Board Selects Preferred Trustee Area Map
The Board of Education has selected a preferred trustee area boundary map, bringing it one step closer to completing its transition to a trustee area system of elections. The map is titled “Oct. B.”
The Board also directed its legal counsel to get the map approved through negotiations or trial.
Currently, the District votes for members of the Board under an “at-large” election system, where trustees are elected by voters of the entire District. On March 21, 2018, the Board adopted Resolution No. 64-1718, signaling its intent to transition from at-large to trustee-area Board elections, where each trustee must reside within a designated geographic boundary and is elected only by the voters who reside within that area. On that same day, a lawsuit was filed alleging that the District’s at-large election system violated the California Voting Rights Act.
Between April and June, the Board developed six draft maps and held five public hearings to give the public an opportunity to discuss the maps and the process.
In June, the board adopted a map and took it to the County Commission on School District Organization. On July 24, 2018 the County Committee rejected the District's adopted map and proposal, in part citing a desire for more public input opportunities.
In August, the District and the plaintiffs reached an agreement, with court approval, resolving certain issues involved in the lawsuit. The agreement and subsequent court order shortened the terms of the three trustee seats open for election in November 2018 to two year terms, to ensure that all five seats will be up for trustee area elections at the November 2020 general election. The agreement also required two or three of the five seats in the November 2020 election be shortened to two year terms, to allow the Board elections to be staggered in the future. However, the suit against the District remains pending.
In September, the Board directed staff to hold additional public meetings to allow the public to work directly with a demographer to develop further map options for Board consideration. District staff used a variety of methods to inform the public about these meetings including: three phone calls to the parents of students in the District, emails to community partners asking that they inform their constituencies about the forums, included the information in District newsletters, and implemented a robust social media campaign that included multiple announcements on Facebook and Twitter.
In addition, staff attended a dozen community and District advisory group meetings to encourage participation in the process. Three map planning community sessions were held.
Three draft trustee-area maps were presented to the public as starting points for the conversation. This included a map prepared and proposed by the plaintiff in the lawsuit. Three additional maps were created based upon input received from members of the public who attended the sessions.
Additional information about this process can be found at www.wccusd.net/trusteemaps.