SHAFTER -- School board members in the Richland School District delayed any decision on the divisive option to establish a unified school district Tuesday at a special board meeting held at Golden Oaks Elementary School.
The board appointed a two-member subcommittee of board members Tony Aguirre and Tammy Criswell to advise consultants and determine whether unification is feasible in Shafter.
But board members decided to push back the current timeline and not pursue a ballot measure in the November election.
A decision to unify would dissolve the Richland School District that serves four elementary schools and instead establish a K-12 district that includes Shafter High School, which is currently in the Kern High School District.
School board and legal officials said the board has not started the legal process of unification.
The district conducted a feasibility study, finalized March 31, to determine if Richland met a set of nine state criteria districts must fulfill if they decide to unify.
The study concluded that a unified district was feasible and "has the potential to meet" the nine criteria.
But teachers and other community members raised concerns Tuesday about a potential loss of student services and the motives behind establishing a new district.
Natalie Feinberg, an English teacher at Shafter High, said the unification process could mean benefits like streamlined resources and added funding. She emphasized that regardless of the decision the community, district and school board members should make it together.
"Citizens have a right to be a part of this," she said.