Canyon Hills Elementary Students

Canyon Hills is the community on the far-eastern reaches of Lake Elsinore. It's most visible fr...

Canyon Hills is the community on the far-eastern reaches of Lake Elsinore. It's most visible from Railroad Canyon Rd and Canyon Hills Rd, where the Longs Drug Store is.

Most of that community is served by the Lake Elsinore Unified School District, with students attending Cottonwood Canyon Elementary School. However a chuck of those homes at the far-eastern edge is within the Menifee Union School District, served by Evans Ranch Elementary.

Just last week, a family from Mission Viejo, located in Orange County, moved into the Canyon Hills community, but in the area served by Menifee Union. The mother of the family attended the Menifee Union School Board meeting this evening and addressed the Board of Trustees asking if her child could leave the district and attend Cottonwood Canyon.

Her argument, basically, is that several other kids living in the same neighborhood, about 10-12 others, including her nephew, all attend Cottonwood Canyon. All of these kids live inside the Menifee Union School District, but their parents mistakenly applied them to Lake Elsinore Unified. What's worse is that Lake Elsinore Unified didn't catch this.

canyon hills map
Click map to see a larger size

In the map above, the red line is the border between Menifee Union School District and Lake Elsinore Unified School District. The darker gray shaded area is the City of Lake Elsinore. The light red shaded area is where the 10-12 kids reside. They're now attending Cottonwood Canyon, but should be attending Evans Ranch.

Trustee Peters noted that each child brings in state money. I don't know specifically how much, but I do know it's between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. If 10-12 Menifee Union kids are attending Lake Elsinore Unified, then that means our district has lost anywhere from $50,000 to $120,000 a year because of this convenience. If we had those students in Menifee schools, that extra money could pay for staffing and facilities.

Compounding the matter, Governor Schwarzenegger is recommending a 10% cutback in public school spending, which will cause Menifee Union to make cutbacks in services. We need those 10-12 students at Evans Ranch.

The mother, of course, is arguing on the stand point that it's much easier for her to drive her child to Cottonwood Canyon than to Evans Ranch. It's always tough to argue against hardship, but then again, we just recently voted for higher taxes to pay for more schools, and here we find out that some $50,000 to $120,000 that supposed to be ours is leaking out to another district.

In the Board Meeting, Dan Wood, assistant superintendent, explained that he's already been in contact with his counterpart at Lake Elsinore Unified, and it sounds like those students will be allowed to finish out the year at Cottonwood Canyon, but will transfer to Evans Ranch next year.

Menifee Union is planning to build an elementary school within that far-eastern area of Cottonwood Canyon.


Evans-Ranch-Elementary-School 7718728714659777663

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  1. I guess it's some consolation to Measure B passing knowing that those families will pay the higher tax rate yet not benefit from it since their kids aren't going to a MUSD school. The City of Lake Elsinore is taking it in the shorts on this one.

    If MUSD wants to make these families happy they will encourage the County and the City of Lake Elsinore to create a direct connection from Canyon Hills Rd. to the Menifee area (connect to Holland Rd.?), rather than forcing people to drive so far out of their way and past so many other schools (the new Quail Valley school and Ridgemoor) to get to Evans Ranch. If I lived there I'd be trying to game the system as well. It's almost like nobody ever sat down and looked at a map when Canyon Hills was being planned.

  2. Wow that is a long drive. I can see why the mom wants her kid to go the other school than Evans ranch. Isn't the Quail Valley school closer??

  3. I am the mom at the meeting who was trying to get my child to go to Cottonwood Canyon instead of Evans Ranch. I DO NOT think it is fair for Menifee to take children so far away make them get up at 6:30am and drive 15-20 minutues away because school starts so early at 7:30am, when there are schools built for our new communities right down the street. I think this border needs to be reconsidered. 2 weeks before I moved I was told my child was going to attend Cottonwood Canyon then all of a sudden we move in and it changed. If I knew I wouldn't moved because it is not fair to my daughter to get up so early and to be in a year round school with out us knowing.If I wanted these conditions I would have moved to Menifee not Lake Elsinore. It is like the choice of a parent has been just ripped right out your hands and the children are suffering. My Brother and sistr-in-law live down the street thier son currently go to Cottonwood Canyon and she as well is expecting a little one in a couple of months, we planned on helping eachother with the car-pool
    and after school care for the kids but I guess now that is out of the question since nobody is thinking of the kids just money. It is very very sad to just move children from school to school, you would think people who work for the children would know how emotional it is for them to change schools and make new friends.I think we as a community need to oome together and try all we can to fix this border problem.

  4. There is a pretty stable dirt road that goes from the back corner of Canyon Hills that takes them to Murrieta road in about 2 minutes... the drive isn't that terrible. If they would pave that road, it wouldn't be an issue to take their kids to the school.

  5. MUSD is not to blame for LEUSD's mistake. The district messed up when these parents went to register. They are to blame. However, many times when you buy a new home the builders and/or the real estate people mess up the info. Sue them for the inconveniences! The boundaries for school districts are set in stone. Buyer beware when you buy that house. I went to many builders in Menifee before a lot of these houses were here and asked directly, "What school will these kids attend?" They always said, "The one down the street." I informed them that the one down the street was already overcrowded. They just shrugged. The builders? Honey Run area and the La Ladera area. The school? Ridgemoor. It was only a matter of time before the chickens came home to roost. And another thing, school districts are not in charge of paving roads. Do what real Menifee residents do, buy a 4wheel drive and do the dirt road. This isn't Orange County.

  6. That dirt road is Holland Rd. I remember before the Canyon Hills community was built, I would drive it from Murrieta Rd to Railroad Canyon rd. That's certainly a more direct route to Evans Ranch.

  7. Another "This isn't Orange County" comment. Those are so helpful.

  8. I am not blaming Menifee! I am saying it isn't right for them not to approve the inter-district transfer. The boundries were for Cottonwood canyon then the changed in a matter of weeks --with out warning---. Who said anything about the school districts paving the roads, it was just a person giving help to go another way to school. At the meeting I was told "sorry school is just another business and Menifee can't afford to lose any kids due to cut backs." It has nothing to due with me coming from Orange County, I was raised in Riverside and drive a SUV to take the dirt road!

  9. I was at the school board meeting last Tuesday as well. There's something else about the denial of the inter-district transfer that hasn't been brought to light yet.

    Folks, believe me when I tell you that the lady that had her inter-district transfer denied has a right to be upset - and my reason for believing she has right to be upset has nothing to do with whether I agree or disagree with the board's decision to deny her request. That reason is this:

    The school board denied this woman's request mere MINUTES after approving one for another family. Both reasons for the request were very similar in nature - they live closer to a school that is in another district.

    But wait, it gets better. The family that had their inter-district transfer request approved is transferring out TWO students, whereas the lady that had hers denied only wants to transfer out ONE.

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked two students are more than one student. So what did the district ultimately do? They lost themselves a minimum of $5,000 to $10,000 dollars this year. That $5,000 to $10,000 figure is based on both decisions being reversed. In reality, they cost themselves $10,000 to $20,000 this year.

    On top of that, when her request was denied, she was told (as she stated in her comment), that schools are a "business". Well, if schools are a "business", then the students and families of students the schools serve are their "customers". Part of running a successful business is "customer service" and "customer satisfaction". To me, that showed poor customer service and is not a good way to run a business.

    Now, in defense of the school board, I don't think either decision was easy. At first, they were headed towards denying the first request. Then, judging by the looks on some of their faces, I initially thought they were going to approve the second transfer request also. In any case, it was evident that it wasn't an easy decision to make.

    And for the record, I disagreed with the decision to approve the first request and agreed with the decision to deny the second.

  10. Good luck trying to sue the builder or a realtor. If you look at the information in any housing brochure, including the ones in front of individual homes for sale, you will see a statement along the lines of "Information is believed to be true but might not be" (my paraphrase). This is there to keep the lawyers happy in case someone determines that their 2100 square foot house is actually 2099 square feet. And the same thing holds true with the schools.

    My advice to anyone looking to buy a house is to do your homework. Normally the realtor has accurate information regarding schools but maybe the realtor never checked the information and they are relying on someone else providing it (the seller, the builder, etc.) It never hurts to call the school district to find out for sure (or the cable company, or the water company, etc.). Those who bought in Cottonwood Canyon probably would have received more accurate information that may have helped their decision to purchase a house.

    I know that MUSD and LEUSD do not pave roads, but those districts should try to influence the City of Lake Elsinore and County of Riverside to pave the road between Cottonwood Canyon and Holland Roads. Even a temporary paved road would be helpful, especially when it rains.

    As in all things, caveat emptor; let the buyer beware.

  11. Anonymous