Danville Express

Newsfront - March 23, 2007

Boundaries set for Creekside Elementary

New grammar school opening delayed until 2009

by Jordan M. Doronila

Trustees established borders at their meeting earlier this month for Creekside Elementary School, which is planned in new developments off Camino Tassajara.

They also delayed the school's opening by one year.

The San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved Creekside's attendance area, which includes Alamo Creek, Wendt Ranch and other developments in an unincorporated area near Danville.

Students living in the Creekside section have been assigned to attend Golden View Elementary in San Ramon until Creekside is opened but Golden View is now filled to capacity, school staff said.

"It's really overcrowded," said Margaret Brown, district assistant superintendent of facilities.

New students who move in to the Creekside attendance area will attend Quail Run Elementary School in San Ramon until Creekside opens in 2009. Older students will attend Diablo Vista Middle School and Monte Vista High in Danville.

Shapell Homes is responsible for funding and building Creekside Elementary, which district officials said is now scheduled to open. It was previously scheduled to open in 2008, but the district said it currently found fewer than 300 students enrolled, making it fiscally unsound to open at that time.

District officials said their strategy is to keep students and their friends together when they shift schools.

"Our concern was how to keep the community together," Brown said.

Some parents at the board meeting voiced their frustration about having moved into a neighborhood mainly so their child can attend a specific school, such as Creekside. They complained about the difficulties of children being transplanted from a stable learning environment into a new place.

"Danville became my choice for a community to raise my son in because of the strong family-centric civic environment and the terrific public school system," wrote Danville resident Ray Spence in a letter. "When I received the SRVUSD letter ... explaining the staff recommendation to delay opening Creekside Elementary alarms went off in my head."

"The plan of having Creekside so close was a fundamental reason for buying our Shapell Wendt Ranch home," he wrote. "And although the letter defines the delay as only one year, I'm not convinced that it would actually be one year."

Nonetheless, trustees said district staff did a tremendous job in making the best out of a difficult situation.

"I do think this is the right boundary," said Trustee Joan Buchanan. "I support the delaying of the school."

"We have done an admirable job, given the fluid nature of the housing market," added Trustee Greg Marvel, noting that Quail Run is an excellent school.

"It's like getting diverted to heaven," he said.

Brown noted that Creekside will be built and ready to open in 2009. Its attendance area also includes Biella, Vercelli, Milano, Levanto/Monterosso, Vernazzo and Tassajara Apartments.

"We all knew these kids were coming," she said. "It's a fabulous school."

She added that Ray Spence will get the opportunity to see that the developer and school board keep their word.

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com

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