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City to Castilleja: Shrink enrollment, pay $300K

Original post made on Sep 30, 2013

Castilleja School needs to reduce the number of students it admits, pay $a 300,000 fine and cut back on the car traffic it generates according to a "notice of noncompliance" issued last week by the City of Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 30, 2013, 9:30 PM

Comments (52)

Posted by Katie, a resident of Southgate
on Sep 30, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Wow! The City never enforces zoning or Conditions of Approval for commercial developers. They routinely permit projects that generate huge traffic impacts and parking shortages. Public benefits disappear in the night. TDMs routinely wither away. There must be an upside for staff to permit these same "violations" as long as they approve of it. What is it that they are getting?

Where was review or enforcement by staff for the prior 12 years? Why go after Castilleja now? Is staff trying to cover up for their incompetence by scapegoating Castilleja or did someone at Castilleja anger the wrong Council Member?

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm


Old Palo Alto has no affordable housing units, they get their parking problems solved in a few months after the offense is found out, and Old Palo has no high density development.

The neighborhoods around downtown have been waiting 10 years for action on the parking. Barron Park/Green Acres gets their traffic worsen by the high density developments approved by the council.

You only need to look at where most of the campaign contributions come from, and where many of the council members reside (Old Palo Alto, Embarcadero Oaks, Crescent Park).

Posted by BG, a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Sep 30, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Ridiculously weak fine, reflecting clueless city management. The School probably charges over $30k/student. The fine was ~$10k/student.

It is time for a new City Manager - someone who understands economics.

Posted by Finally, some balls, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:19 am

This is good news that there is enforcement. I'm guessing Castilleja will search for a new campus if they have so much interest. But then, will the Palo Altans want to drive elsewhere?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 6:35 am

Can't help feeling that this will come back to haunt us.

If Castilleja can't grow will it want to stay here? They have so many applicants and decent school places are so hard to find that shrinking their enrollment will not be a popular move.

So, will they leave? If so who will buy their campus? What will be built there? Low income, senior housing, huge condo complex? What will the traffic and parking be like when hundreds of new housing units are built on the land? Typical modern built housing complexes cause overspill parking all over the neighborhood plus years of construction mess. Will the neighbors really prefer all that housing to what is there at present?

Be careful what you wish for, the outcome might be a lot worse.

Posted by Way to go city!, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 8:49 am

While I have no students that could attend Castilleja, I appreciate that there is a THIRD high school in Palo Alto, something we really need. How stupid that we turn around and fine them for doing something good for our children. All I can do is shake my head. What are your priorities Palo Alto? Making money however possible? I guess this is another win for the city.

Posted by For once!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

Finally, the city does something right, and proactive! Hurray!

But, truthfully, considering how much $$$$ Casti has, the fine is too low. A more appropriate fine would be $500,000,

Posted by winen, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

If they did move out, then it's likely another school would move in. Then there's a whole new set of people with cars. Same problems over again. If Palo Altans don't want to drive to another location, then their kids will end up back at Gunn or Paly. It is good to have a third high school. Palo Altans who send their kids to Castilleja are freeing up space at Gunn and Paly. I hope Castilleja doesn't leave. It has a long history tied with that location. Too bad no one else cares about history in Palo Alto.

Posted by PA Native, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:33 am

Yeah, I care about PA history and wonder why they had to change the school names of Wilbur to JLS and Green Gables to Duveneck.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by palo alto resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:42 am

Castilleja isn't going to move, they just want more students so they have more income. [Portion removed.]

They have plenty of money, a huge endowment and very wealthy parents. Don't worry about them, they will do just fine.

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:09 am

PA Native sez, "Yeah, I care about PA history and wonder why they had to change the school names of Wilbur to JLS and Green Gables to Duveneck."

Don't forget Elizabeth Van Auken Elementary. She was barely cold in the ground when the school's name was changed.

Posted by PA Native, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

@Hulkamania: Van Auken's name was changed? I thought the school was razed with the same name.

I was at Palo Verde when they decided to close Ortega. We had to vote to change the name so the incoming Ortega students would feel welcome. All us students were wondering why a name change really mattered because none of us students cared. So it was changed to Sequoiah and years later, for whatever reason, it fortunately was changed back to Palo Verde.

But we digress . . .

Posted by John Roberts, a resident of Escondido School
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

It is not enough to beat up on Stanford, there is also Castilla! No success shall go un-extorted!

Posted by Clay, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

So this is the traffic-causing development we want to go after? Really? The city can't seem to add traffic-inducing commercial development fast enough and we want to fine a really good school that, most of the time, is a terrific neighbor?
It'll be a shame to see Casti go elsewhere.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

The school has been on its current site for many years. In most cases, longer than the homeowners. If you buy a home near a school, you should expect additional traffic.

Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

Why wait 12 years to enforce the cap? Did a councillor's daughter not get admitted?

Posted by Well done. More, please., a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:53 am

I'm glad to see that the CUP which Castilleja AGREED to is being enforced. Conditional Use Permits (CUPs) are AGREEMENTS, usually designed to minimize traffic impacts of a project. Castilleja CHEATED by disregarding the terms of their AGREEMENT. They deserve to be fined and enforcement is completely appropriate. I am glad to see the city doing their job in this case.

Now, let's have a look at the other CUPs around the city. Here are few that need some immediate attention: Campus for Jewish Life (where are the public benefits that were supposed to come with that project? How are they doing with their TDM program?), Challenger School (TDM?), Stratford School (TDM?), Gideon Hausner School (TDM?).

Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

Wow! Thought for sure the city would buckle and actually allow them to increase enrollement. Good for them. My only question is, "What took so long?" The city knew they have been out of compliance for 2 years. Why do they wait so long and let it get to this. They easily could have gone to Castilleja, when enrollement went over 415, and told them to fix it. It never would have gotten this bad. All this does is foster ill will between the neighbors, the school and the city. The city waits for people to jump up and scream before they do anything.

A little proactive government could have kept the whole thing from becoming an issue.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:21 am

Next comment I have and a very good question

What is the city going to do with the $300k? How will they spend it? Will that money just get lost in the general fund?

My suspicion is that it will just vanish.

Posted by Aubrey Malfesse, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

Castilleja long predates the arrivestes of Old Palo Alto, whose McMansions and other detritus have littered and scarred the our whole neighborhood feel. It's been a long time(a whole twenty years!)that this neighborhood has been transformed by a gaggle of self-aggrandizing narcisists whose only purpose here has been to financially enrich themselves. They will go when they get a great offer on their house, or a higher paying job elsewhere. Castilleja has been here for over a hundred years and has intellectually, culturally, and spiritually enriched our children and therefore our community and the world.

Oh, and "BTW", for those nouveau denizens reading this while driving your Lexus or Mercedes SUVs down OUR streets, where the heck do you get off treating OUR streets as privately yours while we've been paying the taxes for decades to create and maintain them?!?!

Leave Castilleja alone. The more children it can educate the greater the lasting value to the world. Hopefully you are "just passing through"!

Posted by sara, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

My understanding is that the $300 k is supposed to be earmarked for "traffic mitigation"

I'm sad there's so much anger toward any school. No doubt Castilleja has handled their enrollment numbers poorly - and the fine is part of reparations for that - but I wonder, why the nasty tone toward the families who attend?

I don't have kids at Castilleja, and I never will, but there are many families in Palo Alto who feel strongly about all girls education and they send their girls to Casti and their boys to PAUSD - does that make them elitist?

And those of you who say yes, okay then where is your line - PAUSD is flush compared to Ravenswood - why don't you send your kids to Ravenswood so you can be more equal?

Are you going to let your children apply/attend any private colleges - that's certainly elitist- No stanford, No Santa Clara, No USC, No small college - you're only going to allow them to go to through the State system? The state system has wonderful schools, but perhaps not always the best match for every child - so where does your elitism start?

Did you send your kids pre-school? That's private - how about Bing?

Having a wonderful all girls school in Palo Alto (actually 2, GMS is excellent) should be a source of pride. Castilleja has been here longer than all of you (unless you're over 100) and will be here long after your gone. Why not embrace the positive aspects?

Posted by Crescent Park, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 11:40 am

The only reason we and city knows, castilleja was in violation of their CUP, is they self reported violation. At appears, these CUP are not monitored or enforced by city. It would be interesting to see a list of these CUP. I would suspect most are out of compliance if there is no monitoring or enforcement, just human nature to forget what was agreed.

Posted by AR, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

If Castilleja can get into compliance with regard to parking and traffic and the school can safely accommodate more students, why should the City impose enrollment limits on the school? Seems to me that is an issue for the school's Trustees. Castilleja is a terrfic school and the more young women who can benefit from a Casti education, the better.

Posted by Old PA Mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Yes, let's lower the number of bright girls who can get a world class education so the richest of the rich don't need to be bothered twice a day for 20 minutes. Maybe the richest of the rich can get the city to lower the enrollment at our overcrowded neighborhood schools now? Isn't Castilleja over 100 years old? Who buys a house next to a school and then complains about the school? L=Live in Atherton if you don't want to deal with other people. Craziest neighborhood EVER!!

Posted by resident, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I see lots of parents dropping kids in local schools. In some places it creates bad traffic situations. Why single out Casti? Because some rich people live around there and can exert pressure on the City while the rest of us are ignored in our complains?

Posted by Palo Alto Mom , a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm

This $300,000 fine is so sexist. For years Castilleja girls have gone on to great colleges and to do great things, and it just feels like Palo Alto can't handle the fact that girls are SO GREAT.

Cutting down enrollment will definitely not break the glass ceiling, and it won't fix parking problems either.

The girls need our help and support.

Posted by Jim H., a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:08 pm

@ Aubrey Malfesse
So, just because the school has been around for over 100 years, it doesn't need to follow the rules? Actually, Palo Alto was incorporated pre-1900, where Castilleja was founded in 1907. Original campus was across Embarcadero in Professorville.

Using your logic, Stanford, or any entity that's been around since the early 1900's should be able to do whatever they want.

And some of those people that you put down as "self-aggrandizing narcisists" and "nouveau denizens" have daughter that have attended or currently attend the school.

This has nothing to do with income, social status, or doing good. The school agreed to a set of rules and they broke them. Putting the school above others seems to be exactly what you are complaining about with the residents of Old Palo Alto.

Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm

So the City set a student cap and didn't verify it for 12 years. They only became aware of the violation after Castilleja "realized" it and informed them. So now its time to get tough. Let's check the city's Advance Planning Manager's math/logic in determining the fine.
33 too many students
12 years
200 days/year
(36000 x 33 x 12) - (500 x 200) = 142.56
So, this fine is gonna start to hurt in 142 years.

Posted by Neilson Buchanan, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

This private school like most private schools (Catholic, Christian, Charter, etal) serves children from many cities. Most likely a minority of students come from the city in which the private school resides. So everyone benefits. Private schools need economies of scale and enrollments are pushed upwards for costs and quality. However, in our built out city, physical constraints become obvious. Old Palo Alto is not obligated to be a student parking lot for any school. Castilleja has unlimited resources compared to almost any other school and, if they need to grow within the limits of their campus, then paying a fine and enforcing real traffic demand management is wonderful solution.

If only City Staff and Council would be so kind to my neighborhood...or Professorville...or Evergreen...or Crescent Park...or University South. Instead more and more developments are approved without adequate on-site parking. TDM for University Avenue is years away. The Council and Planning Commission show no signs to implement a complete moratorium to save neighborhoods adjacent to California Avenue or University Avenue.

Posted by Crescent Park Mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Castilleja agreed to follow some rules in order for their school to get built in the neighborhood. The fact that they disregarded those rules for 10 years, surely didn't set a good example for their students. When I do the back-of-the-envelope math, they made considerably more money in those 10 years than the cost of their fine. I think the city imposed a fair fine. Glad to see Castilleja is taking the situation seriously and the administration is acting responsibly by looking for other ways to get their students to campus.

Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Yes a fine is appropriate or some kind of penalty for breaking the rules of the CUP. But Traffic can't be that bad, yes drop off and pick up times can be rough but it is not the day after Thanksgiving at the Mall.

The whole bay area suffers from traffic which I fully know. I drive for a living, so i get to see streets in front of all sorts of places and the day to day life of a street. Schools can be bad but only in a set time but better traffic planning is a must.

Or they can look for a nice big plot of land for the school, its buildings, teachers, visitors, parking lot and field space. Yep Sacramento is a good spot

Posted by OPA Neighbor , a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Castilleja management knew the Conditional Use Permit rules and simply ignored them. The new Head of School is being thrown under the bus. She was ready to come clean about the over enrollment as soon as she took over the job, yet was stopped by the board. The school credo of honor and honesty went out the window when there was an opportunity to make extra revenue, while disregarding the law and the neighbors. Please do not compare Castilleja, which is a private girl's school that primarily caters to girls from Atherton, Woodside, Portolla Valley, Los Altos Hills – 80% of the girls are not PA resident, to Palo Alto public schools that automatically accept everyone who lives in our town. This is a revenue generating business that has successfully increased revenue each and every year. The tuition is about $40K/yr. and the school endowment is over $40 million. Castilleja School Board and past administration were well aware of the city set CUP limit of 415 students, yet, progressively tried to sneak in a few extra girls to get a little extra money, actually not so little, about $1.2 million a year extra. A $300,000 fine for a dozen year misconduct is a slap on the wrist, the school has made millions in extra revenue by over enrolling.

Posted by Casti neighbor, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm

This school has been in violation for nearly 12 years. The fine should be retroactive, and amount to more than $300,000. $100,00 per year for every year they have violated the law would be more in keeping with the punishment fitting the crime, and would be a better deterrent for future violations.

Posted by OPA Neighbor, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I just wanted to add one more thing, our public schools are very crowded and they too have drop-off / pick-up issues, but they have to admit each and every child who resides in Palo Alto - we have literacy law in this country. Castilleja has no city or state mandate for its admission criteria other than they can not exceed their enrollment above 415. There is no reason for any of this, this was pure greed.

If there is such high demand for same gender education, soon enough there will be a supply with more such schools opening up around the Peninsula.

Posted by Bob Wenzlau, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:17 pm

The haughty tone of those who are annoyed by the parking issues is in poor taste.

I didn't send my girls to Castilleja, but know this is a remarkable place. The remarkable work the school does in environmental education is something I celebrate and have enjoyed participating in.

If a penalty is to be extracted, then give it for use by the school to manage the traffic issues. Ask the students to engage with the traffic challenges, and make a difference.

While I read the notes about the school's elitism, this should be balanced by the school's effort to teach many kids of color and others that attend based on donations from the wealthier parents. We are lucky to have the school as part of our fabric and history, and as a nonprofit, the school should enjoy some grace in this circumstance.

Many of the posters could rise to the challenge to get on their bike, sell their car, and become part of the solution.

Posted by Pa mom, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Every single preschool in Palo Alto exceeds it's permits for parking (for some amount of time each morning). The staff knows this, the families know this, and the neighbors must know this. But they all make it work and show each other kindness and patience. A parent can't drop off a 3 year old in the side walk. Should we fine every little preschool in town too?

Posted by Old PA , a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

The comments from disgruntled neighbors suggest that they are miffed that Casti students do not all reside in Palo Alto. If that were the case, then this would not be a problem? So this really isn't about the traffic at all? Confused.

I live near Gamble Gardens and often people park in front of our house. Who cares!?

Posted by Casti neighbor, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm

To Bob Wenzlau,

Just to be on topic, Castilleja was fined because they disregarded the city set code of conduct for a period of twelve years, not because we have "haughty tone" or because they do "remarkable work ..... in environmental education". There was no reason to over enroll other than tuition dollars this would bring into the school and at $38,200 per year per student for each of the 33 girls over the CUP limit is well over a million dollars per year, this is even after you deduct 20% for scholarships. Castilleja is in business to educate young girls to be women of integrity, they lost theirs in the process of chasing a few extra dollars, not a good example. What is wrong with staying within your set limit of 415, this is what they agreed to when they were given a permit in 2000 to operate as a commuter day only school. Castilleja use to be a dormitory with a little over 300 students, they asked the city to allow them to change their status to a commuter school. They were granted this only if the school would adhere to a set city rules governed by the Conditional Use Permit (CUP). They agreed to the terms in '2000 CUP and the school status was changed. Their enrollment was not to exceed 415 students. The very next year they broke their own promise to the city of Palo Alto and the neighbors and went over that number. Every year thereafter the number kept on creeping up and up till it all blew up. Hope you know have a better understanding why we have the "haughty tone".

Posted by FCB, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 1, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Castilleja has been called to task, and they've already shown that they can and will be better neighbors. Leave the snide and hurtful and hateful remarks out of this. They serve no gainful purpose. Let's move forward, all of us!!

Posted by Old PA, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Casti neighbor,
No amount of (re) explaining the details will stop you from sounding haughty. This is so incredibly petty. Its like Sean Parker trying to (re) explain in a 9,000 word manifesto why his expensive (illegal) wedding in Big Sur was okay. When every single person in Palo Alto is dealing with excessive crime, traffic and school overcorwding, your freak out over 50 or so girls is very very silly.

Posted by Paca, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I would like to ask PAPD the same question, why did they issue me a ticket for turning left on Hawthorne from Alma when the sign read not to do it between the hours of 3-6. Tell them that they are petty so I don't have to pay a fine and take traffic school. We all have to follow the rules or pay a fine when we don't. Castilleja seems to be owning up to their misconduct and so will I. No one is above the law. Who is Sean Parker and does he or Big Sur have anything to do with Castilleja? I don't read gossip Enquirer type publications.

Posted by For once!, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Most schools, if not all of them, that have a student population as large as Castilleja's have a much bigger campus, rather public or private. They simply have too many girls in too small a space, surrounded by narrow streets.

They need to reduce their student population to a more manageable number, the one they agreed upon over a decade ago and have violated every year since. There needs to. E reasonable retribution for that, and $500,000 or more, based on their income, is not it!

According to the PA Daily Post, Castilleja is claiming that cutting back to the required number of students will be a financial hardship. Well, when registering students for next fall, raise the price of tuition to make up for the loss of students. If parents can afford over 38K per year, they can probably afford a few K more. If it is that important to them, they will find a way. We have a child in a Carholic school, the tuition increases with every grade, and we find a way every year by setting priorities.

In our child's school, there are immigrants from the Phillippines who have three or four kids enrolled, and only one parent working full time, and they do not live in a nice house in PA--more often a dump in Sunnyvale. Yet, they manage because they get their priorities straight!

Posted by Sat thru School Closures, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

PA Native says: "Why they had to change the school names of Wilbur to JLS and Green Gables to Duveneck."

Elizabeth Van Auken to Ohlone, Creekside to Hoover then Barron Park, Sequoia became Palo Verde because it combined three elementary schools.

The name changes came about because two or more schools were combined on one campus so it was decided to rename the school to give the combined schools a new identity. Not all schools changed their name eg. Fremont Hills went to Lucille M. Nixon and the name stayed the same. Greendell went to Fairmeadow and kept the name Fairmeadow.

Don't forget Creekside was reopened as Hoover, then the old Ohlone became Hoover and Creekside became Barron Park!!!

There have been a lot of changes over the years due to declining then increasing enrollment, and there will be more in the future.

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Some of the comments in this thread are thoroughly ridiculous. Castilleja had a legal obligation to comply with its Conditional Use Permit. For 12 consecutive years, Castilleja violated that legal obligation. For 12 consecutive years, Castilleja knowingly concealed its violations. The violations only were exposed when Castilleja wanted to increase enrollment by another 100 students, causing neighbors to ask questions. What should the City do when someone violates a legal obligation? Look the other way? Ignore it? Call neighbors who complain "haughty" or "petty" or "sexist"? The notion that the City should not have penalized Castilleja for violating the law is absurd. If anything, the city did not go far enough. During many of the years that Castilleja violated its use permit, the over-enrollment was by a large margin (20-35 students). At approx. $40K per student, Castilleja made millions on its over-enrollment. And Castilleja is only being fined $300k. That is a very, very mild slap on the wrist. Hopefully, it will be sufficient to send the message that legal obligations are just that -- legal obligations.

Posted by Jana, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Aubrey Malfesse, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Back ro basics. The roads around Castilleja are public thoroughfares built with and maintained with public funds. It is at best ingenuous and at worst hubris and entitled to portray them otherwise. They exist for the taxpayer's transportation and parking. They are not private roads on large Woodside lots. If that's what the neighbors of Castilleja want there are plenty real estate agents who would be happy to sell them such (though buying a politician is probably a lot cheaper).

Castilleja seems to have violated an agreement which was made over generously and possibly unnecessarily. As a matter of ethics they should pay the fine, revoke the agreement, and make no further such concessions, unless they want to be engaged in continued politesse at the cost of some malevolent self-serving rich collectivist's harassment.

Castilleja provides a superior education to those children who are able and willing to do the hard work. They and their parents should be applauded, and accomodated, for their contributions. With few exceptions, the only elitist thing about this school population is its meritorious and moral work ethic. A little traffic congestion a couple short times per weekday, 10 months per year is puny in comparison to what the world gets in return.

Get over yourselves Palo Altoans!


Posted by grandparent, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

My granddaughter now takes the train from Los Altos and then walks from the downtown station. SHe has classmates who are attempting to ride their bikes from Menlo Park and South PA. Girls train in Hillsborough, SF, and beyond. Hopefully the disgruntled neighbors will be pleased with these efforts to make their traffic woes less stressful and this can be put to rest.

Posted by OPar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Oh boy, now we've got a crazy in the thread. Well, get ready for it to shut-down.

Meanwhile, though, I'll just say it's a shame "Creekside" didn't stay as an elementary school name--it's charming.

(Also liked Idylwild and Love and Friendship for airports.)

Posted by Palo Alto 2013, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Donya, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Donya is a registered user.

Dear Palo Altans,

Living in Barron Park I don't know much at all about the problems that Castilleja is causing by increasing their enrollment.

But I just want to say that we are envious that the city pays attention to Castilleja neighbors' problems. We have pointed out how ridiculously few parking spots are allocated for the proposed Maybell senior apartments. Imagine 60 apartments with minimum 2 residents in each with just 42 parking spots. 42 parking spots for 120 residents, never mind the visitors' needs.

If they build this Maybell low income senior housing within the current zoning there will be ample parking spaces and less traffic issues. Please vote against Measure D in November. Let's show the council that the citizens must have a say in how the council re-engineers our Palo Alto neighborhoods.

Posted by WaverleyBen, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

WaverleyBen is a registered user.

One of my good friends has taught at Castilleja for many years. My impression is that the school is providing an excellent opportunity for girls to learn.
I do not see, however, why neighbors shouldn't be upset with the school. Castilleja signed an agreement with the city in order to radically increase their enrollment. The administration (according to my friend) has been knowingly in breach of this agreement for the past dozen years. Staff was told not to mention total enrollment in any public setting. My friend was expected to remain silent, year after year. And based on the much-protested sudden termination of a twenty-year veteran teacher at Castilleja a few seasons ago, I know my friend and her colleagues have learned to keep a low profile lest the admin decides to kick them out for making waves (i.e. speaking truth to power).
The fine is a pittance. Let our neighbor prove that they know what "compliance" actually means. Their students deserve no less.

Posted by PA School Citizen, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm

PA School Citizen is a registered user.

I am a Castilleja alumna from the time when the "5 C's" (its guiding principles - courage, charity, conscience, character and caring) meant something. I believe in and live by them to this day. It saddens me that the school seems not to do the same.

I am appalled that my alma mater has shamelessly made a mockery of these principles with no apparent awareness of the irony. It makes no difference what a fine education these girls receive, if the administration teaches them by example the appropriateness of lying, cheating and stealing into getting their way by any means possible.
Castilleja made promises to the city and to the neighbors and it broke those promises. No doubt Castilleja's crack legal advisors pointed out to them that the maximum fine adds up to less than a single year's tuition for ten girls. Even whenconfronted withthe reality, Castilleja's head, Nanci Kauffman, tried to play ashell game of counting number of girls present on a given day to lower the numbers, instead of owning up and apologizing. One might observe broadly that Castilleja seems more and more to be abandoning what it has stood for for over a century.

I have read with disgust comments from Castilleja students and their parents stating that the school is not LEGALLY bound to observe the restrictions it promised in exchange for an enrollment increase. I would say, based on those comments, that Castilleja's administration continues to take the lead in reinforcing the valuable lesson of how to be a taking, entitled citizen of the world. For shame.

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