UPDATE: Walnut Creek Group Begins Campaign to Split from MDUSD, Create “Northgate Unified School District”

April 4, 2014 11:38 am · 120 comments


An unknown group of parents in Walnut Creek are apparently trying to start the Northgate Unified School District (NUSD), which would be made up of all schools located in Walnut Creek that are currently a part of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, according to the group’s website.

The website, http://nusd.moonfruit.com/, says “We have begun the process to form a new Northgate Unified School District. Our intent is to keep our NHS community attendance area intact and include the rest of MDUSD Walnut Creek into our boundaries. We are not seeking unification with the Walnut Creek School District or Acalanes Union High School District. This is a long and complicated process with many unanswered questions at this time. In the spirit of community we want to keep you informed. Anyone who is interested in being involved please sign-up for our enews and follow us on facebook.”

Several emails have been sent to many parents and residents by two individuals who are apparently involved in the plan to split.

One of the emails, sent out by Andrea Smethurst, says “Apparently, a MDUSD board has asked us to submit a proposal to split off. I am sending this to a you because I thought this might be of interest and you might want to attend the informational meeting about this on Sunday April 6 at 10:00 a.m. The location is Linda Loza’s home in Walnut Creek. I know nothing more about this and I know some may be in favor and some opposed. See email below to rsvp about attending the meeting.

Another email, sent by Alisa Mac Cormac, says “We have begun a query to form a new Northgate Unified School District. Our intent is to keep our NHS community attendance area intact and we would like to include the rest of MDUSD Walnut Creek into our boundaries. We are not seeking unification with the Walnut Creek School District or Acalanes Union High School District. After a lengthy discussion with Superintendent Meyer, Board President Barbara Oaks, and Board Member Cheryl Hansen, Barbara Oaks has surprised us by asking to include a proposal on the April 9th MDUSD Board Agenda to schedule a future workshop to review the idea of breaking off a portion of the MDUSD to create a new school district. I am writing to invite you to an informational Northgate community meeting, to be held prior to the MDUSD board meeting, to discuss the prospect of our own district with our neighbors and friends. The meeting will be this Sunday April 6 at 10:00 a.m. The location is Linda Loza’s home in Walnut Creek. To RSVP, please email: NorthgateUSD@gmail.com Or log-on to our new Northgate Unified School District web site: http://nusd.moonfruit.com and sign up if you want up-to-date information. This is a long and complicated process with many unanswered questions at this time. In the spirit of community we want to inform you and continue to keep you informed. Anyone who is interested in being involved please let us know. With thanks always, Alisa Mac Cormac

At this time, no official proposal has been given to the MDUSD Board of Education, and we can confirm that although individual board members might have directed the group on where to begin, the entire MDUSD Board of Education as a whole has not asked the group to submit a proposal.

It is unknown how this plan would affect children who live in Concord’s Lime Ridge and Crossings neighborhoods, who attend schools in Walnut Creek.

An email seeking comments from the two individuals listed above has not been returned.

UPDATE: One of the planners, Linda Loza, responded, saying “We are not proposing a district based solely on City boundaries. Our goal is clear, we want to include the entire Northgate attendance area. The families in Limeridge, the Crossings, and Crystal Ranch are our neighbors, friends, and supporters of our schools and educational programs. We are not excluding them in our proposal.”

Anon April 4, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Pleasant Hill should do the same.

Good for them April 4, 2014 at 11:14 AM

MDUSD is not a good school system. Poorly managed and top heavy with all sorts of financial burdens remaining from a corrupt past board prez.

MDUSD should manage Glennbrook and Holbrook schools only. The balance of the schools should be under new districts and new school boards.

Cowellian April 4, 2014 at 11:15 AM


It won’t work this time, either.

claytonista April 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

“Our intent is to keep our NHS community attendance area intact and include the rest of MDUSD Walnut Creek into our boundaries.”

So…they want to stick to their own kind and not let anyone else in. Ok, got it. Loud and clear.

anon April 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Thanks Cowellian, I hope you are right.

Please April 4, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Here we go, tilting at windmills again. The parents I know that have children at Northgate are HORRIFIED that their precious little offspring may have to sit next to a kid on free lunch. They’d like to circle their little light colored wagons and insulate their kids from the realities of economic and social inequality.

It drives them nuts that Clayton Valley was able to “get out” and now has money falling out of their pockets because the MDUSD can’t skim it first. Heaven forbid a school like CVCHS become more desirable than the concrete prison that is Northgate High School. Too late.

Sorry NGHS, the elitist attitude of your parents and stuck up demeanor of your kids just looks desperate now. You’ve never been what you think you are. You’re the 50 year old former showgirl with torn panty hose and lipstick on your teeth.

Good luck with that.

Angelface April 4, 2014 at 11:32 AM


I'm just sayin April 4, 2014 at 11:34 AM

This way little Johnny won’t have to see any Mexicans or blacks. Sounds great!

Dwight Schrute April 4, 2014 at 11:35 AM

I for one hope that it happens, I am tired of programs having to cater to the lowest common denominator. Bam! Said it…let the haters start hating!

yes April 4, 2014 at 11:40 AM

good idea.

Rose Garden April 4, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Nobody is any better. Some people are just better off.

claytonista April 4, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Huge difference between CV’s petition to become a charter and the Northgate effort is that CV’s effort was all about improving education. Whereas CVCHS recently attempted to EXPAND enrollment, Northgate is all about LIMITING the district to “neighbors and friends”. Even the pictures on the website screenshot above say it all.

anon April 4, 2014 at 11:43 AM

It’s not elitist, it’s wanting the best opportunities for your children. Everyone should want the same for their kids, unfortunately not everyone cares as much as they should. I hear the attendance at back to school nights and parental involvement at some MDUSD schools is absolutely pathetic. If I had a choice, I would prefer my kids to be around other parents that do everything in their power to help their children succeed. If that means splitting to form a new group, good on ‘ya Northgate.

Northgate kid's bulliy April 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM

There are better things to do with your time people.
Raise your children well in the home and then any school is fine.

Another level of bureaucracy to collect your tax money April 4, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Another superintendent, more staff, build new offices, NEW PENSIONS, and the list goes on.

@anon 13 April 4, 2014 at 11:56 AM

So if you’re a parent that has children at what you refer to as a pathetic school, then by using your logic you are a parent that doesn’t want the best opportunity for your children, you don’t care as much as you should, and you would not prefer to be at a school where all the other parents do everything in their power to help children succeed.

Ok, got it. We know where you’re coming from now.

Please make no mention of the fact that a home in the NGHS district is well over $600,000 to buy, likely over $3000 a month to rent, and there are very few affordable apartments or condos even available. Don’t worry about the fantastic parents that work multiple jobs to make ends meet and provide for their family at low paying jobs, that otherwise teach their children manners, respect, compassion and instill the desire to learn. Go ahead and lump every parent and every kid in the same pile, that if they can’t go to what you deem a good school, then they don’t deserve a quality education.

How about teaching your child to reach out and help rather than cut ties and run?

anon April 4, 2014 at 12:05 PM

@16 . . .not that the school is pathetic, the lack parental involvement is pathetic. Both my wife and I work quite a bit, but always managed time to be as involved as possible, such as attending back to school night or an field trip or event. For example, when I hear that only 3 parents out of an entire class attend a back to school night . . .yes I call that pathetic. I don’t care it is occurring in Orinda or Concord, it’s pathetic. The other schools in MDUSD can lift themselves up if they care so much, and I honestly hope they do. But in the meantime Northgate is making a move for their childrens’ future, and again, good for them.

WC Friend April 4, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Hi Concord Friends,

This is just the first step. Next up, the border wall that the city council will hear about soon in public comment, between our cities to keep you on your side of the hill. Please leave us alone and don’t bring your crime or thug kids to our schools.

-Your WC Friend

Lake April 4, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Wouldn’t it be easier to make Northgate a charter school or perhaps all High Schools in the District Charter High Schools?

AldrigeFamily April 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM

remember last 2 times they tried this, it didn’t work.

why the hate? April 4, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Why should people sacrifice their kids’ education so we can all “live in harmony”? It’s idealistic and absurd. Face it, MDUSD sucks and Northgate parent don’t want to be dragged down by bad test scores. I predict Pleasant Hill is next to attempt a break off . . . either the low scoring MDUSD schools need to improve pronto or they will be left in the dust.

Crossings Parent April 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

There are too many reasons why this won’t work. I’ve lived in the Crossings (Concord) for 12 years. This is the 3rd attempt (to my knowledge) in that 12 years to separate NGHS so that only those who live in Walnut Creek may attend North Gate. I know previous attempts were made prior to the purchase of our home in the Crossings. Here’s what I believe: This will NEVER happen. If by some strange reason the planets align and it does happen, I am fortunate to live in a community that puts families first. I know that if I send my kids to public school with my neighbors it will be a strong school with enormous amounts of community support. Public school is to be inclusive not exclusive. If an exclusive education is what you are looking for, you are free to pay for it like everyone else!

anon April 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

What’s Walnut Creek afraid of? Has your ego been bruised? Has your property value gone down? There’s no need for any changes like that. What’s needed is more money for all schools.

Crossings Parent no.2 April 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Well said Crossings Parent. I really don’t like the elitist mentality. Let’s focus on bettering the system together not only for the well-off!

hey 21 April 4, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Why is it that people like you equate disagreement with hate?

It’s disingenuous, it’s tiring, it’s incorrect and shows lack of understanding. People disagree without hate. If you’re young, I’ll give you a pass, since society today has taught you that if it’s not what you believe it’s due to hate. If you’re older and know the difference, shame on you.

Coggins Square April 4, 2014 at 12:24 PM

I can see why Northgate area familyies feel this way. They do not like being a part of a large and demographically diverse school district. They should be grateful that they have those schools for them. Because they should be lucky that MDUSD decided to build Northgate for that area since Ygnacio Valley High School was so overcrowded in the early 1970’s, and Northgate was built to relieve that overcrowding.
Apparently building Northgate may have been a big mistake, as a few years after Northgate was built to relieve that overcrowding, Pleasant Hill High’s enrollment declined drastically, and that school was forced to close as a result. Because apparently instead of building Northgate they could have just a boundary shift, however, I am guessing that most families in that part of Walnut Creek would not like having YVHS as their community high school today, even those who live in areas like The Woodlands which is MUCH CLOSER TO YVHS than NHS!!

AldrigeFamily April 4, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Northgate 847 is just mad that Clayton Valley 836 will surpass their API score this year. Northgate dropped from the 900 on thier own but they need someone to blame.

Flower Girl April 4, 2014 at 12:28 PM

No wonder we have wars between nations! We can’t even be civil to the city next door according to the nasty snipes here and in the comments on Facebook! Pathetic!

AldrigeFamily April 4, 2014 at 12:29 PM

P.S Walnut Creek your other home/boundry school is Ygnacio Valley..just in case you forgot

Wow concord haters...move to WC if you are so worried! April 4, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Obviously all the haters posting here live in Concord and have children attending schools in Walnut Creek. Why does this make you so mad? You should be proud of Concord and embrace having your children move to a school in Concord. Otherwise, move to walnut creek and all will be well with you.

Paging Ruth Carver... April 4, 2014 at 12:43 PM

She was the force behind the last attempt to merge with the AUHSD and WCSD. My personal experience was that she has a very prickly personality, but you got to give her credit for the work she put in. Still she was alienating to many WC families who didn’t want to change the makeup of their schools.

I remember seeing that enrollment at Northgate was anticipated to go way down. Won’t they will need the Crossings to keep their enrollment up. Will they include the parts of WC that currently attend YVHS/CPHS?

Lots of questions that needs answers.

If Northgate breaks off, you can bet that PH will be next. Maybe the MDUSD will do better focusing on a specific demographic. As it stands now, the residents of schools where test scores are high are being used as transfer-in schools under NCLB and it’s changing the neighborhood feel of the schools.

That’s not being a racist. Many people move to areas where the schools are good. They pay more for houses in those areas and as a result, more taxes. I don’t care what color/race/creed/religion a family is if they want to pay what we did to live in my neighborhood because of the schools.

Sending kids long distances to go to a different school has been a proven failure since the 70’s. Busing doesn’t work. Creating strong school communities where people live is a much better way of lifting them up. Kids who are bused don’t hang around to do things after school and it’s harder for their parents to come to evening events. There’s little sense of community for them.

There was an interesting article about Hayward schools that was in the paper today. Maybe the MDUSD should take note. They should try to do one thing well, instead of spreading themselves so thin.

@aldridge Family April 4, 2014 at 12:44 PM

We all understand that now that CVCHS is a charter they are better able to bribe/threaten students into taking the STAR tests seriously. (Free trips to Saanta Cruz!). Congrats for that. But don’t confuse that with providing a better education. By other testing measures based on an analysis of data from the exit exam, which students have always taken seriously, there was no increase in student achievement at CVCHS. None at all. Did the administrators pass that info on to parents????

Anon. April 4, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Good Luck…Pleasant Hill tried to do the same and was denied.

BagsFlyFree April 4, 2014 at 12:47 PM

@ 29 oh they’ll take YV, as long as new enrollments stop at the Treat border.

rw April 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

I don’t blame them for wanting to split off from the MDUSD, a poorly run school district with too many overpaid administrators with high priced PhDs and no common sense.

Cowellian April 4, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Last time, MDUSD rejected the plan to split the school district several times, but the supporters kept appealing. I think the Walnut Creek City Council even voted to support the split.

But after all was said and done, it was up to the Contra Costa County Board of Education to make the final decision. Last time, the BoE held a hearing that was packed with supporters of the split. I just sat in the back of the room and watched speaker after speaker explain why they shouldn’t have to associate with MDUSD. After all the talk, the Board voted (unanimously, I think) to disallow the split.

anon April 4, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I can’t believe the email was posted on Claycord.com with Ms. Loza’s home address. That should not have been made public.

also April 4, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Good !! Less competition @NG !!
What parents @CV do not realize is there are more competitions now, their kids might not make a sports team,
their kids in school ranking might go down etc..
Top 10% students at any public school in
CA have priorities to get in three selected UC schools, think about it.
I am totally fine with NG’s test score as long as they maintain
800 or so.

Mike April 4, 2014 at 1:00 PM

So it’s ok for Concord to want to keep Bay Point & Pittsburg residents out but not ok for Walnut Creek to want to separate from MDUSD, got it. Las Lomas is in Acalanes School District so wouldn’t it make sense for Northgate to join them? I went to Northgate as, brace yourself, a Bay Point resident & at that time there was diversity. I suggest you all get over yourselves, they aren’t doing this because they think they are better than anyone, they are doing it because they want to provide their students with better options & opportunities. Isn’t that what every parent wants?

Anon. #5 April 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

We are all dealing with the influx of “Concord”…into Clayton, PH, Walnut Creek. It would not be fair to any of the surrounding areas to let some go of MDUSD and others not. To my knowledge, you can’t split the district up because it creates an unfair demographic for those who are left in Concord, with no options. We should all be focusing an LIFTING all kids up!

ClayDen April 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

The prime indicator, in general, of how students will perform is the socioeconomic status of the parents. Not to say that you can’t rise above, as you can, and this country provides the most upward mobility on the planet. If the parents are involved and interested in their children getting a good education, the children will generally do well. This is especially true with an intact two parent family.

BTW, we sent our kids to Carondelet and De La Salle. It was a financial sacrifice, but we did without other things and felt it was worth it.

RKS April 4, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Let them go, then all the money that goes to Northgate to keep them happy will stay in the District and go to schools that need if more.

@paging Ruth Carter April 4, 2014 at 1:12 PM

I hear you. Those WC parents don’t want nasty kids from poor areas transferring to their nice school. Those Northgate parents paid good money to live in WC so their children wouldn’t have to go to school with poor kids. Then that stupid No Child Left Behind says the district has to let poor kids transfer to Northgate. Life isn’t fair. The solution is to create their own district so they don’t have to let in the riff-raff. Great idea!

So is Northgate going to make room for the WC neighborhoods that go to YVHS? Those families have been complaining for years that they bought expensive houses in WC so they shouldn’t have to go to a Concord high school with low income Concord students. Who can blame them, right?
I hear Northgate is so overcrowded now that kids can’t get the science classes they need for college because there aren’t enough classrooms with labs. So how’s that going to work? I guess it’s worth it if you can kick out all those trashy kids from Concord. Swap them out for the WC kids from YVHS. Then all you WC parents can raise your own taxes to pay for more classrooms and a duplicate set of administrators. No problem for you guys, right? After all, you were willing to pay the NHS principal an additional $20K to run a model UN program. Obviously money is no issue. Sounds like a plan.

also April 4, 2014 at 1:14 PM

I like that NG is diverse, good balance of diversity and okay test score,if I was
looking for a school with high test scores, I have bought a house in San Ramon. San Ramon schools have much higher test scores but house price is about same as WC.
WC schools DO NOT have high test scores, they have descent
test scores.
Most wealthy families in NG area send their kids to private schools.

Freedom of choice April 4, 2014 at 1:20 PM

This reeks of demographic income class!!!

Happ April 4, 2014 at 1:21 PM

I do not live in WC nor do my kids attend school in WC but I understand why they want to break away. I have seen how the district is run and where the majority of the money is spent.
If I spent big money to live in an area I’d want the school to reflect the same sort of commitment from the school and fellow parents and kids. It’s not about race or the amount of one family has compared to another it’s about parents being involved and wanting a say in their child’s education and where fees are spent.

I went to Oak Grove Int. and yes there were kids that cared and parents as well but the numbers that gave a dam were less then what I’ve seen at the schools my kids attended. I would much rather have the majority of kids mine spend the day at school with wanting to be there and thinking about where they are going or what they are doing after HS.

Elwood April 4, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I think that’s a great idea!

Let Mt. Diablo keep all the low income, low IQ, mouth breathing lip readers and form a new school district for the deserving elite.

PH Dad April 4, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Pleasant Hill people – let’s do the same! We can do it! Pleasant Hill Union School District! MDUSD is too large and spread too thin. Maybe with a smaller district, MDUSD can focus more on helping the “Concord” schools improve. Every child deserves a chance to succeed, but it just isn’t working the way it should in MDUSD. Period. We to take action now. Kudos to Northgate for trying to do something about it. Even if they have tried and failed in the past, at least they are not giving up. Try again, try better, make it happen.

Chalkboy8 April 4, 2014 at 1:42 PM


Curious Parent April 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM

Isn’t California changing to a new formula for school financing? School districts with more poor students will get more money. I wonder how that plays into this. I would think a Northgate School District would be on the low end of the financing totem pole because it would encompass no low income areas. I realize that’s why they want to form their own district, but I wonder if it would work out for them financially. They will have higher administrative costs. They will also have to cover all special ed costs, unlike a charter school such as CVCHS, which can dump the most expensive special ed students back on MDUSD. The most severely emotionally disturbed require placements in special, very expensive schools paid for by the school district. A Nothgate School District would have to absorb all those costs themselves. CVCHS is also able to dump back into MDUSD the troublesome students and the low performers. Northgate School District would have to deal with them themselves. They wouldn’t even be able to send them to Olympic High or a small necessary school. They would have to keep them at Northgate. I’ve heard that parents of low performing students in the Northgate area were for many years advised to send their children to CVHS because they would fit in better there where there aren’t so many high achieving families and students.

As I said before... April 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Linda Loza’s comments about welcoming Crystal Ranch and Crossings residents show that they know they don’t have enough WC residents at Northgate to make this even remotely feasible. I wonder if those Concord residents will suddenly be in support of the split now.

It’s true that a split will require a demographic that is similar to the one the new district is leaving. That’s going to be a hard one for that area to accomplish.

It sounds like this split is more about the Northgate school attendance area and not all MDUSD WC residents. Last time Ruth Carver’s group tried this, they said it was for all the WC residents, (remember Walnut Creek Schools Together?) including those who went to YV and CP. This time it’s just about Northgate.

@paging Ruth Carver #43 April 4, 2014 at 2:06 PM

I get your snark. What I am saying is just the reality of a situation. You find any area that has good schools, and the home prices are higher. Just look at the difference in home prices for the MDUSD vs AUHSD parts of WC.

I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying it is what it is.

You may be surprised to hear this, but Title 1 schools get a heap of extra funding for special programs. I am not a budget expert, but I have sat through enough school district meetings to know that the funding is substantial. I don’t know if any of that money even goes to Northgate or College Park because they don’t qualify. Schools are not funded through property taxes thanks to Prop 13, so Northgate gets what Mt. D gets from the district without the extra government funding for ESL, etc. It’s on the parents of those schools to fund extra programs through donations. I guess they pay because they think it’s worth it and they can afford it.

BTW, I thought that the extra money paid to the NHS principal was shady too.

I personally hope this split doesn’t go through, nor do I think it will.

@PH Dad #48 April 4, 2014 at 2:11 PM

The problem is that many people in PH want a separate district, but no one wants to do the heavy lifting by taking it on. If you can pull together a large group of people willing to commit, you may get somewhere.

PH has a great group of dedicated volunteers and is a great close-knit community. Getting this done will definitely take a village.

Curious Parent April 4, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Mike @39, The Northgate area tried to break away from MDUSD and join the Acalanes district several years ago. Acalanes didn’t want them. The Contra Costa County School Board would have to approve such a proposal and it said no. I guess they’ve given up on the idea of joining a wealthier district and are trying to form their own small district.

Mutts April 4, 2014 at 2:22 PM


What is wrong with you? April 4, 2014 at 2:23 PM

First off, I’ve read a few comments (e.g., WC friend, @paging Ruth Carter) where I physically feel sick. Calling Crossings kids “riff raff” and talking about our child’s “crime”. What is wrong with you?! Have you ever been to the Crossings before? It’s beautiful. There’s a gorgeous greenbelt that all families take their nightly walks through, pools, dog park, tennis courts, preschool just to name a few. There isn’t a similar, safe community like it anywhere. In proud to say I live here. I know my neighbors. We have block parties and regularly if not, nightly play in the street with the other children. The families are amazing and we have relationships with other families that will last s lifetime. I’ve read a lot of comments about housing prices.. You should look up a 5 bedroom house in the crossings, it’s not cheap. We all pay our homeowners dues to keep our community amazing.

I feel sorry for the parents that have posted on here. I feel sorry for your children that have to listen to your prejudice comments. I feel sorry for you that you’re so simple minded and uncomfortable around people that live a mile up the hill from you. It’s incredible to me that people can be so unkind, that you’ve raised your children to have similar views of entitlement, hatred and bigotry. You should look within yourselves to see what example you’ve set for your kids. Crossings kids can’t go to your precious school because we don’t live in Walnut Creek? Go to private school, run away and fast. We aren’t going anywhere (except maybe Clayton Valley because their reputation is far better than Northgates and will become a very popular school).

I don’t want my kids (my very smart kids) sharing a school with the likes of you. I don’t. I’ll pay private if I have to. I consciously wouldn’t subject my children to that. If your looking for a safe, beautiful place to spend the day, I highly recommend walking through the crossings.. Good luck to your kids.

PH Dad April 4, 2014 at 2:27 PM

#53 . . . I don’t know exactly what it takes, I just know it’s a LOT. I actually may start looking into this seriously. I have heard far too many people just talking about it for too long. I agree the support is there someone just needs to take one for the team and get it started. I think I might contact the Northgate crew for ideas to get started. Good luck Northgate, and good luck to the rest of MDUSD. I hope everyone finds improvement. Our kids deserve it. Go village!

Michelle April 4, 2014 at 2:28 PM

I think this is all talk.

Being Open Minded Always Helps April 4, 2014 at 2:31 PM

The good news is nobody is upset by all this. Not yet anyway.

PH fan April 4, 2014 at 2:41 PM

At PH Dad… Go for it. I think you would find a ton of support! It was attempted before and wasn’t allowed, WC has tried before to. If Northgate can, then surely PH can to. MDUSD should let both of these groups go…

Idiocracy April 4, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I went to NorthGate back in the 90’s and it was like that movie “Pump up the Volume”. Can’t tell you how amazed I was to see 16 yearold kids driving brand new Benz’s / BMW’s and a few SC400 lexuses. That whole school was a preppies wet dream! Even back then it wasn’t about education it was about who was rich and popular (hardly educational related). It was your standard Jocks and Preps vs the rest of us! Its hard to focus on school work when even your teachers favor the legacy kids aka the rich snob generation families that attended. I’m still amazed to this day that getting an academic scholarship and becoming a PHD in Math or science gets paid less than some rookie dude playing CB on the raiders…lol … Our priorities are jacked. As for splitting from MDUSD…. I’d say its a good thing cause Concord High and MT Diablo high are dumps… I should know I went to summer school at both of them cause I didn’t focus or apply myself for a lil while in Highschool cause I was being dumb. Ended up getting it together lol. Let them split if they want to

anon April 4, 2014 at 3:42 PM

@44 well said

Random Task April 4, 2014 at 3:50 PM

First off kudos to parents that want to make things better and not stay linked to a criminal and greedy dem fleecing pit hiding under a ….of all things a fundamental part of our children’s education. Exploitation and utter abuse of tax payer money as well as downgrading the educational level across the board to further their own wallets and political agendas. More parents need to stand up for their children instead of letting them toil in the abyss of a social system that is catering to the illegals and making the hard working citizens foot the bill. I will foot the bill for fire and police and a child’s chance to become great ….always have. I will not pay for criminals to give away tax money to further their own careers. Thought that was illegal ….must not be in demifornia.>>>>> Here’s to the bright future of a up and coming push to become better and not toil around watching inept criminals flaunt around tax money like it is theirs.

angry bird April 4, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Let’s do Asian/Philpino Schools, Black Schools, Mexican Schools and Caucasian Schools. It makes as much sense and would solve Northgates uppity better than thou problem!

vindex April 4, 2014 at 4:26 PM

In principle, I’m with them. With that said. Why not go to one of the excellent private schools in Walnut Creek instead of fighting with the MDUSD? After all the time and money, you could have just sent your kid to private school.

anon April 4, 2014 at 4:30 PM

We want all the schools in the district at the highest level, not just one.

Happ April 4, 2014 at 4:47 PM

@anon #66
You can throw all the money at a school but if the parents aren’t interested in education and the school other using it as a day care the money is a waste! If the parents don’t care about education their kids for the most part will follow suite. It’s not about shutting kids out that want an education I would welcome kids from anywhere of any background that want to be there and have parents that want the same.

Good luck PH Dad hope it picks up steam.

@PH Dad #57 April 4, 2014 at 5:38 PM

If you post local notices about an informational meeting regarding this issue, you will get plenty of people who will come.

There are many people in PH have already looked into what it will take and I’m sure they will share that information with whoever steps up to be an organizer.

You can ask the Northgate people for ideas, but I’m not sure it’s in the their best interest to help you out. Their chances of getting out of the district won’t improve if PH tries it at the same time.

Believe me, if you have a meeting, they will come.

Scoob April 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

After careful consideration, and knowing the history of similar efforts, I vote yes. Why not? Pride and class warfare? Who wins? Let them defect. What they really want to do is decrease the number of baggy pant, belt below the buns kids at the school. I don’t think they are too worried about the kids from The Crossings and Crystal Ranch. Its the lack of support from the district and a small number of bad seeds that do transfer in from other areas of the district that has them upset. The families south of Treat don’t want to go to YVHS. It eventually all comes down to the County Board of Education and Superintendent deciding. I’m pretty sure Joe Ovick was around and opposed the last effort to split (90s?). Mt D is the State’s 23rd largest district, with almost 34k students. It is about 11 miles from one side to the other. Big enough for a split as our area continues to grow in population.

CW April 4, 2014 at 6:51 PM

I’d like to see all the schools to the west of 680 become their own district. So that would be Pleasant Hill but also some in Martinez and Walnut Creek. 680 is a natural boundary.

mika April 4, 2014 at 7:50 PM

YVHS is hoping to convert to an International Baccalaureate school by 2015-16 school year. Goal is to draw students back to he school and offer a more challenging academic program. Not sure what will happens to those students not interested in the curriculum, guess they get transferred to Northgte, CP, Mt. Or Concord high.

Teacher Wannabe April 4, 2014 at 8:10 PM

Snooty, nose in the air parents. I thought segregation ended at Little Rock. Too good for MDUSD (I have 3 kids who turned very well, thank you)?

Teacher Wannabe April 4, 2014 at 8:18 PM

@Scoop. I bet you’ll find just as many saggy pants and such in the NUSD. That kind of stuff is not limited to MDUSD. A rose (or onion) by any other name…BTW, my 3 kids graduated from YVHS. 2 with honors. Its a great school.

Follow The Money April 4, 2014 at 8:41 PM

All the sudden that $40,000 given to their principal is starting to make a lot more sense…

Jaz April 4, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Has anyone seen UC Berkeley Professor’s Robert Reich’s ‘Inequality for All’ documentary? Watch it! Then let me know what you think! Netflix it!

Tex April 4, 2014 at 9:16 PM

I find it curious that Northgate includes Crystal Ranch and the Crossings. Sure, those are the richer parts of Concord, but they are SO Concord! Northgate is over on the other side of the mountain, separated by an open space preserve, and reachable only by traveling at high speed on a four lane highway.

Kind of reminds me of a few years back when some Clayton folks couldn’t stand having to share an assembly district with the Concord riff raff, feeling their values and interests were more in synch with Blackhawk, who are their obvious demographic next door neighbors seeing as Mt. Diablo only has a handfull of Rangers as residents.

Maybe we could create a new city, school district, assembly district, utility district, etc of all the wealthy neighborhoods that ring Mt. Diablo. Birds of a feather should be able to flock together, geography be damned.

Curious Parent April 4, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Regarding Chrystal Ranch, didn’t the developer pay off MDUSD to allow Chrystal Ranch the option to attend Nothgate for a certain number of years? It allowed the developer to get a higher price for the houses. But I thought it reverted solely to CVHS after a while. Maybe I’m remembering it wrong. Does anybody else remember the story?

Izzy April 4, 2014 at 10:00 PM

The way this letter reads, is the “unknown” parents really don’t know what it takes to create a school district. Clayton Valley Charter High is not a part of MDUSD but of Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) system which is in San Ramon. So it is still “districted”. This took work and money not just people deciding to do it. If Northgate can do this, power to them; but I think it will go in the way of the Raiders moving to Concord idea.

ale April 4, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Oh look..the rich people don’t want to be associated with the not rich. Classy!

What about... April 4, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Students in The Crossings attend Northgate HS and Foothill MS, but they attend Highlands Elementary. Most students from Highlands go on to Pine Hollow MS and CVCHS, so presumably Highlands is not within the proposed new Northgate Unified School District. So where would students from The Crossings go to elementary school if they are to be included in the Northgate district? Would they go to Walnut Acres?

Wibbly April 4, 2014 at 10:27 PM

Izzy you are right. It’s better to wait for a notice or statement with more information confirming this. It’s just too hard to believe.

Pro Fi April 4, 2014 at 10:52 PM


Yes, WASC is an accreditation commission, but that it all it is. Mt. Diablo; Concord; YV and Olympic are all ASCWASC accredited. The commission simply reviews institutional standards and planning and gives its’ seal of approval. That is all they do, they are not a ‘district’. Not only do they deal with public and private pre-K-12 and charter schools, but provide accreditation for all types of educational institutions including college and universities. DVC, the CSUs & UCs are all under their domain as well.
Northgate is already WASC accredited, so that really has no bearing on whether they become a charter school/new district. From their website:
http://www.acswasc.org/about_why.htm WHAT THEY DO:
-Certification to the public that the school is a trustworthy institution of learning
-Validates the integrity of a school’s program and student transcripts
-Fosters improvement of the school’s programs and operations to support student learning
-Assures a school community that the school’s purposes are appropriate and being accomplished through a viable educational program
-A way to manage change through regular assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring and reassessment
-Assists a school/district in establishing its priority areas for improvement as a result of the perpetual accreditation cycle that includes
-School self-assessment of the current educational program for students
-Insight and perspective from the visiting committee
-Regular school staff assessment of progress through the intervening years between full self-studies.

Below are additional examples with respect to accreditation:
In December 2002 UC faculty approved a policy that requires all California public and private high schools to be WASC-accredited (or a candidate for accreditation) in order to establish and/or maintain an “a-g” course list.

Accreditation is required with respect to the Cal Grants.

The WASC/CDE (California Department of Education) process serves as the basis for the Single Plan for Student Achievement.

Colleges and universities examine transcripts to determine if the students have attended accredited institutions.

Teachers will not receive credit for the years during which they taught at a non-accredited school by many schools/districts nationwide. WASC receive calls from school personnel who are recruiting applicants for teaching positions with respect to their prior schools of employment.

The military recruiters expect the applicants to be from accredited schools.

Many districts have policies to accept credits only from WASC accredited schools or schools accredited by other regionals with whom WASC has reciprocal agreements.

Hope that clarifies.

Pro Fi April 4, 2014 at 10:56 PM

100% ON POINT ALE…. That is EXACTLY what this is about… social class, nothing else.

Lime Ridge Resident April 4, 2014 at 11:44 PM

Our community will vote to include Lime Ridge in the new district, but we hope the riff raff in the Crossings are excluded. Those kids should be forced to go to CVCHS or Concord High. They don’t deserve the Northgate experience.

-Lime Ridge Resident

MDUSD Parent April 4, 2014 at 11:47 PM

Izzy #78, WASC is the accrediting agency for schools in California, Hawaii, and the Pacific. It inspects schools to make sure they meet minimum standards and grants them accreditation if they do. It is not a school district. CVCHS is a charter school, accredited by WASC. CVHS was accredited by WASC when it was part of MDUSD, as are all other high schools in MDUSD. CVCHS is not part of any school district. It is governed by its own Governing Board which is made up of employees of the school, parents of the school, and additional community members appointed by the Governing Board. Its charter was authorized by the Contra Costa County Board of Education, which has only minimal authority over the school as allowed by state law.

If I were union, I'd be worried April 5, 2014 at 12:28 AM

CVCHS was all about disgruntled unionized teachers forcing a charter conversion because they wanted better pay, benefits, and working conditions for themselves. The Northgate situation is about a group of parents wanting to take control of their schools. I’d be very worried if I were a teacher or other unionized employee in a Northgate school. Unlike MDUSD School Board elections, unions will not be able to play much of a role in electing school board members. It’s a small community and the parents/voters all know each other. It’s not a union-friendly community. These are high-achieving, salaried (non-union) employees. They are very involved parents who will demand teacher accountability and a hard day’s work from their school employees.

Sherry Whitmarsh April 5, 2014 at 7:18 AM

Several questionsI have about the boundaries
1) Montecito Dr in Concord is right next to Crystal Ranch and across from Lime Ridge but not in the Northgate feeder patterns Will they be included in the new district or will it be an island still in Mt Diablo Unified?
2) Ayers Elementary will have its population reduced because Crystal Ranch and the Crossings will have to be redistributed to another school. How will the new district redraw the elementary boundaries?
3) Are the Concord addresses that currently go to Bancroft Elementary but not Northgate High included in the new district or will they have to be redrawn into another MDUSD school?

Doctor J April 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Very interesting concept. My respect for Linda Loza indicates she is serious bite realizes the daunting task before her. She also has shown with her compromise on the Meas C bonds that she can be practical even when she doesn’t get everything she wants. So maybe this effort, if not successful could be used to get “more” for the NHS feeder pattern. Some real big financial issues involved with the proposal. MDUSD could be the big winner financially by cutting off the NHS feeder pattern. This would increase the current 49% targeted student ratio well over the 55% minimum needed for big time concentration grant money and leave NUSD well out of range. Also, it would leave MDUSD with a larger % of concentration grant money and NUSD with a small amount of Supplemental grant money. Of course, Dr. Nellie has probably run the numbers which she could verify in a heartbeat. This will boil down to emotion and money — life’s two driving factors, unfortunately.

Lime Ridge Resident April 5, 2014 at 10:37 AM


Crossings kids go to Highlands elementary (you should know that). Where they belong. They should not be afforded the Northgate feeder experience. Hopefully, they will be excluded.

-Lime Ridge Resident

@ Sherry April 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Are you asking because now that you aren’t on the school board, you might be interested in being a part of the new district, or is it just to show the organizers that there are a lot of questions to be answered?

In the early comments, Crossings Parent and Crossing Parent no. 2 seemed to be against the idea. Now that they may be included in a potential new district (because their numbers are needed), do they still feel the same way?

The Crossings and Crystal Ranch aren’t even near NHS. It will be interesting to see if they try to fight it now. I notice there were no more comments from that area since it was stated that they may be included.

Anyone want to guess if they will or won’t be against it?

Sherry Whitmarsh April 5, 2014 at 11:39 AM

My apologies. I meant Highlands Elementary. for Crystal Ranch and the Crossings.

The reason for asking is that I think there are many unanswered questions still. If this occurs I’m sure I will be at least a year away. I also hope the organizers are looking at special education because of the fiscal impact that would have on a smaller district.

Curious Parent April 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Sherry, Montecito might end up a MDUSD island surrounded by Northgate? My understanding is that state law governing how school districts are drawn does not permit a portion of a district to be completely surrounded by another district.

Feeder patterns for the high schools do overlap in cases such as Highlands Elementary that feeds to both CVCHS and Northgate. As you point out, it is not as simple as saying “We’ll take everything in the Northgate feeder pattern”.

Dredge April 5, 2014 at 12:42 PM

North Gate were always a bunch of stuck-ups.

@Doctor J April 5, 2014 at 2:19 PM

If Northgate breaking off means MDUSD qualifies for additional funding, you can rest assured the legislature will change the funding formula to make sure MDUSD won’t get one dime more. They’ll change the formula to say that if a district breaks up into smaller districts, the combined districts can’t receive more funding than they did as one district. Otherwise, districts might be tempted to game the system to get more money. That’s what the legislature did with charter schools. If a district school converts to a charter school and is entitled to funding at a higher rate, the additional money comes out of the district’s budget, not from the state. That’s why MDUSD had to fork over money to CVCHS. Perhaps that rule is already included in the law. Someone at MDUSD should be researching that.

Larry Miller April 5, 2014 at 2:27 PM

NG parents, eat the elephant one bite at a time. If its a better education and more control of the school you want, follow the CVCHS model, it is the best in the county now. But get real, if you are trying to chase off minorities from going to NG, grow up and get rid of this Hitler Youth idea…

Larry Miller April 5, 2014 at 2:38 PM

BTW Lime Ridge Resident, NG has been identified with the Sheriff’s Department as one of the high schools with the biggest drug problems in the County. Before your start throwing around the riff raff thing, do your homework!

Pro-Community Schools April 5, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I don’t live in the MDUSD area, but I used to. We moved, like so many other families, to ensure a better education for our kids.
I do think that MDUSD would be more effective if it were broken up into smaller districts- not just for Walnut Creek, but for all of the other cities too! Any progress in that district, whether for the teachers, the schools, or the children, was frustratingly slow due the overwhelming bureaucracy of the large sized district. With our kids growing up so fast, we parents need a system that can hear, respond and keep pace with our needs quickly. Only a true community school can do so. MDUSD is too large to be considered a community district by any measure!
So I find it confusing that there is opposition to making it a smaller district when everyone would benefit. I am particularly confused that some people seem to really dislike “snooty” Walnut Creekers, but they don’t want to see them leave? That is irony at it’s best!
I hope that Walnut Creek succeeds, and that other cities in MDUSD are able to break off as well in order to create more efficient community districts for their children and families as well.

MDUSD Historian April 5, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Another memory just popped into my head.

Does everyone remember when Paul Strange (sitting board president at the time) called Linda Lonza, “…an enemy of the kids of MDUSD.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Doctor J April 5, 2014 at 4:40 PM

@#94, Unlikely since LCFF corrected prior inequities by having the funding follow the child. The irony here is that MDUSD didn’t propose the split, but NHS supporters — who stands to lose the most ? NUSD, while MDUSD will stand to gain significantly. Kind of an odd twist but then they get a huge part of the Meas C debt, and think they can pass parcel taxes until the cows come home.

Doctor J April 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

At MDUSD historian — time to rollout the parody again !!

Julio April 5, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Mt Diablo Unified School District has been very bad for so many years I have forgotten how many it actually is. Stay and make it better is the answer but I commend Ygnacio for going Charter. People need to look into the people they are electing and then just stay on top of the school board. Who goes to those meetings or city council meetings. Very very very few.

Question for CVHS parents April 5, 2014 at 5:36 PM

I see many posts from parents who presumably have or will have students at CVHS…..Based upon your experience….a positive one getting the school chartered. WHY would u begrudge northgate for trying something to get out from under the very poor district they are managed by. I don’t get it. One parent bragging their scores will be better and we are pissed. That sounds like adolescent competition. Really don’t get it. I was so happy for clayton to get that accomplished as were many of my peers in northgste area. It saddens me that since it’s happened all I’ve seen is a whole lotta bragging about your school and sour grapes at northgate.

Pro Fi April 5, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Just a thought – Is this the Northgates’ parents attempt to privatize a public school with taxpayer money? I was looking at the demographics for Northgate and it seems as though less then 10% of students are non-white or non-asian. Hmmmmmmmm…….This movement is reminiscent of of the separate but equal mentality prevalent in the past.

Sara from Chrystal Ranch April 5, 2014 at 7:12 PM

There is an irony in that Norhtgate, which fought the CV charter conversion so rabidly, is now again looking to cut and run. Northgate has tried secession, a charter, and now they are attempting to form a new district.
The school’s principal.is under fire for accepting $ 40,000 from the parent’s group for serving as a club advisor for Model UN, typically a teacher’s role.. This is the same man who acted as the former superintendent’s voice in attempting to scuttle our efforts by creating a divisive atmosphere in the Northgate community..What strange timing is this?
There is also this: From what information is leaking out of this movement, some of the central planners include a NHS parent who has led tprevious efforts to leave the district, a very recent former superintendent of the MDUSD, a current, and very highly paid, high school principal in the area, and a MDUSD board member who represents the Northgate community,
There are parents who are genuinely concerned about their school but much of this stems from e a fetid combination of envy, payback, class warfare, petty political ambitions, and a lack of professional accountability at the administrative levels. For those concerned parents, and we know a number of them this is a very anxious and uncertain time.
We moved our daughter from Northgate when CVHS went charter.We are very pleased that we did. She has been challenged academically, supported, and surrounded by a staff and community that puts its students first.
We do wish the best for the students in the Northgate attendance area; we wish them the best education, the best leadership, and the best future. In the end, it is all about the students. It just right now feels like it is all about the adults.

ANNONeeemoose April 5, 2014 at 7:22 PM

I fail to understand and I don’t see explained, the laws or procedure in which this could ever take place. Why not go charter like CV? That at least has breadcrumbs down the path that worked. Can someone point me to an article where another group of schools were able to secede from their district?

Pro Fi April 5, 2014 at 9:15 PM

@ Sara from CR – Well stated. I appreciate you candor and YES! This is all about the adults.

Maya Piñon April 5, 2014 at 9:23 PM

What does it really matter where any of these kids go to school whatever race they are or socioeconomic background, huh??? None of these kids are any better or worse than the next kid in another neighborhood whether it’s Crossings or YV area, Clayton or Walnut Creek (oh, and get over yourself Lime Ridge Resident, what’s so hot about Lime Ridge? Still in Skankerd aren’t you???) Every single last one of them are all the same, entitled young spoiled people who are more interested in being fixated on their cell phones, into sports teams and to hell with academics! You’re all a bunch of whiners who are raising the future generation of self entitled individuals who’ll want to start their first job earning $80k per year or “they just won’t do it” buncha little whiners. Yes, what is your response to that???

MDUSD Historian April 5, 2014 at 9:57 PM

check this out Dr. J


Question for CVHS parents April 6, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Again….no one really on this board interested in bettering education ( my one and only goal for my 3 children)…..it’s all jealousy, sour grapes and petty comparisons. “CVHS is better “, “acalanes didht want u” u are “elitist ” attempting to better your child’s education.

Why shouldnt anyone take initiative and make improvements where needed? I will always do so still they take their last year of studies and maybe even farther because I love our community.

Crystal ranch, crossings, lime ridge peeps: look in the mirror. If this deal guaranteed 100% a northgate placement you’d support in a heartbeat.

Dexter April 6, 2014 at 9:26 AM

MDUSD is sh*t

If you have kids in WC going to school and you live deep in WC away from concord why should their school be lumped with tjay sh*t district with punk a$$ gangster wannabe kids whom most won’t go on to attend college as statistics for the district show. The parents were successful in life due to their hard work which allowed them to live in walnut creek. They want their kids to have a chance to be successful too.

#107 April 6, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Every kid deserves a great education, but having kids leave their community to go to a school miles away doesn’t work.

In PH, the middle school is 30% transfer in. Despite whether those kids are academically motivated it has created two separate student populations at the school that is very obvious to the teachers.

Why don’t we demand the MDUSD to do better for all our kids. Fix the schools in the socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods–not by throwing money at it–but by engaging the families and requiring more of them and the students,

There are plenty of parents who are lower income who want the best education for their kids but they don’t live near the good schools. The district needs to get innovated so that they can improve schools and communities.

MDUSD Historian #98 April 6, 2014 at 10:26 AM

I’m not sure I get your context. Seems like Paul Strange was right, but dramatic, about Loza. She is attempting to break off from the district so she certainly isn’t their #1 fan!

Positive Discrimination? Never! April 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

It is abundantly clear to ALL of us what is going on. A few parents are trying to divide our Northgate community, yet again. We see you for who are, and what you really represent. It is our fault as parents, that we have not paid better attention to the board members and parent leaders that we have elected, and have not been following. Our Fault. We will not allow these key parents who are supposed to represent our entire Northgate High School Community to try to sell us something that smells so bad. Now Lime Ridge and the Crossings are at a small civil upheaval? Really? Be careful, these people are organized and tactical. Make no mistake, they wear 2 faces. Teachers are not able to voice their opinions, as they fear the retribution they will face from the hierarchy of their principal and his hand picked circle of teachers, who report and carry out his dirty work. We see you for what you are. We are all watching, and thank you for making it very clear to all of us that our children, even the Riff-Raff, that some left-wing person mentioned, deserve the absolute best, supportive learning environment that we can provide.

#113 April 6, 2014 at 1:57 PM

WTH? “We are all watching, and thank you for making it very clear to all of us that our children, even the Riff-Raff, that some left-wing person mentioned, deserve the absolute best, supportive learning environment that we can provide.”

Lol. That some left-wing person mentioned? I was thinking it was someone who was a Christian.

You sound like a looney.

anonymous April 7, 2014 at 1:52 PM

This is ignorant, segregation, classism at its best. Hold your heads up high walnut creek parents at least you should own your racism.

Connie Dobbs April 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM

You know, this debate could be settled with a barbed wire steel cage match.

anonymous April 7, 2014 at 4:49 PM

@Connie Dobbs

Be carful Connie Dobbs, you might be labeled ad “riff raft” because you suggested a low class event. If we add wine I’m sure it would be fine with the walnut creekers, as long as it’s over $30 a bottle.

A-PARENT April 7, 2014 at 6:20 PM

I think #113 is very sane. My guess is that person hit it right on the nose.

Looney describes this whole scenario. Please do not insult all Christians!

Connie Dobbs April 7, 2014 at 10:53 PM

Oh, I’m the riffiest riff that ever riffed a raff. You ever meet any Piledrivers?

MDUSD Teacher April 8, 2014 at 7:38 AM

Yes, MDUSD has huge problems. But if everyone is just out to do what is best for THEIR kid and not all children nothing will ever change. MDUSD is too big. Why don’t all parents ban together and demand a better school district. Split it into an Elementary District and a Secondary District. By having a district that is focused on a smaller group of students there will be a better chance to support the teachers and students to make sure they have what they need. Come on people! All of these kids are the future of our community, not just the few that have parents rich enough to buy them their own school!

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