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The Foothill Dragon Press

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Concern raises within VUSD about the impending enrollment decline

Within+Ventura+Unified+School+District+%28VUSD%29%2C+awareness+is+being+raised+concerning+the+amount+of+students+enrolling+into+the+districts+schools+for+the+2024-2025+school+year+and+beyond.
Bailey Basurto
Within Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), awareness is being raised concerning the amount of students enrolling into the district’s schools for the 2024-2025 school year and beyond.

With the annual School of Choice Event at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) on Nov. 16, 2023, the lingering problem of declining enrollment within the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) schools plagues campuses across the area.

VUSD describes School of Choice as, “the process [VUSD] uses to give parents who reside within the VUSD boundary a choice to select a school within VUSD that they feel will most benefit their child.” When a family enrolls their child into VUSD, depending on where they reside, the child is given a “home school,” or school they are recommended to go to based on the area the family lives. If the family chooses to enroll the child into a school other than the designated one, they must apply for School of Choice. 

The issue resides in the fact that not as many students within VUSD are applying through School of Choice and the amount of students enrolling into each high school is rapidly shrinking. 

Foothill Tech Principal Russell Gibbs shared that, “If there are significantly fewer students this could have an effect on the amount of total staff we have on campus and it could also hinder enrollment in certain electives.” 

I can see if there is a significant drop in enrollment being a discouraging point for staff and students. At this time, we don’t have this issue which we are all thankful for.

— Russell Gibbs

BioScience Academy Director Mika Anderson commented on the enrollment decline at Foothill Tech, saying, “The enrollment decline at Foothill affects our [full time equivalent], which is used to calculate the number of teaching sections a school can offer.” She goes on to state how student enrollment not only affects the classes and scheduling, but also the staff adding, “Fewer courses can be offered and/or fewer quantity of these courses … can be offered and there may also be less teachers on site, or teachers, especially those with less seniority, teaching part time.”

Foothill Tech, though a public high school within the district, runs under a lottery system. The lottery system works through an application process, to which only certain applicants are accepted to attend the school. Because of this, Foothill Tech runs on a smaller population size than the rest of the high schools within the district. 

As a smaller school, Foothill Tech’s culture can differ, as Samantha Jacobson ‘26 states, “I personally enjoy how it connects everyone. I mean, I feel like I know every person in my grade and have made a connection with them.” Jacobson also added that she thinks a small school helps compensate for overcrowding, commenting, “I also enjoy less crowding in already tiny halls.”

The fact that [Foothill Tech] is smaller limits our culture overall, but it allows students to be closer and even then there is still much variation.

— Lucio Vilela ‘26

Foothill Tech has many ways to combat the enrollment decline. Foothill Tech offers many engaging pathways and is able to attract students by offering a special school experience. BioScience Academy and the DTech program are able to bring in students who wish to focus on STEM or entrepreneurship within their future careers. 

Without the teachers and administrators who help run Foothill Tech, none of this would be possible. Anderson shouts out the Foothill Tech staff remarking, “Fortunately, [Foothill Tech] has a dynamic teaching and support staff who go the extra mile to provide learning experiences that are rigorous, meaningful and relevant.” 

With the 2024-2025 school year fast approaching, high schools are staying in high spirits with the situation at hand and only hope for the enrollment to stabilize once again. 

What do you think?
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About the Contributor
Bailey Basurto, Reporter
"You can't blame yourself, you just have to blame Mercury, cause it's just hella in retrograde." - Taylor Swift

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    Jackson M MDec 6, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    Would this imply more people are taking online schooling?

     
    Reply