Opinion: Trustee Area Elections Promise a Brighter Future for Natomas

Members of Natomas Black Parents United. / Courtesy Photo

FOR THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

At the Jan. 20, 2021 board meeting, the Natomas Unified board of trustees (also known as “the NUSD board”) approved a resolution, which directed staff to lead the school district from at-large elections to trustee areas. We, the members of Natomas Black Parents United, applaud the NUSD board for unanimously passing this resolution because it moves our community toward a fairer election method.

The current “at-large” method allows every registered voter within NUSD boundaries to select all five trustee positions. The soon-to-be implemented “trustee area” method requires: 1) a trustee to reside in the area they wish to represent; and 2) only the registered voters from that specific region can elect their trustee.

As an example, Natomas has beautiful, yet very distinct neighborhoods. Each locale has different wants and needs. With our current “at-large” method, all five of the trustees could possibly reside in one neighborhood. This could conceivably create challenges for the other residents to be seen and heard. The “trustee area” method requires each trustee to live in the region they wish to represent AND voters who elect them must also live in that neighborhood. This method ensures a greater opportunity for every voter in every neighborhood to be represented.

Additionally, NUSD states, “Moving to (By-) Trustee areas and away from at-large elections could decrease the political money spent on elections, will meet state/federal laws, and allows for each region of Natomas Unified to have an elected official that both advocates for a “ (By)Trustee Area” and the district as a whole.

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

School boards have a tremendous influence on a community. Our NUSD Board controls a budget of more than $141 million of our tax dollars. For example, NUSD support contributed to the soon-to-open North Natomas Aquatic Center; provided increased social and emotional support for students and families; distributed free meals to all youth in the community during COVID; added a barber/cosmetology component and a construction internship to the career options for our scholars.

So, whether you have a student attending an NUSD school or not, this change affects everyone. Strong, effective schools are important for the viability of our community.

Today’s NUSD scholars will be the leaders of the future. As a resident of Natomas, your input is essential in determining a path forward for our community.

Here are some ways you can help:
● Visit the NUSD website to stay current on the status of how the areas will be mapped.
● Share feedback in writing or in person at the upcoming board meeting on Oct. 27.
● Make sure that you register to vote and help other eligible community members register to vote by the November 2022 NUSD school board election.

Together, we can move to a brighter future for the community we love, called Natomas.

Natomas Black Parents United is a grassroots group created and maintained by volunteers to support the needs of our highly capable students within the Natomas Unified School District.

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