Changes to open-enrollment policies for the Sequoia Union High School District and tentative revisions to the map assigning communities to high schools are to take place tonight at the district board meeting.
The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Sanford Room at 480 James Ave. in Redwood City on the campus of Sequoia High School.
A key issue: which high schools will be designated for students from East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks, and from the Las Lomitas Elementary School District?
In the 1980s, a court-ordered consent decree required students from East Palo Alto to be divided among Menlo-Atherton, Woodside and Carlmont high schools. The decree has since expired but the assignments remained, and the families now affected want a change that guarantees attendance at schools close to home, specifically Menlo-Atherton.
This coming change is significantly complicated by the number of communities that want M-A as their assigned school.
■ At community meetings in May, East Palo Alto families said they are fed up with having their community divided among three high schools, one of which is 11 miles away and requires an early morning bus trip.
■ Families from the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, families that make very significant donations to M-A's foundation, have long had a guarantee to attend M-A and spoke with passion about not disrupting that arrangement.
■ North Fair Oaks families who have been attending M-A are just as concerned that their assignment is going to change.
At six community meetings in May, district Superintendent Jim Lianides met with parents to talk about a highly reliable prediction from a demographer saying that the district should expect significant growth in enrollment.
By 2020, the Sequoia district is expected to have at least 10,000 students, a 22 percent increase, spread among four comprehensive high schools equipped to handle about 9,600 if each were filled to capacity. Enrollment at M-A was about 2,000 for the 2012-13 school year, and about 1,800 at Woodside.
Significantly, the demographic report is based on elementary school enrollment and did not take into account the growth in multi-family residential construction in Redwood City and Menlo Park.
The Sequoia district has just $9 million in capital improvement funds, so asking voters to approve a bond measure is also likely. The board is not likely to address that issue until June 2014, according to a staff report.