A week after the county Board of Education gave the green light for Clayton Valley High to convert to a charter school, there is talk of charter movements at Northgate High in Walnut Creek and College Park High in Pleasant Hill.
Ruth Carver of Walnut Creek, who led a petition drive four years ago to unite Walnut Creek schools, told the City Council Tuesday night that there was talk of charter movements at the two high schools that draw many Walnut Creek residents.
Walnut Creek children now go to public schools in three different districts, Walnut Creek SD, Acalanes Union High SD and Mount Diablo Unified SD. The latter district has been rocked by the Clayton Valley move, which opponents say will reduce funds allocated to other schools in the 34,000-student MDUSD (which includes students from Concord, Clayton, Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill.
Carver was along for Second Saturday Walk with the Mayor (Bob Simmons) on Jan. 14. She talked to fellow walkers who lived in northwest Walnut Creek and had children attend miles-away schools in Pleasant Hill and Concord even though they were closer to Walnut Creek schools.
"This is why Walnut Creek families want to unite our school districts," Carver told the Walnut Creek City Council. The county Board of Education in 2008 denied a petition for Walnut Creek school unification, Carver said, in part because of the city of Walnut Creek had not taken a position.
"I am here to ask my City Council, before there is another charter petition this year, to make this school issue a priority for our city and our fellow citizens," she said.
Carver said the city could do a feasibility study and look at school district boundaries as part of its Sustainable Communities Strategy, a regional planning effort that was discussed by the Walnut Creek City Council Tuesday night.
In an email to Patch Thursday, Carver said the idea of a charter movement has been discussed at meetings of the Northgate Parent Faculty Club.
Contra Costa Times columnist Tom Barnidge took a look at lessons from the charter effort, saying MDUSD had "turned obstructionism into an art form during Clayton Valley's months-long pursuit."
"My interest is to unite our city school system and not a Northgate charter," wrote Carver. "We believe that Walnut Creek can have an excellent school system in the traditional model if it is city-focused — as in Pleasanton, where many school districts were reorganized to be a unified city school district in the 1980s."
Carver's group that continues from 2008 — Walnut Creek Schools Together Now — has a website.
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