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Merimont Petition to Leave South City School District: Public Meetings

Should the Merimont residents be transferred to San Bruno and San Mateo Union High districts or stay in the South City district? Is this dispute over student needs or property taxes?

In the coming weeks, locals will hear more about a petition to transfer the Merimont subdivision property in San Bruno out of the South San Francisco Unified School District and into the San Bruno Park Elementary and the San Mateo Union High School districts.

Seventy residents at the subdivision submitted the petition to the San Mateo County superintendent in August, amid a longstanding long-standing dispute over the property. 

According to the petition, residents who moved into the subdivision many years ago became aware in 2011 that that their homes are within the South City district. The petition reads:

Most of our children in our neighborhood currently attend San Bruno Park Elementary and have forged friendships and bonds with students and school staff with the San Bruno community. Our children should have the opportunity to continue attending San Bruno schools and eventually attend San Mateo Union High schools with their friends and neighbors thereby maintaining a strong comuntiy identity and without having the need to annually petition an interdistrict transfer.

The petition also states that property taxes would no longer go to South City's district after the proposed district reorganization, and that the change would have a "relatively small negative effect" on South City Unified's budget.

Yet it is not confirmed whether South City Unified would in fact stop receiving property taxes for the subdivision.

"It's not really clear," said South San Francisco Unified Superintendent Alejandro Hogan. "We're waiting for full disclosure from the County Office of Education on the particulars."

According to Hogan, the disputed property is home to about 21 students, 8 of whom attend South City schools, 8 of whom attend in the San Bruno Park District and the remainder of whom attend private schools or others that are in neither San Bruno or South City districts.

If all three district boards agree to support the petition and make the change, then only the county committee will have to approve the change.

If one of the district boards involved does not agree to support the petition, then the issue will likely be put to an election. The petitioners and school boards will have an opportunity to appeal the county committee's decision if they choose to. If an appeal is filed, the issue will go to the Sate Board of Education and the process will begin again.

In a recent meeting, the South San Francsico Unified School District voted to reject the aims of the petition and maintain jurisdiction in the Merimont subdivision.

The first of two public meetings will be held Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. at Rolling Wood Elementary in San Bruno. The second meeting will be Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the school district board room of South San Francisco.

Tell us in the comments section below what you think of the proposed transfer.

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Anita Alvarez November 24, 2012 at 04:35 AM
We've never had Elementary schools in this part of South City, above Hwy. 280 around Westborough Blvd.. I've lived in Westborough since 1970 and my kids had to go to Skyline Elementary in Daly City, or go to a private school. The elementary school the builders and city promised us, was never built. The Catholic School to be built at St. Augustine's was also quashed and more homes were built next to the church. The only school we have had is the middle school, on Westborough. I find it difficult to believe that people didn't know they lived in South City until 2011. But, I say, go ahead let them be a part of San Bruno. They will not have the school services, police and fire or Community services that we have in South City.
Taylor Wiles November 27, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Anita, thanks for your comment. Just to clarify, the Merimont subdivision residents who submitted the petition live in the city of San Bruno, but that property is simultaneously within the boundaries of the South City Unified School District. The petition says that they didn't originally realize they were within the SSFUSD, not that they were in the city of San Bruno. There's a public hearing scheduled for this Tuesday, if you'd like to hear more.
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