School’s population growth creates challenges, leads to relocation of preschool
An increase in the school’s population means the preschool that has been located on campus for 15 years will be forced to move starting next year.
When principal Jeff Anderson first arrived here seven years ago, about 1,290 kids roamed campus. Today, the school is home to almost 1,400 students.
“We’ve crept up slowly in terms of population over the last four years,” Anderson said. “Last year was a big bump of about 50 kids.”
The school’s enrollment for next year is projected to be around 1,400 students, but this number is subject to change.
“Historically, from now until August when we start school, we will get anywhere from 10 to 25 kids more. Over the summer, a lot of people decide that that private school is just too expensive, or they just prefer Saratoga,” Anderson said.
Although the population of the elementary district appears to be decreasing, Saratoga High’s continues to climb upward.
“We get a lot of people that move to this community with older kids, meaning from sixth to 12th grade,” Anderson said.
Saratoga High is in a basic-aid district, meaning that the that the school receives money according to how much property tax revenue it receives. Other schools, in revenue-limit districts, are given money from the state based on the number students they have and gain more money with an increased student population.
“The more kids they have, the more money they get, and the more stuff they can do,” Anderson said. “We don’t necessarily want more kids. We get a set amount of money whether we have 1,000 or 1,400 kids, and we can do a lot more with 1,000. With 1,400, we have to open more classes and pay more teachers.”
Despite the increase in population, Anderson is cautiously optimistic that the school is in relatively good financial shape.
“We passed the parcel tax and things are looking good, but there are space issues,” he added.
After 15 years on campus, World of Discovery Preschool will be moving to Argonaut Elementary School next year due to a lack of available space.
“We’d love to have it here, but we need those classrooms to do our business. That’s really valuable space for us,” Anderson said.
Because the student population is steadily increasing, more and more teachers must share classrooms.
“That didn’t exist when I first got here,” Anderson said. “It’s not the end of the world; you’re probably not suffering educationally, but we have needs that we could use those rooms for,” he added.
Anderson would like to be able to provide teachers with their own rooms, or at least to have two teachers of the same subject share a room.
“Right now, we have teachers that are walking into a social studies room to teach health. That’s not a great situation,” he said.
Assistant principal Kevin Mount, however, thinks that the school does have enough space; it simply must be allocated properly.
“We have a variety of needs. We have some programs occupying spaces that may not be the best spaces for them to occupy,” Mount said.
As with any long-term plan of reorganization, it will take several years to implement these changes.
“We’d like to better utilize our storage space; we'd like to have a more centrally located staffroom; we'd like to accommodate band in a way that’s more appropriate than right at the top of the quad steps. It’s working, but I don’t think that’s the ideal place for band to practice,” Mount said.
Mount plans to take up these issues with the principal Paul Robinson next year. He is also interested in what students feel would be the best allocation of space.
“We need to think broadly in terms of what’s the most appropriate usage of space so we can proceed in an organized, thoughtful way,” he added.
As of yet, the school has no concrete plans for what will become of the space made available by the preschool’s departure.
The school’s special-education program is also expanding, but they only have a few classrooms available to them.
The administration has been discussing the shortage of space for a few years, in addition to potential safety issues.
Although no real incidents have occurred yet, Anderson worries about being responsible for small children in an emergency. They are an added concern, especially in a high school environment.
“I would feel more comfortable and confident about our ability to keep everybody safe if I didn't have to worry about [the preschool kids],” Anderson said.
The relocation of the preschool presents challenges, especially to the child psychology class. The class visits and works with the preschool students on a weekly basis, so moving the preschool would inhibit their activities.
“Obviously we won’t have the preschool right here for us to go over anytime we want,” child psychology teacher Laressa Ridge said.
Anderson, however, is confident that they have found a solution.
“Argonaut [Elementary School] is not that far away and we've figured we can get transportation to get the Saratoga High students over to Argonaut to do what they do here,” Anderson said.
Administrators are hoping to have completed the move by August so everything is ready for the start of the next school year. However, this deadline may not be met because Argonaut is not yet ready to host the preschool.
Despite any setbacks, Anderson remains optimistic about the move.
“One way or the other, we'll figure it out,” Anderson said.
May 31: First Period Final
June 3: Senior Awards Night
June 3: Second and Third Period Final
June 4: Fourth and Fifth Period Final
June 5: Sixth and Seventh Period Final
- Boys' tennis vs. Serra in CCS semis; girls' softball plays Milpitas for league championship; girls' lacrosse @ Paly at 7 in SCVAL playoffs.
- Boys' Tennis stunned No. 2 ranked Monta Vista 11-4 on Monday in CCS.
- Varsity baseball starts a best of 3 series with Wilcox for the League Championship. Today's game is @ Wilcox 3:30
- The swim team is competing at League Finals today at Palo Alto.
- The baseball team beat Palo Alto 4-3 on May 2, sweeping the season series against the traditional powerhouse. Kyle Dozier pitched 6 innings.