Students in SDUHSD won’t have to face lottery

ENCINITAS — San Dieguito Union High School District students for a second consecutive year will be able to attend their school of choice without an enrollment lottery, school district officials announced last week.

“All eligible students who participated in the SDUHSD High School Selection process will be offered enrollment at their first choice of school,” Superintendent Rick Schmitt said in a statement.

“This ensures that each eligible student has the opportunity to attend the high school that is the best fit for each student and family.”

The district’s lottery process calls for each eighth grade student to declare one school as their school of choice.

If more students apply for the two academies than the capacity allows, the district conducts a lottery.

Students who live in the school district’s northern half, who don’t get into their school of choice, must attend La Costa Canyon, and those who live in the southern half must go to Torrey Pines.

Over the past few years, parents have expressed concern over the district’s lottery policy. Those concerns boiled over in 2014, when originally 65 neighborhood students were denied entry to San Dieguito High School Academy and were instead placed at La Costa Canyon.

Parents contended at the time that the policy forced those families into a longer, traffic-filled commute and tore them away from lifelong peer groups.

A group of parents called on the district to consider changing both San Dieguito and Canyon Crest academies from open-enrollment schools to schools that would feed from the neighborhood, the model currently used at Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon.

After a yearlong study of the concept, the school district opted to not change the school boundaries or designations, and instead increased capacity at each of the sites through a series of increases of class offerings in mornings and afternoons, classroom repurposing and construction at the campuses.

The school district has not had to hold a lottery in 2015 and this year.

The district anticipates the next school year should also be the same.

“Thanks to our Prop AA General Obligation Bond building program, SDUHSD will have additional high school enrollment capacity for the 2017-18 school year,” Schmitt said.

“We are extremely pleased with this outcome,” he added.

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