Public Meeting to Discuss the Proposed Northgate Unified School District

May 22, 2014 8:44 am · 68 comments

The Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) Board of Education has agreed to hold a public study session on Tuesday, May 27th, to discuss the idea of district reorganization and the creation of a Northgate Unified School District, which would include all schools in Walnut Creek that are currently a part of the MDUSD.

The meeting will be held at the Dent Center Board Room, 1936 Carlotta Dr. in Concord, at 6pm.

You are encourage to attend this meeting and bring other interested community members.

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

94598 May 22, 2014 at 9:38 AM

I have sooo much to say, but I would need several pages to articulate my personal experiences and my kids’ stories as well……

So in summary- MDUSD is horrible- We need to take back our schools for our kids sake!

California Nightmare May 22, 2014 at 9:39 AM

The problem with MDUSD is the same problem you see whenever a school district board is dominated by members elected due to their slavish support for the all powerful teachers union.

The California Teachers Union runs MDUSD the same way it runs the state of California – in its own selfish interests.

Fix the problem by eliminating this huge conflict of interest. Elect a board that takes no money or campaign support from the teachers union.

Color me Surprised May 22, 2014 at 9:45 AM

This sounds like a great idea! Maybe the schools in Clayton can use Northgate’s experiences as a roadmap for forming their own school district.

Charles-the-cat May 22, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Carefully breaking the MDUSD into smaller districts is the way to go rather than piecemeal fragmentation. All of the kids would benefit from smaller districts with local control. For that to happen, parents from all over the district would have to come together to work for the change and not take the bait when the current powers that be try to pit them against each other.

mamatosix May 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM

@ California Nightmare
Amen to all of that !!!!!

hotwing May 22, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Yeah. Its the unions. Keep drinkin the Kool-Aid my friend!

Taking apart MDUSD May 22, 2014 at 10:16 AM

one section at a time is a great idea. I would like to see MDUSD dismantled entirely. Its history of corruption along with self serving management leaves little choice but to disband the entire organization, replaced by smaller and more community centric districts.

JET May 22, 2014 at 10:18 AM

Hopefully this will work better than it has at CVCHS…. what a joke that place has turned into. Renegades.

Get the facts straight May 22, 2014 at 10:23 AM

The last time this came up there was a 50 Million dollar figure in assets and income to be removed from MDUSD.
At the County Board of Education I attended re: the CVHS charter request, there were students with large posters from Northgate HS demanding that the little over 1 Million dollars not be taken from them to go to CVHS.
It was hypocritical then as much is it is now.

Sacto Rob May 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

You’ll never separate the influence of the teachers union on schools in the Bay Area, even if you create e hundred new school districts. From the first board election on, the seats will be filled with union-supported candidates. The only purpose for creating a new school district is to give another handful of entrenched bureaucrats a new empire to build by creating the “need” for dozens of new administrative positions and fat construction contracts the for new administration facilities.
New districts are also very attractive for people in wealthier neighborhoods who want to keep their children separated from kids from poor neighborhoods.
Just another massive con job on the public.

@ California Nightmare May 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM

The teachers in the Northgate schools will still be unionized whether they are part of MDUSD or not.

I believe this attempt stems from two issues. First, getting a parcel tax passed in MDUSD is almost impossible. Northgate parents believe they will be able to pass parcel taxes, just as other wealthier districts such as Acalanes and WC do. They are much more willing to support their schools financially. They also support educational foundations that pay for many things the districts can’t afford. Second, No Child Left Behind requires MDUSD to allow student from “failing” school to transfer to higher achieving schools. That means poor kids from Concord can transfer to Northgate. The Northgate parents want to keep the undesirables out.

The Northgate community ought to pay close attention to what happened at Clayton Valley. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way you think they will. It’s always easy to come together and blame MDUSD for whatever is wrong. It’s a lot harder to come together and agree on how to move forward once MDUSD isn’t around to be the scape goat.

CoCoOld May 22, 2014 at 11:03 AM

While I agree that MDUSD is just too big, WC residents might want to be careful what they wish for. I own rental property in Orinda and Moraga and the parcel taxes are stunningly high. The parcel taxes for Acalanes HS district are around $1000 per parcel, the elementary districts around $700 each. Of course I just pass the cost off to tenants who are willing to pay ridiculously high prices to live in the “better” areas. And I still raised my kids in Concord. And they all went to good schools after high school. The one still in college is completing a double major and the ones who are out of school are working in their chosen fields. IMHO if people would instill proper attitudes in their children it wouldn’t matter so much where they went to school. Too much entitlement going on. And not the welfare kind, the kind where the “rich” folks think they are better than others. Go ahead, pay too much for your homes so that you can pay less attention to your children in school. I have a house in Orinda you could rent.

Parent May 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

@ comment #11
I thought No Child left behind is only for K through 8th grade, not high schools.

Former Student May 22, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Don’t know much about all the behind the scenes stuff, but as a former Northgate student this comes as no surprise. Most of the kids there feel they are above and beyond all others so it’s expected to see their parents the same way. Why not just strive to make MDUSD what they would want this new Northgate district to be instead of trying to exclude themselves like CV has?

Left Northgate after my first two years because I couldn’t stand what I just touched on and ended up having a great last two years of education at Ygnacio Valley.

Right on CoCoOld May 22, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I’m a landlord too, makes me laugh how many parents will pay exorbitant rents so their kids can go to the “good schools” and get steamrolled by liberal teachers and other students that have no other purpose in life than study, study, study. Welcome to the middle of the pack GPA with nothing more to show for your high school years than an ulcer.

I know some Northgate parents, and from what I can tell, they’re horrified that their little angels might have to associate with an ethnicity they don’t approve of. Heaven forbid they make eye contact with a student on free lunch! These parents believe that if schools like Mt. Diablo and Ygnacio Valley didn’t exist, the world would be a better place.

This proposal will go down in flames, just like it has every other time. Once the Northgate parents are pressed, their true colors emerge and their dreams die of embarrassment in the light of day.

LimeRidge Larry May 22, 2014 at 12:19 PM

As long as this proposal excludes The Crossings I’m all for it.

Concord take notice May 22, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Concord needs to separate and create a concord unified school district. This is a no brainer. A city this large and largely populated does not need to be a part of a multi-city district.

@Right on CoCoOld 15 May 22, 2014 at 12:52 PM

You forgot to use the phrase “stuck up” in this post.

Sherry Whitmarsh May 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

@Parent #13,

The proposal is for all current MDUSD schools in Walnut Creek to become part of the Northgate Unified School District. Valle Verde, Walnut Acres, Bancroft, and Foothill would all be part of the district.

No Child Left Behind applies to all schools receiving Title 1 funds. To date MDUSD only gives that designation to K-8 but that could change in the future.

that guy May 22, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I am for breaking up the MDSD. It is just to large. When things get to big they become to difficult to manage and the needs of the students and communities are not addressed. I am suspect of the Northgate proposal as it is exclusionary to the City of Walnut Creek. I think it is funny how they feel that because of their Zip code somehow they’re better.

@Sherry Whitmarsh #19 May 22, 2014 at 1:35 PM

What’s your take on this proposal now that you are no longer on the board? Are you for it?

What About WC Folks at CPHS? May 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

So is this for the benefit of WC or just Northgate? There’s a lot of WC families who currently go to CPHS.

So, the Crossings and Crystal Ranch are in Concord, but they will get to be with a “WC” district, but folks who live in Walnut Creek and who are in the CPHS attendance area won’t?

That does smack of elitism…or something.


Remember when this was first posted? There were parents from the Crossings who were against it. Now I wonder if they are for it if they are being included.

@ CoCoOld May 22, 2014 at 1:39 PM

WELL SAID!!! I have always been a firm believer that if parents just parented and were involved the kids would receive a great education and be very successful no matter what school they go to!!

NutCreek Frontier May 22, 2014 at 3:37 PM

This would be a wonderful option for the Walnut Creek families currently assigned to lower performing Concord Schools. Why shouldn’t Walnut Creek be unified, silly to have 3 districts in one town. MDUSD might see a benefit in all that money currently channeled to private school tutions, coming back to them in parcel tax and donations.

can't we all just get along? May 22, 2014 at 3:46 PM

northgaters are no better people than lime ridgers, lime ridgers no better than northgaters, crossing-ites are no better than either one of the above. ditto for the claytonions and concordions…. and martisians
c’mon people… just teach your kids to respect each other and themselves.. we will all be ok.

@Former Student May 22, 2014 at 3:53 PM

“Why not just strive to make MDUSD what they would want this new Northgate district to be ”

We have. And we’ve been trying for years.
It doesn’t work. When you are seen as ‘the rich school’, it becomes acceptable and almost expected that you will have things taken away from you because the parents will pull in to make it happen. That’s not right, that’s not fair…and this ____ needs to stop.

“Most of the kids there feel they are above and beyond all others so it’s expected to see their parents the same way.”

Sounds like you are painting all of us with the same broad brush. I can say for certain that we all want the best for our kids and we want to see them succeed. If that comes off as arrogant or stuck up, that’s your problem…not ours. Frankly, I’ve seen more arrogance from the parents at CVCHS than I’ve seen during the years I’ve had kids in Northgate. A__hole parents are everywhere.

Mom of the Horde May 22, 2014 at 3:56 PM

I’m laughing my butt off here, but my kids attend AUHSD/WCSD schools anyway. This scheme is going to end badly, again.

Former CVHS Parent May 22, 2014 at 4:45 PM

#27, what was taken away from Northgate schools that wasn’t taken away from other MDUSD schools? Examples, please.

@ 23What About WC Folks at CPHS? May 22, 2014 at 5:05 PM

You are not informed as this northgate district proposal INCLUDES all Walnut Creek residents. The northwest section of walnut creek specifically which currently follows the PH ELEM/PH MIDD/CPHS route would now belong to the northgate district.

Concord residents (crossings especially) stop whining and make your own district! May 22, 2014 at 5:10 PM

Concord residents (crossings especially) stop whining and make your own district!
Enough said.

Just Some Guy May 22, 2014 at 5:55 PM

So if Valle Verde, Foothill etc. are all included, would they continue to draw from the same areas?

I know a bunch of people buy real estate in The Crossings and Limeridge to get into that specific feeder. If this plan disrupts that feeder, I don’t think it has a chance because of the impact to housing prices etc. But if it retains that it could gain some support.

Whether it’s a good idea or not is difficult to say. MDUSD is extremely big – too big – and Prop 13 creates all sorts of problems – so breaking it up does make a bit of sense. But doing it all at once seems like a smarter way to do it. But then each district has more overhead per population and the new districts could create further socio-economic disparity.

The Mamba May 22, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Why are there so many school districts in the state of California with all of their layers of administration any way? I don’t really know much of MDUSD except it’s less than stellar reputation, but I appreciate any out of the box steps parents take to try to give their kids more opportunity. As for the guy who hates his kids and raised them in Concord when he had the opportunity to raise them in Orinda, you come across like an ignorant a-hole.

Lanny May 22, 2014 at 8:22 PM

@california nightmare,
The teachers union in the MDUSD got their first raise in over 7 years and, while it’s a good deal for teachers, it will barely keep up with the cost of health care and a competitive salary. By the time the contract is in full effect it will likely not even cover a single kaiser plan.
Teachers have lost their jobs, have been asked to do more and more and more with less, and have generally been disrespected by the district over the past decade or so. How is it that you can say that the boardis a slave to the union?

Please explain.

I should say that while the above is true, the district is turning around in a huge way. The superintendent has brought up morale, and the district is implementing common core in an effective way. Teachers feel good about going to work, and kids are happier. Things are getting better, and it expect it to continue: sports has been funded, class sizes are going down, and music is back on the horizon.

California Nightmare May 22, 2014 at 9:00 PM

@Lanny – I do hope MDUSD can improve, but the teachers union is the biggest obstacle to real progress. Rigid union rules allow poor and unmotivated teachers to keep the jobs and get their step pay raises year after year. I had several kids attend MDUSD schools back in the 90’s, and I saw it first hand. Good teachers are paid the same as bad teachers. No accountability at any level thanks to the iron grip of CTA.

Bueler May 22, 2014 at 9:40 PM

CoCoOld has some burning jealousy of Castle Rock Road

Sherry Whitmarsh May 22, 2014 at 10:03 PM


I would like to understand the financial ramifications to MDUSD and the cost for the new Northgate Unified School District.

I think Highlands Elementary would be significantly affected. Crystal Ranch and The Crossings would be removed from the feeder pattern. Also Bancroft Elementary is a split school so those who live in Concord would have to be redistricted into another school. Also I would want to understand the impact on Pleasant Hill Elementary, Pleasant Hill Middle and College Park. Where does Eagle Peak Montessori fit in? It is located in Walnut Creek but it’s a charter school in MDUSD. Would it now because part of NUSD?

Infrastructure is another financial concern. Where would district offices be? Is there enough room at a school to house them or would office space be bought or rented? NUSD would need to set up a new layer of administration, e.g. superintendent, personnel, student services, fiscal, etc. which would be a cost that is currently split across many schools instead of just five or six schools.

What about the bond measures? Would the new school district be required to pay off the bond to MDUSD, would NUSD residents continue to pay for the bond until it is paid off, or would MDUSD taxpayers have to pay more?

What property and assets would NUSD get? The real estate and all of its contents? Does MDUSD have to give buses to NUSD or would NUSD be required to determine its own transportation model. Remember special education requires bussing, but they could contract the service to another provider.

At one point there was discussion that of Walnut Creek leaves then would the money allocated for MDUSD increase? I believe there is something in EdCode that states that if new school districts are formed the cost to the state in funding cannot be change. If that is the case MDUSD would lose significant money because it would be ineligible for the additional funding due to a higher percentage of lower socioeconomic students?

I also need to understand the impact on Special Education in regards to cost and services. Costs for both districts may be increased because each one may need certain programs. Currently there is only a need for one. An example may be autism or severely handicapped programs.

I’m also not sure about the issue of Colony Park resides having to drive through another school district to get to their high school. For example if you live on Stimel (sp?) you would have to drive through NUSD to get to YVHS which is there home school. Potentially you could go around on Monument to Oak Grove, but that is really the long way.

So #22 I really don’t have an answer for you. I just need to have some questions answered so that I can make an informed decision on where I stand.

Lanny May 22, 2014 at 10:46 PM

California nightmare,
While I will agree with you that poor teachers are over protected, i can also say that I have first hand experience with the process in which a district can get rid of a bad teacher. There is some accountability in place, but it takes an administrator who is willing to step up and evaluate a teacher honestly.
In my opinion, many of the MDUSD principals just don’t want to rock the boat. They evaluate teschers every day and let too much slide because they have the perception that it’s just too much of an uphill battle to get rid of a mediocre teacher. This is just not true.
I have also found the union very supportive of getting rid of teachers who simply don’t do their job. But someone needs to document it and stand up and say that it’s not ok to just be mediocre (or bad, of course). That just doesn’t happen enough.

@Lanny May 23, 2014 at 12:52 AM

that was perfect. People always want to blame the teachers when in fact it’s the Principals and Brd responsibility to document and do their job to weed out the non performers. That’s why it’s a signed contract between both sides with rules to follow.

Just a general ? May 23, 2014 at 12:55 AM

we are happy with our elementary school and feel Concord High will be ok. But worried about middle school E.D. Keep hearing that no supervision and kids out of control. Any comments?

Concord Res May 23, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Sorry folks, it will never happen! MDUSD needs the money! Do you really think they will give up Northgate and the surrounding schools in Walnut Creek that are a part of MDUSD??????????? They will lose too much money!!!

? May 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM

CoCoOld, I agree with you! Children raised in Concord “lesser” schools can be successful, you just have to be involved. Going to Northgate does not guarantee success.

CVCHS HATER May 23, 2014 at 8:37 AM

Hey JET,
What’s up with the CVCHS hate? My daughter is attending the new outstanding CVCHS, and she says there is two to three new student from Northgate a week! A 1,000 student waiting list to get into CVCHS has to mean they are doing something right.

Keep it classy JET!

LimeRidge Larry May 23, 2014 at 8:42 AM

My previous post was misunderstood. I want the Crossings EXCLUDED from NUSD and LimeRidge INCLUDED. That is the only way I will vote for it.

JET May 23, 2014 at 8:49 AM


HA! I seriously doubt that ANYONE from Northgate would voluntarily leave to attend CVCHS. If you believe your daughter I’ve got a bridge to sell you. You really think you’ve got something there, don’t ya? SMH

k. saint May 23, 2014 at 8:55 AM

What I don’t want to see happen is this: I don’t want MDUSD personnel/board members to spend valuable time, financial, and mental resources on this issue.

If NUSD ‘think tanks’ can invest their energies over the next year or two to bring a turn key proposal to MDUSD, they should make every effort to do so. They should, and are likely willing, to do the heavy lifting, fact finding, etc…

MDUSD has shown, under new leadership, its commitment to tackle vital issues and to take positive actions. There is so much work for MDUSD to do. With LCAP and Common Core, MDUSD, for the sake of its students, need to focus all of its attention (as it recently has) on the real business of educating our kids.

debdvo May 23, 2014 at 9:38 AM

@LimeRidge Larry:
Geez- re: the Crossings- when I attend PFC mtgs at our WC school- I can look at a group of 12 parents and see at least 3 Crossings parents either on the board or working a committee, larger meeting attendance- more Crossings parents there. We’ve always had good presence and pulled our weight in working and supporting our schools. I’m at most meetings and in a board position in the same room w/ people that would drop the Crossings in a heartbeat….not the best feeling as it is…but your comment was totally insulting. Ya- young teenage groper and there’s young little arsonists down by Arbolado Park in WC occasionally too. Raising the perfect teenager is an elusive recipe that eludes all walks of life.

NO WAY May 23, 2014 at 9:38 AM

As a teacher and parent in the El Dorado/Concord High feeder pattern, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY I would ever let my child attend El Dorado!! Over the last several years it has really gone downhill!! Partly due to lack of leadership and partly due to undisciplined, disrespectful, unsupervised students. Oh, and lets not forget parents who aren’t involved and don’t work with their children on positive qualities and behaviors. I’ll opt out for private school or find a way to transfer or homeschool for 6-7-8th grades.

debdvo May 23, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Ooops…I guess you can tell I meant @Chad- thank you LimeRidge Larry for wanting Crossings included.

debdvo May 23, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Now I see your last comment- I take that thank you back.

Nancy S. May 23, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Finally! Perhaps this school district will send kids home when they are discovered to have lice?

RD May 23, 2014 at 1:29 PM

@LimeRidge Larry May 23, 2014 at 8:42 AM
“My previous post was misunderstood. I want the Crossings EXCLUDED from NUSD and LimeRidge INCLUDED. That is the only way I will vote for it”

What do you have against kids from the Crossings going to Northgate.

Tony May 23, 2014 at 1:52 PM

@Nancy S

Lice does not exist in the Walnut Creek or the Northgate School District. 😉

bigdaddy May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

they should close NG and send all those kids to YV and mt D. it would save the mdusd money.

bigdaddy May 23, 2014 at 2:49 PM

how did NG do against cvhs this year in baseball and football????

North Concord Parent May 23, 2014 at 3:37 PM


When do you plan to come out to North Concord and explain to us your “informed” decision to close Glenbrook and Holbrook? You never wanted to talk to us and you refused to come explain your decision.We invited you and you didn’t even respond . I guess for you some people count more than others, huh?

at RD May 23, 2014 at 4:43 PM

Keep dreaming and wasting your time, something like this will never happen. By the way, my kids are way smarter than yours. Formely from Highlands Elem. currently attending Foot Hill and what? BTW I don’t want my smart kind hearted child to hang out with your butt ugly child.

working class stiff May 23, 2014 at 5:22 PM

A teacher told me years ago that Northgate High was built specifically as part of the contract negotiations with an incoming superintendent. He didn’t think that any of the high schools in the district were good enough for his children, so he required that an elite “college-prep” level school be built before he would take the job.

LimeRidge Larry May 23, 2014 at 8:34 PM

RD @#51,

Crossings children are “unclean”. They don’t belong in a stellar school like Northgate. LimeRidge on the other hand deserves to be there no matter what.

Concord Mike May 23, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Somebody needs to consider the demographic problem. Walnut Creek families are having fewer kids and few new family homes are being built in at area, so more WC schools would need to close in the next decade.

The build out of new homes in the proposed “Clustered Villages” on the CNWS site will feed new enrollment to MDUSD schools, but WC schools will not benefit from this enrollment boost if they separate from MDUSD.

Bottom line: a new WC school district will be spending its time deciding which schools to close in a few years.

Mark May 24, 2014 at 6:42 AM

The district needs be be split up. .it’s just too big. Martinez needs to absorb hidden valley, and Pittsburg needs to take the schools over the hill. The north gate thing should happen too.

Anonymous May 24, 2014 at 7:10 AM

It will be interesting to see what they propose to do with Crossings and Crystyl Ranch. These don’t feed into the WC elementary schools, and Crystyl Ranch doesn’t feed into Foothill. They both feed to Northgate. Do the three WC elementary schools have the capacity to handle all of these kids? Does Ygnacio have the capacity to handle the additional SUV’s coming over the hill? What would Highlands do with reduced enrollment? Maybe pull from Woodside? That’s a lot of kids to replace. On top of all of this, the Northgate WC neighborhoods are having an influx of young families.

@Sherry Whitmarsh May 24, 2014 at 9:04 AM

You mention that you’re not sure about the Colony Park folks having to drive through another district. What about the NW WC folks? Won’t they have to drive through the WCSD and AUHSD? How is that different?

Is our inclusion just to give heft to the whole WC together concept? It sure doesn’t seem practical to drive from NW WC to the Northgate area for school unless we will get busing. Also, how do you get around the island of one school district in the middle of another?

I’m not against looking at this proposal but you seem awfully thoughtful about the idea now. I don’t recall you taking the same stand the last time WC tried to split from the district. Were you?

Sherry Whitmarsh May 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

#62 – I was not on the board at that time.

You are correct about the NW Walnut Creek residents driving through another school district. I recall this being an Ed Code issue but I could be wrong.

Sherry Whitmarsh May 24, 2014 at 11:23 AM

North Concord Parent,

I explained myself at several meetings. When you looked at the data provided by the school closure committee, they had three proposals. I went with a combination. Holbrook was split between only two schools. The other alternatives split students between more than two. Glennbrook was the only middle school suggested that would not require more buildings. Closing Sequoia El and MS and Monte Gardens would require additional buildings to be placed on other schools.

I explained this during numerous study sessions at the time including the one at Glenbrook before the vote. You may not like my logic or agree with it but that is how I arrived at my decision.

Monte Gardens Parent May 24, 2014 at 11:01 PM

Sherry at #64,

Wait a minute, you voted to shut down Monte Gardens, now you are trying to change history of what you did when you were on the board.

RD May 25, 2014 at 12:39 PM

@56 – I was asking LimeRidge Larry why he wanted the Crossings excluded.

I did not say I wanted them excluded.

See LimeRidge Larry posts at 43 and 56

Sherry Whitmarsh May 25, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Monte Gardens #65

I did not vote to close Monte Gardens. Monte Gardens, and both Sequoias were on the list proposed by the school closure committee. There was only one vote taken and the results were Holbrook and Glenbrook.

RE: 5/27 Meeting (from view of Crossings resident) debdvo May 28, 2014 at 9:03 AM

As of May 27th meeting- Crossings and Crystly Ranch are still written in as in the proposed NUSD boundary. They will be putting their info that they presented last night onto their website soon for viewing re: financial impact on the district- this is the data that the NUSD group collected and is being analyzed by the district >>> There were only 4 speakers that questioned this re: districting- impacted teachers, teachers union, one re: if one select group offsets and now enjoys smaller classrooms and other benefits they are opening a pandora’s box for up to 6-7 other groups requesting the same such treatment. Other one felt they were handpicking and segregating neighborhoods.

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