Natomas Unified School District's plans to elect school board members to represent trustee areas.
Created by natomasbuzz on Jun 28, 2011
Last updated: 03/22/12 at 12:45 AM
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Dr. Hanline asked Roman Munoz, attorney from Kronick Moskovitz, Tiedman and Girard to present prior to opening the Public Hearing. Mr. Munoz stated that the District is asking for the authority to present to the community the concept of providing District-based elections in order to be in compliant with the California Voters Rights Act. We are asking for the authority to set forth a timeline in January 2012 to make presentations to the community as to the establishment of District-based elections. We will then come back to the Board and make a presentation about the input received from the community and labor unions. After the Board receives the input and, if Board desired, we will then ask the Board for the authority to seek a waiver from the State Board of Education to go to District-based elections in lieu of putting this issue before the voters. Munoz reviewed that the California Voters Rights Act prohibits the use of at-large elections; a District-based election means that you are required to live in a jurisdiction - trustee area and you are elected by the voters in that trustee area; and the motivation for the change from at-large elections to District-based elections is due to the California Voter Rights Act which prohibits the use of at-large elections. Mr. Munoz stated that current board members will serve their entire term. In establishing the proposed trustee area map, Munoz noted that they tried to balance the population as much as possible; however, they left room in area 1. Every ten years the trustees areas will be reviewed and evaluated by the Board based on population. Kaplan questioned if the California Voters Rights Action takes into consideration every person or only registered voters. Mr. Munoz replied the California Education Code requires that total population be taken into consideration. Mr. Munoz stated that the trustee areas are consistent with the district's overall demographics. Kaplan expressed concern that an assumption has been made that we are moving to District-basedelections held in trustee areas only by the people who live in that area. Kaplan stated that the Board has not given that direction. President Roberts stated at this point the intent is to move forward with giving authority to move forward with presentations of the Board's intent to move toward the establishment of trustee areas. The method by which elections are handled would be determined later. Kaplan wanted the options presented to the community with no bias. There were no public comments.
Roman Munoz introduced Pat Tami, RBF Consulting, who created the proposed trustee areas based on the following criteria: a) Each trustee area shall contain a nearly equal number of inhabitants; b) Trustee area borders shall be drawn in a manner that complies with the State and Federal Voting Rights Acts; c) Trustee areas shall consist of contiguous territory in as compact form as possible; d) Trustee areas shall respect communities of interest as much as possible; e) Trustee area borders shall follow visible natural and man-made geographical and topographical features as much as possible; and, f) Trustee areas known to be areas of higher-than-average population growth in the two to five years following this boundary line adjustment may be under populated within the population deviation amounts allowed by law. Board Comments: Roberts questioned if the demographer found communities of concern. Mr. Tami responded that he did not look at ethnicity. Kaplan requested additional information on trustee areas related to how trustees are elected. Dr. Hanline explained that the California Voting Rights Act specifies how trustees are elected. Mr Munoz stated that elections are based from trustee areas. With regard to the proposed trustee areas, Kaplan noted that Area 5 will not have growth. Board consensus supported looking at Area 5 to bring up the numbers. Burns suggested moving part of area four into area five. Roberts was in favor of balancing the secondary schools. If the Board approves the recommendation this evening, a Public Hearing on the Trustee areas will be conducted at the December 14th Regular Board Meeting. Following the Public Hearing and consideration of the public input received, the Board will take appropriate action. Burns moved to approve moving forward and to bring back a revised map with recommendations made this evening to the December 14th Board Meeting.
Roman Munoz, NUSD's legal counsel, provided a brief PowerPoint presentation on the California Voting Rights Act. Teri Burns questioned if approval of the study would define the district that the Board would have to accept. Munoz responded that it would not. Burns questioned if this would lock the district in. Munoz responded that it would not lock the district in. Burns questioned if there were many companies that do this type of study. Munoz responded affirmatively. Burns noted that a long time ago the Board discussed doing this at build out (15,000 kids). Burns expressed concern with the second Whereas, to afford "groups" to become members of the Board and suggested the following new language: to afford "members of all groups". Jules Tran was supportive of the study. He was interested in seeing how diverse Natomas is. Kaplan questioned if this would go out to bid for the firm. Dr. Hanline responded that the amount wouldn't rise to a level that he couldn't, with the Board's direction, use his discretion to solicit a firm with the experience to do the study. Kaplan's preference would be to find a firm within 60 miles of Sacramento. Board consensus supported moving forward with the study. Board consensus supported going to the State Board of Education to file for a waiver. Roberts questioned if we take this to the voters and they don't pass it, are we still liable. Munoz responded affirmatively. Dr. Hanline stated that Mike Cannon will work with the demographer on natural dividers. Approved unanimously.
Dr. Walt Hanline, NUSD's Interim Superintendent, presented a draft resolution to conduct a study. Hanline stated that it is best to be proactive, based on the law, and move forward with trustee districts prior to the next election. A demographer will work with Mike Cannon, Executive Director of Facilities and Planning. This process will take eight to nine months. Jules Tran supported moving forward noting that we have more accurate data with the 2010 census. Teri Burns questioned the possibility of a trustee elected in an at large election. Dr. Hanline responded that the 2001 law does not allow an at large election. Board consensus supported bringing this back as an action item.