The Elk Grove school board on Jan. 14 approved limits on open enrollment at Cosumnes Oaks and Monterey Trail high schools for the 2020-21 school year.

Every year, the school board allows select middle or high schools to accept students who live outside their attendance areas.

Monterey Trail High is nearing full capacity in student enrollment, and the district staff told the school board that caps on open enrollment transfers are necessary.

At Monterey Trail High, only 50 students will be accepted via open enrollment. That north Elk Grove school’s capacity is 2,356 students while its student population may rise to 2,351 students in the 2020-21 school year, according to a district staff report.

During the Jan. 14 meeting, Trustee Chet Madison said that many high schools still have much room to accept open enrollment transfers. He recalled his school board experiences of making challenging decisions to change school attendance boundaries.  

“There comes a time when this district has to look at some (attendance) boundaries that are carved out differently,” he said. “We got high schools that have a lot of capacity around.”

The school board can close open enrollment at certain schools if they face over-capacity issues.

Open enrollment has been closed at Franklin and Pleasant Grove high schools as well as their nearby middle schools over the past few years, since they are operating at full capacity.

Katherine Albiani Middle School, the sister campus of Pleasant Grove High, will not have open enrollment in the next school year, due to full-capacity issues at the campus. Rob Pierce, the school district’s deputy superintendent of business services and facilities, told the school board that his staff anticipates that 1,300 homes will be built over the next two years in Albiani’s large attendance area stretches from East Elk Grove to Rancho Murieta.

District staff members noted that more residents are moving in Elk Grove’s Laguna Ridge area, which is the home of Cosumnes Oaks High.

The school board voted to cap open enrollment transfers to that school to 200 students for the 2020-21 school year. Cosumnes Oaks High has the capacity for 2,538 students and its estimated enrollment will be 1,922 students for that school year. The district staff estimated that enrollment’s growth may be slowed down to 2,525 students by 2023-24 if open enrollment is again limited for the 2021-22 school year and then closed during the following year.

Superintendent Christopher Hoffman described Cosumnes Oaks High as a “pressure relief” for nearby high schools that have high-capacity issues, such as Franklin High.

“It’s a blessing that we still have that pressure relief that is CO right now,” he said.

Hoffman noted that while more homes are being built in Cosumnes Oaks High’s attendance area, there are currently not enough high school students living there to fill up the campus capacity.

The superintendent mentioned that the school district’s future, tenth high school will also relieve pressure on high enrollment at Pleasant Grove High.

Applications for open enrollment transfers will be accepted from Jan. 22-31. Parents and students who want to learn more about the application process can attend an informational meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23 at Laguna Creek High School, 9050 Vicino Drive in Elk Grove. This meeting lasts from 6-7 p.m.

Under the Elk Grove school distict’s open enrollment policy, no more than 5% of a school’s student population can apply for open enrollment transfers. If a school reaches that limit then the school district will hold a lottery on Feb. 25 for students who still want to transfer out of that school.

EGUSD schools that are available for open enrollment

Open enrollment will be allowed at the following middle and high schools in the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD).

Middle Schools: Harriet Eddy, Edward Harris Jr., Samuel Jackman, Joseph Kerr, Elizabeth Pinkerton, James Rutter, T.R. Smedberg

High Schools: Cosumnes Oaks (limited to 200 students), Elk Grove, Florin, Laguna Creek, Monterey Trail (limited to 50 students), Sheldon, Valley

Open enrollment will be closed at Katherine Albiani and Toby Johnson middle schools as well as Pleasant Grove and Franklin high schools.