As a result, the district may have to add another kindergarten classroom in order to keep class sizes at 20 or fewer children. Anything more than 20 kids per classroom could cause the district to lose nearly $350,000 in state class-size reduction money.
The board is likely to decide what to do at its April 11 meeting.
For parents of the 30 or so children who didn't make the cut for the inaugural Spanish immersion kindergarten at Encinal School in Atherton, this could be good news. Superintendent Ken Ranella said he would recommend adding a second Spanish immersion class if the district needs to expand from 15 to 16 kindergarten classrooms for the next school year.
Despite this year's redrawing of attendance boundaries to shift children away from the overpopulated Oak Knoll school campus, the Menlo Park K-5 school appears to be oversubscribed. An anxious group of parents who live near the school are lobbying district officials to keep their children out of a lottery that would transfer children out of Oak Knoll to another campus.
At the board's March 11 meeting, parents asked that children who live in close proximity to the school be exempted from the transfer lottery, an idea district officials found hard to swallow.
"If you take all the people who live equidistant between two schools, and you say (they) live in a demilitarized zone ... you take all that uncertainty and you cram it into one neighborhood," said board member Terry Thygesen.
In the late hours of the meeting, long after the parents had left, Oak Knoll principal David Ackerman proposed creating a combination kindergarten/first-grade classroom. It would solve the problem of having too few first graders and too many kindergarteners while avoiding the transfer lottery, a solution that appealed to board members.
If the board decides a lottery is necessary, it won't happen until the end of April at the earliest, after the board has had a chance to see updated enrollment numbers, said Mr. Ranella.
Board member Laura Rich counseled patience, saying that many people are probably using the district as a "safety school" pending their children's acceptance to private school.
"We're knee-jerk reacting to early numbers," she said at the meeting. "People are going to drop out."