The Walnut Creek School District board voted Tuesday to oppose a petition that would more than double the size of the 3,100-student district.
The petition, started last year, would transfer six Walnut Creek schools from the Mt. Diablo Unified district to the nearby Walnut Creek and Acalanes districts. The proposal will have its first public hearing in front of the County Committee on School District Reorganization, which makes decisions on boundary changes, next week. But at a district meeting Tuesday, Walnut Creek board members said they oppose the territory transfer because they do not see how it would benefit their students.
"My initial reaction was you can't implement a goal, you have to implement a plan," said board member Dan Walden.
Walnut Creek mom Ruth Carver and members of Walnut Creek Schools Together Now gathered nearly 3,000 signatures to bring their proposal before county school officials. Carver started the petition last fall after frustration with the quality of education at Northgate High and a desire to see all Walnut Creek schools in one district.
Trustees said it is an interesting idea to move the boundary lines, but theirs is a small and "fragile" district and this change would be huge. From textbook differences, teacher salaries, to class sizes, everything would have to be examined to implement the change.
This summer an oversight threatened to kill the boundary transfer after it was discovered that an area had been left out of the petition. Walnut Creek City Council stepped in and adopted a resolution forcing county school leaders to hold the public hearing. The county hearing on the petition will be at 4 p.m. Sept. 10 at Acalanes High School, 1212 Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette.
Walnut Creek school leaders had been quiet about the petition, but the board was asked by the county if it had a position. Carver said it was unnecessary for the board to take a position at this time because the process is just beginning.
Acalanes, which would take in Northgate under the transfer, will decide on a position at its meeting 7:30 p.m. today in the district office at 1212 Pleasant Hill Road in Lafayette. Acalanes staff is recommending that the board oppose the boundary change.
Opponents say if boundaries are changed, some who currently go to Northgate and other area schools could no longer do so without a transfer.
In Concord, residents in the Crossings and Crystyl Ranch neighborhoods worry a result of a school boundary change could mean home values would fall because Mt. Diablo's Walnut Creek schools are some of the best performing in that district.