A county committee will decide tonight whether to allow some residents of O'Connor Street in Menlo Park to switch from the Ravenswood to the Menlo Park City school district.
The petition requesting the transfer asks that 31 Menlo Park homes, from 235 to 495 O'Connor St., between Elliott Drive and Euclid Avenue, be moved into the Menlo Park City School District. The district boundary runs down the middle of O'Connor Street. Residents on the south side are in the Menlo Park district, and those on the north side are in the Ravenswood district.
The O'Connor Street residents seeking the transfer argue that it was only a historical accident that left them in the Ravenswood district when most of the rest of the Willows neighborhood transferred into the Menlo Park district in 1983. That's because their side of the street was annexed into Menlo Park soon after the original petition to change districts was filed, but their addresses weren't added to the petition.
The agenda for the San Mateo County Committee on School District Organization meeting includes time for the public, the petitioners and representatives of both school districts to speak, as well as for the committee discussion. The committee has until July 27 to approve the transfer, but does not have another meeting scheduled before that deadline.
Although the decision is up to the committee, both school districts oppose the request, and an election will have to take place if the committee does approve the transfer. The committee would determine who votes in the election; which could be a group of voters as small as only the O'Connor Street residents requesting the transfer or as large as all voters residing in both affected districts.
The committee's decision can be appealed to the state board of education.
Nancy Magee, who is the county office of education's staff member for the committee, and serves as its secretary, said a similar request made in 1991 to move 27 O'Connor Street homes into the Menlo Park City School District failed. The Ravenswood school board also opposed that request, while the Menlo Park board took no stand.
The county committee denied the 1991 request saying it failed on four of the state-required criteria for approving a school district transfer. Those criteria included having a common community identity; not promoting racial and ethnic discrimination; not disrupting sound educational performance, and not asking for the transfer primarily to increase property value. An appeal to the state board of education was denied after the board concluded that the transfer would promote discrimination.
Other criteria that must be met include:
● Both districts must end up with an "adequate" number of students.
● It will result in equitable division of property and facilities.
● It will not result in any substantial increase in costs to the state. It will not result in an increase in school housing costs.
● It will not cause an adverse effect on fiscal management or fiscal status of either district.
Tonight's meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the County Office of Education, located at 101 Twin Dolphin Drive in Redwood City.