The Anaheim Union High School District recently announced it has increased elite Oxford Academy’s enrollment cap by 32 students. However, those spots will not be available to AUSHD students, but will be limited to students from outside the district.

The AUHSD established Oxford Academy 21 years ago as a f7-12 public high school. Oxford accepts up to 25 students from each of the AUHSD’s junior high schools for an entering 7th grade class of 200 students. With the addition of 32 students from outside of the district, the entering 7th grade class of 2020 will be 232 students.

Per the AUHSD’s announcement:

For students outside AUHSD only: The deadline to apply is Monday, January 27, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. Applications must be submitted in person to the Oxford admissions office and can be found at:

Only the first 200 applicants who meet the minimum requirements (see application/link for more details) will be invited to take the Oxford Entrance Exam.

The district’s decision raises the obvious question: if there is room for more students at Oxford Academy, why not make the additional spots available to students who live in the district?

Several parents raised that point on the announcement on the AUHSD Facebook page:

Some residents suspect the decision to exclude AUHSD students from Oxford Academy’s expanded enrollment is tied to the district’s efforts to recruit foreign students from “high net worth families” and charge them tuition to graduate from an AUHSD high school.  Superintendent Mike Matsuda recently travelled to China and negotiated an agreement with several high schools in China enroll students in AUHSD high schools for their senior year on a tuition basis.  Another AUHSD delegation – including Anaheim High School teacher and Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education member Ryan Ruelas – traveled to Hamburg, Germany and Moscow, Russia to recruit students from wealthy families.

The tuition the district charges to these families is about $13,500 per student. Given the size of the tuition check, these families would presumably want their sons and daughters to attend Oxford given its stellar academic ranking.

The central question, as posed by these and presumably other AUHSD parents, is why these additional spaces aren’t being offered to their children? If the district is able to offer more students the advantage of attending Oxford Academy, is it just and equitable to exclude its own residents from that opportunity?