Editor's note: Ruth Carver, an advocate for redrawn school boundaries to unite Walnut Creek schools, intended to append these comments responding to Patch reader Mom of the Horde, who was commenting on Carver had technical difficulties adding the comment, so Walnut Creek Patch is running this as a letter to the editor.
Update Jan. 21, 2012
Hi Mom of the Horde,
I was in your neighborhood Saturday on the Mayor's Walk and I spoke to people who live near you but in MDUSD. Their children must go farther to school in Pleasant Hill: one friend drives her child to College Park HS even though she's close to Acalanes HS; another mom has lived her entire life in Walnut Creek says her back fence is the school district line so her children go to Pleasant Hill schools; and one family looked at a house on Conejo that was in WCSD, but weren't told about the district line when they bought another house on Conejo which turned out to be in MDUSD. And now, if College Park High School goes charter, or if all the Pleasant Hill schools unite to form a charter school district, then those families may be reassigned farther to other MDUSD schools. We believe there must be a better system - we live in the same city, should share the same school system and boundary.
Regarding MDUSD, the main problem is that we cannot pass a parcel tax. Walnut Creek voted for the Measure D parcel tax but we are outvoted in MDUSD and it did not pass. If we were added to WCSD/AUHSD then we would automatically be added to your parcel tax, adding $4 mil per year to our city schools, which we hope would avoid teacher layoffs. We are fortunate to have good parent fundraising but it's not enough to prevent too many pink slips every year.
JJ - I'm a Northgate mom with no financial interest.
-- Ruth Carver
Jan. 20, 2012
Hi Mom of the Horde,
Change may not be easy but sometimes it is best. As I mentioned, Pleasanton unified its city school district in the 1980s, and I'd like to add that since that time their high school API scores have surpassed Walnut Creek, both Las Lomas and Northgate (Pleasanton's scores were lower and now they are higher). Probably as a result, Pleasanton is attracting businesses and their economy is booming. And Pleasanton is a good model for Walnut Creek because it has the same number of schools as Walnut Creek, which seems to be an ideal size.
As a Northgate parent I do not believe a charter is best. Northgate is a good school, but by an accident of history we're in the wrong district. Most other cities have a city school district — they understand the wisdom that "good schools make good communities." That is why the Legislature has recommended that school district boundaries should match city limits whenever feasible.
So I'm proud to be a dreamer, just like about 16,000 Walnut Creek voters who signed the two petitions to unite our city schools, but I believe this is best for our city and our families. The beginning of the process should have open discussions of everyone's concerns and the actual feasibility. The process will take years, which will allow plenty of time for planning and gradual adjustment, for the districts and everyone to prepare for and adjust to the change, but the time to start is now.
From Another Mom of Another Horde,