Looks like Fair Oaks Elementary will open this fall

Daily Post Staff Writer

Fair Oaks Elementary School will be open when the school year starts this fall now that families who support the school have managed to register 202 students — meeting a requirement to keep the school from closing.

The Redwood City School Board was planning to close the school because of falling enrollment, but decided on April 25 to give the school supporters one last chance to keep the doors open. Superintendent John Baker said the school at 2950 Fair Oaks Ave. could remain open if at least 200 students were enrolled by May 15, and those 200 students are attending school by Aug. 31.

The school currently has 221 students, but the district was forecasting that enrollment would drop to 146 kids by August, which led the board to consider closing it.

Charter schools attracting families

The school has lost 292 students over the past decade, which has hurt the district’s finances since state school funding is based on attendance. School officials have said that families left the district due to the high cost of living but charter schools have also been growing in Redwood City, attracting many families who previously had their children in the district’s schools.

The Redwood City district has three charter schools including one that shares a campus with Fair Oaks.
Mary Martinez, a school district employee who works as a liaison with the school community, said that ever since the April 25 board meeting, parents have been at the school registering their children for next school year.

Martinez said parents have been doing a lot of their own recruiting through speaking with friends and neighbors about how close knit the school’s community is and it’s potential to improve.

“It’s mostly through word of mouth,” Martinez said. “It’s amazing how fast it’s been to get the (enrollment up), it’s a happy moment right now.”

Parents are working to get 250 students enrolled in the school, Martinez said. While Baker said at the April 25 meeting that the school needed 200 students, 250 kids is how many the school would need to break even.