RHS loses hundreds to transfers

As RJUHSD continues signing transfers, Roseville High School continues losing hundreds of students to other schools.

May 26, 2022

Roseville Joint Union High School District has signed and approved over 200 interdistrict transfers out of Roseville High School for the coming school year, opening RHS up to declining electives, diminished ability to compete in athletics, a negative impact on clubs and a potential for losing teachers. 

RHS' incoming class of freshman is currently projected at 363 students, which is nearly 200 fewer than the 2022-23 senior class.
RHS’ incoming class of freshman is currently projected at 363 students, which is nearly 200 fewer than the 2022-23 senior class.

After holding a steady enrollment pattern around 2,000 students each year, RHS currently has just 1,643 students registered for the 2022-2023 school year. Potentially more damaging is that over half of those 1,643 students will be upperclassmen, which suggests this declining enrollment will escalate in coming years. Next year, the school will have 416 seniors, 478 juniors, 386 sophomores and just 363 freshmen. 

According to RSEA President Jessica Fork this is because the district has loosened its criteria for transfers and will now sign and approve almost any request. 

Impact on elective 

According to principal Nicholas Richter, the whole situation is going to be challenging for RHS.

“Right now, we have more outgoing than incoming, which means that we have a decreasing pattern,” Richter said. “So in that sense, it’s about less kids meaning less sections offered.”     

Culinary Arts teacher Angela Ash is worried about what the trend could mean for electives and CTE programs. Despite culinary being a popular student choice, Ash fears that the shortage will happen with other CTE electives.

If we have fewer kids we have fewer programs to offer if it continues.”

— Nicholas Richter, RHS Principal

“We’re gonna feel it.” Ash said. “We’ve worked really hard to build a program of study that includes at least three courses, and most of us have four, so we’re probably gonna see that fourth level dwindle.”

In addition to potential future struggles with filling seats with students, funding could become problematic as well. District-allocated department funds depend on the amount of enrollment of each department. This funding system is known as a “Full-Time Equivalent,” where a certain amount of students enrolled in a department determines the funding and the amount of teachers. As students and classes dwindle, the funding dwindles. 

Another problem this could cause for elective programs is that the school would have fewer teachers and therefore fewer opportunities to offer classes that are not a part of the core curriculum.

The possibility of decreasing enrollment numbers in electives, though manageable in the short term for the most popular classes, could be substantial across campus. For now, the choice for electives is still untouched. 

“If we have fewer kids, we have fewer programs to offer if it continues,” Richter said. “Right now, we’ve been able to protect all of our programs.”

Impact on athletics 

RHS athletics will also feel the consequences of the lower incoming class sizes. Having fewer students means having fewer athletes to choose from for sport. For some sports, this could mean difficulty fielding enough athletes to have a team, some could lose freshman or JV levels and others could have a diminished capacity to compete against larger schools. 

These are exactly the concerns that trouble girls soccer and swim coach Paul Stewart.

“It’s gonna make it harder for me to find the swimmers,” Stewart said. “It’s gonna be harder for us to maybe keep our frosh soph soccer team around.”

Additionally, the school could also be moved down a division in the Sac Joaquin Section.

“It’s gonna make some things harder to compete,” Stewart said. “We used to be a D1 school athletically, but now we’ve moved down to a D2, and we’re heading to a D3.”

According to athletic director Emily Dodds, moving from division 2 to division 3 seems likely. She also notes that doing so could mean changing leagues and could also impact athletics in other ways. 

“D3 just means we’re gonna face smaller schools, probably not local schools,” Dodds said. “Our travel will increase.” 

Already players and fans are complaining about the drive to other schools for games, but with this change in division that could just make travel worse.

“If we’re playing teams that are further away and not traveling fans then we’ll have less of a gate, which means we’ll have less money to support our teams without them fundraising more,” Dodds said.

The fan admission fees, or “the gate,” are the main means of funding for the RHS athletic department. With the few sports that even have a gate, that will only complicate things further.

“Playing schools that aren’t as local will also impact our gate, and our gate is the revenue that we get from all games, and that’s how we fund all of our officials,” Dodds said. 

The funding goes beyond just getting the teams their equipment or golf carts. There is a lot more that RHS needs to pay for. 

“Just for fall sports alone, officials can cost upward of anywhere $18,000 to $20,000 and we don’t get any money from the district to fund officials,” Dodds said. “We get it solely from charging at the gate.”

Despite all of this, golf coach Corey Fukuman is optimistic  his boys and girls golf programs will persevere. 

“It could it’s hard to say because I don’t know how many golfers we’re gonna lose, but being a smaller team I don’t think it impacts us that much,” Fukuman said.

Even with potential impacts on sports, Richter still believes the school can see success.

“It might mean a shifting of leagues. It might mean that there may be a competition that we want to look at,” Richter said. “I went to a small high school so there were 92 in my graduating class and we beat a school of 1200 kids in the section finals. You can still win if you have the right people on the court or field.”

The struggle for clubs

The intradistrict transfer rate out of Roseville High School could also create problems for clubs. According to Key Club adviser Dana Davenport, because the decline in participation in clubs coincides with the decline in enrollment in electives, many clubs at RHS are expected to see a decline in enrollment as well.

“Perhaps there are other programs and academics being offered at other school sites that are more appealing,” Davenport said. “So we’ve been trying as a staff to up the image of Roseville High and the community at large to kind of head that declining enrollment at the pass.”

The Thrift Club President Alina Beaman also thinks the decrease of enrollment will affect the club.

“I think there will still be a few people here and there that will want to join,” Beaman said “And hopefully, even if it’s just a few people, they’ll be able to keep it running.”

Class size and loss of teachers

Declining enrollment will also have an impact on class sizes. While the impact might not be immediate, it could have an effect on the school in the future with how teacher hiring works.

“If you have 27 less students you have one less teacher on campus, basically the funding formula is for every 27 we get what’s called a FTE a full time equivalent,” Richter said. “In elementary school when you have 27 fourth graders you have a fourth grade teacher one teacher for those kids, in high school the way it comes is we have 27 kids when need eight sections four in fall four in spring, but you don’t take four math classes you take a math, a science, a english, a pe so I need a section of math, a section of science, a section of PE. It is not a perfect 26 kids go we lose a teacher that’s one way to kind of visualize how it works” 

With several teachers retiring this year that will slow the process of forcibly moving teachers to other schools in the district. While that might save certain teachers this year, in the future more teachers may get transferred to other schools within the district.

“Right now we have more outgoing than we have incoming, which means we have a decreasing pattern,” Richter said. “So in that sense it’s about less kids means there’s less sections offered, there’s teachers that have been transferred to the other schools.”

What the school is doing about it 

To slow down declining enrollment, RHS wants to promote the school to elementary and middle schools. In addition, each of RHS’ departments are reaching out to students from various elementary and middle schools. 

We’ve been trying… to up the image of Roseville High and the community at large to kind of head tht declining enrollment. ”

— Dana Davenport, Yearbook Adviser

Band Director Michael Austin uses such an approach. Despite the decrease in enrollment from intradistrict transfers, Austin wants to look into the future of the band.

“I’m thinking more into the future, as in the next five years,” Austin said. “So going into the elementary schools and recruiting from the lower grades, just so that we can peak the interest earlier on so that they have something to look forward to, not only in middle school but elementary school.”

To reach out to students, the band is expanding its Pep Band to middle schoolers and inviting elementary and middle school students to Tiger football games. 

For Richter, one of the best ways to promote the school is to promote the school’s 110-year old tradition.

“The thing that I’ve heard is we’re the oldest school in the district, and if you drive by and just look at the front, we look older, just like an antique car,” Richter said. “But if you get closer, it’s well taken care of, it’s like a really tricked out 57′ stingray.”

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