In a statement Wednesday, the private middle and high school for girls said it would institute a morning shuttle service for students from Woodside, Portola Valley and Los Altos as well as other measures to ease congestion on the residential blocks of Bryant Street, Kellogg Avenue and Emerson Street surrounding the school.
Castilleja officials said they hope the new measures will quell criticism that the current enrollment of 448 exceeds the enrollment cap of 415, imposed by the city in 2000.
Head of School Nanci Kauffman disclosed the excess enrollment in a July 18 meeting with neighbors, in which she unveiled plans to seek city permission to grow enrollment even further, to 515. The school has backed off on that plan, saying it wants to be a "good neighbor" and assure the city that it can manage its current enrollment of 448.
"We owe our neighbors an apology," Kauffman said Thursday.
"We were wrong to assume we could attempt to correct our non-compliance and also increase our enrollment, without first effectively managing the existing parking and traffic conditions that our neighbors deal with on a daily basis.
"But I hope the community won't lose sight of the fact that we informed the neighbors we were out of compliance because we wanted to make a correction."
About 10 neighbors attended the July 18 meeting, in which Kauffman said the school had informed the city of the excess enrollment but still wanted to increase its student population further, to 515, and institute new traffic-control measures.
Neighbors at the meeting said traffic already is intolerable and they could not imagine dealing with higher enrollment.
Kauffman said the need to boost enrollment was driven by high demand for spots at the $36,800-a-year school, where about 20 percent of students receive tuition assistance. She called it "truly sad" that the school must turn away many highly qualified applicants.
In addition, new revenue is needed to meet the cost of offering a top-notch program which, in today's world, includes computer science, Mandarin, digital fabrication and a strong arts component, she said.
But for now, the school announcement stated: "We have no plans to seek approval of a new conditional use permit for any further increase in the enrollment limit over the projected 448 girls at this time."