Wednesday was a red-letter day for Arthur Murphy, as he finally was able to deliver his completed petition to reorganize school district boundaries so that his children could attend schools in his city.
Murphy gathered 117 signatures -- which reflects 25 percent of 468 registered voters in the communities in question.
He began going door-to-door March 15 and all signatures were collected by Saturday.
"I handed them in today," he told Patch Wednesday morning.
Murphy lives in the Granite Gate community off Whitewood Road in Murrieta -- about a half-mile from but recenlty learned that his 5-year-old son must start kindergarten in neighboring Menifee Union School District this August.
He created the petition in order to have Granite Gate and two other housing tracts in the Skyview Ranch community switched from the Menifee Union School District into the Murrieta Valley Unified School District.
Murphy's Murrieta address falls in the boundaries of Menifee Union, a fact of which he was not aware when he bought the home in 2006.
His concern is his proximity to Vista Murrieta High School. If Murphy's home was to remain in the Menifee district, his children would attend Paloma Valley High School, part of the Perris Union High School District.
"That's nine miles one way for my wife to drive," Murphy said. "That's 90 miles a week, when we have Vista Murrieta right here."
Murphy added that his kids would be denied participation in extracurricular activities because they would have to leave school when the buses left.
Murrieta Valley Unified accepts inter-district transfers so long as it has space, according to Karen Parris, district spokesperson.
"They need to be released by their (home) district first," Parris said, of those who seek inter-district transfers.
After three unsuccessful attempts to have his inter-district transfer request approved, Murphy said he followed up with the RCOE to learn what next he could do.
Patti Crawford, a director of pupil and administrative services for RCOE, said there is a strict process that begins with the complainant filing for a petition from the Registrar of Voters.
According to the California education code, the petitioner must obtain signatures from 25 percent of registered voters in the area in question. There are 468 registered voters in the three tracts on which Murphy concentrated.
Those stretch north from Clinton Keith Road to Linnel Lane, west of Whitewood Road.
After the signatures are verified, Crawford said the petition would go to a county committee and public hearings would be held in affected districts.
The committee would then determine if the school district reorganization met nine criteria.
According to Rollin Edmunds, management specialist with the RCOE, the criteria include whether a district has the facilities to absorb whole neighborhoods, the financial impacts involved, any impact on educational programs and to what extent the transfer is consistent with the boundaries of a community.
A California Environmental Quality Act review would also be triggered, officials said.
Edmunds said he believes traffic could be adversely affected if patterns were to change for a large number of people within a district.
"The potential impact would be if it were a large development or a very populated area," Edmunds told Patch.
Following the hearings and the CEQA and committee reports, a vote would be taken.
If the committee denied the reorganization, and unless both districts agreed, the issue would go to voters, Crawford said.