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BUSD has a numbers problem


Last updated 9/27/2018 at 7:23pm

BUSD is warning of an impending enrollment crisis at Bonsall High School (BHS) and claims that the increasing student population necessitates building a new campus. That rationale was the basis for the bond attempt Measure DD in 2016. It is also stated at the beginning of Measure EE and is the basis of the superintendent’s argument in his recent letter sent to all BUSD residents, in which he claims the new housing developments within BUSD will add 110 new students to BHS by 2021/22. Really? Let’s take a look.

At the August board meeting the administration claimed BHS enrollment of 328 students for 2017-18, 390 for 2018-19 and 800 in 2021-22. The actual 2018-19 enrollment is 343, an increase from last year of only 15 students. How does enrollment jump from 343 to 800 in three years when there was a year-to year increase of only 15? Further exacerbating the numbers problem is the fact that less than 50 percent of eighth-graders choose to attend BHS.

The enrollment at Bonsall High School is increasing at a much slower pace than Bonsall Unified School District has projected. The current (opened in 2016) BHS building is designed for 350 and can be inexpensively increased with portables. A new campus is hardly needed.

Total BUSD enrollment this year is down 23 students. Bonsall Elementary School is down 65 students from last year, and Bonsall West enrollment is down 12. These lower student numbers will carry forward, eventually impacting BHS and contradicting the enrollment crisis argument.

Enrollment declines aren’t unique to BHS. Fallbrook High enrollment is at 2,000 students, down from 3,000 a few years ago. Today there are many high school options including home schooling, online and private schools, including Fallbrook’s Classic Academy. All of these options draw students from the traditional brick and mortar public schools.

Unfortunately, it appears the district has presented unrealistic and unsubstantiated enrollment projections. Do they justify building Phase I of another new high school, with two additional bonds to follow? Please join me in voting No on Measure EE.

Jeff Egkan


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