The effort to circulate a petition — for the third time — to consolidate Walnut Creek schools into one school district is on hold on a couple of fronts.
It's on hold as:
- Advocates watch Sacramento and the result of a Nov. 6 tax initiative affecting school finance promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown.
- The Walnut Creek City Council leaves it off its work plan of initiatives targeted for 2012-2014.
The City Council, in a convoluted discussion of work plan goals Tuesday night, did not add school district realignment to its list.
That was after Ruth Carver, an advocate for a consolidation of Walnut Creek schools in one district, told the council Tuesday she would like them to add the issue to the council's work plan list and to take a stand. School district realignment, she said, should be added to the city's general plan.
Before Tuesday's council meeting, several other residents, taking note of the council's vote in April to leave the school realignment off the city work plan, sent emails to the City Council in favor of school realignment.
"There are many families in the Northgate area who support this issue as we watch neighborhood schools in the Mount Diablo Unified School District begin to slip in rankings despite active parent involvement and fundraising efforts," wrote Mike and Sha Clark. "A united and top-notch citywide educational system seems like the best investment in Walnut Creek's future."
Mayor Bob Simmons, in an email response to the Clarks, said the council voted 3-2 in April to leave realignment off the work plan list. Simmons wrote,"Some of the concerns expressed were that none of the five school districts had expressed any interest in, or support for, the issue of realignment; that there was not strong citywide support; and that, particularly given the first two points and everything else that is on the work plan, putting effort into school district realignment would not likely achieve the desired result."
Carver said a petition seeking realignment would wait for the resolution of the governor's tax initiative in Nov. 6 voting.
Gov. Brown's California Tax Increase Initiative, on the ballot for Nov. 6, will give voters a chance to approve a tax increase, with bolstering of school finances a prime goal. The governor last month signed a bill that triggers $6 billion in automatic state budget cuts if the initiative fails, including the possibility of shorter school years.