The Whittier Union High School District will launch a series of public meetings to gather community input as it begins the process of shifting from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections after the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the transition at its Oct. 9 board meeting.
The shift means that instead of residents voting for any board candidate on the ballot within the Whittier Union District boundaries, residents will vote for a single candidate residing in their newly drawn trustee-area, usually one-fifth of the entire district. The change will go into effect November 2020.
“Every decision our Board of Trustees makes has always been based on what is best for students and their families,” Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “We are proud of the fact that no matter who sits on this board, student successes and achievements remain the priority. Whittier Union is committed to making this a transparent, inclusive process in which all members of our community will be engaged and each voice will be valued and heard.”
The District will discuss districting criteria during public hearings on Tuesday, Oct. 16 and Tuesday, Oct. 30. Issues to be discussed could include creating compact, contiguous districts, preserving existing political communities and equal population sizes, and ensuring each high school attendance areas are represented by multiple board members.
A professional demographer will draw possible trustee area maps based on those criteria and present the maps during a public hearing at the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13. Whittier Union community members will be able to provide input and testimony regarding the proposed trustee areas.
The District will subsequently host a series of open houses/workshops and offer community presentations for residents to review and provide input regarding maps and corresponding election plans and learn about the process for selecting a map. Those dates have yet to be determined.
Revised and additional maps will be reviewed during a regular board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11. The board anticipates narrowing the number of maps for review on Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Once the public has provided input, the school board expects to select a final trustee map on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The approved map would then be presented to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, likely the following day.