Parents angry over kids' sudden school change

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 21:43:35-04

It was the first day of school for thousands of South Bay students Wednesday, but the special day turned into a frustrating one for some families.

Twenty-seven families found out the day before school was scheduled to begin that their children would not attend classes at Veterans Elementary School, even though they were enrolled in the Chula Vista school.

"I was extremely angry," said Mandy Lien, who lives across the street from the school's playground and registered her six-year-old daughter for first grade last March. "We even got the robocall phone call last week saying, 'Veterans starts next week.'"

Lien said she went to the school Tuesday to pick up her daughter's packet, but that's when she learned her daughter was on the waitlist. She also found out that her daughter "would need to be at the school at 7:10 to be bussed to this school that we know nothing about."

That school was Joseph Casillas Elementary, which is about 10 minutes away.

"It's very frustrating …," said parent Denielle McIntosh, whose first-grade daughter was also waitlisted.

"I spoke with the principal yesterday to see if they could try to accommodate her because my son goes here and it's going to mess up my child care," McIntosh added.

Lien kept her daughter home Wednesday because she didn't want her going to a school she hadn't even visited before.

"It's not our fault. We did everything we were supposed to do," she said. "They should at least give a week's notice to parents so they could have warning."

Chula Vista Elementary School District spokesman Anthony Millican said district staff had a meeting late Wednesday to discuss a number of issues, including the waitlist and late notice given to families at Veterans.

Millican said, "If the parents enrolled their children in March, and only yesterday found out that they were not attending their home school, then that is not acceptable and we sincerely apologize. That would be a communications breakdown and we are going to address that."

Millican also confirmed Lien's daughter was taken off the wait list and placed in a First Grade class at Veterans. She'll be in class Thursday. 

Millican explained their enrollment numbers fluctuate the first few days of school because of late registrations. Numbers will also change because some families may have enrolled in the school, moved out of town and failed to inform the school.

Millican also stressed the district will have a seat for every registered child in a classroom -- it just may not be at the closest school.

In the meantime, CVESD's newest school is under construction a few miles from Veterans Elementary.

Saburo Muroaka Elementary School is slated to open next school year.

CVESD also has footprint locations for at least 10 new schools over the next 20 years.