Your questions answered: Vista del Lago capacity & parking
Vista del Lago High School continues to experience its largest student enrollment since it opened more than a decade ago. Earlier this school year, the Board of Education took action to manage school capacity for the upcoming school year (2019-20), and in the coming months, the District will engage the community to review school boundaries to help permanently alleviate overcrowding.
In an effort to keep our communities informed throughout the process, the District has compiled these updated answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Folsom Cordova will continue to update this site periodically.
A: Yes. Any new enrollments, including families who move into Vista del Lago’s boundaries, will be redirected to Folsom High School for registration. Those students also will be put on a waitlist for Vista del Lago should space open.
A: The District anticipates making a recommendation for attendance boundary revisions to the Board of Education in the late fall of 2019, for implementation in the 2020-21 school year. Before any proposals are made, there will be multiple opportunities for input from staff, families, and students, including at least two public forums. More details will be communicated in the coming weeks.
A: In December, the Board of Education approved criteria to determine registration priorities for the upcoming school year (2019-20). The priorities were developed to help the school and District keep enrollment at a cap of between 1,850-1900 students - a short-term, temporary solution to help alleviate overcrowding.
Click here to review the previously approved registration criteria.
Current and incoming Vista del Lago students who live within the school’s attendance area were given top priority. The school continues to deny new Inter-District Transfer Permits (outside FCUSD boundaries) or new School Choice (inside FCUSD boundaries) requests at any grade level.
Additionally, the school required three verified proofs of residency during registration, and it also conducted a residency audit.
A: A variety of factors have contributed to Vista’s enrollment increases, including some of the school’s enrollment and transfer practices over the years:
In 2010, the Board of Education chose to allow students who attend Folsom Hills Elementary and Blanche Sprentz Elementary to choose which middle and high schools they wanted to attend: either Sutter Middle or Folsom Middle, and either Vista del Lago or Folsom High.
At the same time, the Board voted to prohibit new interdistrict (out-of-district) students into Vista del Lago beginning in the 2011-12 school year. However, the school continued for several years to guarantee space for out-of-district students who were previously enrolled at Folsom Middle School.
Additionally, another factor playing a role is new housing development and new residents moving within the school’s boundaries.
A: Vista was built at a time and in a location where there was little available land large enough to accommodate a new high school. The number of parking spaces was allocated based on the planned enrollment for Vista and needs at that time.
Additionally, at the time the school was built, students could still legally carpool. Laws have changed and more students are driving themselves, though parents can provide permission for siblings to carpool.
Currently, priority for parking permits is given to Vista seniors. Remaining parking permits are available to juniors through a lottery. There are 404 student parking spaces and an additional 10 parking spaces for students with disabilities.
A: The City of Folsom has been a valued partner in offering solutions to alleviate parking demand for Vista students:
In April 2019, city officials created 11 new parking spaces along the north side of Broadstone (the side opposite from the school) between McComber Drive and Serpa Way.
Recently, city officials reiterated that the access road leading down to Nisenan Park is also open on either side for student parking, which can yield 32 spaces.
Additionally, city staff intend to provide a report to Folsom’s Parks and Recreation Commission recommending that the Nisenan parking lot be signed to designate certain spots for public parking, which could be used for Vista students, yielding another approximately 20 spaces.
City and school district officials have previously discussed a proposal to develop a temporary gravel parking lot on a City-owned park site located east of campus. According to engineers, the cost of this project could reach $100,000 or more due to regulatory and accessibility requirements - a permanently paved lot could cost more than four times as much - and the District does not believe funding this short-term solution would be an appropriate use of taxpayer funds at a time when it is approaching budget cutbacks.
Additional parking for Vista was not included in the potential list of projects proposed to Folsom voters when they approved Measure G in 2014. Additionally, through an extensive public input process, additional parking for Vista was not included among the many school modernization projects identified and approved by the Board of Education after Measure G passed.
A: Carpooling: While current laws place restrictions on minors transporting other minors, there are exceptions. California Vehicle Code allows exceptions when related to schooling or a school-authorized activity and the other minor transported is an immediate family member/sibling. A parent-signed note explaining the necessity to drive, including the beginning and ending date for the necessity, must be kept in the driver’s possession. Additionally, minors driving for 12 months without incident may transport passengers under the age of 20. Please visit the DMV website for more details.
FCUSD Transportation: Check our Transportation website for routes and time schedules that serve Vista del Lago: www.fcusd.org/transportation. The 2018-19 Bus Pass Application is available by clicking the following link: 2018-19 BUS PASS APPLICATION.
Public Transit: The City of Folsom offers reduced rates for students/youth. One-way fares are $1.25 for anyone under age 18. The City also accepts Regional Transit Student Discount Monthly Pass--which currently costs $20. Route 20 is located and timed to best serve Vista del Lago students. It covers surrounding neighborhoods and is timed to our bell schedule. There is a stop right in front of the school. For more information on Folsom Stage Lines and Route 20, follow this link.
Walking and Biking: Vista encourages students to lead lifestyles that are healthy, safe, and more environmentally sustainable than single-occupancy driving, including walking and biking. There are several well-maintained bike paths in the neighborhood that provide for safe bicycle travel. There are two bike racks for Vista students, one near the Wrestling Room and one near the Library. Students need to bring their own bike locks. Vista is also considering installing a skateboard lock rack, should there be enough interest.
Q: What will happen when houses are built south of Highway 50? Is there room for these new students?
A: Students living south of Highway 50 will attend District schools north of 50 until new schools south of the freeway are built. Folsom High has capacity to handle expected student growth in the short-term.
The first school to be built south of 50 will be an elementary school. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2020. Additional elementary schools, a high school and a middle school will be built next as housing growth dictates. Those plans are in development. Here is more information.
A school must have enough enrollment to support its operating expenses - teachers, custodians, bus drivers, and utilities for example. It takes about 250 students to open an elementary school, about 450 students to open a middle school, and about 650 to open a high school. It is anticipated that it will be several years before new housing developments south of 50 generate enough high school students to support the operation of a new school.