th 2014 at 10:10 pm.
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Old Aug 25th 2014, 10:58 pm
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Default Re: Help with schools in the bay area. What options do we have if local schools are f

So I think the local school reads this forum.

After a few calls today, they called my wife a few minutes and he has a place in the local school. This after we were told no chance, huge waiting list etc.

So panic over but I have no idea how it worked out.
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