I am very grateful to Rep. George Miller for weighing in on the matter of Clayton Valley High School's application to become a charter school.

Miller is a great leader for our region and a person for whom I have the utmost respect.

I agree with his positive acknowledgment of the effort that has been put forth by the Clayton charter organizing group. This appears to be a sincere and commendable effort of parents, teachers and community stakeholders seeking to do the best they can to support their kids.

I further appreciate the optimism that Miller expresses for the charter movement in general and in the case of Clayton Valley in particular.

Undoubtedly, we must be willing to try new approaches to find better ways to more effectively educate our kids.

I do, however, have some real concerns as well. It is my understanding that approving the Clayton Valley charter could result in diminished financial resources for the remainder of the district's schools.

While Clayton Valley is seeking to address important concerns on its campus, those concerns may well also exist in the schools in Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill and Concord.

So, while I certainly want success for Clayton Valley, is it fair and appropriate to ask the other school sites to subsidize that success, particularly in these extremely difficult times?

I also worry about what would follow. What is to stop all the other high schools from following suit and applying to be charter schools themselves?

What would be the implications of that to the remainder of the district's schools? How could all of this be managed in the context of an increasingly difficult budget situation in general?

I wish only the best for Clayton Valley's kids. I want only the best for all of our kids. In that spirit, I believe a bigger conversation about the future of the MDUSD needs to take place.

Our district needs a plan that can address the fundamental issues being raised by the Clayton Valley charter, but in a way that supports all of our schools sites.

Given the seriousness of the district's financial challenges that are driven by the persistent budget dysfunction in Sacramento, this problem demands the participation of a broader set of our local leadership.

Miller has weighed in, and I hope other local leaders will be willing to step forward as well and participate in a meaningful conversation about what we can do together to make things better.

This is not just a problem for the school board to resolve. Each of us in positions of local leadership has a duty here. These are our kids. An entire generation of our kids hangs in the balance.

Kish Rajan is a member of the Walnut Creek City Council and parent of three kids in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.