Search The Tattler

Monday, January 21, 2019

Emeryville Families Continue to Say NO to Emery Unified School District

47% of Student Body Are Transfers From Other Districts 

Persistent Despite Overall Enrollment Increase

Student enrollment is up this year for Emery Unified School District but inter-district transfers remain stubbornly high, unchanged at 47% despite a multi-year effort to deliver more Emeryville children to Emeryville's schools, the district announced recently.  The mixed results revealed in a power point presentation at a recent School Board meeting show how intractable the problem has been for Emery to attract students living in the district.

District-wide, Emery has 389 Emeryville children enrolled for 2018/19 or 53% of a student body of 732.  That's effectively no change over last year's count of 364, 53% of a student body of 690.  The middle school's decrease in percentage of Emeryville children (drop from 55% to 52%) was offset by good results from Anna Yates Elementary School where 57% of children enrollees reside in Emeryville this year over 55% last year.
Most inter-district transfer students to Emery come from Oakland Unified School District.

The uptick in total student enrollment over last year represents the first substantive increase in more than ten years for the struggling district.  At 732 students Emery has more pupils now than it has had since 2013 and is operating at near full capacity.

Emery's poor record of attracting local children has been attributed to a combination of low test scores and high housing costs among other reasons.
Emeryville's housing stock has also skewed against families as the town continues its apartment building boom.  What few families that do locate in Emeryville have shown a propensity towards either sending their children to private school, chasing higher test scores or transferring them out to higher achieving districts.  The District has for years set a goal to attract more Emeryville children but City Hall hasn't cooperated.  Emeryville's population has more than doubled since 1993 to over 12,000 now but almost no affordable housing for families has been built during that time.

Notably and inexplicably, the School Board majority rejected Emeryville's recently passed Measure C affordable housing bond which prioritizes affordable housing for families.  The Board voted 3-2 to say NO to endorsing Measure C, with then Board President Cruz Vargas leading the charge against it.  Emeryville voters passed the measure by almost 73%, leaving the Emery School Board among the 27% who said NO to affordable family housing.


  1. I'm surprised there's 53% Emeryville kids at the school. I would have guessed no more than 25%. Your story should have been about why so many Emeryville kids go to Emeryville schools.

  2. Clarifying questions: So Cruz, the one you blame for all of the districts' woes, DOES send his kid to EUSD, correct? Barbara Inch, whom this blog crushes on, sends her kid to a charter school, correct? You, who are complaining about local parents not sending their kids to local schools, in fact transferred your kid out of the district, correct? Also, how is building more low-income housing for seniors and the homeless going to improve our test scores and convince local parents to take a chance on the district?


    1. Disingenuous people use this argument: that so and so sends their kids to Emery schools and as a result their point about firing bad teachers or whatever other bad policy prescription they’re pitching is therefore bolstered. It’s a facile red herring argument tactic. I will never disparage parents in their personal decision as to where to send their children to school. I didn’t do that to all the School Board members over the years who sent their children to other districts including Cruz Vargas who until this year chose to send his child elsewhere. I assume Mr Vargas was and is operating in the best interest of his child and I think it would have been a low blow to have used it against him…or anybody else. Cruz supporters were just fine with him keeping his child out of Emery last year. Were you per chance one of them? Now apparently that’s a bridge too far for someone on the Board to do that. See the hypocrisy and the lowly nature of that tactic?
      RE-Measure C: the bond funds have been earmarked specifically to help families with school aged children (and others). The more families we bring to Emeryville the more local children will choose Emery and the better the District will be. More people caring about the District will help the District. It’s not too hard to figure out. I’m not “complaining about parents not sending their kids” to Emery. The District needs to be good enough to attract enough parents to cause a virtuous circle.

      I don’t blame Cruz Vargas for all the District’s woes….just the one’s he’s causing or exacerbating.
      Oh and I don’t have a crush on President Barbara Inch….but I do have a crush on her progressive public education policy. She is fond of using evidence based pedagogy in her policy here at Emery. What’s not to love about that? Non-political evidence based policy…that gets my heart all aflutter.
      Thanks for commenting.

  3. There’s a figure missing: How many Emeryville children attend school outside the district?

  4. No, the 47% is the proportion of students who are from outside districts. How many children who live in Emeryville are attending school in other districts?


    1. 53% of the children attending school at Emery Unified live in Emeryville. Presuming there are no school aged children who are not attending school, the number of Emeryville (school aged) children not going to Emery Unified is 47%. Of those, some are going to school in other districts and some are going to private school. I don’t know how the 47% number is divided between the two cohorts and I’m not sure if that is even publicly accessible information.

    2. Agreed Betty...hard to find that info online. The 2010 Census had 607 children in Emeryville ages 5-17, but not sure how that has changed over time.

    3. Betty's question is a good one. The fact that 53% of the students attending are from Emeryville doesn't tell us anything about the percentage of students choosing other districts.

      It may be that the demographics of Emeryville are shifting away from school age children which would not be surprising given the increasing rents.

      For example, using made up numbers, if the number of school age children dropped from 500 to 400 but the number of students attending Emeryville stayed flat at 350, then Emeryville would have gone from attracting 70% of the possible students to attracting 88% which would be a major improvement.

      This headline "Emeryville Families Continue to Say NO to Emery Unified School District" is not really justified based on the data presented.

      You need to know how many students are choosing not to go to Emeryville which requires you to know how the number of school aged children has changed over time which Betty and Suzanne pointed out.

    4. Thank you for your thorough explanation!

    5. Emeryville's school aged population has been growing over the last nine years but at an unknown rate compared with the general population rise. It has probably kept pace meaning the percentage of children our city has has remained about the same. It may have gone up. Realize, over the last ten years, Emeryville has made a concerted effort to raise the number of families with children by requiring developers to supply more family friendly housing. However, an unlikely dip in the percentage would skew it a little as you say. Except the number left over, 53%, is an extremely low number for a school district to attract from its own boundaries. No matter how the numbers are massaged, Emery falls short compared with neighboring districts.

    6. Anonymous for excellent use of math!