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Check out Redlands Unified's maps for proposed district-based elections

July 17,2016 10:14

This map is one of two proposals for district-based elections in the Redlands Unified School District. RUSD plans to hold community forums on the maps in August and September. District-based elections are becoming the new norm for local jurisdictions ...



REDLANDS >> Officials with the Redlands Unified School District are moving forward with a proposed district-based election system and have announced a series of community forums to solicit feedback.At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Lori Rhodes announced tentative dates for forums meant to collect input on the proposed “by-trustee area” — or district — election maps.The maps are part of the district’s plan to change from its current Board of Education election process to one that conforms with the California Voting Rights Act, Rhodes said.
Legal action under the act against municipalities with at-large elections has prompted many local jurisdictions to make the switch to district-based elections to promote more diverse representation. The city of Redlands has begun investigating the process, and the school district is following suit.Redlands voters can get a look at RUSD’s proposed districts at forums tentatively planned for Aug. 30, Sept. 1 and 6. Locations and times have yet to be determined.“During these meetings, the community will be able to view the two conceptual trustee area scenarios, receive information and provide comments,” Rhodes said. “We anticipate at a board meeting in mid-September, the board will review the comments from the public meetings and, based on those comments, provide further direction to the district.”
The board ultimately will approve the by-trustee area map, she added.Proposed maps created by Cooperative Strategies follow general guidelines for the development of trustee areas, according to the district, including: each trustee area must contain a nearly equal number of inhabitants; must be drawn to comply with the Federal Voting Rights Act; should be contiguous as much as possible; respect communities of interest; and follow man-made and natural geographic features.The Redlands school district serves the city Redlands, portions of Highland, Loma Linda and San Bernardino, the communities of Forest Falls and Mentone and other unincorporated areas of the county.
“The board’s desire for its trustees (are) to represent the entire district rather than specific areas,” the district said in a news release.To accomplish this goal, the proposed maps will ensure that each trustee area includes portions of at least two communities, contain portions of two high school attendance boundaries, contain multiple school sites (physical location) and contain multiple elementary or middle school attendance boundaries.Data from the 2010 census was used to create the proposed maps, each of which outline five districts.

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District administrators anticipate the board may select a map and authorize transition to the district-based election process between November and December of this year.If approved, the first by-trustee election would be in November 2018.Rhodes said school administrators believe by-trustee voting districts are inevitable.“The district does hope that the community will support the by-trustee area voting concept,” she added.“The benefit for students, faculty and staff is that they, along with the community within each voting area, will feel a greater connection to their area representative.”

daily,Election 2016,Redlands,Redistricting

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