The Whittier Union High School District is continuing its efforts to gather community input and boost voter participation as it begins the process of shifting from at-large elections to by-trustee area elections, holding its second in a series of public hearings on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Effective November 2020, residents will vote for a single candidate residing in their newly drawn trustee-area, usually one-fifth of the entire district. The change is being implemented to comply with the California Voting Rights Act.
During the first public hearing on Oct. 16, community members heard from representatives from National Demographics Corporation (NDC) – which will draw several maps based on community input and ensure they meet legal and regulatory criteria – and VMA Communications, Inc. ¬– which will conduct widespread community outreach to increase awareness and ensure the process is transparent, inclusive and community-focused.
“Whittier Union is committed to maintaining its culture of inclusiveness, collaboration and equity, and through this process, we are confident that we will continue to maximize positive outcomes for all of our students,” Whittier Union High School District Superintendent Martin Plourde said. “We want to thank our community members for providing their feedback and encourage Whittier Union students, families and stakeholders to engage and continue voicing their opinions as we move forward with the district formation process.”
The public will have the opportunity to discuss district formation criteria during a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30 in the District Board Room, 9401 S. Painter Ave., Whittier. Issues to be discussed could include creating compact, contiguous districts, preserving existing political communities and equal population sizes, and ensuring each high school’s attendance areas are represented by multiple board members.
Professional demographers from NDC will draw possible trustee area maps based on input from the first two meetings and present the maps during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. Whittier Union community members may provide input and testimony regarding the proposed trustee areas.
The District will subsequently host two rounds of three open houses/workshops at various locations across the District. The open houses will 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. Residents will also be able to meet with a demographer one-on-one, during which they may ask questions about the draft maps and provide input on possible modifications. Dates have yet to be determined.
Revised and additional maps will be reviewed during the regular board meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11. The board anticipates narrowing the number of maps for review during its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019.
Once the public has provided input, the school board expects to select a final trustee map at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. The approved map would then be presented to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, likely the following day.