(BCN) — The California State Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously denied a petition to create a new unified school district in the Northgate area of Walnut Creek. According to a statement released by the Mount Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD), the state board found the petition didn’t 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 MDUSD board member Cherise Khaund, whose district includes the Northgate territory and whose children attend district schools.

The district said the proposed 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.

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The Contra Costa County Committee on School District Organization already rejected the petition from the community. Leaders of the petition drive said they sought the split to make their local schools more accountable to the community. The proposed new district would have included Northgate High School, Foothill Middle School and Bancroft, Valle Verde, and Walnut Acres elementary schools.

The district said more than two dozen people called into Wednesday’s meeting to speak against the split, while one called in support. The board voted 10-0 to deny the petition, with members saying they couldn’t find any reason to support the shift.

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