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State Board of Education denies petition to create a new school district in the Northgate Area of Walnut Creek
Posted 7/13/22

Mt. Diablo Unified School District leaders, staff, parents and community members are “thrilled” that the State Board of Education has unanimously voted to deny a petition to create a new unified school district in the Northgate area of Walnut Creek, said MDUSD Board Member Cherise Khaund. The State Board found that the petition failed to meet required legal criteria, there was no compelling reason to create a new district, and there were compelling reasons not to approve it.


“Settling this issue once and for all means that we can now unite in working together for an excellent education for all,” said Khaund, whose trustee area includes the Northgate territory and whose children attend District schools. During the District’s presentation to the State Board, Khaund stressed the many exemplary programs in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, which would have been split into two districts if the petition had been approved.


Such a split would have created a less diverse and more affluent Northgate Unified District and a Mt. Diablo Unified District with a greater percentage of socio-economically disadvantaged and minority students in the remaining cities of Concord, Pleasant Hill, Clayton, Pacheco and parts of Lafayette, Martinez and Pittsburg and unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County including Bay Point.


Northgate High teacher and District parent Meg Honey, who argued against the petition during the State Board meeting, said “the many perspectives, experiences, and identities that are present on our school campuses help foster rich learning experiences and create deeper levels of empathy and understanding, as well as ensure that our students are ready to thrive in a global society.”


Twenty-six parents, staff members, union representatives, teachers, MDUSD Board Members, a County Supervisor, community members, a former student, and Concord City Council members called into the State Board meeting in support of MDUSD and in opposition to the petition. There were no callers in support of the petition.


State Board members voted 10-0 to deny the petition, saying they were impressed by the public comments and did not hear any compelling arguments in favor of creating a new Northgate district. Instead, they said all students deserve the kind of education the petitioners were trying to carve out for their students.


“I personally found the public comment quite thunderous,” said State Board Member Kim Pattillo Brownson, noting that the Board heard from people whose lives and whose children’s lives would be impacted. “What I didn’t really hear was anything terribly specific as to what was not working.” She said the proposal would have created an isolated and less diverse smaller district and a larger district that would isolate “majority minority students and majority minority schools on the other side of that divide.”


After the hearing, Khaund said there are many ways that students, parents, teachers, staff and community members can get more involved in the District, such as by joining a parent or student advisory committee, joining a school site council, or volunteering for the nonprofit Mt. Diablo Education Foundation.


“Together,” she said, “we can build even stronger public schools and communities for everyone."


For more information about the petition and District’s response, please see: