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Castilleja vows to reduce enrollment

Original post made on Feb 3, 2014

Castilleja School has pledged to reduce its enrollment by 33 students over the next four years if it cannot come to new terms with the City of Palo Alto over headcount and traffic.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 3, 2014, 2:47 PM

Comments (26)

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm

If i ever want anything from the City I'll change my name to Castilleja. They obviously are subject to different rules than the rest of us.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Castilleja didn't magically add 33 students in one year. They have been over their conditional use limit of 415 for many years. Without annual external enrollment audits, they will let this storm pass and return to their old ways.

Posted by Summer
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:24 am

"Some neighbors of the Bryant Street school raised concerns about traffic problems last summer, describing the congestion during the morning and afternoon pick-up times as a nightmare."

Last summer? The school is not in session during the summer. Perhaps those problems are with summer camp attendees who are not familiar with the school's regular traffic policies.

Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 4, 2014 at 10:05 am

If Casti enrolls just 60 students in their incoming 6th grade class and does not replace any natural attrition of students until that grade level reaches 60 students, that seems to be a fair way to reduce enrollment without penalizing the current students.

Posted by Former neighbor
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2014 at 11:40 am

Castilla has subjected their neighbors to traffic issues, noise during remodeling exceeding the city ordinance limit and other disturbances since the mid 90, obviously they think they are immune to any regulations.

They make promises and do not necessarily hold to them. We moved because of the school impact on our life. Castilleja should be held accountable for their moon compliance to the local laws.

Posted by Very disappointing outcome
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Council, you just sent a message to every developer and every private school in the city that you won't enforce CUPs. I'm furious!!!!!!

Fine them. Set deadlines and clear guidelines for compliance. Then enforce them. Offer no alternatives. They can't be trusted to comply with a TDM program. They have DEMONSTRATED that they cannot be trusted at all.

Enforcement is needed here. show some respect for the neighborhoods who participated and negotiated in good faith in the CUP negotiations.

This is very disturbing.

Posted by Trustworthy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Promises, promises. Most of us know better than to trust Castilleja when they make promises to the city and local residents. The city fathers need to grow a real pair and enforce the law, penalize heavily when they scoff at the law.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Schools have to be re-certified every two years. If Castilleja write it into their certification that they will abide with any and all CUP's, then and only then will I believe the school will follow through on their enrollment agreement.

Posted by accreditation
a resident of Stanford
on Feb 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Hi anonymous,

What certification are you referring to? One from the city, or do you mean from the CAIS - please clarify. If it's from the city - could you please provide the link in the City code? thank you

CAIS - California Association of Independent Schools - requires accreditation once every 6 years with a visit also at the mid-point (3 years).

Web Link

Posted by Waverley
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 5, 2014 at 4:40 pm

1. "Very disappointing outcome" - we live in a community with more kids than schools. School population is up at EVERY palo alto school. You are not alone in your frustration but these 33 girls are not going to make a DENT in traffic.

2. Castilleja should do some community outreach.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Why is this pledge any more credible than their last pledge?
It is astounding that Castilleja operated in knowing violation of their agreement and is not planning to correct this behavior at once. Admissions decisions will go out in March. The City of Palo Alto needs to manage this issue before this goes on for another year.

Posted by Lying Liars and their Lies
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2014 at 7:13 pm

In the fifteen years that we have loved here, Casti has never once been honest or kept a promise. A few years ago, on a Saturday, students made money for the school by parking cars for an athletic event all around the school, even on curbs where "No Castilleja parking" signs were posted--then denying it the next Monday when called on the carpet about it by residents and police.

Why should they be honest and above-board now, when it is not in their financial interest? 'Cause that is apparently ALL that really matters to the faculty!

Posted by Jan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Lying liars-- the parking restrictions are only in place during the regular school week. Anyway, why were the police I nvolved-- there were no laws broken? Remember the " no parking" signs for the school are not codified by any law.
The school has never been honest? A bit of an exaggeration, I must say. My daughters went there, as did my DIL and I look forward to my granddaughters going there.

Posted by Lying Liars...
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2014 at 7:45 pm

@Jan: good for you. You must not live on Kellogg, Emerson, or Bryant. We are not so unaffected.

Posted by Jan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Lying liars-- if you follow the news you will see that even Stan shore says that there have been improvements to the traffic issues-- so your claims that that the school has never been honest or kept a promise is a bit far fetched or are you upset because of a supposed incident from years ago. BTW, what athletic event was held that day that supposedly generated so much traffic? Why would people pay to have their car parked on a public street? Do you expect to live near a school and not have some traffic issues?

Posted by Lying Liars...
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 2:47 am

It was a STANFORD football game, not even a Casti event. Stanford event attendees are not even supposed to park in residential neighborhoods, yet they paid Casti students or staff to park their cars here, ignoring road blocks and taking alternate routes. There were even signs posted, "Stanford Parking Here"! This was only three autumns ago.

Why do you care if you do not live in the affected area?

How do you trust an institution that has lied so many times in the last fifteen years, anyway? That is the real point.

Posted by Ducat
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

Well, if it was a Stanford event, then the " no castielleja parking signs" are nt applicable. And where does it say that Stanford event attendees are not allowed to park on public streets? I know on football game days entrances on some streets are blocked on one side, but that does not block access from other streets. Why are you begrudging some fund raising for the school? And why harp on an event that happened more than 3 years ago ( and has not been repeated, otherwise you would have said so)?
I guess if you lived near caltrain you would want the train to stop running.
I live near the school and have norblems with them

Posted by Lying Liars...
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

The road blocks the PA police set up on Stanford game days in our neighborhood are there for a reason: to keep attendees from parking in residential neighborhoods near campus. Castilleja staff and older students parked the cars for their owners in our neighborhood, on our side of the street. They removed barricades to access our streets--illegal.

BTW, I am not that close to the RR tracks, and my house has sound insulation. What business is that of yours, and what does that have to do with Casti's violations?

Bet you do. to know what a ducat was.

PS--A little bird says you have been ha--ing again!

Posted by Ducat
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 9:07 am

You miss my point liar-- if you live near a school you can expect traffic. I was being sarcastic and implying if you lived near the train you would complain about that.
This supposed event happened 3+ years ago and never happened again. So why harp on it? If it was illegal did you call the police? I am certain thatbthe streets are no completely blockaded. I know access from embarcadero and alma is limited.
[Portion removed.]

Posted by Sandy
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 10, 2014 at 10:35 am

I have learned from a friend that the number of staff members at Castilleja is also up dramatically over the last several years. She tells me that they have added a lot of non-teacher overhead and that nobody is paying attention to that fact, only the student over enrollment. More smoke and mirrors.

Castilleja's traffic control proposals have been solely addressing the school's over enrollment of 40 students. If the school has added a dozen or so new staff people (all that are certainly driving their own car to PA) then that is where even more of the problem exists!

The City Council had better wake up soon. She says the school is now in the process of admitting their new class for the fall. If they don't cut the enrollment substantially then start fining the school $100,000 per student over-enrolled, and $100,000 for every additional staff member added over the past few years. The school's faculty and staff long term baseline information should be made available. Neighbors and city should make sure you get all of the workers on premises there including the part time workers.

Here is an idea. Start making the school head and parent leaders personally liable for breaking the law and playing hide & seek,and you will fix the problem in no time.

Posted by Ducat
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 11:08 am

Sandy-- what do staff numbers have to do with this? There is no limit on allowe staff numbers is there? Anyway, who is this fiend and where does her information come from?
The city should ignore your suggestions-- they will lead to a major,lawsuit from the school. Apparently neighbors are happy with the resolution of the traffic issues so far.
I understand that residents of areas in old palo alto that are not affected by the school are trying to stir the pot.

Posted by Jan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Lying liars makes the school sound like some kind of evil entity. This school has done an excellent job in educating young women and producing future leaders. Yes, there are some issues that need to be addressed with the school. Yes, they have not lived up to,parts of their CUP. They are being addressed now-- even the most vocal opponents of the school say that the traffic problems have gotten better.
To make claims that everyone at the school are liars and cannot be trusted is ridiculous.

Posted by ducat
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Dear editor
If you are going to remove an innocuous response about not being sure what a poster meant and not really caring,.then also delete the comments they were in response to (lying liars comments about what a ducat is and what a little bird told her). And why wait for 8 hours to delete my innocuous comment?

Posted by Member
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 15, 2014 at 11:01 am

I'm a bit tired of hearing the same 3 neighbors complain all the time.... It is getting old... It should not be a surprise that you are next to a school and that there is traffic associated with a school. It is not even clear how "traffic" is really disturbing neighbors. Are you not able to get out of your drive way? Are you stuck behind traffic unable to get to your home... probably not... simply haggling...

The pledge by the school is reasonable and balanced given existing school enrollment. We should not hold young girls hostage to 3 neighbors who are likely retired and watching TV vs. these young girls who have all their life ahead of them and getting one of the very best education in the Bay Area.

Posted by Waverley Bette
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm

Clearly there's a lot of emotion around this topic. I believe that Castilleja is, indeed, providing a top notch education to its fortunate students. This is all the more reason to lament, publicly and clearly, that a prime lesson the administration has chosen to impart to these students that it's just fine to openly flaunt an agreement made with the City of Palo Alto and the school's neighbors. Through the first decade of this century, faculty were reminded at the start of each school year NOT to mention the over-enrollment.
The last time Castilleja was in the news was when they sent out thousands of emails to every alumna still alive soliciting stories from any and all about whether they were ever made to feel "uncomfortable" by behavior by an employee. An elderly friend of our family who graduated in 1950 (!) received such a letter. Because many of these letters included the name of a long-respected member of the faculty, there was a whiff of scandal, so the POST ran it as a front page story.
All of the above truly saddens those of us who've known and respected this school for decades. It seems that leadership assumes their actions are not noticed by the girls. What a shame.

Posted by castilleja student
a resident of another community
on Feb 2, 2015 at 9:24 pm

Speaking from the other perspective - as a Castilleja student who drives to school every day and had no idea about the school's misconducts, these consequences are now affecting us. More students use the shuttle than are over enrolled. And now, for the community of us that drive, there is not enough parking. Traffic is hardly an issue: in the past year or so, I haven't noticed anything atypical of a school environment.

Really, what is the issue now? As students, we sometimes are over half an hour late to class because we have to go park ten blocks down the street to avoid the "No Castilleja Parking" areas. Neighbors chose to live by a school. I, personally, live near an elementary school with traffic far worse than Castilleja's. It's a consequence of buying property near the school, and it's not like the school is new or anything. Sure, the administration made its mistakes. Why make the students pay for it?

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