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Board and Committee make progress towards trustee area map

Four+map+scenarios+have+been+drafted+and+are+currently+available+to+be+voted+on.+The+Board+will+use+the+community+input+to+finalize+the+official+Trustee+Area+Map+for+the+November+Elections.++%0APhotos+used+with+permission+from+FUHSD+CTAD+and+District+Staff.
Four map scenarios have been drafted and are currently available to be voted on. The Board will use the community input to finalize the official Trustee Area Map for the November Elections. Photos used with permission from FUHSD CTAD and District Staff.

What you need to know:

  • The FUHSD District is going through the transition from At-Large Elections to By-Trustee Area elections which needs new map borders to be drawn.
  • The CTAD Committee and the FUHSD Board are having presentations and meetings with the public to get input about the maps.
  • The are currently on Step 3: Committee Map Development, where the CTAD has created four map drafts which will be submitted to the Board at a Map Hearing.

The FUHSD Board of Trustees voted to transition from At-Large Elections to By-Trustee Area elections in March 2023, and in February of this year, provided new updates and hearings for the community. Maps are currently being drafted with the aid of community input and the final rendition will be ultimately chosen by the Board. At-Large elections were originally conducted with a district-wide vote, whereas the new format allows voters from one of the five geographical subsets, known as “Trustee Areas,” to decide which candidate will represent them — similar to how state and national political representation works.

 The Community Trustee Area Districting Committee, made up of 16 diverse community members, three of which are students, was established in order to keep the community updated and also gather input from the wider community to help draft new maps for the Board. The committee reaches out to different social groups, conducting presentations both in person and online. Members can also request a meeting from the committee through a survey on their website.

“Right now, we’re in the process of community engagement, where we collect input through surveys, emails, in person and online events,” CTAD committee member Kashish Mittal said. “This is planning to go on for a couple more weeks.”

While designing these maps, the committee and the Board are continuously accepting new ideas and comments from the community. Both groups have been hosting community meetings and hearings to provide information. The Board has also held community workshops where citizens are provided resources to give input on the map drafts and even create their own versions online. They want to ensure everyone’s needs are being met with these new area boundaries.

“I hope our students can also look into this process and then share their ideas about it,”  Board member Rosa Kim said. “Even though we transition to this By-Trustee election, I want to emphasize all board members on our board, currently or in the future, are committed to working for all students in the district and will continue to do so.”

Since it was first publicly released, the timeline for the whole process has shifted slightly — two weeks have been added to allow the committee more time to gather input. Currently, the district is on Step 3: Committee Map Development. The CTAD committee has recently completed their second draft submissions and Map #3 Hearing will be on March 20. Once maps are revised and drafted once again, the final Map Hearing will take place on April 24, when the Board will select the final map for elections. Before this, meetings and discussions with the community will continue; four draft maps are currently available to be voted on.

At Map Hearings, the CTAD committee presents their report and recommendations for map drafts. The district attorney and demographer will then make sure that the drafts follow California Voting Rights Act requirements at the federal and state levels. Here, the Board will discuss the maps and public comments can be made. 

The main goal of this new By-Trustee election system is to increase representation in the community. When creating boundaries for each area, one important thing is that they can not split minorities into different geographical areas so that their opinions are diluted among the others. Minorities will have a fair chance at getting their opinion heard, rather than being split up among the five regions. The district can also avoid lawsuits and spending millions on legal fees by transitioning to By-Trustee elections as the CVRA restricts At-Large elections. 

The goal is to finalize and get the new map approved by the Nov. 5 election when new Trustee members will be elected through this new system. 

“At our regularly scheduled board meeting, we will be discussing and deliberating the pros and cons of what we think would be in the best interest of the district, then making a motion to accept one map,” Board of Trustees Vice President Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto said.

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Amanda Jin, Staffer
(she/her) Amanda is a sophomore and a new staffer for the Epic. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games, listening to music, and watching random cat videos.

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