Having all Walnut Creek schools in one district is not a new idea. But it's one that is popping up again.

At a joint City Council/Walnut Creek school board meeting, leaders discussed the possibility of all Walnut Creek schools being consolidated into one district, aside from Northgate High School, which would move to the Acalanes district.

There are currently portions of five school districts that cover portions of the city but the predominant districts are Walnut Creek, Mt. Diablo and Acalanes.

Ruth Carver, a parent with kids in the Mt. Diablo district, led a petition drive in 2008 asking the county board of education to redraw school district boundaries. The proposal, which was denied, would have put all of the Walnut Creek schools now part of the Mt. Diablo district in the Walnut Creek School District, with the exception of Northgate High, which would go to the Acalanes district. Walnut Creek's other high school, Las Lomas, is also in the Acalanes district.

Carver thinks it's time to revisit such a plan, especially because there is a divide between the quality of education students who live on the eastern side of Walnut Creek receive, she said.

"There is an invisible boundary ... and with all due respect I think it's time to tear down this wall," she said at the meeting.

City leaders apparently were at least interested in talking to the Walnut Creek School District about the issue. Two city council members and the city manager recently met privately with district officials to hear why having all of Walnut Creek schools in one or two districts is a bad idea.

"I sympathize with a number of (the supporter's) reasons," said Art Clarke, school board president. "As a school board member I have to make decisions based on how does it help the kids that I am currently responsible for. That concept has not been sold to me."

If WCSD took in all of Mt. Diablo's Walnut Creek schools and students, the Walnut Creek district would double in size. And there are so many differences between the two districts -- from teacher contracts and class sizes to textbooks -- that such a change would be a huge undertaking, said Superintendent Patty Wool.

But Councilman Bob Simmons argued that to entice more businesses and residents to Walnut Creek, having a strong partnership between the school district and city can mean a lot, he said, citing Pleasanton as an example.

"It's a conversation we need to have," he said at the meeting. "We need to have a vision for what's better."

Carver asked the council to consider petitioning the county board of education to do a feasibility study on changing school district boundaries.

Because it was an informational meeting on several topics, no decisions were made.

Contact Elisabeth Nardi at 925-952-2617. Follow her at Twitter.com/enardi10.

---