The SDUHSD board will vote for one of six proposed district region maps on Dec. 14, completing the transition from “at-large” member elections to “by-trustee area” elections for district representation by school board members.
In at-large elections, the entire community votes for all school board members, but in the by-trustee area system, the district is split into six regions; voters in each region will elect a board member residing in that region.
The elections are changing so that SDUHSD does not violate the California Voting Rights Act, which prohibits the “at-large” elections that SDUHSD had been using up until now, and could cause imposition of fines.
“[The change is] kind of a financial decision for the district,” ASB School Board Student Representative Isaac Gelman (12) said. “A bunch of districts nearby have been getting notices saying that they are not in accordance with the California Voting Rights Act. If you get a notice, you get a fine.”
The six proposed areas, dubbed the Green, Blue, Orange, Tan, Cranberry and Purple Maps, have been selected based on many criteria. Factors such as race composition, household income, employment and immigration status were all considered when creating the proposed maps.
Because two board members cannot reside in the same region in future elections, current board members John Salazar, Maureen Muir and Board of Trustees President Amy Herman may not be able to run for reelection when their terms expire in 2018.
At a Nov. 28 SDUHSD board meeting, two new maps and modifications to the Blue map were unveiled. The new maps, called the Tan and Purple, as well as Blue 1 and Blue 2 map, are supposed to reflect public feedback. The Cranberry maps were released on the SDUHSD website on Dec. 5.
“People can come and give us input on the boundary lines,” Gelman said. “We do not want to arbitrarily draw the lines.”
Each area is individual and “every community wants to be together,” Herman said at the district meeting.
When Pacific Highlands Ranch was split into Rancho Santa Fe and Carmel Valley on many of the proposed maps, residents wanted them reconnected so the community could have a more significant influence in their respective region.
Not only do the maps need an equal number of people in each region, but they also need a balanced racial profile as well.
To allow for the community to give feedback, each board meeting concerning the new regions has been open to the public.
Based on public comment, the grouping of the zones and demographics, the members of the Board of Trustees will vote for one of the maps to become official at the public district board meeting on Dec. 14 at 6:00 pm.