Myths vs. Facts

Understanding Our Proposal

 Myth    Fact

Castilleja has been willfully out of enrollment compliance for 15 years.


Castilleja has been in compliance with City directed enrollment caps since 2013. In 2012, Head of School Nanci Kauffman came forward to report that the school was over-enrolled due to policies enacted before her tenure. Castilleja Paid a fine of $265,000 and began reductions to achieve a new City-authorized 438-student cap. In 2017, the City changed its position and requested that Castilleja recommence a gradual enrollment reduction to 415 starting in the 2018-19 school year. Just as it has over the past several years, Castilleja will comply with the enrollment limits set by the City.

 Myth    Fact

Castilleja is removing or damanging 168 trees.


As part of the updated CUP application and tree plan, approximately 37 trees will need to be removed when after further study it was discovered that the years-long drought and instances of naturally-occurring  disease has wrought damage beyond repair. The tree plan envisions planting dozens of new trees, and out of our 174 existing trees, approximately 137 will either be left untouched or relocated.

 Myth    Fact

Castilleja's proposed underground garage will result in more cars and traffic to and around campus.


The number of car trips will stay the same due to the school's strict Traffic Demand Management (TDM) plan. This has reduced the number of car trips by nearly 20% since 2012. The underground garage features a driveway aligned with Melville Ave and is well-integrated with the surrounding landscape. The 115 spaces will remove cars and daily student drop-off and pick-up from the neighborhood streets, putting them out of sight below ground.

 Myth    Fact

Castilleja can split its campus or move to another location.


Having a single campus allows us for mentoring and leadership development that is essential to our mission. Further, splitting the campus is the least environmentally-sustainable option, likely adding traffic to the neighborhood and throughout Palo Alto.

 Myth    Fact

Castilleja has not engaged the community about its Master Plan or CUP process.


Since 2012, the school has held more than 30 community meetings. This has provided the neighbors the opportunity to learn about the plan and share feedback that has been incorporated into the school's proposal.