Here’s everything we know about the Casti-CSM fallout


Now it’s official: Castilleja will not be moving temporarily to the College of San Mateo (CSM) next year. Instead, the school will remain on the Palo Alto campus, limiting where and when construction will take place.

This sudden change in plans came as a shock to members of the larger Castilleja community, many of whom believed that the CSM deal was set in stone. While the school had reached a verbal agreement with the community college, the San Mateo Community College District board of trustees made a final decision without a vote during closed session on Wednesday, May 24. Emails from Counterpoint to the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the board, as well as a phone call to the office of the assistant of the Chancellor, to find out the reasoning for the decision were not returned.

Here is everything we know about what next year will look like for the Castilleja community:


While the construction timeline has yet to be finalized, classes will be held as normal on the Palo Alto campus. Rising juniors and seniors who registered for CSM courses will need to re-register for Castilleja-offered alternatives, with the exception of students registered for General Psychology. Castilleja has hired a new faculty member to teach AT Psychology.

Class of 2030

In June 2022, the city of Palo Alto approved Castilleja’s Conditional Use Permit (CUP) request to increase enrollment in tandem with the development of the new campus. According to the approved permit, if Castilleja moves off-site during construction, the school has the permission of the city to increase enrollment immediately up to 540 students—a large increase from the 416 students enrolled in the 2022-23 school year. Castilleja increased enrollment slightly this year in anticipation of the move to CSM, but is now technically overenrolled given the terms of the CUP.

The incoming sixth grade class, or the class of 2030 (feel old yet?) will be held on a satellite campus next year to ensure that the school remains in compliance with the current CUP. The school is still reviewing their options for where this satellite campus will be located.

Release of information to the student body

Following the sudden implosion of Castilleja’s partnership with CSM, some students voiced concerns that the school had purposefully withheld important information about the state of the move. A popular theory among the student population was that the motivation behind these alleged omissions was rooted in the tuition agreement and deposit timeline.

In a statement written in an email to Counterpoint, Kauffman definitively rejected these allegations, asserting that they are “categorically false.” In her statement, Kauffman wrote that the school had no idea about the SMCCD’s resistance to the proposal until May 11th, nine months into their verbal agreement with CSM. “I want to be extremely clear here” wrote Kauffman, “because (1), we were blindsided by the District Board’s decision to pull back, and that is the real cause of our issue today, and (2) Castilleja would under no circumstances withhold information.”

While much remains unclear about the future of the renovations and the new campus, for now it seems that life will continue as normal on the Castilleja campus in the 2023-24 school year.