SAN RAMON -- Families in the Dougherty Valley could see a big change in where their kids go to school in a few years: The boundary lines have been drawn for a new Dougherty Valley elementary school.
A number of families are not happy with what's being proposed.
"We've never been able to go to the school that is closest to us," said Sandeep Gunthur, who owns a home in Windemere's Ambridge community. "And we've had a history of getting moved around." Gunthur is one of 55 homeowners whose kids attend Live Oak Elementary, who signed a petition to oppose the new attendance boundary proposal.
The matter will be discussed and possibly voted on at the San Ramon Valley school board meeting Tuesday.
Scheduled to open in fall 2016, the new school will be built close to Bollinger Canyon and Dougherty Valley roads near Windemere Ranch Middle School. And it will accommodate one of the last pockets of new housing in the area -- with about 250 expected students -- in neighborhoods to be built along a planned larger Dougherty Road that will cross Bollinger Canyon Road north and south and open in 2016. It will be located west of existing Dougherty Road at Ivy Leaf Spring and Stone Leaf roads, which will be closed.
A few miles away, about 200 students in neighborhoods that include Windemere's Ambridge and Shelborne townhouse communities, and Canyon Oaks apartment communities also will be included in the proposed attendance boundary.
"Residents in my community have been made 'guinea pigs' to promote new schools in the vicinity," the petition reads. "In 2004, we were assigned to Hidden Hills Elementary School. Two years later, (in 2006), we were moved to Quail Run Elementary School. Then, a year later, (in 2007), we were moved to Live Oak Elementary."
"Every two years, when new homes come, our area is picked up every time," Gunthur said.
At a June 2 meeting, school board members Rachel Hurd and Denise Jennison said they spent several hours examining different options with district staff, but they couldn't see a better way. Because of their location in the middle of Dougherty Valley, only the earliest homes built in the Windemere development have had so many elementary school changes, she said.
"By being in the middle, you're not near any of those elementary schools (which are located on the edge of the valley)," she said. "And that is just probably the nature of the beast as to why that area saw the most changes, as things developed."
District officials say the commute to the new school would be a comparable distance to the ones to Live Oak, but petitioners say it would more than double drive times, since the only route that can be taken is on busy Bollinger Canyon Road toward Interstate 680.
"I wish there were a perfect solution," said Jennison, countering that many families have comparably long commutes. "But without disrupting every resident in the valley with what you are going through now, it's really hard to come up with another plan."
District officials also emphasize that they will allow children attending Live Oak to be grandfathered in, so they have the choice to stay. A number of other parents applauded that change at the meeting.
But Gunthur said he sees that as "a short-term solution" until he and his neighbors are asked to move elementary schools again.
"This argument will come up again 10 years from now, and we'll be again told we'll have to move to a new school," he said. "And they'll say, you have been moved so many times, you can move again."
The school board will discuss and possibly vote on the boundary proposal at its regular meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 699 Orchard Road, Danville
Contact Joyce Tsai at 925-847-2123. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycetsainews.