Incoming high school freshmen face a lot of important decisions. Those slated to attend Oak Ridge or Ponderosa now have one new decision to make right up front — which school to attend.
The most recent action by the El Dorado Union High School District Board of Trustees specifically allows incoming freshmen slated to attend Oak Ridge to transfer to El Dorado, Ponderosa or Union Mine high schools. Incoming Ponderosa freshman can transfer to El Dorado or Union Mine.
Applications are being accepted through Jan. 31. The offer only applies to incoming freshmen, and requires the families to handle transportation. Bus routes are not being changed.
The high school district’s historically strict transfer policies have been recently softened on several fronts, allowing many students to attend a school other than the one prescribed in the 2005 school boundary map, available on the district website.
The most recent policy changes were enacted to balance enrollment across the district, and specifically to bolster attendance at Union Mine High School, which is 14 years old and features a modern theater, gymnasium and pool, with no portable classrooms. The school is located east of the town of El Dorado, and is often likened to a junior college campus.
Enrollment projections from the district’s 2011 Demographic Study predict that overall district enrollment will drop by 5 percent over the next five years, with Union Mine taking the brunt of the decrease.
Union Mine has a capacity of 1,428 students, and is projected to drop 21 percent, from roughly 974 students currently to 772 students in 2017-18, according to summary data on the district website.
El Dorado High School in Placerville is projected to drop 9 percent over the same five-year span.
By comparison, enrollment at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs is projected to drop just 2 percent, with Oak Ridge in El Dorado Hills, which is already near capacity, projected to increase 2 percent.
The 2005 school boundary map anticipated rising attendance in the west county, and carved out undeveloped areas in southern and eastern El Dorado Hills from the Oak Ridge boundaries. Some of those areas have since been populated, resulting in “outlier” students who, until recently, were forced to attend a different high school than their middle school peers.
The board enacted policies which now permit “outlier” students to stay with their peers in most cases. See “Outliers catch a break” in the Oct. 31 Village Life and on VillageLife.com.
Notes on nomenclature: When enrollment approaches capacity the district considers a school “impacted.” The term is carried through the transfer application process. Oak Ridge and Ponderosa are considered “more impacted.” Union Mine and El Dorado are “less impacted.”
Also, “freshman” are becoming “9th graders” on district forms and web pages.
A Less Impacted School Transfer Request is available on the home page of the district website, at the district office or any of the four comprehensive high schools. Transfer requests should be e-mailed to [email protected] or hand delivered to the El Dorado Union High School District Office, 4675 Missouri Flat Road, Placerville 95667.