Natomas School Board Trustee Areas Topic Of Meeting Tonight

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

The Natomas Unified School District tonight will hold a second public meeting on proposed changes to the way school board members are elected.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. tonight, March 28 in the Inderkum High School theater, located at 2500 New Market Drive.

Currently, all voters who reside within the Natomas district’s boundaries get to vote for school board members.

School board members are elected in rotation every two years. This year, for example, three board member spots will be up for reelection.

In an effort to better represent voters and avoid California Voting Rights Act lawsuits, the Natomas Unified school board has taken steps to create “trustee areas” based on geography, demographics, the location of existing – and planned – schools, as well as where board members currently reside.

As proposed, the school district would be divided into five areas each represented by a school board member.

In an online survey conducted by THE NATOMAS BUZZ, readers appear split on whether trustee areas should be created.

According to the survey, if trustee areas are put in place, BUZZ readers favor electing board members “by” trustee area. “By trustee area” means only those voters who live within the trustee-area’s boundaries would be allowed to vote every four years for their school board representative.

The Natomas Teachers Association has gone on record supporting this method of election.

But at the school board’s March 14 meeting, trustees clearly favored the “from” (also referred to as “at large”) election method which would allow all voters in the school district a say in electing each trustee-area representative. 

The Natomas Unified school board at that meeting also OKd the request for a state waiver from the California Dept. of Education to bypass voters and allow elections based on proposed trustee areas effective November 2012. If the state waiver is approved, board members will be elected to represent trustee areas as proposed in the map below. 

THE NATOMAS BUZZ found a clear majority of those who took the online survey think the decision to create trustee areas and the method of election should go to voters for approval.

Tonight’s meeting was scheduled after school board member B. Teri Burns requested the district “aggressively” seek input from Natomas homeowners, neighborhood groups and the public on the issue of trustee-area elections before a final decision is made at the school board’s April 11 meeting.

Four members of the public attended the first meeting held last week at Natomas High School.

Click here for more information on the difference between the two trustee-area election methods. Click here to fill out Natomas Unified’s survey about creating trustee areas.

Trackbacks

  1. […] In 2011, the board first seriously considered transitioning to trustee areas and commissioned a study of our most diverse district in the state. The results showed that, unlike more segregated communities, trustee areas in Natomas likely disenfranchised ethnic groups from being able to elect a member of the board. Similarly, we noted that we were only just above half of the projected student count in the district at build out. I, and other members of the board, felt that we should wait until further growth patterns played out before going to trustee area elections. […]

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