Kids are bused all over San Diego for magnet schools, integration and other programs. Yesterday I wrote about Mission Bay High, a school where roughly 80 percent of students come from other neighborhoods, filling a school that would otherwise be all but empty.

But what would happen if every student in San Diego Unified went to their neighborhood school?

The school board wanted to find out. So they asked school demographers to draw up some rough maps. Purple areas would be bursting, while green areas would be drained. The draft analysis leaves out charter and private school students but includes all other San Diego Unified students:

This map, for instance, shows that at the high school level, San Diego Unified doesn’t have enough space for all of the kids in the southeastern parts of the school district. It also shows that schools like Mission Bay High and Serra would be under-enrolled. The picture is a little more complicated at the middle school and elementary school levels, where schools in the same neighborhood do very differently:

School board member John Lee Evans, who provided me the maps, was quick to add that nobody is planning to force every child to go to their neighborhood school. But the maps give an interesting window into the mismatch between where the schools are and where the kids are in San Diego Unified. The maps also hint at the choices parents are making about where to send their kids to school.

Cadman Elementary, for instance, has been mentioned for closure because of low enrollment. Yet Evans noticed that according to the maps, if all the students in its neighborhood went there, Cadman wouldn’t have enough space for them all. Families are in the neighborhood, but they’re going elsewhere.

Notice something interesting in the data? Please post it here on the blog.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter:

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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