School districts mired in border battle

The San Bruno Park and South San Francisco Unified school districts are in a dispute over boundary lines adopted in 1977.

The 9-acre former Carl Sandburg Elementary School site was officially in the San Bruno Park School District, but after Summer Hill Homes developed the site into the Merimont residential subdivision about 10 years ago, the land entered South San Francisco Unified School District boundaries.

Last week, South San Francisco Unified School District board members took no action on a resolution from the San Bruno Park School District, saying that the failure to adjust boundary lines was an unintentional error, said Phil Weise, a South San Francisco Unified School District trustee.

“We could find no indication of errors on the map,” Weise said. “As it stands now, the boundary is in South San Francisco.”

enrollment in South San Francisco schools. Weise said it would be advantageous for students to return to South San Francisco.About 30 pupils living in the subdivision who currently attend schools in the San Bruno Park School District are now entitled to

“The closest school to the subdivision is Monte Verde Elementary, which is much closer and safer to get to than Rollingwood Elementary in San Bruno,” Weise said. “Monte Verde also has higher test scores.”

Kevin Martinez, board president of the San Bruno Park School District, said he sees this not as a dispute but as a discrepancy in what happened more than 30 years ago.

“The expectation is that the parcel has always been within our jurisdiction,” Martinez said. “I can understand that there is a contentious angle, but that is not what we had intended. It has been oversold that we have poor intentions. We aren’t trying to take anything from South San Francisco.”

Martinez said he does not know if the San Bruno Park School District has ever gotten any funds from the development of the former Carl Sandburg Elementary School site. The boundary discrepancy was revealed when someone bought a home within the Merimont subdivision and saw that the South San Francisco Unified School District was listed on the tax bill, Martinez said.

As the district map stands now, everything north of a dotted line through the Merimont subdivision belongs to the South San Francisco Unified District and everything south of the line belongs to San Bruno Park, Weise said.

With South San Francisco’s decision to take no action on the resolution, the boundary lines will not be changed. Now, students who currently attend schools in the San Bruno Park School District will have to choose to remain in that district or transfer to South San Francisco Unified schools.

Weise said the two districts would continue trying to resolve the issue.

shaughey@sfexaminer.com

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