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MT. DIABLO DIVORCE Part II: Caught in middle as petition to move W.C. schools submitted

By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Saturday, January 26th, 2008 at 8:50 pm in Schools.

School question by Earl Lam, MCTNorthgate High parents officially submitted a petition Friday asking that Walnut Creek schools in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District be moved to the Walnut Creek and Acalanes Union High school districts. As Shirley Dang reported in the Times, this likely will pit neighbor (Concord) against neighbor (Walnut Creek) because those W.C. schools in MDUSD include some Concord students.

It’s an issue I’ve paid close attention to because I find my family smack in the middle of it. We live in the Limeridge community, right on the border of Walnut Creek but on the Concord side. We choose to stay here because my step-daughter attends Valle Verde Elementary and next year will move on to Foothill Middle School. Like so many parents, we’re frustrated by the continuing financial problems – among others — facing Mt. Diablo. On one thing all parents seem to agree: we’d like to see solutions that benefit our children. Is breaking apart the district the right solution? That’s not easy to answer, because I can see points on both sides.

My step-daughter likely would be grandfathered in, allowing her to attend Foothill and Northgate with her friends. My property value, however, might take a hit as we’re shifted out of the Foothill and Northgate school systems that have been so favorable for selling homes in our area. Except, with the current situation being what it is, how much longer can we expect that to remain true if the schools remain in MDUSD? On the flip side, how much can Walnut Creek and Acalanes be asked to shoulder by taking on schools decimated by teacher departures and financial issues?

Everyone involved in this issue seems to have an opinion. Just check out the comments from Mt. Diablo Divorce Part I. And tell us what you think?

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14 Responses to “MT. DIABLO DIVORCE Part II: Caught in middle as petition to move W.C. schools submitted”

  1. Opposed to Transfer Says:

    Correction: SOME Northgate High parents submitted a petition. I’m a Northgate High parent from Concord. I’m no less a Northgate High parent because of my zip code.

    No, dear. You should read the petition. The petition allows that children may be grandfathered or have a priority intra-district transfer, so your s-daughter would likely attend Foothill (on a transfer or grandfather rule) attend Ygnacio Valley as it is close to you and has room. Is that what you bought when you move to Limeridge? I know that it’s not what I paid for.

    The WC residents on Treat who attend Oak Grove and YV and say that they paid WC prices; therefore, should attend WC schools. You also got what you paid for.

    Limeridge: Lamorinda residents would have a fit if anyone thought to have Concord kids attend Acalanes schools. We are just a few rungs too low on the status ladder. Did anyone ever think that the reason Limeridge was included was to have a few “token” Concord kids so the NPFT didn’t look like they were discriminating?

  2. David Says:

    These Walnut Creek parents are very selfish. They feel that their needs for their kids education is more important than the education of children in all the other MDUSD cities. The MDUSD kids who live in the cities of Concord, Pleasant Hill ect. are just as entitled to having their needs met as those in Walnut Creek. Many of these WC parents also believe that all those in the other MDUSD cities are low class. I know there is that area of WC around Treat and Bancroft where the kids are assigned to attend Oak Grove Middle and Ygnacio Valley High Schools. About 4 years ago, a group of parents from that area of WC petitioned to the MDUSD to change the secondary schools from OGMS and YVHS to Foothill Middle and Northgate High. I know the reason why they did that was because they thought that OGMS and YVHS simply had more problems than FMS and NHS, as OGMS and YVHS serve many Hispanic familes who mostly live in the Monument Blvd. area. That was just plain racist there!!

  3. Dave R. Says:

    Note- I am not a representitive of ANY group for or against. I am a Northgate parent of 3.
    There you go again with the racist thing….. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so offensive. You obviously don’t want YOUR kids to go to YV, is that racist? or is that OK because you oppose the transfer?

    Any one of you can take action in an attempt to make improvements to MDUSD. We are choosing one method. I have friends who choose to engage the district directly, others that start and/or support fund raising, some that move, and some that send there kids to private schools, some that helped to start a charter school.

    All of our efforts will hopefully help positive change to occur and put pressure on the MDUSD administration. Or are you happy with the status quo?

    Why do you jump right to elitism and racism? Just because people want something better? We can’t solve all the socials ills of our country here.

  4. Beth Says:

    Let’s be a little honest. Walnut Creek parents think Concord is ghetto, and they don’t want any kids other than their Walnut Creek children attending Northgate. They want all of intra-district transfers out of Northgate because they feel that they’re ghetto kids.

    It is about money, but it’s also about race and elitism, too.

    I’m using this to show my children just what people are capable of and as a model whose values we don’t want to adopt.

  5. Donna Says:

    I think I will sue if this petition goes through. I spent a lot of time and money to move to the Crossings because it goes to Foothill and Northgate. Those who bought in WC in the YVHS attendance area paid less for their homes than they would otherwise. I do believe this petition will fail because it does result in a substantial increase in property values for the properties included in the transfer, while decreasing those excluded.

    The only option is for npft parents to move or send their kids to private. It is what most people do when unhappy with the schools. They don’t want to move, they say that is running away from the problem. But isn’t changing districts running away from the problem?

    The other arguement is that there is no community. Kids in WC have different schedules, and can’t dance together. Please. A petition for the same academic calendar would more likely get approved. WC recreation often hold events for WC residents.

    This petition will get people’s attention on the real issue, fixing MDUSD.

  6. David Says:

    I agree with Beth. Many Walnut Creek families believe that all of Concord is ghetto, and that is why they are petitioning to be removed from MDUSD, and that is why the Crossings and Crystal Ranch would be knocked out, as they feel that since they attend Concord’s Highlands Elementary and/or Pine Hollow Middle before going to Foothill/Northgate. That is only why Limeridge is included, as Limeridge kids attend all of their K-12 schooling in Walnut Creek. It is also why they want to bring in the areas of Walnut Creek where the kids attend Oak Grove Middle and Ygnacio Valley High into Foothill and Northgate. I understand that some families in Walnut Creek who are Costco members will not even go to the Concord Costco, instead they will drive all the way to the one in Danville, because they feel that Concord is ghetto.

  7. David Says:

    It is only now just being realized that the plan is to kick the Crossings and Crystal Ranch neighborhoods in Concord out of Foothill and Northgate, to bring in the areas of Walnut Creek around Treat and Bancroft where the kids are assigned to Oak Grove Middle and Ygnacio Valley High to Foothill and Northgate. And it is because they do not want Concord kids who come out of Concord elementary and middle schools going to Foothill and Northgate which is the only reason why Concord’s Limeridge neighborhood is being allowed to come along as Limeridge goes to Valle Verde Elementary, Foothill and Northgate, where as the Crossings comes from Concord’s Highlands Elementary, before going to Foothill and Northgate, and Crystal Ranch attends both Highlands Elementary, and Pine Hollow Middle School before going to Northgate. It is a very ignorant act, and I have heard many ignorant comments that supposedly the kids from the Crossings and Crystal Ranch are causing problems at Foothill and Northgate, and they say it is because of the Concord kids who influence them before going to Walnut Creek schools. It is just plain wrong of Walnut Creek to think that way!!

  8. Beth Says:

    As a parent of a 2007 Northgate graduate, I can tell you that the problem is not Concord kids. My child’s cellphone was confiscated because it rang during class. The staff was shocked because I didn’t scream and stomp and demand the immediate return of the phone. I didn’t tell them that the phone was my property and they couldn’t keep it. I didn’t demand the little card (PCS card? I dunno) so I could stick it in another phone for my kid’s use. Nope, not me…I just follow the rules and don’t feel like my kid (or I) am exempt from the rules. Staff kept it for a week, and my child learned his lesson.

    I couldn’t believe my kid when he talked about the WC kids discussing their drug use, sexual activity, and abortions. The stuff my son would tell me — it would make your hair stand on end.

    Look at Acalanes: In their recent history, they’ve had a kid beat a Lafayette woman to death, bring a gun to school, and bring a bomb to school.

    The problem with these kids is that they have no limits or boundaries, and their parents — their role models — model behavior in which they see personal entitlement and a lack of empathy for others.

  9. Beth Says:

    I’ve also heard the Costco thing before. I guess they can come to Lamorinda to work as domestics, but no one wants to see where they live.

  10. jody perspective Says:

    As a newcomer to the area, I was surprised that all of Walnut Creek wasn’t in the same school district. Logically that makes sense to me.

    I like the idea of moving Northgate and feeder schools because it seems that there is more support for education and teachers in the Acalanes district according to my experience, the paper and parents of Los Lomas students. I was very disappointed at the length of time my student at Northgate went without a teacher (nearly a year in one case and a semester in another).

    I shop at the Concord Costco and believe kids benefit from being in classrooms that are ethnically and economically mixed.

    Drawing district lines is always difficult and more discussion seems to be needed on how to handle tha.

  11. David Says:

    Don’t get your hopes up. Such big changes in schools and/or school district boundaries are extremely rare, simply because a neigboring school or school district is known as being more reputable. Keep in mind, several years back families in the fairly upscale city of Hercules in West Contra Costa, petitioned to either start their own district or merge with the John Swett School District, as they did not like being a part of the large demographically diverse West Contra Costa Unified School District. Also, a few years ago, families in one unincorporated area between Lafayette and Martinez with a Lafayette address petitioned that their neighborhood be removed from the Martinez Unified School District to the Lafayette and Acalanes School Districts. Both petitions were denied. It is my understanding that if this petition passes those in Hercules and that one unincorporated area of Lafayette will petition again, and I also understand that parents in Pleasant Hill will also start a petition to get out of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.

  12. David Says:

    In the unlikely event that the petition is successful, and The Crossings and Crystal Ranch are kicked out of Foothill and Northgate, I wouldn’t be surprised if those in Concord’s Limeridge neighborhood which is included in the petition, take their own petition to the county to have their neighborhood placed into the Walnut Creek from the city of Concord.

  13. Annalee Says:

    I currently live in walnut creek and have been told that my child has to go to a pleasant hill middle school and a high school in concord. this is absurd as we moved to walnut creek to go to a walnut creek school. they say its a gray area? I dont care about that my home was over 690,000 and they tell me this… I am livid and who can I contact in reguard to this. I pay taxes in walnut creek and expect to go to a walnut creek school. this is unexceptable.

  14. jburrell Says:

    Hi, Annalee —
    School borders run through the middle of the city of Walnut Creek, so depending on where you live, your children will go to Walnut Creek and Acalanes district schools, or to Mt. Diablo schools. It’s a strange state of affairs, for sure, and you are not the first family to express indignation and confusion. If you need further information on those borders and your options, including district transfers, it’s best to contact the Walnut Creek and Mt. Diablo school districts directly.

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