It's the first day of school across the San Ramon Valley, and administrators are figuring out how to accommodate 500 more students than they had predicted.
With a summer enrollment surge district-wide, Creekside Elementary could be the only Danville school with an enrollment increase as it may be admitting additional students from San Ramon, where enrollments are at capacity.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District administrators had predicted this fall's enrollment would be 28,200. Now, they expect 28,700 students on the first day of class today.
That's because 500 new students enrolled during the summer. Most of the additional classmates came from new housing tracts in eastern San Ramon, putting Live Oak and Hidden Hills Elementary at full capacity with more than 1,000 students each. During the past week, several hundred students have been transferred from those two campuses to Quail Run and Coyote Creek Elementary.
District officials say if those two schools fill up, the next option is to start sending students across the city border to Creekside Elementary in Danville, a new school that opened last fall.
"Our philosophy is neighborhood schools," said Terry Koehne, spokesman for the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. "We're trying to do that, but we're having to divert students simply because we have no place to put them."
Creekside Elementary's enrollment has already risen to a projected 478 for this fall. However, it appears to be the only Danville school that will see a sharp increase.
That's because there are few new homes being built in Danville. Most of the new students here come from new families buying an existing house from homeowners who don't have school-age children.
The elementary school with the most students will once again be Sycamore Valley Elementary, which is expecting 707 pupils this fall.
Despite the summer increase, Creekside Elementary will still have the smallest enrollment. The next smallest is Montair Elementary with 498 students. John Baldwin Elementary is expecting 511 students.
Most elementary schools have increased their class sizes at the kindergarten through third-grade levels. Those classes are expected to rise from an average of 22 students per class last spring to 24 to 26 students per class this fall. The upper grades remain at about 30 students per class.
At the middle schools, Charlotte Wood has the most students of any intermediate campus in the district with a projected 985 students. Diablo Vista is expecting 816 students while Los Cerros Middle School's enrollment is projected at 624.
The extra students throughout the district do bring in more revenue. Koehne estimates the additional 500 students will translate into $2.5 million in extra state funds this year. There are, of course, additional expenses to serve all those students.
The influx of students has allowed the district to hire back all the teachers who were given layoff notices last spring. The district has also hired some of last year's temporary teachers as well as a few new ones.
Koehne said the district will have to figure out long-term solutions to the additional enrollment.
There aren't funds to build new campuses, so the school board may have to consider alternatives such as year-round schools with alternating tracks.
"We're going to have to start having some difficult conversations," said Koehne. "We're going to have to figure out how to deal with this capacity issue."