The public school your child would attend depends upon your housing. Public schools do not charge tuition. There are private schools that do charge tuition, but which do not have specific attendance areas. Elementary schools are run by various school districts, primarily the Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Hope districts. Local junior and senior high schools are run by the Santa Barbara High School district. Generally, elementary schools serve grades kindergarten through sixth; junior high schools serve grades seventh and eighth (sometimes ninth), and high schools serve grades nine or ten through grade twelve.
**Please note: Santa Barbara County schools require a minimum of 12-weeks atteendance. Please contact the Residence Manager for more information.**
If your children are not US Citizens or Permantent Residents and you plan to enroll your child(ren) in public school, you will need to travel on the J-1 visa with your child(ren) added as J-2 visa dependents. Plan to begin the application process at least 3 - 6 months prior to your visit at KITP. Please contact the Visa Specialist to initiate the process.
General school information can be obtained from the Santa Barbara County Education Office:
4400 Cathedral Oaks Road
P.O. Box 6307
Santa Barbara, CA 93160
Phone: (805) 964-4711
Fax: (805) 964-4712
or specifically for school information for young children:
http://sbceo.org/districts/goletausd/Welcome.shtml (for the Goleta elementary schools)
http://sbceo.org/schools/public_elem.shtml (for the Santa Barbara elementary schools)
A list of documents required for enrollment may be found at http://www.sbunified.org/departments/pupil-services/enrollment/.
School bus information can be obtained from the specific school district, once that has been determined. School bus service is not available for all schools.
One difficulty is that none of the local schools will enroll a child prior to the start of the school year, nor will they enroll a child before the family is physically present here. It is wise to contact the school in the area where you will live, to find out what will be required to enroll your child. It is better to contact them by phone than by email - emails will often not be answered. The KITP Residence Manager is available to answer questions and try to solve problems, but generally cannot personally assist with specific school placements, due to time and confidentiality constraints.
Generally, schools will require complete immunization records and school transcripts *in English*. Once the child is here, they may also require testing for academic level. There are no tuition fees for public schools. They may also require documentation of residence address. The Residence Manager can provide a letter for this.
We are often asked about the quality of the different schools. Local schools with large populations of children for whom English is not their first language tend to have lower test scores overall, but often have extra resources provided to them because of the language issues, and the test scores are not necessarily indicators of quality of instruction, but of language issues. The issue of what makes for a good school also varies. Some schools are stronger in the arts and languages, some in the sciences. Schools also vary by who is the current principal. A principal who helped make a school really good may be moved to a different school. Finally, it is difficult to secure a rental in exactly the school attendance area of a particular desired school.
Santa Barbara district attendance area maps can be found at:
Goleta school attendance area maps are at: http://www.goleta.k12.ca.us/?page_id=530
An excellent local resource for parents for a wide range of information can be found at: http://santa-barbara-ca.parentclick.com/