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Northgate Petition Update

Public Hearing Set on Northgate Petition

Please take notice that the hearing on the petition to create a "Northgate Unified School District" carved from Mt. Diablo Unified School District territory including the following schools and attendance areas: Bancroft Elementary, Valle Verde Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary, Foothill Middle, and Northgate High School, will be held on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, at or soon after 12:00 PM via live webcast.

The petition was previously denied by the Contra Costa County Committee on School District Reorganization because it failed to meet the criteria necessary to approve such a petition, including:

  • the petition would not result in an equitable division of property between the districts;
  • each affected district would not have the ability to educate its students in an integrated environment and would promote ethnic discrimination or segregation; 
  • the petition would not promote sound educational performance and would significantly disrupt the educational programs in the affected districts;
  • the petition would increase school facilities costs in a significant way;
  • the petition would not promote sound fiscal management and would create negative effects on the fiscal statuses of each district.

MDUSD values its ability to offer the best quality education to all its students in educational environments that center inclusion and promote respect, collaboration and creativity, and therefore opposes the petition.  

YOU MAY SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT OPPOSING THE PETITION IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

Via email at the following mailbox:  sbe@cde.ca.gov. The following information should be included in the body of the email: Commenter’s first and last name, organization affiliation, Agenda Item number 5. Please submit email comments by noon on Friday, July 8, 2022.

By phone at the following phone number: 667-770-1405
Participant Access Code: 1198774.

Upon dialing in, callers will be added to a caller queue. The operator will notify callers when it is their turn to provide public comment. Public comment will be limited to one minute. Members of the public wishing to dial in for public comment should view the livestream of the meeting. The number and access code will be provided at the start of public comment for each item.

  • Prior to making public comment, speakers who are watching the meeting via live webcast should make sure the volume on their computer is muted to avoid any background sounds so that their input is clearly heard.
  • Each speaker will be allotted one minute of public comment for each agenda item.
  • When the host unmutes the caller to provide public comment:
    • Participants will hear a voice announcement telling them they are unmuted.
    • Host will announce to caller when their time is up.

The live webcast of the hearing will be available here.

Additional details can be found in the agenda here (Item 05).

Background:

On February 23, 2017, community members in the Northgate area of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District submitted a petition to the Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools to form a new school district .

The petition sought to create a "Northgate Unified School District" from territory that included certain schools and attendance areas including: Bancroft Elementary, Valle Verde Elementary, Walnut Acres Elementary, Foothill Middle, and Northgate High schools.

Three schools located in attendance areas identified in the petition were excluded from the territory by petitioners (Highlands Elementary, Oak Grove Middle School and Ygnacio Valley High School), which would result in potential displacement of hundreds of District students. 

The County Committee on School District Reorganization rejected the petition, finding it failed to meet many key criteria necessary to
approve such a petition and that: 

  • the petition would not result in an equitable division of property between the districts (criteria #3);
  • each affected district would not have the ability to educate its students in an integrated environment and would promote ethnic discrimination or segregation (criteria #4);
  • the petition would not promote sound educational performance and would significantly disrupt the educational programs in the affected districts (criteria #6);
  • the petition would increase school facilities costs in a significant way (criteria #7); 
  • the petition would not promote sound fiscal management and would create negative effects on the fiscal statuses of each district (criteria #9).

The petitioners appealed the rejection to the State Board of Education, which will hear the appeal on July 13, 2022.

MDUSD's review of the criteria indicate that in the intervening years, the outlook on the underlying data make each of the failed criteria even less viable. MDUSD values its ability to offer the best quality education to all its students in educational environments that center inclusion and promote respect, collaboration and creativity. 

"I am extremely proud and fortunate to lead the Mt. Diablo Unified School District," said Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark. "In 2017, the County Committee on School District Reorganization rejected the petition to create the Northgate Unified School District, finding it failed to meet many key criteria necessary to approve such a petition. On July 13, 2022, the State Board of Education will hear the appeal on the 2017 decision. Just as in 2017, the petition does not meet the criteria required to approve such a change. I want to thank the community members, employees and students who oppose this secession for their efforts to communicate with the State Board of Education."

MDUSD Board Member Cherise Khaund, who represents the Northgate area of the District and is the parent of two District students, added:

"I agree with the California Department of Education (CDE) recommendation that the State Board of Education should disapprove the petition to form a new Northgate school district, and with their concerns about how this proposal would remove the most affluent area of the Mt. Diablo USD to create a less diverse school district. The diversity of Mt. Diablo school district is one of the things that drew us to enroll our children here, along with excellent programs such as Dual Language Immersion, International Baccalaureate, and Autism magnet programs. I don't want my own or other Northgate area students to lose access to all of this, nor do I want to see the Eagle Peak Montessori School lose its longstanding charter. Together we can continue to build excellent educational opportunities for all students."

Contra Costa County Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, who represents the MDUSD attendance area, submitted this statement to the State Board of Education in opposition to the petition:

"Dear Members of the State Board of Education,

I am the County Supervisor who represents District IV in Contra Costa County, and this issue pertains to students living in the cities of Clayton, Concord, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, all of which are in District IV, as well as students in other communities which are part of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.  I am also a product of this school district having attended grade, middle and high school in Pleasant Hill.  I recall when Northgate High School was built and know many of my teachers moved to the new school once it opened.

I have long been opposed, and frankly appalled by the elitism shown by those who support this application, to carving out a special area from the MDUSD. I met with some of the proponents several years ago and let them know it was not the right thing to do and affected more than the students within the area proposed for this 'new' school district. The stated reasons by those seeking this are spurious at best and downright mean at worst.

Please uphold the decision of the Contra Costa County Committee on School District Reorganization and deny this appeal.

Respectfully,

Supervisor Karen Mitchoff

Contra Costa County District 4"