News

After six years of debate, Castilleja wins approval for campus reconstruction

School gets green light to add students, build garage and replace academic buildings

The City Council approved on June 6, 2022, a proposal from Castilleja School to reconstruct its campus and add enrollment. Photo by Gennady Sheyner.

Castilleja School will be able to reconstruct its Bryant Street campus and increase enrollment after the Palo Alto City Council voted Monday to approve the school's contentious plan after six years of bitter debate.

The council voted 6-1, with Vice Mayor Lydia Kou dissenting, to approve what for years has been the most complex and fiercely debated proposal in the city's development pipeline. The project — which includes reconstructing the academic buildings at the all-girls school, building an underground garage and gradually increasing student enrollment — had already gone through 22 public hearings, various design revisions and two separate approval processes involving the Planning and Transportation Commission and the Architectural Review Board.

The Monday vote represents a hard-fought — if conditional — victory for Castilleja. Once it completes construction on the new buildings, it will be allowed to immediately raise its enrollment from the current level of 422 to 450. While that is well shy of the 540 that Castilleja had requested in its conditional use permit application, the council's approval creates a path for getting to that higher level. It would require Castilleja to create an aggressive transportation-demand management plan that keeps traffic at its current levels. It would also require the school to prohibit juniors from driving and to ensure that at least 40% of its student population lives within 5 miles of the Castilleja's campus at 1310 Bryant St.

In approving the project, council members repeatedly alluded to its tortuous and acrimonious journey through the planning process. Opponents of the project often cited the school's history of failing to abide with the enrollment cap in its existing conditional use permit, a violation that prompted the city to issue a $265,000 fine against Castilleja in 2013 and to demand a gradual reduction in enrollment. They had also argued that the reconstruction project runs afoul of zoning rules and that Castilleja's proposed underground garage is out of place in the single-family neighborhood.

Council member Greer Stone characterized the council's approval of the project, which gives Castilleja most of what it asked for but attaches new conditions to ensure its impacts on the neighborhood are contained, as a compromise between the school and its critics.

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

"There has been a breakdown in trust and I think both sides recognize that," Stone said. "This motion allows that trust to hopefully be rebuilt.

"It will allow Castilleja to ultimately get to 540 but will provide neighbors and residents the ability to have a seat at the table, to have a voice and actually have some power to work with the city to be able to provide that feedback."

For the council, the Monday hearing was the second meeting in two weeks focused on the Castilleja project. On May 23, council members heard from dozens of residents representing both sides of the debate, with opponents characterizing Castilleja's proposal as an aggressive overreach in a single-family residential zone and supporters suggesting that the project would represent an improvement to both the school and the neighborhood while also furthering the mission of supporting education for young women.

The council's vote comported in some respects the recommendations of the Planning and Transportation Commission, which voted in favor of lowering both the number of annual events and the maximum enrollment figure. The commission's majority took a position in April that Castilleja should prove that can expand student population without adding car trips before it could request an enrollment increase beyond 450. The council also agreed to sign a joint statement with the school stating its intention to ultimately set the limit at 540.

But in a concession to the school's critics, the council also agreed to reduce the number events that Castilleja would be allowed to hold every year. While the school has historically held more than 90 special events — those with 50 or more attendees — per year, its proposed conditional use permit would have lowered the number to 70, while also allowing five "major events" with 500 or more participants. The council lowered the number to 50 special events and five major events, consistent with the recommendation of the planning commission.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

The council also added several new conditions to appease residents' concerns about the proposed traffic and parking impacts of the enrollment increases. Mayor Pat Burt proposed banning juniors from driving to the school, a condition that his colleagues supported. The new rule will allow five exemptions for special circumstances, such as when students don't have access to public transportation or to school shuttles.

"I think with bicycles and particularly e-bicycles, there's no reason why a student within 5 miles or so shouldn't be able to bike to school," Burt said.

Burt also successfully advocated for requiring Castilleja to ensure that at least 40% of its students live within 5 miles of the campus, a move designed to both increase the school's benefit to the local community and to mitigate its traffic impacts.

Another condition, which was pitched by council member Tom DuBois, would create a three-person committee of neighborhood residents that will review Castilleja's transportation-demand programs and help determine whether the school's traffic-reduction programs warrant changes in enrollment levels or the number of authorized events.

Supporters of Castilleja, many of whom have expressed frustrations in the past about the council's failure to advance the project, cheered the council's Monday decision. Nanci Kauffman, head of school at Castilleja, she is grateful to the council for its work in advancing the project.

"I am ecstatic that we are going to be able to enroll more students," Kauffman told the Weekly after the hearing. "This is about the future of the school."

Kauffman said the council's decision will enable Castilleja to stay in Palo Alto, to remain financially viable and to educate more girls.

"We knew there would be a lot of conditions and we are prepared to do what we need to do," she said.

Others were less thrilled. Members of the group Preserve Neighborhood Quality of Life Now said they were disappointed about some of the conditions in the approval. The council has agreed, for example, to allow Castilleja to use its existing traffic consultant to verify its traffic volumes rather than requiring an affirmation from independent consultant. Andie Reed, founder of PNQL Now, said this is a problem. The council, she said, deferred too much in Castilleja's attorney in crafting the conditions around transportation-demand management (TDM), which are key to its enrollment plan.

"It's all about the TDM and whether they can get enrollment increases based on that," Reed said. "You can't use the school's traffic consultant."

She also suggested that the council should have simply set the number of special events at 50 per year without creating an avenue for increasing this number through a recommendation from the new neighborhood committee. But Hank Sousa, also a member of the neighborhood group, called the council's prohibition on juniors driving a "modest victory" and took some solace in the fact that the enrollment levels will not exceed 450 for a while.

Castilleja School in Palo Alto on Oct. 28, 2020. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Council members also disagreed about numerous components of the project, even as they ultimately coalesced toward approval. Council member Alison Cormack urged her colleagues not to reduce the number of special events that Castilleja is allowed to hold. Her proposal to raise the number from 50 to 70 failed to win support from her colleagues.

"My concern is that we're arbitrarily removing opportunities for students and their families to participate in important events," Cormack said.

Kou, meanwhile, had broader concerns about the project and said she could not make the necessary findings that are needed to approve the variance that Castilleja requires to build the new academic buildings once the existing ones are demolished.

"There's just no way to make the findings on this and I'm kind of perturbed that we're approving the variance that we can't find the findings on," Kou said.

But despite some reservations, her colleagues agreed that it's time to approve the project. Council member Eric Filseth suggested that the proposal that the council ended up with strikes the right balance when it comes to enrollment and supported the formation of a committee that would review Castilleja's compliance with its conditions of approval and make recommendations to the planning director.

"I think if someone came to us and said, 'I just acquired this many acres in the middle of Old Palo Alto and I want to put a school there,' we'd probably turn them down," Filseth said. "But the reality is that this is not the situation here. Castilleja has been in the community for a century or more. There's a lot of people in town who use it and like it and we are an education town, not just a public education town."

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now
Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Get uninterrupted access to important local city government news. Become a member today.

After six years of debate, Castilleja wins approval for campus reconstruction

School gets green light to add students, build garage and replace academic buildings

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 6, 2022, 10:56 pm

Castilleja School will be able to reconstruct its Bryant Street campus and increase enrollment after the Palo Alto City Council voted Monday to approve the school's contentious plan after six years of bitter debate.

The council voted 6-1, with Vice Mayor Lydia Kou dissenting, to approve what for years has been the most complex and fiercely debated proposal in the city's development pipeline. The project — which includes reconstructing the academic buildings at the all-girls school, building an underground garage and gradually increasing student enrollment — had already gone through 22 public hearings, various design revisions and two separate approval processes involving the Planning and Transportation Commission and the Architectural Review Board.

The Monday vote represents a hard-fought — if conditional — victory for Castilleja. Once it completes construction on the new buildings, it will be allowed to immediately raise its enrollment from the current level of 422 to 450. While that is well shy of the 540 that Castilleja had requested in its conditional use permit application, the council's approval creates a path for getting to that higher level. It would require Castilleja to create an aggressive transportation-demand management plan that keeps traffic at its current levels. It would also require the school to prohibit juniors from driving and to ensure that at least 40% of its student population lives within 5 miles of the Castilleja's campus at 1310 Bryant St.

In approving the project, council members repeatedly alluded to its tortuous and acrimonious journey through the planning process. Opponents of the project often cited the school's history of failing to abide with the enrollment cap in its existing conditional use permit, a violation that prompted the city to issue a $265,000 fine against Castilleja in 2013 and to demand a gradual reduction in enrollment. They had also argued that the reconstruction project runs afoul of zoning rules and that Castilleja's proposed underground garage is out of place in the single-family neighborhood.

Council member Greer Stone characterized the council's approval of the project, which gives Castilleja most of what it asked for but attaches new conditions to ensure its impacts on the neighborhood are contained, as a compromise between the school and its critics.

"There has been a breakdown in trust and I think both sides recognize that," Stone said. "This motion allows that trust to hopefully be rebuilt.

"It will allow Castilleja to ultimately get to 540 but will provide neighbors and residents the ability to have a seat at the table, to have a voice and actually have some power to work with the city to be able to provide that feedback."

For the council, the Monday hearing was the second meeting in two weeks focused on the Castilleja project. On May 23, council members heard from dozens of residents representing both sides of the debate, with opponents characterizing Castilleja's proposal as an aggressive overreach in a single-family residential zone and supporters suggesting that the project would represent an improvement to both the school and the neighborhood while also furthering the mission of supporting education for young women.

The council's vote comported in some respects the recommendations of the Planning and Transportation Commission, which voted in favor of lowering both the number of annual events and the maximum enrollment figure. The commission's majority took a position in April that Castilleja should prove that can expand student population without adding car trips before it could request an enrollment increase beyond 450. The council also agreed to sign a joint statement with the school stating its intention to ultimately set the limit at 540.

But in a concession to the school's critics, the council also agreed to reduce the number events that Castilleja would be allowed to hold every year. While the school has historically held more than 90 special events — those with 50 or more attendees — per year, its proposed conditional use permit would have lowered the number to 70, while also allowing five "major events" with 500 or more participants. The council lowered the number to 50 special events and five major events, consistent with the recommendation of the planning commission.

The council also added several new conditions to appease residents' concerns about the proposed traffic and parking impacts of the enrollment increases. Mayor Pat Burt proposed banning juniors from driving to the school, a condition that his colleagues supported. The new rule will allow five exemptions for special circumstances, such as when students don't have access to public transportation or to school shuttles.

"I think with bicycles and particularly e-bicycles, there's no reason why a student within 5 miles or so shouldn't be able to bike to school," Burt said.

Burt also successfully advocated for requiring Castilleja to ensure that at least 40% of its students live within 5 miles of the campus, a move designed to both increase the school's benefit to the local community and to mitigate its traffic impacts.

Another condition, which was pitched by council member Tom DuBois, would create a three-person committee of neighborhood residents that will review Castilleja's transportation-demand programs and help determine whether the school's traffic-reduction programs warrant changes in enrollment levels or the number of authorized events.

Supporters of Castilleja, many of whom have expressed frustrations in the past about the council's failure to advance the project, cheered the council's Monday decision. Nanci Kauffman, head of school at Castilleja, she is grateful to the council for its work in advancing the project.

"I am ecstatic that we are going to be able to enroll more students," Kauffman told the Weekly after the hearing. "This is about the future of the school."

Kauffman said the council's decision will enable Castilleja to stay in Palo Alto, to remain financially viable and to educate more girls.

"We knew there would be a lot of conditions and we are prepared to do what we need to do," she said.

Others were less thrilled. Members of the group Preserve Neighborhood Quality of Life Now said they were disappointed about some of the conditions in the approval. The council has agreed, for example, to allow Castilleja to use its existing traffic consultant to verify its traffic volumes rather than requiring an affirmation from independent consultant. Andie Reed, founder of PNQL Now, said this is a problem. The council, she said, deferred too much in Castilleja's attorney in crafting the conditions around transportation-demand management (TDM), which are key to its enrollment plan.

"It's all about the TDM and whether they can get enrollment increases based on that," Reed said. "You can't use the school's traffic consultant."

She also suggested that the council should have simply set the number of special events at 50 per year without creating an avenue for increasing this number through a recommendation from the new neighborhood committee. But Hank Sousa, also a member of the neighborhood group, called the council's prohibition on juniors driving a "modest victory" and took some solace in the fact that the enrollment levels will not exceed 450 for a while.

Council members also disagreed about numerous components of the project, even as they ultimately coalesced toward approval. Council member Alison Cormack urged her colleagues not to reduce the number of special events that Castilleja is allowed to hold. Her proposal to raise the number from 50 to 70 failed to win support from her colleagues.

"My concern is that we're arbitrarily removing opportunities for students and their families to participate in important events," Cormack said.

Kou, meanwhile, had broader concerns about the project and said she could not make the necessary findings that are needed to approve the variance that Castilleja requires to build the new academic buildings once the existing ones are demolished.

"There's just no way to make the findings on this and I'm kind of perturbed that we're approving the variance that we can't find the findings on," Kou said.

But despite some reservations, her colleagues agreed that it's time to approve the project. Council member Eric Filseth suggested that the proposal that the council ended up with strikes the right balance when it comes to enrollment and supported the formation of a committee that would review Castilleja's compliance with its conditions of approval and make recommendations to the planning director.

"I think if someone came to us and said, 'I just acquired this many acres in the middle of Old Palo Alto and I want to put a school there,' we'd probably turn them down," Filseth said. "But the reality is that this is not the situation here. Castilleja has been in the community for a century or more. There's a lot of people in town who use it and like it and we are an education town, not just a public education town."

Comments

Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2022 at 7:16 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 7:16 am

Nothing new happened at CC last night and considering Palo Alto's track record on enforcement, the "compromise" aspects of this decision are likely not of much concern to the school. Especially since the school's own traffic consultant will be verifying traffic volumes. I wonder if an applicant with less resources would be treated the same.

I do like the requirement that 40% of the student body is to be comprised of girls who live within 5 miles of the campus. I hope that is honored.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 7, 2022 at 8:38 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 8:38 am

The article misrepresents Mr. Filseth's comments where he followed up Ms Cormack's support of Casti's FUTURE growth plans beyond the now-approved 540 by questioning if the City Council should be in the business of regulating ANY growth. I guess no one's ever heard of occupancy limits.

The financial survival of poor struggling Casti which had to pay a fine of $265,000 ? Give me a break! That equals 1 SINGLE year of tuition for 4 girls during all their years of over-entrollment while WE paid for 6 years of staff time for this fiasco.

Such a deal. Tell me more about trust and equity.


Roy M
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2022 at 10:17 am
Roy M, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 10:17 am

What the council passed last night was the definition of compromise. Both sides could find things they liked and things they didn't like. As a supporter of the proposal, I was most disappointed with the cap on events as I believe that will affect the quality of the student experience there, but it is time to move on.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2022 at 10:37 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 10:37 am

The 5 mile radius part gets me. That will in effect mean that a Palo Alto resident who lives 5.1 miles away has a much less chance of admission than one who lives 4.9 miles away. or one side of a street as opposed to the other side, or even neighbouring addresses. Wouldn't it have been better to suggest live in Palo Alto, rather than 5 miles?


community member
Registered user
University South
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:07 am
community member, University South
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:07 am

Their own traffic consultant will be verifying traffic volumes.
Who is kidding whom?

Not fooling anyone.


Roy M
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:12 am
Roy M, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:12 am

@Bystander, a couple of the council members did not think much of Mayor Burt's proposal, but the school said they were ok with it so there was no reason to object to it. Allison Cormack remarked that 5 miles goes all the way to Mountain View and Redwood City. Pretty much the only Palo Alto residents not included in the 5-mile radius are those who live by Foothills Park.


tmp
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:14 am
tmp, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:14 am
Heckity
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:22 am
Heckity, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:22 am

How very not surprising.


Enough
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:26 am
Enough, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 11:26 am

How long until the lawsuits are filed. I don't believe this will end quickly...


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2022 at 12:02 pm
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 12:02 pm

Council Member Cormack, as a senior citizen, I regularly ride five miles to get from my home to downtown. It is flat, shady, and easily bikable on a foot-powered bike and ridiculously easy on an e-bike. Try biking that five miles. You'll probably discover that biking it is easier and faster than driving and parking. Instead, you argue to allow more cars driving to Casti which is on Bryant Bike Boulevard, where those cars will create new safety problems on one of our best bike routes in town? Wow.

I bet able-bodied Casti teens are up to it. Or are Paly and Gunn kids better than them? A majority of PAUSD students walk and bike to school every day. Many travel 3-5 miles on those trips. Of course, those schools have worked really hard with the city to make changes to effect that mode shift. Casti has shown ZERO inclination to do that work over the years. Though they have been offered help to do it, they never accepted it. The neighbors are right to be worried.

BTW, Council. Make sure the fine print on the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) has rock solid enforcement of the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) plan built in. Previous TDM plans have been sloppily written and unenforceable. There needs to be an annual review cycle with milestones for education, encouragement, engineering and evaluation programs built in. If they fail to meet milestones, FINE them at a level that will matter to them. If they fail to make milestones, make sure that the language allows NO legal wiggle room to allow further growth. Neighbors, you will need to follow up on all of this diligently, because Code Enforcement staff is under resourced. You will have to dog them. There are a lot of things they could have done before now that they haven't done to reduce trips.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 7, 2022 at 12:19 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 12:19 pm

Rock solid enforcement?? Hah! The Planning Staff named Casti to its own monitoring and discipline committee AND gave them authority over what fines/punishments should be imposed.

Sure, NOW they want neighbors involved, too, -- after they've ignored and dismissed for years the findings of the neighbors, their consultants, their engineers, their arborists...

And we're supposed to believe that the residents who waste MORE of their time will get listened to this time! Sure, get involved. We want engaged citizens and value their input. NOT.


Downtown Resident
Registered user
Professorville
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:08 pm
Downtown Resident, Professorville
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:08 pm

I am sososososo disappointed in our City Council. Once again they have no backbone and caved like a parent that gives in to a nagging child. Shameless and I will never again donate to a candidate except for Lydia Kou who has remained consistent.


Annies biped
Registered user
Midtown
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:35 pm
Annies biped, Midtown
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:35 pm

HOORAY! At long last our Council has seen the light! Casti has been a positive part of Palo Alto for well over a century. It's high time for both the school and the city to move forward together, working in a positive, collaborative direction. There is no reason why the future relationship shouldn't be harmonious. Thank you City Council!


eyeswideopen
Registered user
Professorville
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:52 pm
eyeswideopen, Professorville
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:52 pm

I find our City Council to be disappointing. A much more sensible and honest compromise should have been reached.

Casti will monitor itself as to traffic, events, enrollment ?? We all know they are dishonest. How? Past behavior. Why should they change?
Shame on the Council. Money and power talk, not citizens of this town.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:59 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 1:59 pm

Suggestion: have the TDM paperwork reviewed by an objective 3rd party so that there aren’t any convenient “typos” of the sort we saw with the Hotel President issue.

Writing a set of city values is something CC discussed earlier this year. They’ve been busy so maybe that got stalled. This Casti issue eroded trust in both the school and City Staff. Casti can deal with its reputation and trust issues. But the City also has some work to do on this. Restoring trust should be inherent in the goals.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2022 at 2:55 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 2:55 pm

Well over a century? Hardly. All Casti now shares with the majority of its existence is its name. When the school transformed itself from primarily a boarding school into a day school a few decades ago it became a completely different entity completely transforming it’s impact with an ever increasing enrollment and events calendar.

The campus rebuilding with all the delivery trucks constantly rumbling and beeping, trucks transporting dirt from their huge hole in the ground, construction noise and power tools, dust, other related traffic, will be a multi-year nightmare for anyone living nearby at home during the day. This is not just modernizing a few buildings. This is a huge expansion development on a relatively small property for this scale of construction, in a residential neighborhood. If you haven’t had to live close to a construction site during their working hours you have no idea how penetrating and constantly jarring the noise is.

That city staff allowed this new expansion application in a residential neighborhood to go forward in the first place is a betrayal of our city zoning and codes. Future developers can now apply for permission to construct similarly large scale non-residential projects in any Palo Alto neighborhood citing Casti as legal precedent. Who can trust staff and a future council not to allow them to do so?




LiveAndLetLive
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 7, 2022 at 4:32 pm
LiveAndLetLive, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 4:32 pm

Castilleja School must be the most scrutinized and regulated school in America. I wish city government would spend its time and resources on more pressing issues.

I applaud the City Council for bringing the years-long debate to a close and approving this project. It's the right thing for the city.

It's very disappointing to see the arbitrary reduction in the number of events the school can hold on its campus. It's difficult to find justification for this and will undermine the school's ability to bring parents, teachers, and students together to build school community. What goes? Cancel the school musical? Cancel back-to-school night? Limit parent attendance at the volleyball games? Cancel the sports banquet? What a shame! City Council should reconsider this draconian limitation.


PA Community Advocate
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2022 at 7:27 pm
PA Community Advocate, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 7:27 pm

Every council member except for Vice Mayor Lydia Kou voted against the interest of actual Palo Alto residents.

This private institution has done ZERO for 99% of Palo Alto’s daughters. Their private campus provides ZERO value for 99% of Palo Alto residents.

Can we buy the land back from Castilleja and put it to good public use?


Chris C.
Registered user
Community Center
on Jun 7, 2022 at 10:01 pm
Chris C., Community Center
Registered user
on Jun 7, 2022 at 10:01 pm

If you draw a 5-mile circle around Castilleja it includes all of Palo Alto east of highway 280, all of Atherton, and significant portions of Mountain View and Los Altos. You can see a 5 mile circle illustrated here: Web Link


Former resident of Palo Alto
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Jun 8, 2022 at 6:20 am
Former resident of Palo Alto, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2022 at 6:20 am

Re:

> This private institution has done ZERO for 99% of Palo Alto’s daughters. Their private campus provides ZERO value for 99% of Palo Alto residents.
> Can we buy the land back from Castilleja and put it to good public use?

Following this brilliant logic, EVERY SINGLE HOME in Palo Alto, by itself, provides zero value for the other 99.99% of Palo Alto residents. Should we buy back the author's home and put it to good public use?

Many, many more people use the school than the surrounding houses. That's why the school has more traffic than homes! If we're counting the number of people that benefit, it's clear the hundreds of students, plus teachers, plus families outnumber the residents of a few dozen nearby properties.

I'm all for private property and people living in single family homes if they so choose. My point is that if we're going to look at community benefit, it's a REAL TOUGH argument to make that a single family living in a $5 - $15 million home provides more community benefit than a school attended by hundreds.


Former resident of Palo Alto
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Jun 8, 2022 at 7:23 am
Former resident of Palo Alto, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2022 at 7:23 am

The big picture context is that:
(1) The region and city will have higher density in the future.
(2) There's a regional shortage of high quality schooling.

The tradeoff in this particular case is between the benefits of higher quality schooling for hundreds of girls versus some inconvenience to wealthy neighbors due to pickup and dropoff and events.

Given the overwhelming benefits of high quality education on lifetime earnings, on health, and positive community externalities, isn't the cost-benefit analysis particularly clear?! Isn't it especially clear when the aggrieved parties either knew or should have known that the already existing, high quality school would almost certainly grow?!

The win-win solution BTW is for the subset of neighbors that are aggrieved (at living next to a school and within a growing Palo Alto) to sell their fantastically valuable homes for millions of dollars, take the proceeds, and move somewhere quieter. I'm sure there are many, many home buyers in the region who would view living next to a school as either an acceptable inconvenience or even an asset! The presently aggrieved homeowners win, the new homeowners win, and the students win.

It's entirely clear where the region is headed: higher density. The question is whether municipalities can make the proper investments in public transit, services (including schools), bike lanes, etc... to make density function better.

NIMBYs may win a lot of battles, but ultimately, they're doomed to lose the war. Change is inevitable. I don't understand why people make themselves miserable in hopeless pursuit of the past instead of embracing the new and working to make it better.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 8, 2022 at 9:58 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2022 at 9:58 am

"Following this brilliant logic, EVERY SINGLE HOME in Palo Alto, by itself, provides zero value for the other 99.99% of Palo Alto residents. Should we buy back the author's home and put it to good public use?"

Hardly. EVERY SINGLE HOMEowner pays property tax every single year we live here and then when we sell, the city takes an ever-increasing slice of our gains in the form of a "document transfer fee" because it obviously takes them so much more time to transfer the documents for an expensive house as for a cheaper one.

And the city didn't give EVERY SINGLE HOMEowner free acreage like the city so charitably donated to Casti which pays no property taxes and is totally closed to the public.

Please tell us about all the "many many" events that are open to the general public!!


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2022 at 10:36 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2022 at 10:36 am

I don't really comment on this much as I look at it the same way as any school.

The school has been there longer than the nearby neighbors who bought their homes next to a school knowing full well that this was a destination school and that traffic and parking would be issues.

Both Gunn and Paly have grown since I first lived in Palo Alto. There are now 3 middle schools and there were only 2 when I first moved here. The elementary school in my neighborhood has more portables and new buildings to cater for a much larger school body than before, there isn't even enough parking for all the staff who park on nearby streets. Ohlone and Hoover are both destination schools and have students coming from all parts of town which the neighbors have to deal with.

There are private schools all over town. Some of them are in old PAUSD or old office space, or churches. The Girls Middle School in particular seem to cause a great deal of problems with traffic at drop off and pick up times. The school opposite Safeway also has traffic problems.

I do have some sympathy but not a great deal. I do think that Casti should be compared with the other school campuses. The neighbors near any of those schools have some sympathy too, but it must be remembered that all who made their choice to live near a school have to deal with having a school as a neighbor.


Former resident of Palo Alto
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Jun 8, 2022 at 12:38 pm
Former resident of Palo Alto, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Re: Bystander

> The school has been there longer than the nearby neighbors who bought their homes next to a school knowing full well that this was a destination school and that traffic and parking would be issues.

Exactly. It sounds Bystander like you're too reasonable and sensible to attend City Council meetings.

I imagine most Palo Alto residents take a similar view (I know I do), but high volume, aggrieved, nattering nabobs of negativism tend to dominate the process.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 8, 2022 at 3:23 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 8, 2022 at 3:23 pm

"nattering nabobs of negativism" -- Ex-con Spiro Agnew and his attacks on any and all critics, no matter how rational and factual, lives again -- just in time for the inevitable comparisons between the Watergate hearings and the January 6 hearings starting tomorrow at 5PM Pacific time on all tv networks except Fox.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2022 at 9:23 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 9:23 am

Palo Alto has been subsidizing this wealthy private school for decades, allowing it to operate in violation of our zoning laws and in violation of its own CUP. Even today Casti operates in violation of its CUP without consequence.

Castilleja, which charges almost $60,000 in annual tuition and fees, and offers tuition assistance to only about 20% of those students, does not serve our community, which has a relatively high household median income of approx $150,000/year (compared to our less wealthy neighboring cities).

Despite its astronomical price tag, Castilleja boasts that it accepts a mere fraction of of its many applicants --countless local families willing to enter debt to save their daughters from our struggling and declining public schools. Is this truly a public good to subsidize on limited taxpayer dime?

Castilleja admits its serves no public purpose or social good. It is not a charitable organization. Casti serves the limited purpose of educating the small number of young women hand-picked by its administration to receive an expensive and rarefied education that will ensure the continuation of class privilege.

Despite these self-serving goals, Castilleja pays no taxes, because of a loophole to the IRS code that allows private schools - even schools like Castilleja that never, even once, open their doors to the public - to escape taxation. That means that unlike the rest of us, Castilleja pays no property tax, income tax, or other tax. We pay for Castilleja's use of public services.

Each time Casti's garbage is picked up, mail delivered, and street cleaned, we pay for it. When Casti took up our limited City Council time and budget for decades, we paid for it. When Casti's construction trucks spew toxic cement fumes on our sidewalks, we will pay for it. If Casti's construction blocks first responders from our public high schools, we will pay for it.

We have been financially subsidizing Casti for decades. Now we continue that unjust practice, at our own great risk.


Cmore Butz
Registered user
Professorville
on Jun 9, 2022 at 9:25 am
Cmore Butz, Professorville
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 9:25 am

Bravo Sheeple
This institution first breaks (over enrollment) the rules then builds a bigger machine to likelly break more agreements.

BE ADVISED THSI IS GREED AND EGO AT ITS VERY BEST >>>>


azr
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2022 at 1:38 pm
azr, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 1:38 pm

The school got benefits and giveaways no other private institution would receive in Palo Alto. Lesson learned: if you have deep enough pockets and influence, and control over people to tap to intimidate and barrage city officials successfully, you can wait it out. You don't have to follow the rules that everybody else in town has to follow.

The school could move, split their campus, and serve many more deserving girls. It's so silly we're still arguing about Gunn (30 acres) and Paly (44 acres), which are public schools in Public Facilities zones that anyone can attend, as if there's a comparison to a private commuter school on 6 acres in an R-1 zone that clearly only a few chosen students can attend.

There are rules in civil society that include zoning and municipal code, and handing out exceptions to an influential business is what happened here. I'm always amused that people think we're rich, or there's just a few of us (500 signed a petition, and many more wrote and participated online over many years). We're not paid nor do we have a PR machine, and our friends and neighbors work and raise kids; they ask us how it's going and they do what they can.

Again, it's untrue to imply we want to keep kids from social contact events. The events that get excluded are adult-only (fund-raisers, donor appreciation nights) that don't need to be on-site. We'd much rather have housing there, so it's so weird to call us NIMBIES. Some of these writers are singing straight out of the school's playbook, a tactic that was used to great advantage; keep saying nonsense long enough and people start believing it.


PST
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2022 at 3:01 pm
PST, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 3:01 pm

Rebecca. Please tell me where Castillea “admits” it provides no public service or social good? Characterizing the fact that nonprofits pay no taxes as a loophole seems odd. Do you object to the support churches get from the city as well? How about a golf course or Avenidas or do you just object to Castillea? As for me I am disappointed the city wants a certain percent of the students to live within 5 miles. I’d rather see a more diverse regional school. I also think students and employees should be able to park on public street just like anyone else, first come first serve. Castillea broke the rule, turned themselves in and paid the fine levied by the city. Seems to me a fresh start is in order. I wonder if anyone has compared the disruption from the extensive remodel to what would happen if the land was sold as some detractors have suggested and fully developed within the law with homes, basements, swimming pools, etc. Gosh, maybe even lots of other than single family homes. I’m ready to move on and closely monitor and hope all are willing to do so too.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2022 at 4:18 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 4:18 pm

It’s not the school that is the problem. It is the location. When Casti was given permission to change their permitted use from boarders to 300-350 day girls, plus teachers and staff, with far fewer non-school hours events, I seem to remember an assurance from Casti they wouldn’t ask for any further expansion. A big ask in a residential neighborhood in which no other business with 400 daily commuters would be permitted. And at that size I seem to remember neighbors were willing to allow them to do so. At least I don’t remember much pushback to Casti's request to convert to all daily commuters only.

Except Casti didn’t abide by their agreement and came back with a request for an enrollment of 415, plus extra staff. Gradually Casti increased their evening and weekend events as well, to the point Casti’s footprint in the neighborhood has increased substantially.

Now they want an enrollment to go to 540 plus teachers and staff. A big ask in that location and their history of prior assurances they wouldn’t ask to grow again.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2022 at 5:33 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 5:33 pm

PST: Answering your questions:

1. Castilleja does not serve a "public" service. Castilleja is not a charity, but rather is an invite-only private school. it is tax exempt under a loophole to the IRS code that was created by lobbyists paid by our country's wealthiest private schools, possibly including Casti. In contrast, a charity must have a "public" purpose -- that is, it must serve the public as a whole rather than just its members.

2. We know Casti is not charitable because it checked the "private school" box on its form 990:

Web Link

3. Casti is profitable. According to its form 990, Casti lists assets of $123 million, revenues of $37 million, and profits of $7.5 million. Without its tax loophole, it Casti would pay property tax and income tax like the rest of us. Because it doesn't, it deprives our city of millions of dollars of tax revenue that using the lots for their zoned purpose (residential) would bring in.

4. Casti did not "turn itself in." It had been actively concealing its violations for 12 years, until neighbors discovered Casti's intentional deception.

5. Casti paid a fraction of the statutory fines it owned for its 22 years of code and CUP violations. Palo Alto's Municipal code provides for statutory damages of $500 per violation per day. When Casti was over-enrolled by 20 students, it would have owed $500 x 20 (violations) a day, totaling $10,000/day. Assuming 300 operating days a year, Casti actually owed $3 million/year when it was overenrolled by 20. When it was overenrolled by 40, its uncollected statutory fines were $6 million/year.

6. Because Casti never paid the fines other parties would have had to pay, Casti benefited financially from its legal violations for 20 years. With $60,000/year, over-enrollment of 20 brought in $1.2 million a year for Castilleja. With over-enrollment of 40, Casti made $2.4 million in profit due to intentional legal violations.

Hope that helps


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2022 at 5:44 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 5:44 pm

That line was supposed to read "with $60,000/year *tuition," over-enrollment of 20 students brought in 20 times $60,000/year, or $1.2 million/year for Castilleja. I omitted the word "tuition." Hopefully the rest can be parsed. Sorry about that.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2022 at 5:48 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 5:48 pm

Thank you Rebecca for all your well researched informative comments.


Former resident of Palo Alto
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Jun 9, 2022 at 7:02 pm
Former resident of Palo Alto, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 7:02 pm

I congratulate Ms. Eisenberg for having the bravery to post such a ideological diatribe under her name. It's instructive to see her opposition isn't so much about Castilleja as about private school and any selective institution in general.

The same criticism she wrote would apply to any private school, any private university, in fact any public university (eg. UC Berkeley) which also "... accepts a mere fraction of of its many applicants..." Does California's UC system also not service a public purpose because there's an application for admission?!

My breath is honestly taken away.... wow?

There's also cognitive dissonance?
1) She opposes Castilleja's plan to admit more students
2) She criticizes Castilleja for rejecting too many applicants.

I would have thought providing quality education to young women, whoever they might be, is a clear public good, a clear benefit to them and society at large. I'm sad to read that Ms. Eisenberg feels otherwise.


PST
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2022 at 11:02 pm
PST, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 11:02 pm

Rebecca, thanks for your reply. I don’t consider following the law as having anything to do with loopholes, a somewhat pejorative term. I think the education they provide contributes to a better world as much as other nonprofits do. Whatever “benefits” they get from Palo Alto are the same as other nonprofits which I am unclear whether or not you object to. They did not determine the amount of money they were penalized, the city did so if you have an issue it’s with the city seems to me. It was my understanding that it was new leadership that admitted to the city their enrollment had grown but perhaps I am mistaken about that. I am ok with agreeing to disagree and feel ready to let the whole thing go even though some of my preferences were not included in the resolution. I hope you and others are too.


Mr. Jane
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2022 at 11:04 pm
Mr. Jane, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jun 9, 2022 at 11:04 pm

Casti lost. After attempting to revamp their campus since 2012 and spending millions in legal fees, architect fees, consultant fees, tuition collection fees by reducing their student body for the last six years, they got what they would have years earlier if they simply worked with the neighbors, rather than try to bully the neighbors into submission.

The campus is hideous, so it badly needs a facelift. The school is too noisy, so reducing the events is a good thing for the neighborhood and a councilwoman who thinks otherwise, will never get my vote if she has greater political ambitions. It will all be fine in the end.

Too bad Casti was a manipulative bully, it all could have been so very different, if the head of school had the integrity and genuinely listened and heard the neighbors and tried to work with them. This too shall pass and the neighbors will hopefully have a more honorable school administration in the future.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 10, 2022 at 8:36 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2022 at 8:36 am

Let's not forget all the personal funds the neighbors spent to show how fallacious and misleading some of Casti's "findings" were and are.

But I'm particularly upset that one PTC commissioner could be forced to recuse himself because he's a member of PAN (Palo Alto Neighbors) which sent a letter while other commissions who had direct ties to Casti's lawyers and other REAL conflicts of interest were NOT forced to recuse themselves.

The whole biased process, esp. from our high paid "Planning" staff was most discouraging and will cause many to not bother to get involved in any community issue at a time when apathy's already a major source of concern.

Sad. Enraging. And water's still wet.


Mr. Jane
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jun 10, 2022 at 10:58 am
Mr. Jane, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2022 at 10:58 am

The neighbors don’t have to accept being kicked in a behind by the city council, instead, they should put it on the ballot for the Palo Alto residents to decide the fate of their city; no one likes bullies who power their way through the political corruption. Another option is to sue and keep the process lingering in courts in perpetuity. Hopefully the old administration guard is old enough to retire and a more progressive and honorable administration will step in and manage the school with integrity.


Paly Grad
Registered user
Stanford
on Jun 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm
Paly Grad, Stanford
Registered user
on Jun 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm

1) Ms E claimed that Castilleja does not serve the public because it “is not a charity, but rather is an invite-only private school.”

This claim that private schools don't serve a public interest is clearly false. Education by both public and private institutions has long been recognized by legislatures and courts as in the public interest. In University of Southern California v. Robbins, the CA Appeal’s Court wrote, “The higher education of youth in its largest implications is recognized as a most important public use, vitally essential to our governmental health and purposes. From the very nature of respondent as an educational institution, with qualities fixed by its articles of incorporation above quoted, it is apparent that the land here considered will be devoted by it to a high public use.”

2) Ms E argued tax exempt status for private schools is a “loophole”

False.

Tax exempt status for private schools has a centuries long history in the United States: the Revenue Act of 1909 provided tax exempt status to, “… any corporation or association organized for religious, charitable or educational purposes …” Tax exemption for educational institutions while fulfilling their educational mission has been the rule for centuries.

Section 214 of California’s Revenue Code specifically exempts qualifying private schools from property tax, “Property used exclusively for school purposes of less than collegiate grade and owned and operated by religious, hospital, or charitable funds, foundations, limited liability companies, or corporations, which property and funds, foundations, limited liability companies, or corporations meet all of the requirements of subdivision (a), shall be deemed to be within the exemption provided for in subdivision (b) of Section 4 and Section 5 of Article XIII of the California Constitution and this section.”

This a clearly written exemption that is furthermore consistent with centuries long norms in the United States. It is not a loophole.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 11, 2022 at 11:22 am
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2022 at 11:22 am

Please regulate construction hours, deliveries and the huge filthy trucks that will be needed for dirt hauling at this construction site.
We will be highly affected on Embarcadero Rd…….this has been a concern of mine over these years….


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2022 at 11:42 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2022 at 11:42 am

"We will be highly affected on Embarcadero Rd…….this has been a concern of mine over these years…."

Especially if they close Churchill. But the city's never been big at looking at the big picture as shown by how they allow major construction on most major roads at the same time.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2022 at 12:15 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2022 at 12:15 pm

"Paly grad" -- the fact that an unfair law has been around for centuries does not make it fair, appropriate, or in line with the broader goals of the legislation. Just ask any pregnant woman in Texas.


Paly Grad
Registered user
Stanford
on Jun 11, 2022 at 3:47 pm
Paly Grad, Stanford
Registered user
on Jun 11, 2022 at 3:47 pm

Re: Rebecca

Have property taxes ever been levied on private schools in pursuit of their educational mission in California?
No.

in Massachusetts? New York? Connecticut?
No.

Is what you're advocating the law in ANY state in the country?
No.

Is what you're advocating the law in Canada?
No.

Isn't it in fact the case that significant tax benefits, even public funding, for private schools is the international norm amidst developed democracies?

Many European countries such as Sweden and France etc... even provide public funding for private schools.

In the United States, there are some cases where large tax-exempt institutions have made some voluntary contribution to local government budgets, but still the law has been that these institutions are tax exempt.

If Rebecca believes that private schools should pay property tax, isn't the democratic thing to do to call her state representative and lobby legislatures, not to take vigilante action against Castilleja, hold up governmental approval on unrelated, extra legal grounds?


Broken Broker
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2022 at 10:51 am
Broken Broker, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 10:51 am

Lots of sour grapes here from the losers. What's next? Looks like you do not accept the rule of law.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 14, 2022 at 4:52 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 4:52 pm

What rule of law? The rules are that Castilleja is not an allowed use in a residential zoned area. Which is why Castilleja has applied for a new "Conditional Use Permit" (CUP) since they want to change the terms of their existing CUP. Granting any CUP is by definition discretionary and not a right.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 15, 2022 at 12:31 pm

The following is the text of my Letter to the Editor published in the Daily Post on Monday (June 13). Maybe it answers a few questions directed at me. If not, feel free to contact me directly - I'm easy to find. This will require you to cast off your anonymity, of course. I tend to believe that if someone truly stands by their words, they use their name. At any rate, I'm here.

"How gauche, Castilleja"

Monday night, after City Council bent every possible rule to pave way for Castilleja to build its monster campus on Bryant Street, I watched the Casti revelers celebrate. “We did it!” they cheered, ignoring the Mayor’s repeated calls for them to leave, bouncing in their matching tri-color t-shirts that would overtax many public school full-year budgets.

This public celebration by a members-only walled garden, that refuses to open its doors to the public even one day a year, was not a good good look.

After all, with its $100 million capital campaign funds (not including the undisclosed millions promised by the Arrillaga family), Casti had the cash to buy itself a win, with expensive lawyers, for example, to exclude its largest proposed new structure -the underground garage, pool, and floors of classrooms - from square footage calculations and environmental impact analysis.

Castilleja also had funds to pay spin-doctors to create a compelling, yet false, version of history, while also drowning out the voices of neighbors and community members who inconveniently did not want a commercial garage on Bryant Bike Boulevard.

With Casti's money, and Palo Alto’s history of caving to the interests of the wealthiest few, perhaps the exclusive school's neighbors never had a chance.

Regardless, when one buys itself a victory to the detriment of one’s neighbors, shouldn’t one know to celebrate in private? Perhaps Casti is no finishing school after all.


Vic Befera
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 15, 2022 at 12:40 pm
Vic Befera, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jun 15, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Champagne must have flowed at Castilleja school the night our docile City Council voted to bow to the school’s construction variances, enrollment increases, underground garage in an R-1 neighborhood, and more demands.
My family attended all of the 22 public hearings, and it became evident early on that the Council would eventually side with the school while tossing a few bones to the immediate neighbors and other Palo Alto residents who tried in vain to curtail the vast overreach of this private commercial entity.
After 16 years in violation of its previous permit, it's a laugh to think the school will self-govern to meet the Council's flabby conditions. Castilleja has shown a relentless history of obfuscating, finding loopholes, and willfully misinterpreting its conditions for remaining in an R-1 zone. The Council has rewarded their duplicity with pretty much everything the school demanded.
Councilmember Eric Filseth zeroed in on the issue when he noted that if a new applicant asked to put this oversized private school on a six-acre lot in the middle of an established residential neighborhood, no question the City Council would have turned this project down. And yet, based on the not-very-persuasive argument "We've been here a long time, and therefore should be able to continue growing as much as we want ..." the Council rolled over.
We give high praise to Vice Mayor Lydia Kou for her courageous and enlightened sole dissent.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jun 16, 2022 at 11:53 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jun 16, 2022 at 11:53 am

The last two posts by Eisenberg and Befera are exceptional. Castilleja never did comply with the previous CUP. I guess neighbors are supposed to be grateful that it came close. Money and issue fatigue combined for a "win" here.

At least CC included the requirement that 40% of the student body live within 5 miles of campus. How will that be enforced? Honor system? Years of deliberate non-compliance prove that system doesn't work. Do parents of qualified girls who live within 5 miles but are not admitted have to challenge the school? And what if they find that Castilleja "inadvertently erred" as it is prone to do? In that scenario does a wrongly-admitted student receive an "oops" letter to make room for the local girl? Or does the school just kinda fudge the numbers? Similarly, how will anyone know if a junior drives to school? And should that happen, what then? Send the girl(s) home?


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.