The State Board of Education voted unanimously on Nov. 10 to deny the appeal from the residents of Ward Way and Greenways Drive, and the few homes on Alameda de las Pulgas between them, a total of 43 parcels.
The residents had asked to change school districts back in 2009, arguing that their children should be able to go to school with their friends in Menlo Park and the neighboring streets in Woodside. At the time, all of the school-age children on the two streets were attending private schools.
Their petition was turned down by the San Mateo County Committee on School District Organization in September 2009, citing a fear that other neighborhoods on the boundaries of their district would also try to move out and worsen the ethnic and economic imbalance in the Redwood City district.
The original petition said: "Our children should have the same opportunity to go to school with their friends and neighbors, thereby keeping the community whole," and argued that the Las Lomitas school was closer to their homes.
Claire Cunningham, the deputy county counsel who represents the Redwood City School District, said the district was pleased with the decision by the state school board.
"From the beginning, the district's primary concern has been the cumulative effect of subsequent transfers should this transfer set a precedent for other neighborhoods," she said. "While the loss of a small number of students from one neighborhood would not substantially impact the district's revenue limit, the loss of numerous border neighborhoods would."
The report on the transfer said the homeowners would see a substantial increase in their home's values with the transfer. "If the transfer were approved, the property values of the petitioners would increase 15 to 20 percent or $150,000 per bedroom," the report to the state board said.
The Redwood City School district's demographics vary widely from those of its wealthier neighboring districts.
For example, while Redwood City in the 2009-10 school year spent $9,097 to educate each student in the district, Las Lomitas spent $13,413, the Menlo Park City School District spent $11,283 and the Woodside Elementary School District spent $20,211 per student.
In that school year, the Redwood City district had only 21.3 percent white students while Las Lomitas had 70.5, Menlo Park had 66.9 and Woodside had 78.4.